Thursday, March 31, 2011

Ad Images

Advertising images: what world can ads create in our heads?

Ads Well That Ends Well

Did you ever ponder how advertisements work? What do they promise? Have they always been that way? Here are some old ads.

Creature Comforts by Nick Parks

This is one of my favorite short, animated films of all. I read that Nick Parks, the producer, interviewed people in an asylum and geriatric care center to get the audio material he needed. Follow the link below.

Monday, March 28, 2011


As my students discovered this week, we are unable to use the interactive. electronic whiteboard, so we will probably turn the class around and check out the old blackboard with its ancient chalk. Wow, what a change.
We will survive of course but I note that it is difficult to adjust to life as it was before the advent of technology. There is a lot to be said for working with limited resources. At heart, I am a minimalist and prefer the grassroots basics of teaching with students working independently and sharing their ideas.
I was directed to an index of nifty modern tools that you may or may not know about. There is a dizzying array of stuff out there. This listing will direct you to their whereabouts on the WWW. Good luck!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

"Wor Geordie's Lost his Penga!" Northeast England Dialect Advice

Geordies are people from the Northeast of England, the Newcastle and Sunderland area (Tyne and Teeside regions). Many non Geordies (offcomders, as Geordies call them!) find this accent baffling but it is a lovely sounding dialect of English.

Accents in Learning English (Gareth's Tips)

Here is a valuable link to Gareth, an actor and voice analyst in London (apparently), who provides advice on accents. I was directed to this site for St Patrick's Day as a tool for picking up an Irish accent. Of course, aping or mimicking someone's accent can be meanspirited and even offensive. But if students want to improve their spoken English, this collection of accent clips is well worth a visit.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor in the News

I know precious little about Elizabeth Taylor except that I do confuse her with Cleopatra of old. Anywat, I found this page interesting. Follow the link:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yum! What's cooking?

We celebrated St Patrick's Day but we forgot the Irish stew! Alas!!! Here is a link for your edification. Happy eating!

If I could be anything, anywhere, anytime!" -- Ruth Pelham

"If I could be anything, anywhere, anytime..." so sings Ruth Pelham in one of my favorite songs of all time (I sing it everywhere I go...if you haven't heard me sing it, you weren't paying attention!) and this link gives some interesting insights into NY City high school students aspirations as they approach their high school graduation in May.

Light Fingered or Kleptomaniac??? Only the Dictionary Knows for Sure!

Here is an example of how useful the on-line dictionary can be. I was trying to find a term that was interesting but also common to both US and UK English. With this link you will find the two pronunciations and other relevant information. It is great so have fun!

Expedito Recommends an On-line Dictionary

Our diligent and helpful colleague Expedito (from the Cuatro Caminos district in San Mateo) recommended an on-line dictionary in class. Here is the link:

Thanks, Expedito, for your suggestions!

Learn English at Home

If you cannot attend class one day, you can still practice your English at home. Here is the link!

Test your English Level, on-line

As we begin to look to the new academic year, many people come to our center and ask about their level. This on-line service can help you get on track. Good luck!

History in the Making! Keep your Ears Open!

For many years, history with a capital H was confined to books and records, often written by the victors or their dedicated scribes. But there is also a world or history to be found in the stories of our elders and those who lived their lives while the bombs were dropping and the rations dealt out. These chronicles can be found in oral history collections aimed at recovering the voice of the people.

But you do not need to consult the archives of your public library to find these voices. They are all around us, if we take the time to listen.

Similes: Learning English through Colloquialisms

My friend is blind as a bat but her brother is mad as a hatter. These comparisons which do not really compare but illustrate (vaguely) some aspect of a person or thing or situation are called similes. Every language has this capacity, I imagine, and my students are often quick to find equivalent expressions in their own language. For example, if you say someone is "thin as a rake" (as in the image) in English, you could translate it into Spanish as "está hecho un pílgano." But, as the link indicates, be careful with how you use similes. They are useful for informal or friendly situations, for general conversation, but not always appropriate for more formal matters.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Books: Recommended Reading!

A colleague of the EOI Ingenio sent along this link which students may find useful.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Molly Malone lyrics for class

In dublin's fair city
where the girls are so pretty
i first set my eyes on sweet molly malone
as she wheeled her wheelbarrow
through streets broad and narrow
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
alive-a-live-o, alive alive-o
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
She was a fish monger, and sure it's no wonder
for so were her father and mother before
they both wheeled a barrow
through streets broad and narrow
Crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
alive-a-live-o, alive alive-o
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
But i was a rover, and sailed the seas over
so i bid my farewell to sweet molly malone
and as i was saving the wild wind was wailing
buying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
alive-a-live-o, alive-a-live-o
buying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
She died of a fever, and no one could save her
and that was the end of sweet molly malone
her ghost wheels her barrow
through streets broad and narrow
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
alive alive-o, alive alive-o
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o
alive alive-o, alive alive-o
crying cockles and mussels alive alive-o

Luck of the Irish: Molly Malone

Monday, March 14, 2011

Pay Me my Money Down!

I have not taken the ukulele to class lately but this clip has inspired me to get back to the ol uke!

The Person I Most Admire in the World

Our fourth year students were talking about people they most admired. Mercedes took no time to come up with her subject. I enjoyed reading this essay which is brimming with love.

My grandmother is the person that I most admire. She is called Eugenia and she is now 77 years old although she looks much younger. She enjoys reading romantic novels, dancing with Carlos (a close friend) and going to church with friends and her younger sister every Sunday.

My grandmother is a very kind, positive person. She has a great sense of humour and loves animals and plants. Although the most important think for her is her family: her daughters and ten grandchildren.

She has always been a very modern woman for her times. She studied very hard and worked as a nurse in a hospital in Las Palmas until she got married in 1960. In 1961, my grandparents went to Africa for their honeymoon and lived there for five years. When my mother was born, they decided it was time to return to their beloved island homeland in Gran Canaria.


Nestor A NI 2B Discusses Nick Carraway

Here is Nestor's thoughts on Nick Carraway, one of the central characters in the novel, The Great Gatsby.

What is Nick Carraway's role in the novel? How does he change as the story develops?

Nick Carraway is the main character of the story, the one who tells us the story and the only normal person in the novel. He has gone to New York to work in the bond business and finds a house in Long Island, near his cousin Daisy.

When he arrives, he does not have much knowledge about life, but then he gets involved in lots of troubles. He must be very reliable, because he knows all the characters' secrets.

Firstly, he is invited by Tom to meet his lover and go with them to a party in an apartment. Although, Tom is the husband of his cousin he does not mind their secret relationship. Then, he meets Gatsby and arranges for him and his cousin to meet up. Then, he finds out they are also in love.

At this moment, he has to choose sides. Although, he thought at first that Gatsby was a criminal, he makes friends with Gatsby and chooses to support him. Finally, when Gatsby is killed, he understands that the most important thing in life is to follow your dream.

Jay Gatsby: Hero or Villain (María T, NI 2B)

A very thoughtful essay by María T of NI 2B. Nice work and thanks for your efforts.

Jay Gatsby seems to be a very mysterious figure in the book. Describe how this “hero” o “villain” develops as a character in the novel.

Gatsby is a strange and mysterious person for his elitist neighbors because he isn´t a usual rich person. Nobody knows where his fortune from. People from Long Island think he is a bootlegger and then realize they are right. For that reason, at the beginning of the story he is presented as a villain and shady character.

As the story goes on, we can start seeing the most intimate side from Gatsby because of the deep love he feels for Daisy. This love leads him to terrible consequences and eventually, his untimely death.

Despite being a bootlegger, he manages to be seen as a hero. He died because he dared to denounce Daisy.

And now, I wonder what would have been my impression about Gatsby if he had not died. I would still think that he is a horrible person because he did not mind how he got rich.

Jay Gatsby and Daisy: Romance or Folly!?

How does Gatsby try to win Daisy´s affection in the novel? Do you think his efforts were noble or foolish? Why?

Gatsby did a lot of things to be near Daisy. At first he settled into a luxurious house because from it he could see her house.

He threw so many parties in hopes of having her come over to one of them and being his guest. Finally they had a date, when Gatsby had asked Nick to sort it out. Until this point in the story, I thought Gatsby´s efforts were noble but when he tried to persuade her to break up with Tom then told Tom she never loved him, I started to changed my mind about the good intentions of Gatsby.

At the end of the book Gatsby has one last good intention, although it could be considered a bit pathetic. When he waited outside Daisy's house in case she might run out and fling herself into his arms or something wrong happened with Tom. Of course, this was impossible.

In conclusion, I think he had noble intentions but when somebody is in love and tries to make his dreams come true, that person might commit some mistakes, but this may not necessarily be a foolish effort. (Brenda)

Two Sides of Tom Buchanan

What is Tom´s relationship with his wife and her friends in the novel?

Tom could present one type of behavior when he was with some people and another when he was with somebody else. So we could consider him an unstable character in the novel The Great Gatsby.

On the one hand he was a gentleman when he was with his wife and her friends, he behaved like a very well-mannered man. But, on the other hand, he had another life, the life outside his family. In this other life, he would flirt with his mistress. His behavior with her, with her husband and of course with his wife was unclear. He could be a very rude man when he became angry.

The reader can see Tom as a gentleman when he is with his guest at home and he poured them some drinks. But there are other episodes in the story where you can see the rude Tom, when he is in New York with his mistress and friends and he smacks her in the nose, for example. (Brenda)

World War I and The Roaring Twenties

Llucia discusses the significance of World War I and the subsequent Roaring Twenties in The Great Gatsby?

The Great Gatsby takes place after World War I, during the “Roaring Twenties”, a decade of prosperity and modernity.New York became the most important financial center in the world, and this makes Nick Caraway decide to moving there so he can learn “the bond business.” Moreover Nick finds his home town in the Middle West so dull after the war.

While living in the East, Nick meets Gatsby, and they become friends.

World War I is a crucial event in Gatsby and Daisy’s lives too. They meet before the war and they fall in love but Gatsby, who is very poor, has to go to fight in the war. Although Daisy loves him, she gets married to Tom Buchanan because her parents do not allow her to wait for Gatsby. When Gatsby comes back from the war, he meets a rich man and learns how to make money to impress Daisy with his fortune. But finally, they can’t be together.

If the war hadn’t existed, Nick wouldn’t have met Gatsby. What is more, Gatsby and Daisy might still be together.

“I’d put you in a pink cloud and ..." Daisy Essay

Based on her comment in the novel “I’d put you in a pink cloud and push you around the sky,” do you think that Daisy is an endearing character or a tragic crazy person? Defend your answer.

As I see it, Daisy has always loved Gatsby, but she loves money too.

When Gatsby goes to fight in the war, Daisy’s parents forbid her go to New York and say goodbye to him. As a result, her heart was broken, because Gatsby was the great love of her life, so I think she’s still very sad, she hasn’t been able to get over it.

Although she loves Gatsby she marries Tom because he’s a rich man, but Tom does not respect her, he talks rudely to her and he even takes a mistress. The worst thing of all is that Daisy knows everything, but she does nothing. Perhaps she feels she can not, because she loves Tom’s money and the way he behaves, being careless and restless, like her. I think this makes her choose Tom instead of Gatsby.

To sum up, I do not find Daisy an endearing person, but she is not a crazy woman either. She’s just a rich, sad girl. (Llucía NI 2B)

Gatsby Essays: Hope you Like Them!

Our NI fourth year class finished the novel, The Great Gatsby recently and many students sent in some interesting essays on the historical and romantic significance of this classic story. We hope you enjoy the postings on this blog. Thanks to all the students who participated. If your work did not get published here, it was probably just an editorial decision based on space. Sorry!

Dismissing Daisy: Fermin Assesses Gatsby's Girl!

In our work on the novel, The Great Gatsby, we discussed whether Daisy was a “tragic, crazy person.” Fermin had his say and I must say it was quite convincing.

I think Daisy is a histrionic, childish and neurotic character and her life is marked by a childhood and youth devoid of economic problems, having whatever she likes. She enjoyed an easy life with her every whim granted as if by magic.

In the 1920s there were strict social classes and breaking these conventions was very difficult. A powerful bourgeoisie developed in the USA with great economic interests dating back to the Industrial Revolution.

Daisy lives outside normal reality and it is imposed on her, she escapes. She also is unable to assume any liability. She suffers with a certain schizophrenia. First, she falls in love with Gatsby but cannot face this situation. On the other hand, she is married to another person because of family and social pressures. In this sense, she is a weak, neurotic depressive person unable to face any difficult situation. She lives in an unreal world in which she deceives herself.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bonbom, the Wonder Dog!

My daughter Mariana shared this tender, quirky movie with me. It comes from Patagonia. It is well worth borrowing from our local library if you cannot afford to buy it. In the film, the wonder dog is known as Bonbom, but his real name is Gregorio. Whatever you call him, he is a beautiful mutt! (mutt = perro chucho)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

SCHOOL: Terrible or Tremendous!?

This speaker makes some good point about education. He does it in a comical way but the ideas might inspire contemplation among students and teachers.
By the way, if you are afraid to be wrong and make mistakes, you are in trouble. We need to be creative and learn in our own way. We joke about diversity but it is so important to recognize that our differences are our strengths!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Pancakes vs Tortillas de Carnaval for Shrove Tuesday?

Thanks for this link! I love pancakes and these "tortillas de carnaval" are delicious with "cabello de angel" (pumpkin preserve) from Tejeda.

Cluck Old Hen

Here is an old favorite of mine to sing in the Carnival parade!

I had an old hen she had a wooden leg
Best old hen that ever laid an egg
Laid more eggs than any hen around the barn
Another drink of whiskey wouldn’t do me any harm

Cluck old hen cluck and sing
Aint seen an egg since way last spring
Cluck old hen cluck and squall,
Aint laid an egg since way last fall

My old hen’s a good old hen
She lays eggs for the railroad men
Sometimes a dozen sometimes two
Just enough for the whole damn crew

Cluck old hen, cluck in the lot
Next time you cackle you’ll cackle in the pot
Old hen she cackled, she cackled in the stable
Next time she cackled, she cackled on the table.

Cluck Old Hen

I had an old hen she had a wooden leg
Best old hen that ever laid an egg
Laid more eggs than any hen around the barn
Another drink of whiskey wouldn’t do me any harm

Cluck old hen, cluck and sing
You aint laid an egg since late last spring
Cluck old hen, cluck and squall
You aint laid an egg since late last fall

Gosh! Rafael is Famous!
(a link to the Canary newspaper Canarias7's social events page!)
Your teacher often hobnobs with famous Canary celebrities so this photo is not a surprise but it brought back fond memories of Ana Maria's warm hospitality at a recent dinner in honor of our fearless leader, Rafael. On behalf of all the guests, I want to thank Ana Maria and her family once again.

Improve your writing!

This link will help you improve your writing skills in English. It is designed and aimed at younger students but should be useful to all. Keep clicking and find you way. Have fun and keeping writing.