Month: September 2016

Resources I mentioned: Maths, Disability, History

friedan.jpgBook TV. In this video, Zinn speaks, a key thinker in the 20th century, but before that the reporter interviews people about the books they enjoyed that year (1998) and there is the presentation of a program(me) on a feminist classic by Betty Friedan (not intended by me!), a middle-class suburban feminist who made the point we didn’t have the language to speak about what was wrong!

PS: I’d like to tell you about something. In countries at war pacifists are considered people with no patriotism, no love for their people, and “therefore” public enemies. Ask Women in Black Belgrade, what they learned/learnt from the war in the Balkans in the 1990s. And being a pacifist is considered a great violence towards their Fatherland. Because in the USA patriotism is as strong as classism in Europe, or perhaps much greater, really! (It’s so extreme!) — and I don’t mean all the progressist people from the USA we know about in Europe but about the general trend, the public opinion so to put it — pacifists are seen as very bad people. (Yes, imagine the hippie movement and their peace work against Vietnam, that was exceptional and actually resulted in the putting into practice of Low Intensity Warfare, with Reagan on, in 1980.) And what about “reds”? Just remember the witch hunt. Just consider the US Congress has no leftwing parties in it. Being someone with leftwing ideas in the USA is being a suspect of the worst kind, for the general population. In the same way, not having religious beliefs in the USA equals being a suspect of being a bad person. (Ironical that freedom of religion would rule out the option of not having a religion.) Religion in the USA is intimately linked to Patriotism and War, for tradition says they are the chosen people. And that is why aliens in scifi movies always contact the US president! 🙂 Well, this is my view, as a US American-Spaniard who lives in Europe because I feel there is more freedom in many ways that matter to me.

Activities around Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s essay

Next Wednesday we’ll start the Ngozi Sessions!

On our blog C1 Materials is the post with all the info on this essay: click here if you don’t know how to get there.

First we’ll watch her TED Talk and you’ll take notes, possibly on pronunciation of things!

Then if time allows we’ll start reading her essay. But we could just listen to people re-telling what she said and giving their insight, or sharing their language notes.

Reading the book in class. We’ll need to finish reading it in the following lesson. Well, that’s the challenge! I hope everybody volunteers! Then your homework will be to collect UL and favo(u)rite passages (favs because of the contents or because of the language you learn, e.g. to improve your narratives).

For people interested, there are two stories by this author posted on our C1 Materials blog, I think. If you read them, you can tell us about them, or about what you felt and thought.

BOOKING for mons. Remember each and every lesson welcomes your “monologues” (3, 4 minute presentations) and that it’s all up to your iniciative. We are many, but don’t refrain from volunteering. Ideally, you could all talk about it in class (ask me for time for that) and then book dates so we know who’ll be speaking when so we can have the same amount of people each day.

The Ngozi Sessions will be followed by the Feminist Workshop I designed. You don’t need to print anything. I have copies in class for your perusal.

And I would love to get an October minisaga where you show  your feminist intelligence in development! This is a lifelong learning task!

Diary for Wed Sept 28

No links on this post

Today we had a wonderful lesson, in my view, and welcomed a new student, too. I liked it because I learned/learnt about you all and your work. And I reviewed your names! 😀

I explained how I exploit literature, stories, and showed people the new Page I created here to illustrate. Check out “Dishwashers”.

People split up in small groups to work on narrating their Weekly Learning work and plan for the rest of the week, following the idea of practicing balanced turn-taking. People spoke about their own stuff and some groups talked about topics, too.

Then small groups reported to plenary, in this way: each individual made a summary of what they shared. Different things came up and one of them was some resources. I’ll post the ones I mentioned in a separate message.

I took notes, and I consider today’s participation as the 3-4 min mon I mentioned on our lesson plans for Sept. & Oct. (I’m collecting info on the work you do, the materials you use, and on mistakes, for future posts or comments in class.)

I have to thank the group for having stayed 20 minutes more, so as to listen to the students who hadn’t had the chance to speak. It was very kind of you. ❤

Misc. We reviewed what minisagas are and why they’re good for you to write — but there’s nothing like DOING IT to understand! 🙂 ; communication strategies in speaking interactions, for real life and exams (why balanced turn-taking is necessary and achievable); the idea of using Lists of UL for different language functions (for making communication possible, lang. func. like inviting sb to speak / involving some silent person in the conversation). Last, I sort of sketched the connection there is between our methodology and training for real life and exams, too.

The homework we agreed to share (considering each person also selects their own work) is posted on the previous post (I have to edit it to add the activity on tenses).

Handouts. I gave out the Sept. 2016 B2 Reading Test. We’ll check it next Monday, and do the Listening Test in class. Please, time yourselves, and I’ll ask you what methodology you used to do each exercise. I recommend the skimming and scanning technique. (See C1RP)

So next Monday is the Diagnosis lesson, OK? And next Wednesday we’ll start with Chimamanda Ngozi. Read a separate post on this, I’ll post next.

Copies of the essay. Some people bought a copy in class. Others will get their own. A student asked if she could borrow it, so I’m considering donating a copy or two for classroom use. So don’t get stressed if you can’t find it. Anyway, please, consider buying works by feminists! ❤ We’re adorable creatures often subject to slander! And we have lots of amazing stories to tell and positive ideas to share! ❤

Next week I need to know… (Hmwk)

If with the info in class, your browsing of the C1 Resouce Pack, your readign of blog Pages & posts here, or from videos you know how to work with:

  • Weekly Learning Plans (and Reading logs)
  • Listening logs
  • Lists of UL
  • LoMs
  • Language Awareness notes
  • Writing File
  • Speaking File
  • (Learning Diary)
  • ClassroomNotes

Watch the videos I made to explain the SpF and the WrF.

Write a minisaga (examples in C1RP)

Do your B2 Reading Test for the diagnosis lesson next Monday – timing yourselves (check the C1RP)

Draft your Weekly LP for next week after looking at the copy I gave you on our Sept& Oct lessons. We need to check together how that’s changed and if we’re able to check / tick all the boxes.

Our Stories: Being Arrested & Singing the Muppet Show

Today I told a personal story. I didn’t mean to, but it just came out when Lorena mentioned Peggy, a star in the Muppet Show. I sang a bit of the tune “Lydia, the Tattooed Lady” Peggy used to sing in the show, and said — oops — that that was one of the songs we sang when we were arrested! 😀 It’s inaccurate. We sang this song once, in a very risky action! The song we USED TO sing while waiting to be processed was “I Will Survive”! 😀

Well, the story goes like this:

From 1989 to 1992 I was on and off at camp, meaning at Blue Gate, in Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp, in the west of London, at about half an hour by bus, if I remember correctly. We practiced nonviolent direct action (NVDA, ADNV in Spanish), wrote newsletters on a wheel under the rain, and got arrested for all kinds of actions, mainly trespassing but also blocking convoys so they couldn’t carry weapons on conventional roads and stuff. In England, you can defend yourself at court, so we would prepare our court cases by the fire, out in the open, and by going to the Newbury library, Newbury being a town near camp. I learned a lot about zillions of things. And enjoyed it, too!

Image result for metal ladders buildingI remember an action which was really scary because we climbed a building but going down was simply terrifying, so we asked the MODs (ministry of defence police) to bring a helicopter to take us back to earh! 😀 Or “Simon” (but we were far too high), the crane. Anyway, they wouldn’t. They decided to climb the steel ladder running along the wall and carry us on their shoulders! And we feared we could be dropped! So we were refusing to be carried down. So we sat on the floor, in a line, drawing a circle: each of us had her legs around the woman in front, as well as our arms, holding really tight. The MODs were trying to separate us, but didn’t manage to. And well, it was hours like this, so we sang all the whole repertoir of the Muppet Show, including Lydia, of course!

When I came back to Spain, I tried to create a webpage for all this at but failed. Women’s herstory is of no interest to “the general public”. And I suspect it’s always been so, which is to say, I believe a lot of adorable people have done amazingly good things for humanity, that the best things we have today come from this saga of anonymous people, and that we don’t know about it, or don’t care to find out because patriarchal culture tells us it’s not a good idea. Funny all the nonviolent strugge doesn’t ever make it to history and how people doing it are perceived as dangerous, as if war, corruption, discrimination, etc. were not violence because they are so natural. Nonviolence is natural too, and harms much less! (Here you have another topic to mull over and discuss!) So this is why the site is half-way through and it’s been so for over 15 years, I think (?) Anyway, here’s the link. If you have spare time, you can read. But do so in English! Actually, I didn’t manage to translate that much, anyway.

Diary for Mon Sept 26 – Everybody, please read! It’s got homework!

(no links on this post because it’s better if you learn to navigate, OK?)

Today four new students arrived, so we went through some points we had already dealt with last week.

I thanked students for having used the blog, and left track! ❤ It’s very encouraging! And it helps allow people to learn to overcome shyness and communicate!

I asked students to try & follow posts on the blog, as if the blog were their textbook, and comment in class whatever they like. We had two students speaking about the first story-telling video I posted.

And today we also made a mistake I hope we can avoid next time!: I didn’t check the Lesson Plan with you all, but I was confident you realized what it said, hahaha. And then you didn’t tell us all that we had to do something we didn’t do! — which was I had to give you a copy of the B2 Reading Test. No problem. No rush. Let’s not get stressed for nothing! 😀 I’ll give it to you next day, and you can do it over the weekend and we can check in class in a week’s time. Thanks, Germán, for letting me know, and next time, do interrupt! It’s OK. ❤

Still, the point has been raised for your consideration: you need to help me identify stuff in the lesson plan! 😀 OK? ❤ Particularly priorities. If you see I have handouts for you and I forget to give them out, remind me of that! 😀 ❤

We reviewed the checklist with stuff we need to be doing in September and October (first copy on Handouts), and I went through the list HANDOUTS here on the blog (which you all need to read) to review what you need to print and what I’ll bring to class. We also reviewed the language point on tenses (check out category: Language Awareness) and I was really happy to see people got the point I raised. I’d appreciate it if you could comment in class the other sentences I posted under Language Awareness here. And we reviewed books you need to think of (check out the blog called C1 Materials — there is a widget called Blogroll that includes this link) so as to make up your minds on what to read after October.

Everybody needs to get a copy of Ngozi’s book “We Should All Be Feminists” (check out the C1 Materials blog) for October. Keep me posted on when you have it, so I can see when we can start.

We listened to a few people telling us about things they’d done, had Soluma explaining prefixes (un-, dis-) — she’ll post about that (Soluna, give it the pre-title of “Language Awareness” and/or make sure you add this label in Categories, so we can find it in this way too. Thanks!)– and sorted out things on emails. Lorena told us about her feminist group, and I told her I’d love to buy one or two of their T-shirts, so we might get that chance at some point! She told us because of the cuts this group is out of money for their amazing field work.

Methodology. I introduced Lists of Useful Language, which need to be informed from what we read and listen to. I explained some how-to’s: learning to plan our weekly work: weeklly learning schedule, listening log and reading log, plus the ficha on key concepts in our everyday work. All of these fichas are here on the page: C1 Resource Pack, and of course in your pdf copies. Incidentally, in your pack you will also find examples of minisagas!!! So don’t bother looking for them on!

I asked students to watch the two videos here on the pages: Speaking File and Writing File.

We didn’t read out loud the post I intended to read out loud, which is the first I posted here for this course. Would any of you be kind and tell us what it says next day? Perhaps we can practice co-narration! 😀

Next day you can hand in your first minisaga. I hope you can write one a month. Find examples in your C1 Resource Pack. It’s a story in 50 exact words.

Next day I need to give you a B2 Reading Test, and if we manage to clarify the working concepts, we could do the Listening Test. They were given to B2’s this September, and are for your diagnosis. We’ll check them in class and you’ll tell me what result you got, OK? But it’s just diagnosis, not for evaluation.

Tutorías & emails

My face-to-face counseling time (Tutoría) is on Mondays and Tuesdays after our lesson together, but you need to book beforehand (for instance, today I have two students coming, so I can’t assist anyone else).

For booking, consider this: I’m meant to only check out my email account in the evening (i.e. a Sunday evening or Monday morning email to book for Monday evening won’t do), because when I get up, I have breakfast and go to work (now I’m having breakfast, see what I men?). I should never check out my email account at work at the weekend! 😀 Last, my hour for e-Tutoría (electronic replies) is Friday afternoon, so if you want me to reply fast, you should send your email on Thursday eve or Friday morn, or Friday lunchtime at the latest. Then you’ll make sure you are not waiting for days for a reply!

But yes, the truth is that I check out my email account more often and reply at all times. I’m just saying this because I’m hoping I’ll respect my working hours better this year! 😀 ❤

Have a lovely bilingual weekend!

15 people have alaready sent their email to get the draft copy of the C1 Resource Pack, and the invitation to join this blog as Authors (8 have already accepted), and statistics show — along with precious digs and comments — that you are using the blog! ❤

It’s all a great start. Consider this blog your textbook, too, or your corner pub/bar! 😀

PS: I’ll try to check my email account tomorrow in case somebody requests the C1 pack — as an exception, and just because I understand it would be convenient for you to have a look at the document before coming to class next week.

What You Won’t Do For Love

Two music videos. Today, as I was driving back home, this song was playing on the radio. It’s really old, I suppose. I used to love it! — dance it like a madwoman at the disco! 😀 So I looked for it on the net and found this version, which is cool! And it’s funny because you can notice her British accent. I’m also posting the original, I mean, the song sang by the composer who wrote it, so you can tell me, why did I notice the different accents? There’s a key word for that! 😀 Hope you enjoy them! ❤

Story-telling (video 1)

Amanda Duffy: A Picture of My Brain (12′)

Listen twice: once for the story, the second time, to focus on language. Then as you listen for a third time, takes notes on useful language and on ideas for a re-telling. You need to experience if in the second and third time you understood more, and tell me. Enjoy!

Language Awareness: prepositions (on the internet)

ON the internet / This is going ON my blog for sure!

We use “on” with stuff on screens. What’s on? (Qué echan -TV, movies/films, theater/theatre, concerts…)

AT + web address: but sometimes we use AT, as a pointer, deictic, pointing at a geographical spot in space! Check this out at You can also use ON, the regular preposition.

IN is possible, when you feel inside the website, blog, for instance because you enter as an author or administrator. Or when the place is huge and you spend time there, surfing its pages. But this is subjective.

The safest option is ON. And AT when giving the address.

Are you ON facebook? (So this is why, OK? It’s a screen)

Subjective: but then, when we meet up on facebook, hahaha, then we might say, “I’ll see you in facebook!” as in “I’ll see you in class next day”.

Are you ON email?

Language Awareness: Past Simple & Present Prefect

Sometimes people get these two tenses wrong.

The past simple is always used when the action happened in the past and it’s totally over! You know this, but sometimes you don’t realize, like the student who posted in our Diary for Sept 19.

The present perfect is for something that happened in the past but which is still “open” now.

EXERCISE. Then, there are cases where we can hear both tenses. Can you explain the context for any of these sentences? Why am I using the tense I use in each sentence? Remember that what we have in mind (visualize, feel) doesn’t always get worded!

  1. What did you say?
  2. What have you said (just now)?
  3. I have bought some apples
  4. I bought some apples
  5. I have bought this amazing pair of boots!
  6. I have just bought the tickets
  7. I just bought the tickets!
  8. What have you bought?
  9. What did you buy?
  10. Your mother called
  11. Your mum has called
  12. I found it!



Diary for Wed Sept 21 (edited)

Today we welcomed five new students, and two adorable reps from Siglo 21, the Students’ Association dropped by for a visit. Many students decided to join them, for 5 euros a year. ❤

We listened to the new students introducing themselves and then we started the round of people speaking about how they had been using their English since the last time we met. About four people spoke a bit. From their words we learned about copy shops, movies, TV series… And a few language points came up, which I’ll explain in two separate posts next. Except this: we spoke about the difference between Having an Accent and Mispronouncing. Check out the page above on this.

Next week I’ll start explaining the methodology you need to use to become independent and resourceful lifelong learners! And we’ll start listening to stories.

This week we need to finish with this (you at home now):

  • Listen to English every day and keep your Listening Log (download the template on the C1 Evaluation page here – Course info). Select an audio every now and then and listen to it several times, to listen-n-repeat and/or practice retelling, after jotting down useful language.
  • Bring questions on the handouts I gave out, or please tell me if you read them and if you’re OK or not!
  • Send me an email to get the C1 Resource Pack, and so that I can send you an invitation to join this blog as an Author. After that, accept the invitation and try digging and try to dig posts!, or post comments.
  • Browse this blog to get acquainted with it. If you watch the videos etc that counts for the listening log, too. Check out the C1 Resource Pack page here, have a look at the example of a Weekly Learning Plan, and think about your own. Next week I’ll explain.
  • Think of a story to tell us next week (everybody should speak, starting with people who haven’t spoken today) – it can be about a movie/film you watched, a book you read /red/, some news you heard, something you did, or a fictional story you want to share.
  • Follow this blog: I mean, try to read the posts. It’s like a textbook, OK?

Enjoy your use of English!

Lesson Diary for Mon Sept 19

Today we had our first lesson, and it was exciting. Everybody spoke a bit about themselves, and we tried to learn everybody’s names!

I gave some information on the School and this course, particularly the C1 page on TP and this blog. I presented about half of the points I have on a list we teachers were given, about the School, and mentioned a few things about our learning approach. Next day I’ll finish with all this.

Handouts. I gave out two. If you missed the lesson, please, check out the Page above and print the first two. You can read about the rest, and start printing some of the docs we’ll be using, too (script, workshop).

I asked students to send me an email to get the pdf file of the C1 Resource Pack we’ll be publishing in due time (soon). And explained I would send them an invitation so that they can become Authors in this blog. Next day they will tell us how it all went.

In every lesson you’ll have to tell us about how you used your English since we last met. So print out the listening log or diary to keep a record of your listening work (priority). This is always connected to re-telling (speaking). Think of a story you’d like to tell us, because we’re starting our work with story-telling (actual or fictional).

The other task I suggested is for you to get acquainted with the contents on this blog. Just browse all the sections, to know where you can find what. And then read bits of it this week. You can also browse the C1 Pack, so that when I start explaining methodology next week it’s easier for you to follow.

If you are an author now, post your hellos and first impressions here, if you like! And remember to dig the posts if they’re useful or you enjoyed them! 😉

Enjoy your use of English! ❤

PS: two people bought the book we’ll read in class in October, and one borrowed one of the books I have in class (two weeks) — this was jotted down in my classroom notebook so we don’t forget!

Creating an email account & posting your work

Students following the 2016-17 C1 Course at our EOI (non-compulsory public/state-run language school) need to be able to post on this blog, because you will have to post information for me to check and also to give you feedback (including “notas trimestrales”, term pass marks in Dec and March, which is just red tape since the only evaluation procedure that allows you to get a certificate happens in June). Create an EMAIL account JUST for this course, and  when you register on wordpress as a user, pick a username you’ll just use on this blog. Your username needs to be a name I know it’s you, a oneword thing preceded by your list number with two digits, e.g. 05mariaf, or 05mariafg (for list no. 5, María Fernández Gómez). Or if you don’t want to use your first name, 05tomillofg (with the initials of your family names so I remember who you are bc I tend to mix up numbers!)

Once you are ready, the minimum posting will be:  your Monthly LoM’s, your November and February Records of Work. I’m not including your monthly writing assignments because those need to be handwritten and handed in in class by a certain day, the deadline. More posting you could do is: post comments to my messages, post questions, post as an author of this blog (I can give you that role on the blog), to share your learning diary highlights or writing assignments (once I’ve checked them, you can type out the final copy for your Writing File and post here).

Option for bloggers: You can also create a blog here, just for this course. You need to think of a domain name (like mine here, c1coursebymf2016) and use the email and username you created for this course. Then I would link to you or something. You would use the blog and create at least these CATEGORY: Evaluation (for self-, co-, teacher’s assessment: your monthly LoM’s, the November and February Records of your work), Diary — and Writing for checked writing assignments you later type out, if you wish to share them to help other people learn.

PLEASE, SELECT ENGLISH in the language settings to do all this and for this course BECAUSE ONE OF THE POINTS IS THAT YOU improve your ENGLISH and vocabulary range (Technology, Blogging, emails, netiquette…).