Diary for Wed March 15 – OP & PUC wkshp

Today Lucía came with realia and an OP to tell us about an Irish celebration this Friday. Unfortunately, we had scheduled what comes next and I feel really bad about not having had her speak. Because Lucía is doing something you should all be doing this year, really! Lessons should be mostly about this kind of sharing. I know Orals and projects are meant to happen once or twice a year, but I’m more ambicious and I’ll continue trying to get students to share every day in class things like this, things they learn outside the classroom because they love English and use it to learn about the world. So I do hope, Lucía, that you can share the story with us next week. Tell me, how long would it be? I think we can probably fit it in. I’d like to tell you that from what you spoke, I did not find mistakes I found before. I think you’re improving your accuracy! which means that with the fluency you have, you could be consolidating your C1 level.

To our plans…

We had a wonderful OP by Encarni, Gema, Lorena, Sonia and Luz, on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by amazing story-teller Sherman Alexie, and illustrated by another genius, Ellen Forney, whose website I recommend! Encarni told us about the plot, Gema …, Lorena about the characters, Sonia shared some Useful Language, Luz compared this novel with two others the Alexie novel reminded her of, but which she liked much better.

All of them did really well in terms of contents. And I was really happy to see Luz speaking in public and not feeling threatened by this or the audience. This progress you have made is really positive!

I liked it that all of them offered some personal comment on the topics they spoke about. This is very much of this level. That people are able to posed topics, present information and offer their insight on that, or comment briefly, depending the kind of text they’re producing.

I loved Lorena’s outline on the characters (I hope you can send it in, or show me some day!) And Luz was very original in her approach: she compared the novel to two other books, offering also one of her fav quotes from each.

Sonia’s handout was outstanding work. I hope everyone one can read it out loud at home and learn from it. There are extra copies in class for people who missed the lesson today.

In terms of English, Sonia’s showed a very rich language range and great accuracy in her grammar. I was impressed by your vocabulary range. Your fluency was good too. Lorena also showed an advanced level of command over the language. Your spontaneity and fluency show you can actually speak English, so to put it, that it’s no effort. Although you made some mistakes you can continue identifying and working to overcome. Your improvement in terms of getting presents and pasts right in plots was apparent! (Remember I posted some help for that here? Encarni and Gema, please, use it to train a bit more on this). Encarni’s English was a consolidated B2 level, going for advanced, and I was impressed because the info I had on your English from some other writing you handed in was very different, if I remember correctly! Still, you had some mistakes under the level. And Gema, this exercise of yours was not as good as the previous (which was a consolidated B2 level going for advanced), right? Mistakes were frequent, in tenses for example, and the wording often came from literal translation, which is something you can fix with intensive listening to English to learn how natives word things, taking notes on UL and putting an end to all that translating (that’s one of the key reasons why we work with lists of Useful Language). I recommend you two to keep working on your English, more if you want to pass the exam in June, OK? Luz, you also need to work more on your English, if you want to pass in June, but if you don’t, just keep your work up, because I can see (and I hope you can see it too) that you are making progress and if you keep it up while enjoying it you might want to try September instead of taking the course again, but of course, it’s up to you. You’ll always be welcome! Your texts are more organized, the logical progression is better (in textual terms), but your grammar needs more true English coming in: do listening and retelling, and avoid translating from Spanish.

Here are some of the mistakes everybody needs to avoid (from different people in the group):

Confusing I think (creo) and I think so (creo que sí).

  • have for has and the other way round
  • haves ! becAmeS !
  • have to or had to?

a 14-year-old boy; not 14-yearS-old, because it’s a modifier, not the phrase: He is 14 years old, OK?

throughout the whole story (please, learn this wording), not during the whole history

  • She died, not She was dead (different meaning). Or perhaps you meant She was murdered (?) – Please, people with this kind of problem, pay attention to the passive.

Resources for becoming fluent and correct in the passive: I have a fantastic review I did for Intermedio, that might come in handy! It’s easy, just listen and repeat to automatize accurate production while you visualize the grammar! Episode 1 More here – it’s 6 episodes including modals in the past)

  • Forgetting the “s” in third person: his grandma passes /pasIs/, he realizes /rí-a-lai-sIs/
  • Forgetting the “a”: he was a teenager, he was a racist (like, I am a teacher, she is a vegetarian, he is an anarchist, she is a Christian, Are you a Leo?)

Interesting structures

  • He was not expected to survive surgery
  • We learn about life on a rez / We learn about what life is like on a reservation (not We realize that Indian lifestyle (?), We see that Indian lifestyle)
  • They were supposed to have had a fight over (not: People is supposed)
  • They understand that AS he WANTING to be white
  • a friend of the family‘s (double mark)
  • It is from that point on…
  • His grandma gave him good pieces of advice
  • His grandma gave him good advice
  • What I told you ABOUT before
  • a system intended to kill
  • he wanted to better (v) his life / to make his life better (too)
  • Ah, Sonia: not “nevertheless” but “in contrast” in one of the sentences you said.

How do you say:

  • Ay, ¿cómo se llamaba?
  • Para controlar este problema…

Well, it’s 3 in the morning, I really need to stop now! That’s why it hurt me so much to read that a 40% thought I could prepare my lessons better: I spend 2, 3 hours before work, then work, then come back and work till 3! It’s crazy. I really need to find a way of having a life! 😀

We also started the PUC workshops.

Homework. This month, reading and listening at home, and of course, repeating or retelling exercises to complement.


  1. Hey not problem at all! Of course I will be glad to talk next week about Ireland and St Patrick’s day and also to make a raffle with the Irish hat 🍀🍀. Hope everybody enjoy my talk and also we could sing Molly Malone song that is very Irish 🇮🇪 . About how long ummm well suppose 15 mints? Have a great weekend!!


  2. I´m not going to repeat this course again, If I failed some parts in June, I´ll do it again in September, but I´m not interested in repeating here in case I fail something…


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