Reading & Listening Exercises

Diary for May 15, International CO Day! (nothing to do, though!)

Today it felt really good to have some time to get a feel of your psychological emotional state in the face of the end of course and exam month. Thanks! I’m so happy the Lorena-alarm was not our Lorena! ❤ Phew! My mind was blown to pieces! I couldn’t understand a thing! This comes from students not informing of their level or group! So now I’ll try to solve the other crisis! My adorable other Lorena must be wondering who Soluna is! 😀

We reviewed what June 8 will be like, and I could see the group is offering mutual support, so I hope everybody can feel confident on what is to come and on our performance! I reminded students of some key things they should bear in mind while doing the Reading, Listening and Writing test. We can talk some about this as you find your questions and also your suggestions.

So we couldn’t do Functional Translation and unfortunately Soluna left and I hadn’t realized, so we had to move her and Lorena’s performance to some other day.

I was very happy to learn that you had all considered coming to our dinner party. Now I can tell teachers C1’s did consider, but decided not to join us because it was a bit too dear! See? I suppose it was a coincidence but my Básicos are not coming either so it’s like I had not told my groups or something! 😀 Not that anything would happen to me, really. My colleagues are adorable! But because I’m so anti-socializing people could consider I had a role there! 😀 AnywayS!

We had a speaking test practice session with Luz and Germán and it was really good. I gave them a souvenir too.

I recommended EM-PHANATICALLY (lexical creativity) total exposure to the language from now on, diversifying the kinds of oral texts, and also some time every day to listen to my Useful Language episodes at the Talking People Podcast (another path is to go to TP – enter – Useful Language, where the transcripts are), so you can improve your fluency and accuracy, particularly for conversations!

I asked people to consider allowing me to videoshoot their performance, particularly the conversations, because we have no sample of that and it would be helpful for other students.

People booked for their performances, and also registered for the June oral. Unregistered people can also do this next Wednesday. Then, I hope I can give the Head of Studies the summonings on Friday, instead of waiting till next day.

I suspect the HoS will be publishing dates tomorrow. In any case, if your Written part is on Juen 8 (right?), the oral would be on the following Monday, but she needs to confirm this first, so this info is not official yet.

Plans for next day are: first oral practice (we have some people there) and then Functional Translation, but I’d also like to read the intro to the lexical creativity workshop so that the following week you can start creating words (Monday) in small groups. I’d also like to do Maria José’s listening activity, but I suppose that needs to move to next week now. I’m sorry! ❤

Finally, please, keep in touch with worries and joys, because I need that kind of communication to avoid worrying when I get panicky emails, OK?

We also talked about going out for a drink, Publicación de Notas y Revisión, and about next Friday, the climax of our celebrations around our 25th anniversary. I hope you can join us before the dinner party, at our School. There’ll be so many things going on! You can take part in any of them.

And help me with the lesson plans, because this month your needs are a priority.

Romina, here is the link to some examples of how I learn vocabulary when I read (the C1 Resource Pack has examples too).

From this page: https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/read-n-watch-prisons/This doc: Chapter 1 (Resource): How to work on the vocabulary of the first three chapters: OITNB_chapter 01 (4 pdf pages)

When I find some time, I’ll include that on this blog I created precisely for that kind of work: learning language from reading: https://languagelearningfromreading.wordpress.com/

I welcome contributions, for once you’re in outspace without a teacher! 😀

Last, some LANGUAGE IN THE NEWS, in case you are listening to the news, but don’t forget to listen to panels, interviews, on the radio:

https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/language-in-the-news-writing-essays/

(Edited) Diary for Wed May 3, C1 Pack Blues, homework & lesson plans

Today people kindly did a questionnaire on the Mediateque for the Head and because the two OPs were postponed, we also gave out some more Speaking Tests, and I explained how we will proceed in mid-May with registration for the Orals. I wonder if somebody knows whether the people not coming will be joining us in June, just for facilitating organization. But don’t worry because it’s OK if people come by surprise. It’s just to save copies and work out the orals (creating groups of three or not).

Then we did the June 2016 Listening test and I gave people the corresponding Reading and Writing Tests. (By the way, this Friday I’ll be in class from 4 to 8, so if people are interested in taking a listening test, you could come. Now, I’d have to look for stuff, or you could drop me a line with the info, cause I can’t remember what you wanted to do.) I thought people would want to evaluate their level, so I said they could do it timing themselves. For people more interested in using these tests for furthering their learning, I suggest the proceed like with the Speaking Tests you are preparing: have a look at the questions, read and listen on those topics, expand your vocabulary, review the theory on those kinds of writing tasks, gather ideas, knowledge, and then take the tests timing yourselves, too. Practice doing outlines too, and proofreading!, the before and after writing.

I forgot to ask you if you had passed this test, so please, let me know next day.

I also forgot to ask if anyone would like to donate 1€ and adopt a book! Incidentally, here is the brochure we’re presenting next Friday morning at the Education Fair (Expoeduca) in Málaga (Port 2, or something!) coed_diptico2017_conemail (4 A5 pages, to be printed in an A4 piece of paper so it looks like a leaflet, “díptico” in Spanish) It’s in Spanish because Coeducación uses this language to address the whole of our community and the general public. If you wish to translate it into English, that’ll be welcome! But first get in touch, because we could be changing the text, as I wrote this one for this ExpoEduca, a one-time thingy.

Last, I mentioned I was surprised by the fact that only 3 people in this course bought a copy of the C1 Resource Pack. I was told you had printed it. Well… I already knew, yes. You did so at the beginning of the course. Anyway, we’re in no economic trouble. So don’t worry.

For next week, we agreed our plans would be the following:

  • People bring their Functional Translation exercise and their transcription of the News Extracts, so that small groups can practice communicating for real purposes.
  • People bring their checked work to voice the “In class” notes I included, so we can review common mistakes to avoid.
  • We’ll have Romina’s and Sergio’s OP, if possible.

And on Wednesday…

  • we would work on morphology: using the Wordformation and Lexical Creativity workshop. Here is the page where you can download for free this amazing workshop: https://c1coursebymf.wordpress.com/creating-words/ Not as amazing as the work you’ll do in small groups. You’ll be surprised of how magical it is to create words together!
  • More on mistakes people made, if Gema and Encarni can make it to class, too. Or any other person’s, of course!
  • I would also like to watch an audiovisual, too, for subsequent discussion, and it could be something you suggested.

Homework:

  • Listen to radio program(me)s and use my podcast to improve your fluency and accuracy in useful language for speaking. I recommend the Communicative Strategies 1-3 episodes and generally speaking all the audios I have for advanced students.
  • Read the C1 Resource Pack, the cards on textual structure in dialogues and all of those on tests.
  • Consider the Writing File and whether you have questions on types of texts.
  • You should also read at some point the Guía PUC for students, the one they just published.

PS: on How to use the Oral Exam Assignment

When you get your Speaking Test card (Modelo ___ [un número], Candidata/o ___ [A, B, C]) the idea is that for a week you listen and read on the topic, to gather knowledge, useful language, and expand, thus, your knowledge…

Then, sit and prepare the mon one day, using an outline to complement your speaking test card (you can use both things in the actual exam), and practice speaking while timing yourself. Adjust ideas, wording. Make your range richer. DON’T WRITE DOWN YOUR MONOLOGUE PLEASE! You can only jot down Useful language, not the actual monologue.

For the dialogue, please, consider language functions. Check out my cards where that is explained. Check out my card on Structure in Dialogues, and use my podcast episodes on Communication Strategies too. To expand your knowledge, and train in speaking (being accurate and fluent).

Each speaking test lasts about 15 minutes: two mons + dial. So when you book, we can have 4 groups per lesson, and then a discussion or other activities for the second hour.

By the way, if someone wishes to buy the C1 Resource Pack remember to do so before you leave the School!

Downloadable pack here: https://www.facebook.com/c1resourcepack/

My podcast episodes that can help: Useful Language (Comm. Strats is 3 episodes and way at the back – older posts)

http://www.talkingpeople.net/tppodcast/category/usefullanguage/

In “Categories”, you also have the segment: Everyday Language at

and the segment Travel Phrasebook

At last! Wonderful Presentation on Orange Is the New Black & On Prisons and Learning

This presentation is a great example of what an advanced learner is capable of. I want to thank students who, like Marta and Isabel, have allowed us to record their work because it is truly precious for everybody’s learning! ❤

Although our speakers make some mistakes, it is obvious their relationship to the language is very natural, at the advanced level, too, that they are able to analyze their experience with it, in complex ways. I mean, apart from the interesting points they make, apart from bringing in their worlds to the analysis (this indicates they understood what they were reading beyond “the language problem”), they can explain it all, complex ideas, in a natural way, and when they can’t find the words, they manage to find a way to make their point anyway.*

Use this to learn to listen to yourselves as you speak, so you can fix the mistakes you make which you can actually fix! And enjoy! It’s very enjoyable!

  • (except with one word Isabel utters very quickly and probably makes up! 😀 😀 😛

I’d also like to invite you to listen to some writing by Angela Davis, one of the most brilliant and honest thinkers I have read, socially committed, too, because this philosopher is an expert in the prison system, and also an activist fighting it, to humanize our world.

  • Are Prisons Obsolete? – a collection of essays on the topic. Here is one of the essays
  • Chapter 1 of OITNB, which I recorded, in case you want to see how the memoir starts
  • Also, here is a page where I share my work on language when I read this work by Piper Kerman, and some resource material I created for a workshop on “Crime and Punishment”, one of the topics in C1 tests

Finally, I believe the topic should be called “Crime and Justice”, really, but this is the world we have: we think that if we don’t use violent words or behave violently that means we are not doing anything against violence — a very patriarchal piece of thinking, in my view! Fighting violence and crime is rooted in VALUES and when the values a certain culture chooses are violent, then it’s all about nurturing the same problem. The only “punishment” a prison should offer is privation of freedom, and only for certain crimes, crimes against people (not so much property — if people were not subject to poverty, the only criminals we would have in prison are those corrupt people who steal and never get to prison), not all the other humiliating and terrible things it involves. While preventing those criminals to harm other people, prisons would be places to learn good things, to learn. But then, here and now, many of us would want to go there because of unemployment! 😀

Anyway… I hope some year we can have this workshop in this course. The kind of education based on not seeking becoming independent and resourceful, and absentism* have terrible impact every year, because we cannot count on people’s initiative, work, participation and collaboration. Teamwork is always utopia and there’s like no hope because it’s so justified we don’t have the time to work with others.

*(I do wonder why people think that you can tell people in one course you signed for that you cannot join them because you have to attend another course. I know I get to learn about this reason for them not coming to class only from people who appreciate me and respect my work, but it always hurts to see how anything is more important than learning in a course you wanted to do, right? I mean, if you have enrolled in a course, and don’t find time to follow it, why would you find time to follow another course? It’s funny how we find the most positive things for our learning, the least interesting to pursue, really. It’s like when we learn without suffering: people truly believe in practice that they learn more when they suffer in the process. Well, excuse my sharing this insight. Feel free to disagree! It could bring us hope! 😀

Today and Plans for Monday

Today lots of people came!! And people had done their homework, so it was great. They were able to work in small groups on the gapped tenses exercise and then we had a plenary to doublecheck and answer questions. Keep working on the articles that follow, doing the exercises I suggest, and bring them to class. Use them for retelling, too!

We developed our language awareness on tenses, and modals.

Then we did the B2 listening ex. and discussed some language questions. And left the C1 exercise for next week.

We spent the last minutes talking about telling lies, lying. And Emilia told us a great story on this. And Cristina gave us a key idea about not being able to lie and social skills! I suggested people think (subjunctive, a remain, typical in US English) / people should think (UK) about the issue and put together a 3-min OP, to share in class next week.

Plans for Monday:

  • Small groups will share their transcriptions of the news extracts. Then we’ll have a plenary to answer questions and comment the activity. Was it useful?
  • People should bring their Writing File (all the writing they did, with their work before writing, on type of text and useful language). The idea is that in small groups or at plenary we review the list of writing assignments here, to make sure you know what to keep in mind if you have to write them.
  • We should also review your Writing Test, and it’d be good if you all brought your list of mistakes and notes on how to improve your language range, to keep in mind when you brainstorm on language you can use in a particular assignment.

More things to do next week if you like:

  • Designing Exams. Marta has been looking for materials and wondered if other people had. If anyone wants to take part in this project, please, feel free to discuss it in your whatsapp group, if you like, and present a proposal in class. I can also organize in class with you all. Or just design whatever with Marta! 😀
  • Telling the teacher who is your partner for the Speaking Test Project. We can do this as I call your names when checking the roll.
  • Doing the C1 listening exercise on friendship
  • Checking the gapped text for the Pets listening activity?
  • Listening to people telling stories in the past
  • Listening to people speaking about lies and lying or holding a conversation on this
  • Checking the Functional Translation exercise

UPCOMING VIDEO: I’m still fighting to upload the video on Marta and Isabel’s OP on Orange Is the New Black. You see, I had to empty my computer, clean it, install everything again, and the programs changed, and I’ve been spending a great deal of time on this, not managing to find my way yet! But I will!

DEADLINES. The Writing contest deadline is next Friday. Sergio needs to know which is the word limit, because it didn’t say on the paper I stuck on the door!

BOOKS. Today I got amazing books I bought, and if you want to read more, I’ve got proposals. I cannot donate these last ones to our school because I’ve already donated 300 euros! (12 books). Help me get this money back by taking part in next week’s activities in support of the feminist library we’re putting together. Your contribution could be 1 euro for a book you “adopt”, and your signature in our book on who adopted which book! I’ll post on this next Friday.

Work in class tomorrow – Exam Training Work + Language Awareness

In case you can print the first 4 pages. Don’t look at the two last ones!

I prepared this language awareness workshop to review the use of tenses for your speaking and writing work and so you can be aware of the mistakes you make and overcome them (remember this needs oral drilling and finding examples in use, sentences, we can repeat out loud, because theory is not enough, you need to automatize accurate production and that’s why we work with lists of useful language too). I hope it’s useful.

We’ll read it out loud at plenary and you’ll discuss the examples and do the language awareness work in small groups, so you can also practice real communication for learning purposes.

C1spring_tenses01_reading (6 word pages)

If people have prepared oral work, they’re welcome to share it in class.

I’ll also bring your Writing Assignments, but my priority is we review these questions before handing them back to you. Then, we we move on to analyzing this work, we’ll continue reviewing language questions you need to master. But tenses comes first.

Diary for April 5 – lots of training!

Then I read out people’s marks for the term. Well, this symbolic thing we do. Without having no one in mind, my guess is that most people will pass, but some might need June and September. In any case, don’t forget to be positive about learning and your learning this year: if you don’t have enough time for your English, don’t evaluate your results as if you had had, OK? It just spoils all the fun! 🙂 ❤ (your relationship to English and to learning). Our guiding star is learning English at the advanced level, not passing exams, right? Becoming competent lifelong learners who love using their English! ❤

  • Today we checked the Ciclo Superior Reading Test 2006 and results were good!

Then I gave out two handouts with exercises:

  • Listening “News Extracts” – we did it and the homework is you try to get the transcription of at least one news item. The audio is here.
  • On the back you have two language exercises. Functional Translation and narratives in the past, I think.
  • Listening. Profiency gapped listening exercise. Richard Burton (list of some of the languages he spoke). We did this one. And I forgot to finish jotting down all the marks, I think!
  • On the back there are two exercises: an FCE (B2) exercise and a Proficiency (C1) exercise, which we will do after the spring hols!

There are spare copies in class, in case any of you wants to drop by to get them: tomorrow I’m there all afternoon, from 4.30 to 9.45 (you can just walk in and take them from the bulletin board) and on Friday plans changed so I’ll be in class from 16.00 to 20.00 checking your writing tests. My ambition is to start and finish (I just read them all) + take notes for language questions. Wish me the best! (The group that wanted to take the missed listening test will have to come on April 28 I think, because after the hols our teachers’ meeting has been moved to the previous Friday.)

If you want to pick up some common vocabulary in the news, check out this BBC website, Words in the News (some are articles, others audio or video)

Listening work – what I say on the TP website

A pacifist Belgian friend of mine (some of you listened to the story I wrote about her and me meeting one day in Madrid, “Dishwashers”) just send me news of a new antiwar network, World Beyond War, have a look at this: debunking myths justifying wars.

I’ll post more tomorrow or on Friday, so you get more ideas about working on your English. I hope you do find the time to do so, while enjoying it, of course!

Nightie night!

Designing Exams – A teamwork project

Today I presented this new workshop. The class will split up in two groups. Each group will design a minimum of 1 Reading or Listening Task, chosing the format of one of the tasks in your C1 Test.

Everybody should listen to audios and read articles, and then pick one to bring to class on April 24th. Bring the transcript of the few selected audios and the paper copy of the articles, but also remember to keep at hand the links that people could use to check those items.

Groups will gather and after assessing what you have, we’ll have a plenary to make this decision:

Can each group design different tasks, so that we can get a final complete Reading Test and Listening Test? If both groups just want to do the multiple choice format, then it’s OK, but it’d be grand to have a complete test designed by you all.

You would be the first generation of C1’s here to design C1 Exams for future use by other students!

Why design tests?

  • Because walkin in your “enemy’s” shoes is a great source of information.
  • Because this is a great excuse to use your English more at home, because you really need to increase your time with English from now on.
  • Because teamwork is fun and its results are always amazing!
  • Because it’ll be fun to take the test the other half of the group gives you! 😀 Then you can tell me whose is harder: the ones we give or the ones your classmates design!! 😀

To end this first session, groups will decide among of all their materials, agreeing to work on one audio and written text, and what to bring for the second session.

Post your info on team members and your questions here, please. I’ll make it a sticky post!

Lesson Plans for Monday

Dear all,

Just confirm that, yes, I won’t be able to bring your evaluated work + my collection of mistakes you all made for the Monday lesson. I’m doubtful I’ll manage to have it all ready for Wednesday, actually, so it’s likely we hold this Writing Test Workshop after the spring hol, after all!

So — what’s still on is:

Everybody speaks about a piece of news (or analysis) they read or listened to, to practice retelling and also interactions, if we are lucky and people have questions, comments or start up conversations on that news item.

After this, which will take up at least an hour, I suppose, probably more, we’ll do one of the listening tests I designed.

Then on Wednesday we’ll continue with past official exams given here or in other communities.

Remember to listen to English, work on your list of mistakes, your lists of useful language, your writing file, your speaking file, any of the wonderful how-to’s we have to use our English for conscious learning too!

Have a lovely bilingual weekend! ❤

Follow-up on Hidden Figures & news on upcoming podcast episodes & videos

I’m posting my personal notes on the reading activity we did in class, which included spotting participle clauses. As you probably know, some people posted here their answers and I gave them feedback. Feel free to continue doing so with any pending work we have, or any work you do on your own. (I hope to hear about this last point on Monday, anyway.)

I’m also creating a podcast episode with conversations on movies, about this movie — examples for levels Básico, Intermedio, Avanzado and C1!

And I’m trying to upload the one-hour video on Iceland! But I’m having lots of technical problems! It took me that long because I had to empty my computer and install everything again, and the iMovie interface changed, so I spent zillions of hours trying to finish editing this video. Now it’s so heavy it’s taking ages to upload. But that’s life! We’re lucky to be able to do this kind of thing! ❤

Education: Raising children & overcoming patriarchal ideology

Ngozi has a new essay out. If you are interested, here is an 8 minute radio program (with transcript, in case you decided to take parts of it down as a dictarion)

How Do You Raise A Feminist Daughter? Chimamanda Adichie Has 15 Suggestions

Dutch Election / Election in the Netherlands

Why the Dutch Election Matters (radio program, 28 minutes, with a panel of experts who discussed issues before knowing the results)

You could exchange views here! Post your thoughts, if you like.

Reading & Audio Materials to work on

On the C1 Materials blog I have been posting interesting stuff throughout the year, in case you wanted to use it. I’ll repost a few of those materials, but let me know suggest some other reading and listening work.

This article is interesting because it’s about someone getting awards of late, and connects politics (the dramatic situation of democratic people in the USA today, with Trump’s election), to the role of art (critical thinking, solidarity) and gender issues (women’s status in society), the media /mi-die/ and TV series. It’s far too short, just 300 words, but there is a link to a long interview with the writer. Link: Margaret Atwood Cautions America “Against Dictators of Any Kind”. Notice that titles in English capitalize all the letters except articles and prepositions. This title, however, could also be considered a quote from the text, but as you will see the Huff Post treats it as a title. (Gather UL with “as” and “like”, for the April Language Workshops! ❤ )

Here is a radio program/programme you can listen to. Don’t read the transcript, if possible! It’s about a 2007 book she got published then, which people are talking about today. 5 mins. Take it down as a dictation! ❤

Last, here is a 2-page Reading Comprehension activity I prepared on Multiculturalism. I can post the answers when you are done, just let me know. We can also read it aloud in class, so we are sure you know how to pronounce all the words, and check it, of course! Enjoy!

This video is about something Coral talked about when she mentioned the role of the media in this bombing on what men and women are, the patriarchal stereotypes — and links to multiculturalism. Have a look


Politics

In case you want to be able to explain something about Brexit, here are some Questions and Answers (reading)

Remember what our Scottish speaker said about it? Watch her video, if you haven’t. And get used to the Scottish accent!

Read Brexit causes more stress to young, well-educated Scottish women. Brexit caused more stress to women, young people, better educated people, Scots and Londoners, according to The Physiological Society.

I certainly feel the UK have made a terrible mistake… But this is what you get when you mistrust progressist people and think conservatives are safer. Truly irrational.

Read How might Brexit affect the touring industry?

Audio: Scottish independence after Brexit (8 min)

If you prepare a 3-4 min OP on any of this, let me know, so we can find some time in class to do that! Enjoy!

Reminder! PUCs, 25th Anniversary Events & a Movie!

OMG! They’re showing The Fifth Element, one of fav movies! 😀 ❤ Have you seen it? Remember the scene when she starts learning about war on this planet?

Well, I hope what I posted announcing our exam practice encourages you to do tons of listening to things and gathering useful language!

I also hope you can make it to our amazing talk on love next Monday!

Enjoy your English! ❤

Lesson Plans – PUC Workshops: Round 1!

You can also use the C1 Resource Pack, the PUC cards, to check this information.

Reading and Listening Tests: June 2015

  • Listening Test: 60 min. On therapies (health) and on a referendum (politics)
  • Reading Test: 75 min. A film/movie review (politics) and on a festival

Writing Test: September 2015

  • Writing Tests: 120 min. An online request form and an argumentative essay

Lesson Plans

On Wednesday, March 15:

  • OP on The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  • Listening Test.
  • Teachers reads out the answers and people share their results. But I have a request for this day: We need people to be very punctual, so we can do this, and even comment on techniques and strategies people used. If there were no time for this, we would have to do it some other day…

On Monday, March 20:

  • Reading Test
  • Small Groups work on their answers and discuss the texts
  • Teacher reads out the answers & Sts share their results
  • Questions and Comments on language and techniques & strategies people used

On Wednesday, March 22:

  • Writing Test
  • Teacher gives out the Evaluation Sheets and students exchange exams, for peer correction (you’ll find the Eval Sheet in La Guía, in case you want to get acquainted with its concepts)
    • On Monday March 27 students hand in their checked tests to teacher so she can evaluate everybody’s exam. Please, read this in Proyecto Educativo (page 30, ACLARACIONES SOBRE LOS DIFERENTES TIPOS DE EVALUACIÓN – particularly page 31 “Evaluación de la Prueba Unificada de Certificación y la Evaluación en Clase”), so you understand evaluating your writings is not checking them as I do during the course.

Pending (please, let us all think about this, too) When you take the Writing Test, we should rearrange the info on the Writing File here. I would like to do that in class with you all. You can start posting your preferences once you take the writing test.

March 27 & 29: we’ll take another listening and reading test, following the same lesson routine. I’ll announce it like I just did.

Radio interviews: TreTalk “podcast”

In case you want to listen to radio interviews.

Remember I suggest reading and listening materials at C1 Materials, so you are free to pick the topics you are more interested in, supposing you don’t have time to do all the listening and reading I do to prepare lessons for this course!

Feedback Jan Writing Assig.: Descriptive Texts (Reviews, Travel Guides, Articles)

Based on work done by Marina, Dessi, Clara, Marta, Lucía, Lorena, Sergio, Karen, Gema, Encarni, Germán.

Out of a lack of time, I’ll focus in mistakes, OK? So please, read this with a constructive spirit! 🙂 Use what you need, I mean. If it’s not about what you do, simply read it for consolidation. ❤

LoM-Methodological Approach to Tasks. Walking in the Readers’ Shoes

  • Some people are still not allowing the reader to get all the relevant factual information on the assignment at the beginning of the text: full name, date, group, task description including word number. I think this should change.
  • It’s hard to write down corrections when there is no space between lines or no margins. Please, keep this in mind. Teachers always complain about it, but it’s like women’s invisibilization as human beings in patriarchy, consistently, people forget! 😀 (I couldn’t stop myself from introducing a cross-curricular point with Education for Equality! 😀 )

Reviews: Writing Methology Affecting Structure

Some people chose /chous/ to write a review (using a brochure format or in regular writing), but – excuse me for saying this – I wondered if they had read /red/ about writing reviews AND if they had actually read /red/ a few reviews before setting down to write one. Or supposing they did, it seemed they had missed the point of Why We Do that — what we need to pay attention to.

So here the mistake I’m particularly critical of is that you might not be using the month to prepare Before Writing working sessions (see Writing File here: all the texts are announced from the beginning of the course and you are always welcome to ask; when I post about them it’s just to arrange the date for a deadline or when there are changes in the plans) for a particular kind of text. This includes finding resources to write it well, and to use the assignment to learn MORE, to improve your structure and language range and accuracy. I suggest – if you know you did not do this – you review (bare infinitive for subjunctive with “suggest”) my video on How to work on your Monthly Writing Assignments. What I teach there will allow you to learn on your own once you stop having a teacher.

So — When you do research, consider my notes, I always post them when you ask, or old textbooks, or reliable websites, and consider jotting down things on structure (ingredientes for an outline in good order) and language items, and then put it into practice, I can give you the feedback of whether that worked or didn’t, apart from correcting the grammar and so on.

What’s a Descriptive Text, e.g. a Review? (Consolidation)

A review is a descriptive text that includes a recommendation. When we start it off, we have descriptive info for the title (e.g., the title of the work (obra) or place) and then basic factual information about it (no “Introduction” heading because it’s really shor and it’s obvious from the text).

Then comes the plot (for books and movies) in the present tense, to make the telling more vivid, or the description of the place (e.g., if it’s a restaurant, an exhibition).

Next comes an analysis of your own, that does not need to have expressions like “I like”. It needs rich descriptive language. I’ll develop this below.

Finally, a recommendation, including the closing line, of course (something that sounds like the ending of the article if it’s an article).

Articles and Novels include descriptive texts (descriptions of people, objects, places), not only narratives (actions), so training in this kind of texts allows you to improve a great deal of other kinds of texts! ❤

More on Language Range for Descriptions

Reviews/Travel Guides/Brochures…, articles including descriptions, mostly need lots of rich vocabulary and expressions for descriptions, so we really need to find different kinds of modifiers, as I mentioned:

  • adjectives like “it is enticing” or “uninteresting”, “dull” or “reliable”; adjectives modified by some other word: “somewhat tedious” “extraordinarily fast-paced” or noun phrases like “her parents’ home”, “a fast-paced thriller/narrative/evolution” which can also include prepositional phrases like “the woman in red” in “the times before the draught”…
  • relative clauses with or without ending prepositions, like “[didn’t expect] the girl WHO would be waiting for her”, “[had found dead] the person they were talking to”
  • present (-ing) or past particles clauses, particularly good for merging two simple sentences together and showing you understand transitions, like “Ushered into the L.M.A. Laboratory in 1935 to shoulder the burden of number cruchngin, they acted…” or “Growing up in H., V., in the 19702, Shetterly lived” from Luz’s homework on The True Story of Hidden Figures). Another example, consider this: “Pay It Forward was written by C.R.H. who is an American novelist with notable success. Her novels have won many awards and some have been bestsellers. / Pay It Forward was published in 1999 and is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea.” How can we improve this text?. Can you please post how you would improve it here? For instance, can we avoid starting the two paragrahps with the exact same structure/words: “PIF was…”? (Answer this one, OK?) Then, can we merge things?: “PIF (it’s good for the opening line to clearly state the topic of the text, yes!), written by CRH, an American novelist…, is the extraordinary story of a perfect idea”. Can you see what I did? What do you think? Can you come up with your own improvement?

Noticing collocations in reviews is really useful (collecting this kind of Useful Language), but for this we need to read quite a few reviews, to see which are typical collocations, like “breathtaking scenery”, “soaring mountains”, “outstanding performance”).

In the part where you analyze the work (and this part in the review is similar to reasoned opinions, or argumentative texts, of course, the difference is reviews use lots of modifiers, i.e., descriptive language), instead of saying you like this or that, in that way, you could explain reasons for using certain words to express you like/dislike the subject matter, to explain how interesting / funny / unsettling something was. Let me illustrate, as a follow-up on my point above: in the analysis in our review we usually point out what we liked and didn’t, but we’re advanced students and saying “I liked this because of that” is rather simply worded. If you read reviews, noticing language and its meaning, you’ll probably improve a great deal in this: instead of saying “I really like the actors. They were great” you would probably look for more sophisticated wording, “Most performances in this intriguing movie were outstanding”. Am I not saying that I liked it? But here my language range is richer.


Titles: all words are capitalized except prepositions and articles: Pay It Forward, Orange Is the New Black, Hidden Figures, Visiting Fuengirola, the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel…

Reference & Paragraphing: watch your use of pronouns, particularly at the beginning of paragraphs (something to avoid, because a paragraph needs to state the topic explicitly — it’s called the topic sentence, which can come first or second but needs to be at the very beginning), sometimes the referece is confusing, unclear, or simply wrong.


About Writing Articles

As I explained we have two kinds of articles:

Informative articles, like Travel Guides (descriptive articles) require HEADINGS, so if you are going to write about Fuengirola, for instance, for tourists, you need to visually sort out your topics by using a heading. This is better than bulleting. Just notice articles in magazines, OK? Bulleting is used for listings, not for sorting out topic sections.

Balance in topic presentation is key. You cannot write about Bioparc for more than 2/3 of the text and then mention some other topic, briefly. You have been writing minisagas and 100-word reasoned opinions to train in managing to fit things to a specific number of words.


I’m running out of time, and I’ve still got the LANGUAGE POINTS to go. But I want to give you your work back today, so I might have to ask you all to please prepare your LoM for after the holiday and please share your language points in class, for everybody to learn from them. Is it on? (That’d be C-Day, Composition Day, OK?)

Diary for Mon Jan 20 & Some activities!

Today we did some rearrangin’! 😀

I explained why I’d rather keep your checked work today — because I’d like to post some comments for your LoM’s, based on my corrections.

I announced an item to include in your work next week. I’ll post about it.

Then Germán finished his part of the OP, which included comparing the movie version to the original novel and questions on how to say things, whose answers were in the handout he had given out with useful language from the High Fidely novel.

We moved the Marigold OP to next Wednesday, and its members said I could bring my video camera, in case they eventually decided I was allowed to publish their work! Next day we’ll also have another amazing OP: one by Marta and Isabel, on Orange is the New Black.

Next we did a listening activity, took a dictation down. I’ll paste my notes for this and the key for Lorena and anyone who might have missed our listening activity on Mars:

Key to News on Mars: MARS. 1C, 2A, 3B, 4A, 5A, 6C, 7A

DICTATIONS

Students Seek To Recreate Ancient Beer Recipe Discovered In Pottery Vessels (1’49”)

Read the summary of this piece of news (about 30 words)

Archaeologists discovered a 5,000-year-old beer recipe by studying the residue of pottery vessels found in an excavated site in northeast China. Now Stanford University students are recreating the recipe.

Now listen to the news once, and then take it down as a dictation until “femented punch” (50 seconds, about 140 words). Leave gaps when you are lost, so you can just fill the gap out/in in the next listening.

Audio: http://www.npr.org/2017/02/09/514365570/students-seek-to-recreate-ancient-beer-recipe-discovered-in-pottery-vessels

Use US American spelling, and jot down the words pronounced in US American English.

As I presented the Dictation I explained how I use self-dictations (or doing transcriptions) to improve my English, the guiding star being use the same material several times in various ways, for different purposes. Repetition will do the rest! (including using our mouths and ears!)

Some worksheets: A note on this: about containers, in case you’re interested, I have a reading activity:  packaging and foodsyoucaneatafter. I created these activities so students could learn to speak about supermarkets and related issues.

Then we had Romina and Sergio, courageous peacelings, taking the dictation down on the whiteboard, and as we checked their very few mistakes (if any), we reviewed some interesting language items that led me to decide we could use this text in class, like the structure “have + sb + DO sth” (cf. “make + sb + DO sth”).

We reviewed the communicative spelling method (I have a podcast episode on this, when I present the ABC and talk about family names in different countries).

There were 15 mins left, so we decided to play the Speak-for-1-exact-minute game! It was great! We had Karen speaking about laughter, Luz speaking about kitchens, Sergio speaking about “orange” and Lucía speaking about magic wands! (I hope I didn’t forget anyone! ❤ )

Diary for Mon Jan 13 & Tips on Reading & Listening

I was predicting people were not doing much listening of the news or to radio program(me)s, and because being good at taking listening and reading tests at the advanced level requires having listened and read quite a bit, on a diversity of topics, and in order to encourage you all to keep a listening diary, this is, to make sure you listen to some radio program or other a few times every week (hearing one or two several times is crucial on a weekly basis: you see, you need to KNOW that the second and third times you do understand more, or much more), I started designing exercises, so we wouldn’t use up the real C1 tests, which you will take in March.

Daily listening work: So please, I’m asking you to listen to the news and radio programs every day. Work out your weekly listening plan, you can fit in 3 mins here, 6 mins there. I suggest you use some of the materials I post, too. There are some on the C1 Materials blog, and on this blog, too. Here is a radio book review on “This Changes Everything” by Naomi Klein (7 min). Next week I’ll bring some more listening exercises, including a dictation and identifying the outline (topic structure) of another radio book review.

Speaking: We started off with some students talking about the movie we watched last week. It was great because they gave their opinion, mentioned some scenes, talked about the people in the movie, too. I paraphrased some sentences they said for practice on fluency and accuracy. And we talked a bit about a few related topics. Then…*

Reading: And then went on to do my Reading follow-up activity on Hidden Figures. We had a little gapped activity as a warm-up, too. Homework: And I asked students to identify the present and past participle clauses in the article for next Monday (and I’ll probably forget about it, in case you can kindly remind us of this!) c1reading_hiddenfigures (2 Word pages). I also gave out a wikipedia entry for the Civil Rights movement, for further reading. But I do recommend Rosa Parks autobio. She was not a feminist because that was not possible at the time, but she does realize things as a feminist, and in spite of all the terrible pressure for the invisibilization of sexism.

Listening: We did a listening activity I designed, on Mars. I was insecure, thought it might be far too easy, but fortunately it was not! that’s why I always say that if you survive this course you’ll find the exam easy or relatively easy, hahahah… It included practice on self-assessment. People did well: most marks were 4/7, then 3/7 I think, well, that’d be a pass mark, right? Of course, you should reach for the moon! listeningonmars (1 Word page)

Well, congratulations, dear students, for surviving another lesson! 😀 Keep your work up! ❤

And please, remember it’d be great if there were people in class by 7.10, when Elva arrives! We’ll have guests, perhaps, and when we are back alone, we’ll listen to Dolores and Germán! ❤


*The mini-disquisition (it could’ve been never-ending! 😀 ) ! I also shared a couple of ideas which I think are good to reflect upon by us all: one is that our affections and interests are conditioned by culture. We tend to think it’s all about our freedom, our Self, but culture — intentional, non-intentional — determines we develop a greater interest in what men do, and little interest towards what women do, particularly in the areas they have always been banned from. The other idea I shared was about invisibility, too: how we tend to only see violence and struggle in specific events and how we fail to see violence and struggle in other events. And here’s the fact, in my view: as violence and struggle are things HUMANS do every day, but culture determines the how’s, we don’t see conceptual violence (we’re improving, though, now many people understand that women or black people or poor people are not less intelligent, or the like; or that a ruler has no right to rape, and murder, and enslave people), the verbal violence (e.g., invisibilization, misperceptions too and how we word that, e.g., the left-handed people and everyone else, piropos that actually terrorize women when uttered by unknown men in the street, or by an aggressive boss), which everyone of us uses and has to bear. We mostly see and only are aware of physical violence, and don’t allow it in women (we fear them even more than men when they use it, as if they were evil, much worse than the men who use it), culturally speaking — incidentally, that might explain why they can be so good at verbal violence. We identify struggle with the “necessary” or “justified” use of violence, but fail to see how we use nonviolent struggle in our everyday lives, and of course, the great development women have given this kind of struggle precisely because they were banned from the use of physical violence. (And Hidden Figures offers some great examples, and I hope people who did not come to see the movie, finally go.) Finally, I posed the question we all crave for: how we contribute to making people’s lives better and we don’t actually know, or can’t see it most of the times. This relates to our culture of violence and self-destruction, I believe. But we are human, and we can do amazingly good things. I wish they were seen, appreciated, acknowledged by more people because this would generate relevant change for the better in human cultures (but see the resistance to acknowledge women’s humanity, to mention just the largest human group subject to such terrible concepts as that of Woman in patriarchal culture), but there are people who do so. And how we tend to even make up the harm we do, or our lacks. When I realized this, as a middle-aged woman, I decided to quit what I call the network of gossip, which is not only done by women, but by men too. But the price of this is you don’t have certain information which is good to have! (not the vicious opinion sharing but other kinds, like someone is ill or the like). Well, dear all, I’m sorry about all this rambling. My intention isn’t to convince you of anything because I don’t believe in that, at least not the way that is understood. I’m trying to communicate, mostly! See if my points are understood by other people, what you all think. As you know, I’m trying to write about all this (and I’ve finally got A Room of My Own!), but never find the time!

Diary for Mon Feb 6, Events & Feb Writing Assg.

Today we did lots of things! Elva can come any day, but Lorena would rather have her on Feb 13. Everybody wanted to go to the movies next Wednesday, and students will be meeting at the Miramar Movie Theater by seven. I’ll get there at 7.05 and if I’m not there then, Marta will leave the ticket for me at the ticket office.

Wed is the deadline for the January writing assignment, and people not coming to the cinema can leave it with Ana, the janitor.

Feb Assg in next post.

We re-arranged the Lesson Plans, deciding to leave the lesson on Rational Discussions, scheduled for next Wed., for further on, which means the lesson we scheduled for Monday is still on.

Some Reading Groups gave me their work for fellow students on their OP to check and prepare copies.

First we heard Part 1 & 2 of the Climate Change radio program(me), so sts could take notes for retelling. Then we did Part 3, as a fill-in-the-gap activity. We checked it and had some comments on language questions (register, useful language, cleft sentences for emphasis, ending prepositions). Next we checked the cloze test on Environmental Issues, too. Finally, people worked in pairs or groups of three to see what they had learned in terms of language and ideas to develop monologues on the topic. So now sts should try to find some time for an outline and speaking practice on a timed exercise, for a final version for their Speaking Files. You are all welcome to do this final exercise in class, or send it in for feedback.

Sts’ OPs: Germán spoke on Violence & Sports, and sts took notes. I gave some tips on Speaking Tests and topics of violence.

And mentioned that March would be about Exam Format Training.

Oral Presentations on the Reading Projects

Here is our latest info on Reading Groups and the dates they booked to present their work in class. More info on this project on our Reading Projects !! page above.

LIST OF WORKING GROUPS AND DATES THEY BOOKED FOR THEIR ORAL PRESENTATION

  • OP DATE FEB 15. Dolores and Germán will work on High Fidelity. There is a screenplay and a movie too.
  • OP DATE: FEB 20. Karen, Lucía and Sergio will work on the screenplay The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – the can also use the movie/film in their project.
  • OP DATE: FEB 22. Isabel and Marta will work on Orange Is the New Black. My work on this in case it helps in some way!
  • OP DATE: MARCH 6. Clara, Mª José (pending), Marina, Emilia, Dessi, Cristina B, Soluna (pending) will work on Pay It Forward. The movie is different in some ways to the novel, and can also be used in the project.
  • OP DATE: MARCH 15: Sonia, Gema, Encarni, Luz and Lorena with the Alexie Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. I have Smoke Signals, a related movie for this project and the screenplay in book format.

Diary for Mon Jan 30 – Guest Speaker from Scotland! & Lesson Plans for Feb 1

Today, after some confusion, we had a wonderful lesson. We managed to do Part II of the listening activity on climate change, and people had amazing results. Now your follow-up work should include listening again and retelling (click to hear). Please, do the cloze test at the end of the pack, in case we can fit it in some day. We’ll do Part III whenever we can, too. Does anybody remember how long it took us today to do Part II? Thanks.

Then Cristina R and Catherine, from Scotland, gave us the wonderful present of a talk in Scottish English! Scottish English is hard to understand JUST BECAUSE we hardly ever get the chance to hear it! So now we’ll be able to get used to it, because apart from today’s talk, Catherine allowed us to videoshoot. Our guest speaker told us about her country, her hometown, what it’s like, what university is like, too. And answered quite a lot of questions by students! She’s looking for a language exchange English-Spanish, so if you are interested or know of anybody who might be, I’ve got the contact info.

Next Wednesday we agreed to do this: Devote the first 45 or 60 mins to small groups checking the Collocations Worksheets (one at least). I’d like to ask you to share with your group which Useful Language you chose from that work. Remember that you need to say those sentences out loud to count on your ear and mouth memories too! Then, the rest of the lesson would be for Reading Projects. Please, don’t let your group members down! I posted here some of the questions I need answers too, so please read! ❤

The deadline for your January Writing is next Feb 8, but today some people already handed in their work. Next week you should ask me about the February assignment if you have questions.

REMINDERS

LoMs. Remember you should be good at knowing which your weak points are in terms of mistakes, so work on your LoM with feedback and corrections to oral and written work.

Listening to radio program(me)s. News and interviews. There are lots of podcasts you can download, to select one every now and then and listen to it again and again to improve your comprehension, fluency and accuracy. Now it’s the time, and until the end of course.

Weekly Learning Plans. Not to hand in, but to maximize your learning time! OK?

Today Dolores told me she had finished reading the C1 Resource Pack and that she found it helpful for her learning. She said she had arranged different groups of cards, to meet her needs. Thanks so much! Feedback on this is precious for me, so I can improve things, or at least know what’s most useful to students. I’d like to remind you all that the version which is now for a free download on TP (link above) is not the same as the one you have. And — I know I wrote it, but — I think you should buy the paper copy, because it’s only 12 euros and it’s a very special thing that might go out of print for lack of resources in public/state-run education! (There are only a hundred and something copies, and that’ll be sold in not that long!)

Finally, I’m getting orals people have been working on (retellings of Story of Stuff, Redesign My Brain…). Well done! I’ll reply with my feedback asap, and if you don’t hear from me, please, remind me of that. Video editing and preparing articles and listening exercises is taking up a great deal of my time these days!

Tips for your work. Overview of Lesson Plans by month

I’d like to ask people who make grammar mistakes (word order, morphology) or don’t listen enough to English, or who can’t follow this course well (= are not doing almost any of the activities they could be doing), to please use my podcast, or any podcast to practice Listen-n-Repeat with Useful Language.

Then, if you haven’t… Learn a poem by ear, practice retelling, re-using the audios we’ve already worked on, please! Repetition might be boring, but not if you focus on learning as many sentences as you can! So please, give it a try if you haven’t. Your English will improve a great deal in about a month.

Finally, one reason why we don’t use more classroom time for small groups is because whenever this is going to happen, people don’t seem to make it to class. Please, remember February 1 is for your Reading Projects, teamwork. On this day, you could also check one of the collocations handouts in teams, or we could do Part II of our listening activity on climate change.

The other reason why I ask you to speak at plenary individually is because if you do that in small groups, I can’t listen to you and give you feedback or at least know how you are doing. But if people are feeling they cannot speak in class because they’d rather do it in small groups, we can do that. No problem. Let’s do it!

On the second February week, we’ll be doing the same: small groups will check the second collocation worksheet and I HOPE YOU CAN ALL share in your small group the retelling of something you worked on with an audio, or a poem. Then we’ll finish the listening on climate change, and then people will train at home in the retelling of this radio programme.

If you need more classroom time for your Reading Project, please, ask! Don’t suffer in silence!

I’ll bring a reading exercise, too. Because in this part of the course, I’ll always be bringing reading and listening exercises for us to do in class. But this needs to be combined with YOUR SPEAKING AND TALKING ACTIVITIES. (Block letters for emphasis, not intended as shouting.) So please, let us know what you are ready to share in class.

Remember February includes your teamwork OPs. Next Feb 1 you need to work out when you’ll do your OP (last two weeks in Feb, but you can also book in March if you are not ready before that).

March will be Exam Format Training Month. (And pending OPs)

April: it depends on your needs. If there are not requests, I’ll come up with things. I’ve got tons of ideas! But I’d rather you suggested things or shared your work.

May will be Focus on Interactions, intensive practice in timed dialogues based on previous speaking tests.

Tutorías: please, book a counselling session if you are lost, feel down, or simply to talk to me.

Improving your vocabulary range (edited – adv)

Other ways to say… high frequency used words!

You may be finding them as you read your book/screenplay, so pay attention to jot down and repeat them in context as you find examples of their use! ❤

otherwaystosay_c1

A different model with a same intention!

http://www.instantdisplay.co.uk/shadessynonyms.pdf

(6 pdf pages)

I’m adding these collocated adverbs, so you also gather useful language like this for your Vocabulary section or in your collected sentences. Remember that an adverb is to the verb what the adjective is to the noun, so we say “I’m a good girl” (!) good modifies girl, a noun, but “I behave well”, well modifies behave, a verb. He cleans very well. I’m slow (I = slow). I eat slowly (eat = slowly).

adverbs-of-manner

Blog Updates & More on the gender identity project

A little post to let you know I just updated / I’ve just updated your Reading Projects!! page above.

Have a wonderful bilingual weekend! ❤

Oh, and I was thinking… about this Gender Worksheet… I’m creating a Gender Identity Blog and I was wondering, What if instead of me making a summary of all of your answers, I just ask you to write your own answer again for this public project? If you think that’s too cheeky on my part, I’ll go ahead and make the summaries, so no problem! OK? The questions would be the same: Why are you a man/woman? (and optional: Why are you human?)

In case you missed it, here is this exercise but suggested by Coeducación for all the groups in our School.

Diary for Wed Jan 11 – Reading Projects & Listening + Lesson Plans Next Week 1

Today we had an hour of work in small groups, on the reading projects. I forgot to collect (here “gather” is not an option, or at least I wouldn’t use it here) the group info from each group! But at least I updated group members on the page above called Reading Projects! We did agree on this: next February 1 we will hold the second session for Working Groups to finish up their OP. So on that date you should bring your contribution for the OP, to coordinate with the team. Then you will alll book a date for your OP and inform me about whether I can videoshoot someone or not.

Thanks, Karen, for your precious work contacting the three students we had questions for! ❤ And for the pics of the posters! I’ll be sending our Chimamanda Ngozi page and those pics as contributions for the multimedia magazine we’ll be publishing in the last months of the school year! Thanks to all, and if you wish to send something for this page, you can do so until Sunday this week.

Then we did our first listening in our Listening Techniques and Strategies workshop. I gave some tips, and people did well. There’s room for improvement, of course, but it was a good start. See this post if you don’t know what I’m talking about.

Because people will be wanting to practice retelling of what can be learned/learnt from this Part 1 of the radio program(me), I’m posting the link to the mp3 audio. If you know where that is, hahaha, please, remember: don’t listen to part 2 and part 3 because those will be listenings to do in class in upcoming lessons, whenever we want to fit them in, OK? (probably, next Wednesday, when we check the Redesign My Brain worksheet and discuss the documentary, as Monday will be for an OP on Corpora and watching the documentary).

Reading & Listening Kit on Climate Change

I just prepared / I’ve just prepared a kit, for 20 students, that includes a reading comprehension activity (of the kind Cloze Test) and a listening comprehension activity (fill-in-the-gap) in 3 parts (for three different lessons, starting tomorrow).

If you miss the lesson tomorrow, you could ask a classmate to get a paper copy for you. If we run out of copies, don’t worry: I’ll tell you where you can print it. I’ve also got the audios online, so if any of you misses a lesson, you would be able to do it at home, anyway.

I’d like to ask you not to do the listening activities I designed in previous years without checking with me first, in case I’m planning to use it in class, OK? 🙂 ❤

Watch your Story of Stuff documentary! It’s related. But now we’re moving on to Environmental Issues. Did you know that one of the most important causes of climate change is meat production? There’s a documentary on that somewhere! 😀

EXPLOITING MY R&L EXERCISES

As a business-as-usual kind of follow-up activity I’d like to remind you all taht we can use these activities, as well as all the audios we use, to train in different kinds of skills. I hope you can use my exercises to practice READING ALOUD AND RETELLING, so you can consolidate a good grammar, a good pronunciation, and learn about the topics we work on.