Traveling/Travelling. Passports

Every Passport Tells a Story, 6 minutos (practice retelling)

Perhaps this can inspire you to take part in the Writing Contest the Asociación Estudiantes Siglo XXI has organized (extended deadline – check out their blog or the many posters stuck everywhere in our School!) ❤

Trouble with the present & the past in narratives?

A strange exercise that can help (if you don’t get obsessed and just do it inaccurately!!): visualize/visualise colo(u)rs: red for the present, blue for the past, and listen to yourself while you use these colors when you use these tenses. Tell us what happened.

First exercise you can do:

One based on The Mentalist:

Here is another exercise you can do or adapt to your own texts (OP work at home: Lorena, I encourage you to prepare your OP on patriarchy for a recording for your Speaking File, and then you can send it to me for feedback): (Avanzado 2 in Madrid is 6th year and we learned/learnt at the C1 level, though they just certified a B2)

OPs: Learning to speak from Outlines

Germán shared with us his work on the assignment: Oral Book Review, on the Ngozi essay we read in class. It was timed, to fit the speaking exam format called “monologue”. As you can see in the photo of what he wrote on the whiteboard, he had an outline to speak from, which is a very valuable exercise I hope all students do regularly this year, so they can feel more confident in June, and so they learn a relevant skill for everyday life — how to speak in public from an outline.

As you can see, he started out with factual information on the essay and the author. In his intro to the book, he assessed the kind of reading it was and its value, and moved on to sustain these ideas by sharing with us the anecdotes and ideas the author shared, his highlights. He also paid attention to the language he learned/learnt. What’s missing on the whiteboard is the final recommendation, which he actually did, anyway.

A final outline could have been:

Book Review

  • author, title: factual info
  • intro: feminist approach, entertaining, own experience
  • body: analysis – highlights sustaining intro:
  • anecdotes + misconceptions – show value of feminist analysis (bulleted points possible within this point)
  • language highlights
  • Final comment + Recommendation

I also add key words to outline points, to remind me of the particular ideas I want to mention, e.g. misconceptions (feminists hate…)


Germán, remember to record your work, for your Speaking File, so you can review it later and remember/consolidate.

I hope this great example helps you all to undertake your work at home on monologues. Remember you can watch my video here on Speaking File, and Lucía’s upcoming video!

Proud to be old – About growing old

Today this topic came up, and I mentioned Leonora Carrington’s reply to some young people who told her — to flatter her — “You’re young at heart”. Check it out here, and if you like, listen to and read her short story The Debutante, which we can talk about in class — it’s an example of Surrealist literature.

I’m also attaching the chapter in the True Story I wrote this summer, where the little girl and the old woman speak about age. But that’s in Spanish, sorry!


23_1_serjovenservieja 23_2_serjovenservieja

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!