sábado, 25 de abril de 2015

Public Speaking: Stage Fright

Stage fright: a nervous feeling felt by someone who is going to appear in front of an audience

Since you are all doing the oral presentations and graduation speeches these days, here are some tips to overcome stage fright

Listening comprehension questions: click here

viernes, 24 de abril de 2015

Song of The Week: Laura´s & Raquel´s Choice: The Script´s "Superheroes"

The Script  is an Irish pop rock band.  Laura and Raquel want to share this video and song with you. This is their presentation: 

This song is called "Superheroes" and it is important to watch the video too because it is filmed in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it talks about the fighting spirit and the overcoming against adversity in these poor places. 

jueves, 23 de abril de 2015

Book Day 2015

Watch this video called "Weapons of Mass Instruction"


Weapons of Mass Instruction: A 1979 Ford Falcon Converted in a Tank Armored with 900 Free Books from Colossal on Vimeo.

This is a questionnaire about books published in "The Millions", a webblog about books, reading and the book industry. The questions presented here are designed with a goal: to have an interesting conversation about books. 

Find someone to ask / answer these questions but, be warned: if you talk about literature with someone for two hours, there’s a chance you’ll become a lot closer.

Part 1.

1. What was your favorite book as a child?
2. What’s the last really good book you read?
3. Do you prefer fiction or nonfiction? Why?
4. Do you finish every book that you start? If you don’t, how do you decide when to stop reading?
5. List your 10 favorite books in four minutes or less. Write it down because you’ll revisit it at the end.
6. Do you reread books? Which ones?
7. Do you read poetry? Why or why not?
8. Do you remember the first “grown-up” book you read?
9. Are there any authors whose work you have read completely?
10. How often do you read books that are more than 100 years old?
11. Is there a type (or types) of book you never read?
12. How do you choose what to read?

Part 2.

13. What’s more important to you: the way a book is written, or what the book is about?
14. What author, living or dead, would you most like to have dinner with?
15. If you could hang out with a literary character for the day, who would it be?
16. If you could be a literary character, who would it be?
17. Have you ever written a fan letter to an author?
18. Is there any book that, if I professed to love it, you would be turned off? Is there any book that would impress you in particular?
19. Is there a book you feel embarrassed about liking?
20. Are there books you feel proud of liking or having finished?
21. Have you ever lied about having read a book?
22. Do you keep track of the books you read?
23. How do you form opinions about what you read?
24. What authors do you think are overrated? Underrated?

Part 3.
25. Do you ever read self-help books?
26. What’s a book that shocked you?
27. If you could force every person you know to read one book, what would it be?
28. What book would you recommend to me in particular?
29. What books/authors have you been meaning to read for years? Why haven’t you read them yet?
30. What kind of book do you consider “a guilty pleasure?”
31. Has a book ever changed your mind about something?
32. If you were terminally ill, what book or books would you read?
33. Do you have any passages of poetry or prose committed to memory? Can you recite something to me?
34. If you could change anything about the way you read, what would it be?
35. Was there any time in your life when you felt as if a book guided you in a profound way?
36. Return to the list you made at the beginning. What titles, if any, would you change after our conversation?

miércoles, 22 de abril de 2015

martes, 21 de abril de 2015


I bet you know what this is, specially if you have a sweet tooth, but what do you know about this spice? 

Watch this video and learn something about it - apart from its name in English: cinnamon.

lunes, 20 de abril de 2015

Clothes Vocabulary

British vs. American ways of naming clothes and accessories.

Do you know what these are? 
  • a fanny pack / a bum bag 
  • pants / trousers
  • trainers / sneakers
  • fancy dress ( party) / costume (party)
  • swimming costume / bathing suit
  • jumper / sweater
  • suspenders / braces
  • tank top / vest
Watch the video and check if you were right


viernes, 17 de abril de 2015

Start the Weekend with a Smile

Watch this interview with Justin Yu, a child prodigy cello player, in Ellen DeGeneres TV show. He studies music at Joyous Music School 

Click on "CC" to get the subtitles:

Pay attention to his pose, gestures, manners... and enjoy the music!

miércoles, 15 de abril de 2015

Rita´s Suggestion: Amy Winehouse´s "Valerie"

This is one of the songs Rita recommended for the blog: Amy Winehouse´s Valerie

Thanks, Rita! 

martes, 14 de abril de 2015

The Benefits of Being Nice

Why should we be nice to others? Why should we be altruistic? Why should we volunteer? Can you think of any reasons why we should do that to benefit not others but ourselves? Stephen G. Post, a professor of preventive medicine the mental and physical benefits of being a nice person.

If you need the transcript to get the message, you can either click on the "CC" button or read the transcript below the video. Anyway, I would recommend you to just listen to the video at first as a listening comprehension exercise.



If you are living a generous other regarding altruistic life, if you are volunteering formally or just being helpful informally, are there benefits to that? And yes, our research has shown that the benefits are significant. So, for example, in one national survey Americans were asked if they volunteered in 2009. So this was a study that began in 2010 so it was looking back a year. Forty-one percent of Americans had volunteered an average of about 100 hours a year which is only two hours a week roughly. So not high thresholds. And then we asked well, did it make you feel physically healthier. Sixty-eight percent said yes. That's kind of like getting off carbs for a little bit and, you know, feeling more energized. Did it make you feel happier? Ninety-six percent -- yes. 

Did it make you feel less stressed? Seventy-seven percent -- yes. People developed deeper friendships, more meaningful relationships. They had a sense of gratification. They expressed greater resiliency when they experienced problems and tough times in life. So in my view if you could take those kinds of self-reported benefits and put them in a pill, market them at the drugstore, you'd be a billionaire overnight. But the thing is that you don't really have to do that because if people simply get in touch with that evolved aspect of their being, they tend to benefit from it. So I was asked to give a talk at a group of widows and widowers. There is an association on Long Island of widows and widowers and they wanted to know if the study's showing it really helps with getting through grief and bereavement if you're able to report informal helping activities in your environment. I gave a really nice talk and lo and behold, at the end in the Q and A there was a guy in the back and he looked at me and he said, I don't care what you say, buddy. I don't do nothin' for nothin'. 

And, you know, there is that mentality that somehow you have to get reciprocal gains for everything you do. It's all tit for tat. But if you look at the science there are lots of mental and physical benefits. We study AA a lot. We study the 12 steps which is where people in Alcoholics Anonymous help other alcoholics. We discovered that if you have the high quartile of helpers over that first year of sobriety, 40 percent of them stay sober for a whole year. If you have the low quartile of helpers only 22 percent stay sober. So high helping activity in AA where you're a greeter at the door or you're handing out literature or giving testimony or just meeting other people in the community who you think might need a little AA support or something like that or being a sponsor. That actually doubles the likelihood of your recovery within a one year period. There are a lot of studies like this now.

Young people, adolescents who are engaged in volunteering show lower risk for cardiovascular disease lifelong. They have lower cholesterol levels, lower stress levels, there are a whole lot of things I can talk about there. But in general it's good to be good and science says it's so. So I think that's been well established and a lot of people jumped on that bandwagon. We were probably the first ones to start working seriously on that or at least among the first. There were other groups but we funded a lot of research in that area, published a lot of important things and now, you know, it's pretty much the kind of story that you find in Parade Magazine. I call it give and glow or sometimes the giver's glow. O Magazine did their Christmas article cover piece on the giver's glow this past year. So it's caught on in the popular culture. But it's not a direct motivation. It's a side effect or a byproduct and I always like to emphasize that you're helping others because it's the good thing to do, you know, it's the golden rule and all of that. But as it turns out in general it's a very healthy way to go.

Optional homework assignment: 

Read this proverb and explain it in relation to the speech above - include a real example that explains its meaning

lunes, 13 de abril de 2015

Current News: Hillary Clinton for President

Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state, announced her second presidential campaign in this video - released online.

If you need the transcript to get the message, you can find it below the video.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting ready for a lot of things, a lot of things.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's spring, so we're starting to get the gardens ready and my tomatoes are legendary here in my own neighborhood.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My daughter is about to start kindergarten next year. And so we're moving, just so she can belong to a better school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE SPEAKING IN SPANISH WITH ENGLISH SUBTITLE: My brother and I are starting our first business.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After five years of raising my children, I am now going back to work.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Every day, we're trying to get more and more ready and more prepared.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A baby boy coming your way
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Right now, I'm applying for jobs. It's a look into what the real world will look like after college.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm getting married this summer to someone I really care about.
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I'm going to be in a play and I'm going to be in a fish costume. The little tiny fishes.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm getting ready to retire soon. Retirement means reinventing yourself in many ways.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, we've been doing a lot of home renovations.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But most importantly, we really just want to teach our dog to quit eating the trash.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And so we have high hopes for 2015, that that's going to happen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I've started a new career recently. This is a fifth-generation company, which means a lot to me. This country was founded on hard work and it really feels good to be a part of that.
HILLARY CLINTON: I'm getting ready to do something, too. I'm running for president. Americans have fought their way back from tough economic times, but the deck is still stacked in favor of those at the top.Everyday Americans need a champion and I want to be that champion. So you can do more than just get by, you can get ahead and stay ahead, because when families are strong, America is strong.So I'm hitting the road to earn your vote, because it's your time and I hope you'll join me on this journey.

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