Sunday, 20 December 2009


This post is dedicated to all the students who love classical music and to those who can appreciate beauty. Please read the following story and enjoy the videos:

'A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold January morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people would be going through the station, most of them on their way to work.
Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule.
A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk.
A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.
In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.
No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the finest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars. Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.
This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people.
The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?
One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be:
If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the finest musicians in the world playing the finest music ever written........How many other things are we missing?'

Watch the experiment at the metro station in Washington:

Simply enjoy the music:

Listen to the video and make a comment with the answers to the questions below:

1. Why is home so special for Joshua Bell?
2. What was his main priority when designing his current house?
3. What are the main differences between playing at a concert hall and playing at home?
4. Name some of the musicians he has worked with in his "At Home With Friends" album and his opinion about them.

Saturday, 19 December 2009


Now that 2009 is coming to its end, it's time to remember important events that took place along the year and since loads of you love rap we are going to do it in rap. Watch the video but don't forget to read the lyrics or you won't understand much.
Add a comment with at least two of the most important events mentioned in the song.

2009: The Year in Rap

Blake “Escher”:

When the ball dropped on 2009,
The economy was bad, I ain’t gonna be lying,
Unemployment was high and it started to climb,
Bush was our President for short of time,
On January 20th, the first black President,
Obama, stepped in like a veteran,
Beyonce sang “At Last” –
Then Etta James said that she would whup her fast,
So Obama got a stimulus passed,
Hundreds of billion in cash,
Some thought the spending wasn’t okay,
So the threw more tea parties than Earl Grey,
It’s sorta major that Sotomayor,
Is the first Latino on the Supreme Court,
Health reform? Wait for the medicine,
Didn’t happen, we’ll check in again in 2010.

Devon “TeeDome”:

Iran chose their president for tomorrow,
People thought he cheated, and protests followed,
We saw Iceland’s money declined,
So bleak, they even had to close Mickey D’s,
The world seemed troubled at times,
Packed with conflicts in 2 double-0 9,
North Korea held two US journalists captive,
Until Bill Clinton got active ,
Ukraine and Russia had a fight,
Over gas when Russia cut off the supply,
Leaving Europeans in need of petroleum,
Other wars show no signs of folding in,
In Afghanistan we’re at war too,
The prez is about to send over more troops,
Promote peace, that’s the best way
We can improve for the next decade.


2009 saw plenty of action,
Let’s start with a shout out to Michael Jackson,
The King of Pop had us all wishing he was living,
And when he died, he nearly took the internet with him,
But it won’t stop the party,
And celebration for the discovery of “Ardi”
The oldest known human ancestor remains,
And if ya look at us today man it ain’t much changed,
Its strange – knowing that there’s water on the moon,
And with Global Warming dude, we could be moving there soon,
And the net is ridiculous,
A year ago, nobody could tell you what “Twitter” is,
09 was great, but for some, hit or miss,
Like Kanye West when he dissed Taylor Swift,
Flocab brought you the Year in Rap,
2009 was fine, in 2010 we’ll be back!

Wednesday, 16 December 2009


 VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold any type of media (images, documents or videos) and allows people to make comments using their voice. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world. In short, VoiceThread is digital storytelling at its best.
This is a resource we will be working with more than once during the second term. In order to get familiar with it, I invite you to watch the following video, listen to some of the comments and then make your own contribution.
This is a project set off by a teacher in Florida, USA in which she prompted students to make a VoiceThread about the place they live in. The main aim was to foster global communication and we are going to contribute!!! This will be your homework for Chirstmas.

Instructions for using VoiceThread:

When you click on "Comment" you will be asked to sign in. Once you have signed in, you will be able to make your contribution. To comment click on the "comment" link. There you will have the choice of either recording your voice (microphone icon), typing your words (letter "A" icon), or using a web camera (camera icon). This time you will be using the mic. There are tree pages in this VoiceThread and you can comment on any or all three pages accessed by the bottom right hand arrow. If you are happy with your recording, be sure to save. If not, hit cancel and you may re-record as many times as you wish. Please no inappropriate commenting.

You may also watch the following video on What's a VoiceThread?

Please answer the following questions:

What is the best thing about where you live? What is the worst thing about where you live? Of all the places where you have travelled to outside of where you live, which one is your favourite? Where would you like to go that you haven't been yet? Of course, you need to to explain all your answers thoroughly and with details and don't forget to identify yourselves.

Below you have a new voicethread screen where you can upload your commentaries. You should listen to the previous examples of people commenting.

Below you can read the feeback on your commentaries. Make sure you listen to them again at the same time you read my corrections.

Monday, 14 December 2009


There are some conversations you are sure to have if you ever go to London or any other English speaking city in the world.
There's a site where you can listen and practise those conversations and spare the embarrassment of feeling out of place, not knowing what to say or how to ask.
In "Welcome to London" you can follow John and Fiona through a series of situations as they arrive and settle down in London, which will be really useful if you are lucky enough to go abroad. Give it a go!!

Sunday, 13 December 2009


Exams are about to end and Christmas is getting nearer and nearer. We can already see Chistmas decorations all around: Christmas trees full of baubles and tinsel, Nativity Scenes, the bright red poisenttias, mistletoe, holly, fairy lights...
But, how much do we really know about all these symbols and traditions?

Do all the activities in this interactive book to learn a bit more about Christmas in English speaking countries.

Read about all this in this page and then try the following quiz. Write a comment with your score and we will know who did best!

Thursday, 10 December 2009


Do They Know It's Christmas?" is a song written by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure in 1984 to raise money for relief of 1984–1985 famine in Ethiopia. Geldof put together a group called Band Aid, consisting of leading Irish and British musicians who were among the most popular of the era. The 1984 original became the biggest selling single in UK singles chart history. It stayed at Number 1 for five weeks. It remained the largest selling single in UK history until 1997 when Elton John's "Candle in the Wind" was re-released in tribute to Diana, Princess of Wales.

Here you are some more typical Xristmas songs for you to sing and learn. Check the lyrics.


2.- HEAL THE WORLD. A tribute to Michel Jackson. LYRICS HERE


Wednesday, 9 December 2009


New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past and, more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want (or need) to make and resolve to follow through on those changes. The beginning of a new year is a great time to begin something new. You have the momentum and excitement of the fresh new year to help you carry out new plans to improve your life or to make it more enjoyable.
Listen to these kids making some New Year's Resolutions and try to fill in the blanks below the video.

Then write a comment with your answers and add two New Year's Resolutions of your own. Notice some expressions you can use to express resolutions:  I plan on (-ing)/ I plan to…/ I aim to…/ It’s my goal to…/ I've promised myself that…/ I'm going to.../ I intend to...

1- This year I’m gonna (1) ……………….more time with my kids.
2- I’m gonna (2)……………… gossiping; Did you see what she (3)………………….?;I know!
3- This year I’m gonna (4)……………….a bikers’ gang.
4- This year I’m gonna (5)…………….. my shopping.
5- This year I’m gonna (6) ……………..spending six dollars on a (7)………………
6- I’m going to (8)……………… my anger. What (9)……………………? Can’t you see I’m trying to work here?
7-I’m going to (10)……………… that special girl. How are you doing?
8- Pick it up!
9- This year I’m going to (11)……………………………… more.
10-This year I’m gonna get rid of this pot belly.
11-I’m gonna (12) ……………….. more about the (13)……………………
12- I’m gonna be a (14)……………… handyman.
13- This year I’m gonna (15)…………… my own (16)……………….
14- I’m gonna tithe (17)……………….. of my gross pay.
15- This year I’ll (18)……………… off all my debts.
16- I’m gonna (19) ………………….to school and get my (20)……………..
17- I’m gonna (21)………………… a marathon.
18- I’m gonna quit (22)…………………..
19- This year I’ll (23)……………….my road rage.
20- I’m gonna (24)……………..a daily (25)………….. time. OK maybe a monthly (26)…………….. time.