Category Archives: Students’ Corner

Unusual Traditions

Nothing gives me more pleasure than sharing my students’ work.

This is a sample of some of the speeches they gave on unusual traditions. I have only edited their work where comprehension was blocked.

Thank you very much dear students! You are a constant source of inspiration.

 

 

Thanks for reading! 🙂

Moving away from Traditional Homework

This is my suggestion for Christmas homework and the kind that if I were a student , I would love to be given.

1. Word Games. Do you have five minutes to spare? Find your level and choose from these 13 addictive games. Click here

2. Watching Series. Do you like watching series? Go to ororo.tv, choose the series you’d like to see and watch an episode every day on this site. I am suggesting series and not films ’cause I hope you’ll get hooked on the series . The only catch is that you can only see an episode a day on this site. Click here

3. Listen to music, but not any kind of music; for this exercise listen to ballads , which are easier to understand. Listen to a song and  concentrate on understanding the lyrics. Then, look up the lyrics online  and sing along. I suggest singers such as the mighty Adele, Ed Sheeran or James Blunt. If you live in Spain, you can listen to radio stations such as  Kiss FM.

Merry Christmas  and thanks for reading!

The winners of the I Short Scary Story Writing Contest are announced!

It’s with great pleasure that I announce the three winners of the I Short Scary Story Writing Contest for Intermediate (B1)students.

It hasn’t been easy to choose a winner from the 45 scary stories you have sent me. I was really impressed by the talent shown.So I have decided to choose three winners .A big thank you to everyone who took the time to write the story.

Winner: Diana Corrales  with “Do you want to hear a story?”

Runners-Up: Andrea MarĂ­a GonzĂĄlez  with “At the end of the ladder” and  VerĂłnica RodrĂ­guez with “A horror story”.

 

DO YOU WANT TO HEAR A STORY? by Diana Corrales CaamaĂąo

Have you ever been afraid of the dark? Have you ever felt that you weren’t alone in the middle of the night? And… have you felt scared? You should be!

It wasn’t the first night spent in that house. It wasn´t the first month, not even the first year  but that night, Mary, a seven–year–old girl who had never had nightmares, woke up screaming. Her parents ran to her side, but she couldn’t remember anything.

That evening, while her father was reading a bedtime story, she asked him:

“Daddy, who lived here before us?”

Her father, surprised, replied: “I don’t know Mary, why do you ask?”

“I can’t tell you! It´s a secret!” said Mary

“A secret between you and…..?” asked her father.

“Don´t insist Daddy! I won´t tell you! Good night!” said the girl.

Mary kissed her father and lay down in her bed.

During the following weeks, Mary was very happy. She was always playing in her room and her parents realized that she was becoming more independent. They thought it could be because she was growing up and one night Mary didn’t even want a story.

“I only want a story! The story about the girl who lived here before us, and you don´t know it”. She told her father

Her father felt sad and Mary looking at his father said: “Don’t worry Daddy, I still love you” but instead of kissing him, turned off the light and said good night.

Mary’s mother, worried about the distance that was growing between them and their daughter, decided to do some research about “the famous story” and thought that if she couldn´t find anything, she would invent it. It was very hard to find because the house had been empty for many years, but finally she found something. She discovered a terrible story.

“Honey, are you sure that Mary asked about the girl who lived here? She didn´t say family, she said “girl”, didn’t she?”

“Yes, sugar, she clearly said “the girl”; what is the problem?”

“I don’t understand how she could have known that in our house lived a girl. I didn´t even know, and the house has been recently renovated.”

“Maybe she just imegined it”

“Well, you will not believe what I´m going to tell you”.

That night, after dinner, Mary’s mother told her husband what she had discovered. In the house, there lived a girl called Catherine, who was killed by a thief who never got caught. All the neighbours suspected her parents because Catherine had a lot of problems with them; she never went out to play or went to school. People said she was crazy. Two days after Catherine’s death, her parents were found dead in the same way as Catherine, and on their foreheads, engraved with a knife, the words “sweet dreams”.

In that moment.  they heard a scream from Mary’s bedroom but when they entered the room she was sleeping.

“Baby, are you ok?”

“Yes Daddy, why you did you wake me up? It is still early to go to school”

“Sorry baby, my mistake, good night”

“Sweet dreams, Daddy”

“What did you say, Mary?”

“I´m not Mary ,daddy, my name is Catherine…”

AT THE END OF THE LADDER by Andrea María Gonzålez López

“I’m telling you, seriously!”

“Look,Tobias! I know what you’ve been going through lately and I don’t want to seem insensitive when I tell you this” Sergio hit his friend’s shoulder in a gesture of support “but I think you should look for help”.

Tobias couldn’t believe why his best friend might be saying that. Okay, maybe grief was clouding his senses but he was completely sure that his sister’s death was related to that sinister package that had come to his door three days ago. Especially considering how they had found MarĂ­a. He could still see in his mind the clown’s smile she had drawn on her face, the black mascara smeared on her cheeks, her eyes still open, lifeless… she was sitting at the end of staircase like an abandoned doll.

“Thank you, Sergio, but right now all I want to do is forget everything”

On hearing this, Sergio left.

Tobias was going to end with everything that night. He was going to break that stupid doll which rested on his sister’s bed. He was sure that the clown was guilty of her death.

He went to his sister’s room. What he didn’t expect were all the events that happened then. The doll wasn’t on the bed. Suddenly, the lights went out and he heard footsteps in the hallway downstairs. He decided to silently go down to the hallway and turn on the lights; as he grabbed the banister in total darkness to climb down the stairs, he stopped. Breathing behind him made his skin crawl. And before he fell down the stairs and broke his neck, he only could hear one more thing.

Let’s play.

A HORROR STORY by Veronica Rodriguez

Two months ago, my best friend MarĂ­a and me were on our way to an old town 60km away, when our car stopped without any reason. It was late in the evening and it was getting darker and darker, therefore we were a bit nervous and scared.

Surprisingly, our mobiles  were not working  because apparently they  had run out of battery. It looked like a joke, but as adults, we tried to keep calm.

Ten minutes later, we decided to leave the car and look for someone who could help us. but there was nobody around. Suddenly , our luck changed because Maria managed to stop a car. He was a 27- year-old, good looking man. He seemed reliable and friendly.

He tried to fix our car but as it was dark, he suggested  going  to his house and spending the night there. He lived in a small wooden house with his grandparents, not very far away, so in spite of being scared we decided to go with him, considering we did not have another choice.

We hid the car among the trees and we went ahead through the forest to the house.

Inside the house, there was a nice elderly couple sitting on rocking chairs. They didn’t say  anything; they just looked  at us and smiled.

The man showed us where we were going to sleep that night and then he disappeared. Everything was very strange and when we were trying to fall asleep a frightening noise scared us.

MarĂ­a went to the window and saw the two rocking chairs moving alone! It was terrifying because there was nobody nearby and the wind was not blowing.

Quickly, we left the house and  ran as fast as we could.

To our surprise, when we found our car hidden in the forest and tried to start it , it worked properly; therefore ,we drove several hours until  we reached the nearest town.

Once in the town, we parked in front of  the first restaurant we found  and just as we were parking the car, we saw a policeman coming towards us. He wanted to know  if the car was ours, because he had seen it the previous night.

We explained  everything to him, including where the house was and all about the mysterious man. The policeman did not believe us. He said that  nobody  lived in that house  because the man who lived there had killed all his family and then he hanged himself.

Perhaps we were wrong about the house, but it was the only house that was a bit away from the forest. We had to make sure that we were right about the house and we finally decided to take the policeman there. We were sure about our story and when we arrived, our suspicions were confirmed.

The house was not the same; it was completely abandoned ,without a  roof and with a lot of cobwebs. We saw the two rocking chairs in the same place! But in the man’s bedroom there was still the rope with which the man had  hanged himself.

 

 

Picture Description Intermediate: New Technologies and Food

Once again I thank my students for  kindly contributing to this blog. These  two examples of Picture Description have been sent by Noelia and Carmen from the Intermediate Level.

Thank you girls! Well done!

FOOD by Carmen Gayol

These pictures are clearly both connected with the topic of food.

The picture on the left shows two women who are cooking in a kitchen. One of them is younger than the other, but they seem to  get on well; I’d say that they have a lot in common, they could  be mother and daughter or have  a close relationship.

In the picture on the right, we can see a young couple eating. I think they are in a restaurant, an oriental restaurant because the decoration that can be seen in the background.

 We all need to eat to live, but It‘s clear that the food, in our society, is something more than nutrition. Nowadays, we all use the meals to socialize. We have family meals, business meal, and we all enjoy eating with friends.

Sometimes we prefer eating at home, like in the photo on the left, but other times, we eat out.

However, the main problem isn’t where, but what we eat. In my view, today people tend to eat fast food because they don’t have enough time to prepare a meal and they are always in a hurry. This food isn`t   always healthy, it is many times junk food which contains many calories and carbohydrates and there is a good chance  people will get overweight.

If I had to choose one of the photos, I’m sure I’d choose the first, because it makes me remember old times with my mother , and in addition, I believe that it’s a good way to enjoy eating and cooking.

INTERNET AND THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES by Noelia Espinosa

These two pictures show a connection with the topic of new technologies ,especially with the  internet.

In the first photo there is a woman sitting behind  a desktop and she has a tablet between her hands; probably she is in an office, maybe her workplace. In the second one, a little girl looks as if  she is surfing the internet and she  seems very interested in what she is seeing.  Although I can´t be sure ,I think  she is at home.

Nowadays, both pictures are very common in daily life, although in different ways. The first one shows a typical day at work in all the offices in the world.It is generally accepted that today no company would be operative without the  internet and the  new technologies because they would be unconnected and inefficient. And in the second one, children tend to be connected to the internet every day. When I was child, there was no internet, mobiles or computers, only some privileged people could afford them, but I was very happy playing traditional games with my friends in the street, for example with a  ball,  my dolls …

In my opinion, internet is very important in our lives, I couldn´t live without my mobile, my laptop etc… everybody surfs the net, everybody knows Facebook and even some people work vía Internet. However, I believe sometimes it could be dangerous especially in teenagers and children because there are parents who don´t control what their children are uploading or downloading onto the web and who their children are in  touch with.

You might also find  this section interesting. Check it out!

SPEAKING:PICTURE DESCRIPTION

 

 

A Fun Writing Activity to Practise Giving Advice . Students in the limelight

Raise your hand if you have never had a problem!  Nobody??? Good! That’s what I thought! Now, raise your hand if you have never asked for advice!! I see !! OK ! Maybe some of you don’t like to ask for advice!!

Ok folks !!! What’s clear is that we all have problems and and when we have them, we most usually turn to friends or family asking for advice; it remains to be seen whether we follow the advice but even if we  end up feeling that the advice  given hasn’t helped much, I’m sure, at least, you would  feel grateful  just because someone you trust has been willing to take the time to listen to you.

In this post, I want to share with you an activity to practise giving advice, which has worked really well with my students (see photo below)

LEVEL: B1

AIM: to give written advice using

♥I think / I don’t think you should…

♥ If I were you , I would…  

MATERIALS: A clean sheet of paper and a pen or you can download the template here.

STEPS

1. Introduce / revise the two structures above, used to give advice. Share with your students a problem and ask them to offer you advice using the two structures above. Choose the funniest or most sensible advice as the best offered.

2.  Give students a copy of I NEED SOME ADVICE or display the template so that they can copy the information on a clean sheet of paper.

2. Students write their name  and their problem in the space provided and leave it on their table, face up.

3. Introduce the idea of Agony Aunts ( see definiton here) and tell students they are going to act as agony aunts to solve some problems.

4. Students stand up and they go around the class reading their classmates’ problems and writing their piece of advice in the space provided, together with their name inside the brackets. The same advice cannot be repeated. Allow 10 minutes for this step

 5.  Students sit down at their desks, read the advice offered for their problems and decide on the best. Problem and advice will be read aloud. The students who has offered the best advice gets one point. See who gets more points and name him the new Agony Aunt.

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