Sunday, 31 May 2009

LISTENING FOR THE CERTIFICATION EXAM - INTERMEDIATE AND ADVANCED


I know that you might have problems to get enough practise with the listening skill once the classes are over. So that is the main reason to add you some links where you can listen to and keep in touch with the language.

One of those website is VOA News. There are many stories to listen to. What you only need to do is make up your mind and click on one of them. This website provides you with podcasts to download to your MP3 and listen to them every time you want to.

The second option is The Bob and Rob Show. Fantastic website with many topics which offer you their audio and a study guide. Some of the stories have a quiz to assess your comprehension.

Finally, there is Elllo. Another great website with videos, interviews, mixer, games and much more. You can do the activity you will see after clicking on the link, that is game 51. There you will listen to extracts and then will be asked to click on the picture described. It is quite entertaining. After that, you can look into the site and try other activities.

I hope you enjoy these three websites and get all the practice you would need.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

RED BULL'S NEW COLA: A KICK FROM COCAINE?



By Jean Friedman-Rudovsky / La Paz

About a year ago, the makers of Red Bull, the famous caffeine-loaded energy drink, decided to come out with a soda, unsurprisingly named Red Bull Cola. The shared name implied the same big kick. But could the cola's boost — supposedly "100% natural" — come from something else? Officials in Germany worry that they've found the answer — cocaine. And now they have prohibited the soda's sale in six states across the country and may recommend a nation-wide ban.

"The Health Institute in the state of North Rhine Westphalia examined Red Bull Cola in an elaborate chemical process and found traces of cocaine," Bernhard Kuehnle, head of the food safety department at Germany's federal ministry for consumer protection, told the German press on Sunday. According to this analysis, the 0.13 micrograms of cocaine per can of the drink does not pose a serious health threat — you'd have to drink 12,000 L of Red Bull Cola for negative effects to be felt — but it was enough to cause concern. Kuehnle's agency is due to give its final verdict on Wednesday when experts publish their report.

Red Bull has always been upfront about the recipe for its new cola. Its website boasts colorful pictures of coca, cardamom and Kola nuts, along with other key "natural" ingredients. The company insists, however, that coca leaves are used as a flavoring agent only after removing the illegal cocaine alkaloid. "De-cocainized extract of coca leaf is used worldwide in foods as a natural flavoring," said a Red Bull spokesman in response to the German government's announcement. Though the cocaine alkaloid is one of 10 alkaloids in coca leaves and represents only 0.8% of the chemical makeup of the plant, it's removal is mandated by international antinarcotics agencies when used outside the Andean region.

Meanwhile, in Bolivia, halfway around the world and smack in the middle of the Andes, the controversy is causing chuckles. Coca is a fundamental part of Andean culture and for years, Bolivians have tried to get the world to understand that the leaf is not a drug if it's not put through the extensive chemical process that yields cocaine. Left-wing President Evo Morales, a coca-grower himself, has made coca validation a personal quest, chewing leaves in front of world leaders and press cameras during his travels. "Let's say [Red Bull Cola] doesn't take out the cocaine alkaloid. Have any of those millions of people across the world who have drunk that soda ever gotten sick or felt drugged?" asks Dionicio Nunez, a coca-growers' leader from the Yungas region. "We've always known that coca isn't harmful. Now maybe others will realize it too."

In Germany, the Red Bull spokesman insisted that his company's product, along with others containing the coca-leaf extract are considered safe in Europe and the U.S. And already, some experts have come to Red Bull's defense. "There is no scientific basis for this ban on Red Bull Cola because the levels of cocaine found are so small," Fritz Soergel, the head of the Institute for Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Research in the city of Nuremberg, tells TIME. "And it's not even cocaine itself. According to the tests we carried out, it's a nonactive degradation product with no effect on the body. If you start examining lots of other drinks and food so carefully, you'd find a lot of surprising things," he says.

Coca leaves, of course, have a long record in modern soda-pop history. Most prominently, there was Coca-Cola whose original 19th century formula used unaltered coca leaves. In the early 1900s the company said it would only use "spent," or decocainized leaves, though the company refuses to confirm whether leaves in any form are still used.

But the problem is when it comes to coca and cocaine, it's not just a health concern, but a legal one. Since 1961, trade of coca outside the Andean region — where people have chewed or brewed coca in tea to stave off hunger and exhaustion for centuries — has been prohibited unless the cocaine alkaloid is removed. Few companies in the world have authorization to trade in the leaf and most are pharmaceutical companies that perform this decocainizing process. The most prominent is New Jersey-based Stepan Chemical Company which has been reported to supply Coca-Cola with its narcotic-free derivative.

But no one knows where Red Bull Cola's coca leaves come from or where they are processed. Red Bull did not respond to immediate requests for comment and Rauch Trading AG, the Austria-based food company that actually manufactures Red Bull Cola was quick to tell TIME that they are not allowed to speak about the product. Meanwhile, Bolivia, which has lots of coca leaves to sell, is getting a kick out of the fact Red Bull Cola admits to using coca in any form (since Coca-Cola evades the question). Ironically, the drink is not actually available yet in Bolivia. But, the locals say, this is a great opportunity to show that coca isn't harmful — with or without the cocaine alkaloid.

With Reporting by Tristana Moore/Berlin

2o Jokes For Students

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:
Watch this slideshow presentation with jokes which will make you laugh or, at least, smile a little. Try to understand that British sense of humour is different from ours.

Monday, 25 May 2009

LISTENING - INTERMEDIATE TO ADVANCED



Online listening exercises for students of English. English for business will take you to online exercises and recordings that will help you to improve your listening skill.

Saturday, 23 May 2009

BRITAIN'S GOT TALENT

Britain seems to have found another talented contestant. A skinny girl, called Hollie Steel, stunned with her performance. She sang 'If I could dance all night' of My Fair Lady. I have added the link where to watch her and learn English with the translation made.This video can be watched on Yappr.comwith its transcription or if you think that your level of English is good enough to understand everything, I have added the video below.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

FUNNY VIDEOS

I know you have been studying hard all over the year. That is why I think you need to relax and have some laugh. I have posted two videos from www.funnyplace.org,which is a site focused on commercials,especially funny ones.I am sure you will be grateful to have such videos.



I also show you the transcription but I advise you to watch the video first without reading the text.

Drink your milk, kids. I don’t want milk. Milk is for babies. Yea, babies. Oh, yea? Well, I happen to know that milk helps to build strong bones. So, drink up. Well, Mr. Miller told me he never drinks milk. Look at him! Hey, kids. Oh, that’s not good Got Milk

SIMPLE PAST - BASIC LEVEL 1

English Grammar 4U Online offers you a great variety of activities on past simple. With all this practice you can be an expert on this verbal tense. It can be of great help for the final exams.
This website opens the page with grammar explanation, which also includes examples and past time expressions. After the explanation, all the activities come.

ASKING FOR DIRECTIONS - BASIC LEVEL 1

Play a game and learn to follow directions. The game is called Destination Impossible. First you must read the instructions to help your character in the game. Click on Play the Game. There is a new window and you can click on how to play to know how to play or you can click on start. After clicking on start, you can see different characters. Choose your favourite character and you can see a question with two options. To begin playing, click on one of the two answers. Now you are ready to play.

On this website, called English Grammar 4U, you can do exercises to ask and give directions. First you have a word list in case you don't remember the basic vocabulary. Then you can continue with the exercise on giving directions to the postoffice. Finally, there is another exercise on giving directions to go to the cinema.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

PRESENT CONTINUOUS - BASIC LEVEL

Continue practising your grammar. Now it is Present Progressive or Continuous. There is a very interesting blog created by Carmen Luisa from EOI Puerto de la Cruz that has many activities to reinforce this verbal tense. Click on the link and do the activities on Present Continuous.

THERE IS OR THERE ARE - BASIC LEVEL 1

Was it difficult to guess which form to use? Do these activities to remember if you have to write the singular form (there is) or the plural one (there are)
Exercise 1
Exercise 2
Besides I include an excellent exercise where you have to choose which word to write:they're, their or there

Saturday, 16 May 2009

SUMMER STUDIES



Do you feel that you need to have extra material to continue your studies this summer? Don't worry because Internet provides you with enough resources in your learning process. This website offers three levels as the ones shown in the pictures. What you have to do is click on the suitable one. That easy! Just add that it is American English. This site is called USA learns

PASSIVE VOICE AUDIO AND EXERCISES

BBC Learning English offers grammar challenge topics. One of them is present perfect passives. The topic includes an audio with exercises.
Take the challenge and do the exercises:
Quiz 1
Quiz 2
Quiz 3

Another topic deals with continuous passive. As it happened before, there is an audio with exercises.
Now take the challenge and do the exercises:
quiz 1
quiz 2
quiz 3

Finally, let's do the simple passives, which are the easiest. They follow the same pattern. There is the audio and the exercises.
quiz 1
quiz 2
quiz 3

REVISION IN VIDEO LESSONS - BASIC LEVEL 1


Real English Lessons! You can really learn English by watching the videos and doing the exercises. And they're fun! There are very short videos on each exercise page, with listening, speaking, and typing activities. This is a good opportunity to study the structures and the functions from the very beginning.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

PASSIVE VOICE - INTERMEDIATE LEVEL

The school year is close to end but there is still one last grammatical aspect to study: passive voice. I have added below a first slideshow with the information that the students have been handed out whereas the second slideshow has been taken from the web. It includes extra information on the passive voice use. However, at this level, you will only be asked to understand the basic aspects. In order to practise, there will be activities added soon in another post.


Wednesday, 13 May 2009

ARE WE THE ONLY LIVING CREATURES IN OUR GALAXY?


I must thank Margui (a student of intermediate level)for sharing her views with us all. Do you think we are the only creatures in the galaxy? or are you one of those who think there are more Earth-like planets? Margui invites us to make a reflection on this topic. Read this article on BBC News. You can share your views with us posting a comment.

Monday, 11 May 2009

REPORTED SPEECH - INTERMEDIATE LEVEL 2

By using reported speech, we report what another person has said. It means we do not use his/her exact words. Therefore, you need to learn how to transform direct speech into reported speech. The structure is a little different depending on whether you want to transform a statement, question or request.
These exercises will help you with reported speech:
Englisch-hilfen
English Grammar 4U
Agenda Web. Hundreds of exercises.
English exercises online

Sunday, 3 May 2009

POLICE NEED RELAX

Watch this video where Thai traffic cops learn to relax and laugh. Why don't you put it into practice when you need some relax as well?

Weird Thai traffic cops