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Monday, 30 June 2014

HAVE A WONDERFUL SUMMER HOLIDAY!


Closing down once again for a well-deserved rest after the stress of all the exams... now that the 2013-14 course has finished.
Wishing you all a happy summer holiday, see you again in September!



LONDON'S TOWER BRIDGE 120th BIRTHDAY

Photo above: Opening of the London Bridge.

[By Jonathan @ Londontopia for Londonfiles]

Today marks the day 120 years ago that Tower Bridge was officially opened by the Prince of Wales (not the current one obviously). This special bridge is one that many associate with London. Anyone who sees this Bridge immediately knows that it’s in London (so it’s often the first thing shown in stock footage about London). It’s certainly a beautiful bridge. The Bridge is celebrating its birthday today – it was opened on this day in 1894 by the Prince of Wales, (the future King Edward VII) with much celebration.
So, with much fanfare, here are 10 facts and figures you probably didn’t know about the iconic Bridge.
It's actually not the London Bridge.
It’s a common misconception that the bridge is called London Bridge (and that there’s a song about it). This is actually called Tower Bridge, London Bridge is further down the river and is much more utilitarian.
There were over 50 designs of the bridge.
When the decision was taken to build a bridge, a design contest was held to choose the best design. Over 50 designs were submitted – some close to what was built and some that were absolutely bonkers. The evaluation of the designs was surrounded by controversy, and it was not until 1884 that a design submitted by Sir Horace Jones, the City Architect (who was also one of the judges), was approved. Check out a gallery of the other designs here.
You can watch the bridge live, 24 hours a day.
There’s a live HD Webcam trained on Tower Bridge 24 hours a day. Watch it here.
What's in a name?
Tower Bridge isn’t named so because it is one of the few bridges on the Thames that features towers. In fact, it’s named after the Tower of London which is located on one side of the Bridge. The Tower of London also influenced the final design.
Raw numbers.
The bridge is 800 feet (244 m) in length with two towers each 213 feet (65 m) high, built on piers. The central span of 200 feet (61 m) between the towers is split into two equal bascules or leaves, which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimize the force required and allow raising in five minutes.

Ladies of the night.
The high-level open air walkways between the towers gained an unpleasant reputation as a haunt for prostitutes and pickpockets; as they were only accessible by stairs they were seldom used by regular pedestrians, and were closed in 1910. In 1982 they were reopened as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition, a display housed in the bridge’s twin towers, the high-level walkways and the Victorian engine rooms.
Bridge openings.
The bridge usually opens at least once a day and if you’re a boat that requires an opening, you need to book it in advance. The bascules are raised around 1000 times a year. River traffic is now much reduced, but it still takes priority over road traffic. Today, 24 hours’ notice is required before opening the bridge. There is no charge for vessels. You can see when the Bridge will open next on its website. It’s quite an amazing sight!
Crossing the Thames.
The bridge is crossed by over 40,000 people every day and it is still a busy and vital crossing of the Thames. The bridge is on the London Inner Ring Road, and is on the eastern boundary of the London congestion charge zone. (Drivers do not incur a charge by crossing the bridge.) To maintain the integrity of the structure, the City of London Corporation has imposed a 20 miles per hour (32 km/h) speed restriction, and an 18 ton weight limit on vehicles using the bridge. A camera system measures the speed of traffic crossing the bridge, utilizing a number plate recognition system to send fixed penalty charges to speeding drivers. So, if you ever get to cross, don’t speed across – enjoy it as a leisurely pace or else you’ll get a ticket (even in a rental car!).
Victorian engineering.
Despite having an architectural design that makes the bridge look old, it is in fact a very modern piece of architecture as construction of the bridge began in 1886 at the height of the Victorian era. It was made of steel and consisted of two towers built on piers. The central span was split into two equal bascules or leaves and the towers were clad in stone to give a more “traditional” appearance to match nearby Tower of London. Tower Bridge is basically a steel frame clad in stone, a design principle not that dissimilar to modern buildings.
Concrete and steel.
More than 400 workers helped to build the bridge and over 70000 tons of concrete were was sunk to the bed of the River Thames to support the bridge. 11,000 tons of steel was used to construct the framework for Towers and Walkways.
Visiting the bridge.
It costs nothing to visit, cross and admire the bridge. There is a museum on site called the Tower Bridge Exhibition that goes into the history of the bridge and they occasionally have special exhibitions. The museum has an admissions charge. Details here.
Link to the original webpage.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

THINGS TO DO WHEN VISITING LONDON



Just in case you visit London during the summer holidays, here's a video with some suggestions...

Video:


Tapescript:
What would you love to do in London? Kaplan International English asked our students to create their perfect day in the Capital.

Start your day with a river cruise down the Thames to the Houses of Parliament & Big Ben. Take a tour inside one of the world's most historic buildings.

Want to get the London look? Catch a cab to Oxford Street and enjoy an unrivalled shopping experience.

Drop those bags and take the Routemaster bus to Hyde Park. Enjoy one of the city's largest green spaces. There's even boating and swimming. 

Take the tube to Holborn and spend an hour at the British Museum. View a vast collection of world art and artefacts for free.

It's lunch time! You can walk to Covent Garden and try one of the many restaurants. Italian, Asian or modern-British? It's your choice!

Jump on the back of a rickshaw to the West End and watch Mamma Mia! Sing along to all the Abba classics.

Let's continue that musical mood! Hop on a Boris bike towards the Royal Albert Hall. Enjoy a classic concert in an iconic venue.

There's still time to party so take the next bus to Soho. It's been a long day but there's so many bars to choose from!

Do you agree with Kaplan's students? Describe your dream day in London.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

HOW TO TEACH/LEARN ENGLISH


Here are different ways to teach & learn English, either in class or by yourself... some can be practised in summer even on holiday:
- listening to music in English
- listening to English-speaking celebrities
- watching films
- reading newspapers
- watching TV shows
- listening to the radio
- reading comics
- playing computer games

...so have a try (this summer).

Monday, 23 June 2014

THE TRADITION OF SAINT JOHN'S NIGHT


Tonight we're celebrating a "Noite de San Xoán" (Saint John's Night), a tradition that deepens its roots in traditions previous to the arrival of Christianity and that is celebrated in many places throughout Europe and America, though it's specially settled in Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

What is celebrated?
In its pagan origin the summer solstice was celebrated, that is, the longest day of the year at the Northern hemisphere. To commemorate this night bonfires were lit to purify and give strength to the sun, as from here days would start to be shorter, until we reached the second solstice of the year, winter's.

Why is it celebrated today if the summer solstice was on the 21st?
The answer is because, as in many other popular festivities of pagan origin, after the arrival of Christianity, traditions were integrated to the Christian calendar and the custom of lighting bonfires was connected to the birth of Saint John, who according to the Bible was born on June 24th, the nearest date to the summer solstice of the Northern hemisphere.

Have a great time and enjoy!

Galician version @ ArquivosDoTrasno.

Saint John's night 2014, Riazor-Orzán beaches, A Coruña:

Sunday, 15 June 2014

KINGDOMS vs REPUBLICS


In the middle of the debate about Kingdom vs. Republic, and when we're about to have a new king in the country, we publish a map which shows the existing kingdoms and republics around the world.

- In dark green, the kingdoms: Spain, UK, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan, Morocco, Arabia... (in a lighter green Canada, Australia and New Zealand, which belonging to the Commonwealth countries share the same head of state as the UK).

- In dark blue the republics.

Galician version of this post @ ArquivosDoTrasno.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

HOW MUCH ENGLISH IS SPOKEN IN THE EU


Here's a map that shows how much English is spoken in the European Union countries in percentage of population. As you can see, after the British isles where you can better hold a conversation in English are the Netherlands (with 90%, only 5 less than in the UK and Ireland) and the Scandinavian countries (Sweden, Denmark and Finland). Spain is one of the countries where it's less spoken (a 22%), only above Hungary (with 20%). Even more Portuguese are able to speak English. 
Below another map that shows the most spoken second language in each EU country, again in most it's English. And under the second and third.



Maps from: jakubmarian.com

Thursday, 12 June 2014

HOW TO SPEAK FOOTBALL


The 2014 Football World Cup starts today in Brazil. Even if you're not a football fan, I think that it would be interesting to check up on some vocabulary related with this sport, just to be updated. Here are some vocabulary charts and videos with words you'll need to understand if you watch a football match broadcast or if you read any article about one in English.

LINK TO FOOTBALL VOCABULARY.





Watch these videos with football vocabulary for correct pronunciation:

Here is a chart with the different groups of teams in this World Cup:



Wednesday, 11 June 2014

MEASURES & TEMPERATURES


Here's another post related with numbers and the different equivalents between metric and imperial measures, the latter are specially used in the UK & USA. Also the equivalent between Celsius and Fahrenheit degrees for temperature.



Monday, 9 June 2014

CURIOUS AWARDED PHOTOS


"KEEP LEARNING, STAY CURIOUS"
"CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT..."

This year we've had a student at our school which was only with us for a month. While she was here, I mentioned in class about a Photo Competition organized by Cambridge-Discovery called "CuriosiPics". The thing is that Celia, that's her name, entered the competition, and she won two of the prizes: one by the jury and the other by the public vote!

Above are the winning photographs, which she called:
- "KEEP LEARNING, STAY CURIOUS", (10th prize by the jury for a student's photo), &
- "CURIOSITY KILLED THE CAT BUT SATISFACTION BROUGHT IT BACK" (1st prize by public vote for a student's photo).

You also had to write a comment for each photo, and this is what she wrote for them:
- "Be curious. Be curious about every moment. Be curious about the experiences in every moment. Let every sensation, every sound, every sight fall into you, because curiosity is the very basis of education".
- "Curiosity may have killed me, but the journey was great". - the cat.

CONGRATULATIONS, CELIA!

More about this contest, HERE and about Celia's photos on their website HERE & HERE.
Soon there will be a second edition of the contest. We'll let you know...


Sunday, 8 June 2014

HOW TO SAY NUMBERS




This number post is devoted to how to express number-figures in English: numbers with points (Spanish decimals), fractions, percentages and longer figures. These are always doubtful to say when you are reading texts that has figures. So here you can see and practice.



Thursday, 5 June 2014

MATH SYMBOLS


Another post devoted to numbers and mathematical concepts, how to say the different mathematical symbols.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

SPORT EQUIPMENT & VENUES


Learn some useful words and expressions to talk about equipment you use for practicing sport. And below the places (venues) where sports are practiced.



Tuesday, 3 June 2014

SPORTS (+verbs GO, DO or PLAY?)


Some names of sport in English and below a chart to know which verb to use with them: GO, DO or PLAY:




Link to SPORT VERBS.

Monday, 2 June 2014

PRONOUNCING ENGLISH NUMBERS

Always insisting on how you must pronounce the numbers in English, so that it's clear what number it is. In the chart above you can see underlined which are the stressed syllables in each of them. Most numbers between 0-10 are monosyllables. Numbers between 13-19 are all stressed on their last syllable -teen /ti:n/. The different numbers that refer to each set of tens, ending in -ty /ti/ always have the stressed syllable on the first one, never on the last.

So, 

thirteen - thirty
fourteen - forty
fifteen - fifty
sixteen - sixty
seventeen - seventy
eighteen - eighty
nineteen - ninety
(Stressed syllables are darker black)

This is the first post of a series of them devoted to numbers and expressing them.

Blog labels / Tabs

'-ED' '-ING' €vision 1ºBac 1ºESO 2ºBac 2ºESO 3ºESO 4ºESO Abbreviations Ability Accents Adjectives Ads Adverbs Advicing Agreeing Alphabet Animals Animation Anniversaries Apologizing AprilFool Art Articles Aux.Verbs Basics BE Behaviour BlackFriday Blog Body BonfireNight BrE/AmE Business Carnival Celebration Christmas Class activity ClassrooManagement ClassroomLanguage Collocations Colours Commitment Communicating Comparatives Competition Conditionals Confusing Connectors Contractions ConversationAssist Cooking Coruña Cosmos Countability Culture Curiosities Date Demonstratives Derivation Descriptions Directions DO EllenDGeneres Emails Environment Exclamations FalseFriends Family Feelings Films Food FrequencyAdvs Fun-joke Functions Furniture Future Galicia Gastronomy Gender Geography GET GO Graduation Grammar Greetings Halloween HandwritingHistory HAVE Health Help tips Heritage History Home Homophones HumanRights Hygiene ICT Idioms Imperative Infinitive Informal Instruments Internet Introducing Inviting Ireland IrregularVerbs Jobs Karaoke Language learning Leisure Letterwriting LIKE Link Listening Literature London LoveActually MAKE Maps Maths Media MindMap Mistakes ModalVerbs Money Music MusicProject Natural disasters Nature Negative News Numbers Obit Obligation Offering Onomatopoeias Opinions Passive Past Peace Penpals Permission Personality Phoning Photography PhrasalVerbs Pioneers Plurals Poetry Politeness Politics Poll Possessive Possibility Practice-exercise Preference Prefix Prepostions Present PresentPerfect Press Prohibition Projects Promising Pronunciation Punctuation QTags Quantifiers QuestionMaking Questionnaire Quiz Qwords RD25Years Reading Relatives ReportedSpeech Requesting Routines Royals School activities Science Senses Shopping Slang Slide Speaking Spelling Sport SportProject St.Patrick Storytelling Student Exchange StudentPics Suffix Suffragette Suggestions Symbols Synonyms Teaching Technology Terrorism Thanksgiving THE Theatre Time Traditions Translation Travel Tribute TV UK USA USED TO Valentine Vehicles Verbs VerbTenses Video-lesson Videos Vocabulary vs Wales Wearing Weather Wishing Women WordOrder Writing

PERFORMANCE-1

PERFORMANCE-1
Link to website

HOW TO REGISTER TO MYENLGLISHLAB

HOW TO REGISTER TO MYENLGLISHLAB
Link here to info

Link to:

Link to:
Performance1 - Standalone access code

AN APP TO LEARN ENGLISH

FIND OUT YOUR ENGLISH LEVEL

FIND OUT YOUR ENGLISH LEVEL
Click on image to do the test

WRITING PRACTICE

PHONEMIC CHART

PHONEMIC CHART
Practice pronunciation

AUTHENTIC SPEAKING PRACTICE

AUTHENTIC SPEAKING PRACTICE
WeSpeke

English pronunciation

English pronunciation
Voice me: give voice to a text you write

INCREDIBLE ENGLISH

Play the English Wizz

Play the English Wizz
Click on the photo, choose your level and have a go.

Play Face Match

Play the Quiz Show

Play SPIN & SPELL

Play SPIN & SPELL
Play spellings words

PLAY VERB MACHINE

CLICK TO MANY TV CHANNELS

CLICK TO MANY TV CHANNELS
Watch BBC, ITV & many more...

LEARN ENGLISH FROM FILMS

LEARN ENGLISH FROM FILMS
Speechyard

Penpals.

TODAY I FOUND OUT

LONDON NEIGHBOURHOOD GUIDES

LONDON NEIGHBOURHOOD GUIDES
Notting Hill, Bayswater, Marylebone / West End / The City / Mayfair & Westminster / South Kensington, Belgravia, Victoria / Southbank & Southwark

SCHOOL EMERGENCY RULES