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What on earth is a palindrome?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under The English Language
What’s a palindrome?
Although you might not have realized yet what a palindrome is what you cannot deny is that the word is beautiful. It comes from the Greek “palin”= return and “dromes”= path; but this won’t probably enlighten you as regards its real meaning.

All right, I know you are all on tenterhooks waiting for me to tell you but first of all ,I’m going to give you an example … or several to make you rack your brains. I know, I know  you’ve nearly finished exams and they have been hard enough  but we don’t want you to put your mind at rest just yet, do we? Enough of beating about the bush …here’s the example: “no lemon no melon”.

Can’t see it? Not a clue? Really? Ok, I’m going to give you another example. It is said that the first sentence uttered by a human being was a palindrome. First and second human being? Adam and Eve. So when they met for the first time the gentleman in Adam said to Eve: “Madam, I’m Adam”. Although some people think that Adam was more talkative than this and that what he actually said was “Madam in Eden, I’m Adam”.
Now the penny’s dropped and you know! A palindrome is a word or a phrase which is the same when read from the start or the end, Mystery solved!!
Can you think of any palindromes? Please do and then send me a post … you can even write a song. You think this is far-fetched? Have a look at this video


ELLA: English Language Lab Asturias

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening
I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to recommend you this wonderful site , but …better late than never!
This site has been created and is maintained by three colleagues from three different EEOOIII . On their own they have been awarded different prizes and together they have created this wonderful site. My admiration and thanks to you three: María (from EOI Oviedo), Carmen (from EOI Mieres) and Javier (from EOI Luarca).
Now , for you my dearest students and because I can guess that right now you must be frantic (exam is on Monday) looking for new listening comprehensions to do, I am going to link you straightaway to the listening section of ELLA. The link will lead you to a page with all the listenings , find the ones for you level…. ADVANCED.
If you like the site , don’t forget to send them a post. It is always nice to hear that all you effort has been worthwhile !

Related Links:
Learn English by watching videos
BBC Learning English
Yappr: What on earth is this?

Understanding “some” Spanish

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Funny Stuff, Listening, Resources
What I’m about to show you is a good example of why English, after all, should not be considered such a difficult language to understand, especially if you compare it to understanding some Spanish native speakers.
Have fun!!!


No kidding now!!If you need to improve your listening skills, why don’t you visit this site? You won’t find any comprehension questions after the audio but you might consider it interesting and useful. The site  belongs to the New York Times and it’s a collection of stories of people from New York. Click on the image and it will lead you straight to their homepage.
Related links:
Some help with the speaking test.. or not?
The Italian Man who went to Malta
Bush Bloopers
Crisis Subprime- The last laugh

Playing with images: Bookr

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Resources, Word of the Day
Playing? Working? Teaching?Let’s not beat about the bush and call a spade a spade …yes , I am playing , playing with images . It is my firm conviction that when you see something you remember it better. That’s why , once again,  I have used the same tool I used when teaching Food and Cooking : PimPamPum . This is a version  called Bookr , and as its name suggests it creates photobooks  using Flikr images. The photobooks are very simple to create, you just need to type in a key word to find the images you want and then drag them onto the pages and add what you need to be taught and illustrated.
I think this a nice way to teach parts of the animals and I’ve also added  some idioms containing animals that need to be studied. The pity with Wordpress is that it doesn’t allow  “embedding”, so the only way for you to see it would be by clicking on “animals by Cristina” or on the picture.

Animals by Cristina
Related entries:
Wordle: Creating “word clouds”
And yet another way to improve your vocabulary
Food and cooking

Subtitling Videos: a nice way to practise

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Resources
So, let´s imagine that lately  you ’ve been having some problems with understanding listening comprehension and all of a sudden ,you realize it’s May and you’re taking your listening test in about a week or so. In that case, there are so many good websites I would recommend that I could  keep you busy for  the whole year. Today ,let me show you something that I bumped into quite by chance.
It’s a place  where you can find subtitled  videos and  what’s more, you can even request for some videos to be subtitled too.  This place is called  SubPLY .
As we are learning about food and cooking I tried  searching the site by writing the word “food” and I found quite some interesting videos where you can revise vocab.
Why don’t you try it and let me know what you think? Now, click on the image and it’ll link you to their website and ,from then on, you can do your own search.
Related Links:
Learn English by watching videos
BBC Learning English
Yappr: What on earth is this?

Are you a Cat or a Dog Person?

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Listening, Word of the Day
Well, this person you are going to see in the video is ,without doubts, crazy about cats. This is what would happen to me if I had to live with even one cat , let alone 130 as this lady… no wonder she’s called the crazy cat lady. Hey!  No offence meant  I’m just repeating what everybody seems to think about her.Honestly speaking, I admire what she does and I only wish I had the guts to do the same with my beloved dogs.
Now watch the video and if you fancy answering some questions about it. Click here .
 And as we are on the subject , how about learning some idioms containing ” cat and/or dog” ?
From the popular ” it’s raining cats and dogs” there’s a wide range of idioms containing these two words. I’m just going to write the ones easy to remember and whose meaning can easily be inferred from context, but bear in mind there are plenty of others.
  • The 32-year-old actress spent a large proportion of the week playing cat and mouse with the press
  • We were planning a surprise birthday party but Jack let the cat out of the bag and now she knows about it
  • I had a dog’s life at school: I was always being beaten.
  • After years of neglect, the old artist’s work was recognised and honoured: every dog has his day.
Related Links

How do you say 2010?

Word of the Day: Ditto

The Englishlanguage  does not have a Real Academia de la Lengua

Do yu espic inglish?

Recipe: Spaghetti with Vegetables

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Cooking, Students' Corner
Kindly written by  Ana Rebollo 
• 400 g spaghetti                        
• 4 tomatoes, cut in half
• ½ cup sliced courgettes
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 red pepper, chopped
• 1 green pepper, chopped
• ½ cup vegetable stock
• 1 teaspoon salt
• thyme
• pepper
• In a pot of boiling water add 1 teaspoon of salt and cook the spaghetti until al dente. Then, remove the pot from the fire. After that, drain and set aside.
• While the spaghetti is boiling, chop the onion, the red and green pepper the tomatoes and then slice the courgette.
• In a saucepan over medium heat, add ½ cup vegetable stock. When it´s boiling, first add the onion and after a few minutes add the pepper, courgette and the tomatoes and continue cooking for about 15 minutes. Season with salt, pepper and thyme.
• Scatter the sauce over the pasta and serve.
Related Links
Recipe: Spanish Omelette
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Wordle: creating “word clouds”

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Resources
It is not the first time I ‘ve used this tool, but it is the first time I’ve used it to revise vocabulary. I like it because it is easy to use and also attractive and we all know that students appreciate it when you give them something different.
How does this tool help me? Wordle is a “toy” for generating “word clouds” from the text you provide.
In the past I mainly used it to decorate some posts and in class to retell a text . It is a great tool for retelling as the clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.

But today I’ve discovered a new use to Wordle. I needed tor revise some vocabulary. I normally do it as a competition game with strips of paper and the word to be revised written on them. But today I tried writing the words to be revised and this is the result. I’ve created two word clouds as I am going to split the class into two and let them compete against each other by giving them a maximum of two minutes to try to define the words to their team. So, I’ve printed the word clouds and used it in the OHP. Hope they like it! I had a great time too tweaking the fonts, colours and layout.
Related links:
Karaoke on line
Fancy doing a dictation?

Now that you have a certain skill at mastering new structures it’s time to improve your vocabulary. There is no point in learning a new word unless you know how to use it and it is also important to understand how words are used.
So here is a cool site you can enjoy. It is called WORDIA. What is this and what are they? I quote “We’re a team of language enthusiasts and general word nuts who have joined forces to create a new kind of dictionary - a democratic ‘visual dictionary’. A place where anyone with a video, webcam or mobile phone can define the words that matter to them in their life.”
As anyone can record words , it goes without saying that I accept no  responsibility for anything incorrect, improper, wrong  … you name it.
Click on the image and try it.
You can also get  a new video sent to you everyday, just by adding your email address to the subscription field and each day you will be sent a link to the newest word.
Related links:
Confusing Words
Converting Text into Speech
From London with Love

Recipe: Spanish Omelette

Posted by CRISTINA CABAL DIAZ under Cooking
 I was racking my brains about what to do to make you use and study the new vocabulary related to food we have been learning in class when divine inspiration knocked on my door and it suddenly dawned on me, always on the search for new recipes,  to ask you to write one… but not just any recipe but a recipe that would make anybody ‘s mouth drool . Now, I know some of you are going to say ….”but teacher I don’t know how to cook” so what? Better late than never!! Ask at home, parents , grandparents ..I’m sure they have a wonderful recipe to share , maybe in the end you’ll thank me for  rescuing that wonderful recipe your grandmother used to cook for you.
My favourite dish is Spanish Omelette and this is the recipe I’m going to share with you as I’ve been the proud winner of the I Spanish Omelette Cooking Contest of my hometown  
You’ll need. (serves 4)                        
·                                 6-7 medium potatoes, peeled
·                                 1 spring  onion
·                                 6 large eggs
·                                 2-3 cups of olive oil for pan frying
·                                 Salt to taste
·                                 Baking Powder
Cut the peeled potatoes into thin slices. Peel and chop the onion into small cubes. Salt onions and potatoes to taste.
In a large non-stick frying pan  heat the oil  (the oil should almost cover the potatoes). When it is hot enough ,place and spread  the potatoes and the onion into the frying pan.The key if for this mixture to cook very gently so you might need to turn down the heat slightly. Stir from time to time with a slotted spoon. You will know that it is cooked when you poke a piece of potato with the spoon  and it easily breaks in two. Place the mixture into a bowl removing as much oil as you can.
Now, crack the eggs into a bowl ,add a small spoon of baking powder and beat them with a  fork. Pour into the potato onion mixture and mix together with a large spoon.
Now, pour two tablespoons of olive oil into the frying pan. Heat it. Pour the mixture and spread it evenly. Allow the egg to cook around the edges. When the mixture has browned on the bottom, you are ready to turn it over to cook the other side.  Place a plate (about the size of the pan) upside down over the frying pan to cover top and quickly turn the frying pan over and the omelette will fall onto the plate. Then. Slide the omelette into the frying pan and let it cook for as long as needed. And you’re done!! Enjoy your nice meal!!
Related Links:
Food and cooking
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A Pirate Cake
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