Thursday, November 19, 2015

BBC Learning English

BBC Learning English is a fabulous website by the BBC. Among its many resources there is a Youtube Channel  full of explanations about grammar, vocabulary and other aspects of English. The video I'm sharing today, for example, explains how to use some linking words. This should help you with your compositions.


A continent of rubbish

We're learning about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in 2nd Year of Bachillerato. It's a huge sea of plastic in the middle of the Pacific ocean and it causes a lot of environmental damage. It's quite unbelievable how polluted this planet is getting!

As a complement, we have also watched a TED conference by Charles Moore, the man who discovered it and who is fighting to make things better for our oceans. You can choose the language of the subtitles.

You can find more information about Charles Moore and his foundation at More on the life of plastic:

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Are we alone?

Many people wonder whether we are alone in the universe. Josh Worth's visualization 78 coins gives you a compelling argument to believe that well, there are probably other intelligent beings out there.

There is actually a scientific way to calculate how many civilizations are out there. It's called the Drake Equation. We need to look at how many stars there are in the galaxy, how many habitable planets there are, etc. The problem, of course, is that we really don't know what numbers to use to solve it... yet.

You can play with the equation itself at BBC Future.

You may ask yourself, then, could we ever see other alien civilizations? The answer is, unfortunately, no. Or at least, it would be very, very unlikely. The universe is simply too large.

How large? Well, light, which is the fastest thing that exists, needs to travel more than 5 hours just to get to Pluto. It takes only 8 minutes to reach Earth. (Again, you can check out another great visualization by Josh Worth to see just how large, and, well, empty, the Solar System really is).  

And that's just the Solar System. If you wanted to travel to the nearest star, Proxima Centauri, it would take you 4.22 years at the speed of light. It's 39,900,000,000,000 kilometres away! 

Friday, October 16, 2015

The lady that never left.

Eleanor Murray has lived in the same building in New York since she was born.

Watch her video interview at  the New York Times and find the answers to the following questions:

1. When was she born?
2. What are the three things that made her stay?
3. What's her personality like, according to her?

Friday, September 25, 2015

The amazing Malala

Malala Yousafzai's story is anything but conventional. When she was only 11, in 2009, she started writing a blog in her own language, Urdu, explaining to people what life under the Taliban was like. She defended the right of children, especially girls, to receive an education. The blog was translated into English and it became so popular that the Taliban felt threatened by it. Three years later, in 2012, a gunman shot her in the head. Two of her friends were shot, too. She had to go through many operations in her country, Pakistan, and later in the UK. She moved there to continue her recovery and study.

2013 was a very active year for her. She made a speech at headquarters of the United Nations in New York. She spoke vehemently of the power of educating girls and women and against intolerance and extremism. She was also nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and she published her story in a book.

Finally, in 2014, Yousafazi won  the Nobel Peace Prize. However, all of this activity never stopped her from studying. She has just finished her A Level exams with excellent grades, and now she's planning to go to the university at Oxford or Stanford.   

You can watch her speech at the UN here (Spanish subtitles).

You can also read more about her story and do some exercises at Guardian News Lessons. 

News resources for intermediate students (update)

These are some of the resources for reading news that you can use if you are at an intermediate level (I will update this  if I find more) Monthly topical news lessons from The Guardian.  These are reading exercises based on news adapted from the UK newspaper The Guardian. They have three different levels: elementary (B1), intermediat e (B2), and upper intermediate (C1). There are teacher's notes and answers.

[Inside Out e-lessons used to offer reading e-lessons  which were often based on current news as well. The level was different every week. You can still find them in the archive, with teacher notes, answers and a glossary. These days they are publishing video lessons on everyday topics, which are also great but not about current news.]

Despite the old-fashioned design, has very complete lessons based on current events, complete with an MP3 file that you can use for listening practice.

BBC Learning English is also nice for current topics, particularly the section called 6 minute English. In this section you can find downloadable podcasts with transcripts and solutions on many different issues. 

There are three apps you can use if you want to listen to international radio online. The first one is Podcast Addict , which allows you to subscribe and listen to many different podcasts in many languages. You have the option of downloading them so you can listen to them offline. On the other hand,  gives you a wide variety of online radio stations from many different countries to listen to. Be careful because there is no offline option, so make sure you have a Wi-Fi connection if you want to save data.

Finally, you can listen to the BBC via BBC Media Player . There is no offline option but the programmes there are really useful. You can also download podcasts to listen to offline at BBC podcasts.

That's all for now! Again, I'll update this if I find more info.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Scottish independence referendum 2014 explained

It's been a year since Scotland voted "No" in its referendum for independence. This weekend we'll have elections in Catalonia that could lead to a similar referendum, so we are discussing these issues in our Second Year of Bachillerato.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Atlantic slave trade

The Atlantic slave trade was one of the worst events in human history. Slavers forced millions of people to leave their homes in Africa in order to grow crops in plantations all over America. This video gives a short summary of what happened.


 The video has subtitles in English, Spanish and other languages if you want to use them. There are also some comprehension questions and extra information if you follow this link

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The wisdom of the universe

The School of Life YouTube channel is a fantastic place for older students to go to for fun, insightful videos about philosophy, culture and life. They are subtitled and not very long.
Go check them out!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Conditional sentences: recap.

Here are the three types of conditional sentences together.

Make sure you also visit British Council LearnEnglish Teens to check some extra explanations and exercises. You can also find plenty of exercises on all three conditionals at

Monday, April 27, 2015

Comparative and superlative adjectives

 Make sure you also visit the British Council section on Comparative and superlative adjectives . You can also do some exercises at

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Learning to cook with Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver is a well-known British cook.  He started working as a cook at an Italian restaurant. In 1999, when he was 20 years old, he started a program with the BBC called “The Naked Chef”. He’s become very popular because he is young, funny and cooks recipes that are healthy and easy to make. In two of his shows he also made recipes that took 30 or even 15 minutes to prepare.

In 2005 he started a campaign to improve the quality of Britain’s school meals. He convinced the British Government to spend £280m on school dinners. In 2011 he filmed “Jamie’s Dream School”, where he tried to help students with problems achieve their dreams. He also conceived and established the “Fifteen” charity restaurant, where young people with problems can learn how to work in the hospitality industry. After the first restaurant in London, more “Fifteens” have opened around the world, in Britain, the Netherlands and Australia.

In this video we can see how to cook a tasty roast chicken and pasta.

Find the answers to these questions. (There are English subtitles if you need them):

a) How long does it take to cook the chicken? How about the pasta?

b) How many ingredients does the recipe need? What are they?

c) At what temperature does he roast the chicken?

How to use the past continuous

This one is courtesy of
IES Rosario Acuña

Past Continuous Form And Use from IES Rosario de Acuña

Please remember you can find a lot of exercises to practice this form at

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Your life on Earth

Have you ever wondered how old you would be in Saturn? How many kilometers have you travelled around the Milky Way? Or how many times has your heart beaten since you were born? This BBC website gives you a lot of interesting information about your place universe. I'm sure a lot of the facts will surprise you!!

You can also test how much you know about Planet Earth doing this quiz About the Earth | British Councing LearnEnglish Teens

Sunday, January 11, 2015

The past simple

A short presentation of the basic form of the past simple.