Intensive Advanced 2

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Advanced 1. How To Sleep Better?

Click here.

51 sheep, 52 sheep, 53 sheep. Oh. Why am I still awake? Oh, well, listen to me. 3 am. We’ve all been there. Getting quality sleep is easier said than done. So today we’re gonna show you how sleep is tied to your physical and mental health. We’re also gonna show you easy ways to get that refreshing sleep that you need.
We all know that we feel groggy and slow and when we don’t get enough sleep. But that’s not the only effect lack of sleep has on our bodies. In our episode on sleeping creativity we told you that not getting enough sleep over an extended period of time can lead to high blood pressure, which can also lead to heart attacks and aneurysms, but it’s not always easy to try to get that good quality sleep. Some nights you stay awake worrying about that presentation you have to give first thing in the morning and some nights you just can’t get comfortable, and then other nights you fall asleep just fine. But then you wake up every 15 minutes worrying that you’re gonna miss the bus. All right. There’s no one way to guarantee that you’re gonna get awesome slee,p but we do have 5 easy tips and tricks to help you on the path towards good sleep hygiene.
Step 1: Develop a relaxing bedtime ritual. When you think about it, we all learned to sleep by routine. When we were all really little, our parents gave us baths, read us books, tucked us in, got us that extra glass of water… all in the name of good sleep.
Now that you’re older, you’re gonna have to develp a routine of your own, whether it’s a cup of decaf tea and a chapter from a book or a bath in 15 minutes and then yoga. Of course, there are some activities that should be kept out of a bedtime ritual: Don’t drink alcohol before bed. It might help you fall asleep but chances are you’ll wake up in the middle of the night. Don’t exercise two hours before bedtime. Sure, it gets your blood flowing but it’ll end you up mentally.
Step 3: Maintain a regular sleep and wake schedule. Now, you don’t have to wake up at exactly 7.02 and go to bed at 10.53 every night. That’s a bit on the neurotic side but do try to wake up and go to bed at generally the same time 6 days a week. According to doctors at Harvard University, this will help set your internal clock so that even on those rare days when your schedule is thrown off, you’ll be able to get right back on track and avoid what doctors call a sleep hangover.
Step 3: Stop watching your clock. Studies show that people who constantly look at their clock are less likely to fall asleep easily. Why? Well, when you’re thinking “oh, it’s 11.03. I have to be up in 6 hours and 57 minutes”, stresses you out, so try to keep some distance between you and the alarm clock. That way those blinking numbers will quit mocking you and you’ll sleep easier.
Step 4: Create an optimal sleep environment. A major clinic study found that people sleep best in dark quiet cool environments with all the benefits of sleep. It’s worth investing in black out blinds, comfortable earplugs and a fair air-conditioning. The more comfortable you are physically, the better you sleep.
Step 5: Unplug. Make your bedroom a tech free zone. I know. But research shows that electronics interfere sleep because it’s easy to get distracted by them. Checking your email right before bed could add more stress, watching TV or movies makes it hard to sleep and getting sucked into, say, Pintrest, before bed? That’ll keep you up for hours. Oh, I like that, I like that too, oh that’s pretty.

Let’s recap. Today we learnt a few more reasons why you need good sleep. We also taught you five simple ways to help you improve your sleep health. Next time you start tossing and turning, try to develop a ritual. Maintain a schedule, stop clock watching, trick your bedroom out or unplug. It could help. From all of us here at Wellcast, sweet dreams!

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Advanced 1. Early Birds vs Night Owls.

Click here. Fill in the gaps with one or two words (select the blanks to see the answers).

You may have heard the saying “the early bird gets the worm”, but when it comes to humans, do morning people really have an advantage over night owls? Does one come out on top as more intelligent or successful than the other in this battle over bedtime?
The somewhat surprising truth is that we have little say in sleep preference as it’s almost entirely genetically predetermined. Chances are if you’re a night owl it was slightly passed down from an ancestor who was also a night owl, and from an evolutionary perspective, it makes sense. Having individuals with varying sleeping patterns would allow for better protection of a group throughout the day and night. Instead of everybody sleeping at one time, some people naturally stay up later and some wake up earlier aware of threats or predators while others sleep.
But considering most modern societal activities happen between 9 am and 5 pm, it may seem clear that night owls are put at a disadvantage. And researchers have actually coined the term “social jet lag” to describe the sleep deprivation many experience to accommodate social norms. For night owls, this social jet lag feels like living in a different time zone every single day. Considering chronic sleep deprivation has a direct effect on brain functioning, it’s no surprise that studies report night owl university students have lower overall grades. Not to mention early birds tend to display more positive social traits such as being proactive and optimistic, and are less prone to depression or addictions to nicotine, alcohol and food. And we can see these traits represented physically in the brain, particularly the white matter which helps neurons communicate. Night owls exhibit significantly less white matter and, as a result, there are fewer pathways for feel-good hormones such as serotonin or dopamine to travel through.
But it’s not all bad for the late nighters. In fact, they tend to be much more creative, have been found to have higher cognitive abilities, and are known to be risk takers. What they lack in white matter, they make up in cortisol levels. This stress hormone gets your body ready to face an immediate threat, contributing to their risk-taking behavior, which studies show can translate into opportunities and potentially much more financial gain. Furthermore, even though morning people can be very energetic right after waking, they tend to lose steam faster that night owls throughout the day. Both sides perform equally well in reaction-time tests an hour after waking, but after 10 hours of being awake, night owls perform significantly better.
Your inner clock is regulated by many proteins which are created from various genes in your DNA. Studies have even shown that a single change of the genetic code, near a gene called Period 1, can result in an hour difference in your waking time.
As crazy as it seems, scientists also found a correlation between these same genes and your time of death. The early risers were more likely to die around 11am, while the night owls were more likely to die before 6pm.
What about teenagers, you say? It’s true, most tend to be night owls due to the hormonal changes during puberty, but this tends to wane out into your genetic default as you enter adulthood.

So while there may be some truth to early birds getting the worm, night owls aren’t exactly lagging behind in life… they’re just lagging behind in time!

Advanced 1. The Scientific Power of Music.

Click here. Listen to the recording and fill in the gaps with one word (select to see the answers)

Whether it’s Mozart, Joni Mitchell, Adele or newcomers like Frank Ocean, music is powerful and has existed in all cultures throughout history. But why do humans find music so addictive and pleasurable? At its core, music is the combination of audio frequencies and intricate patterns floating through the air and clashing together in your ear. Much like our eyes process light, your ears process waves of sound and trigger a state of excitement and sometimes pleasure in your brain.
Humans experience pleasure from many stimulants such as food, sex and drugs. But because many of these stimulants are necessary for human survival, the body has created a system in which it rewards you for achieving them. What’s really happening is the release of a neurotransmitter in the brain called dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical responsible for making you feel good. When dopamine is released following a reward such as a delicious meal or winning the lottery, the neurotransmitter causes a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction.
Drugs such as cocaine, take advantage of this pathway by increasing the amount of dopamine, or rather, preventing its removal, causing continual stimulation of your neurons, which creates intense moments of pleasure.
Music has the ability to create a state of arousal causing pupils to dilate, blood pressure to rise, and the brain to fire in auditory, movement and emotional regions. And even though music does not have a direct survival benefit, this emotional reaction causes a release of the feel good chemical dopamine.
Though the exact evolutionary reasoning is unclear, the amazing fact remains: music chemically alters our body and makes us feel great. And in the same way that a drug induced dopamine surge leaves you craving more, music becomes addictive. The dopamine tells your body it was rewarded and creates the desire to seek out more. Even though music enjoyment is entirely subjective and intertwined with cultural and personal experience, the chemical effects remain consistent amongst the human race, a perfectly natural drug of happiness.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Christmas. Online Advent Calendars.

Would you like to know more things about how Xmas is celebrated all over the world? Well, you can use this interactive advent calendar and find out more about other people's traditions. Click here and enjoy!
You can also try to answer the questions you can find here


Friday, November 27, 2015

Buy Nothing Day. Newspaper article.

"Buy Nothing Day" is organized intentionally as a counter-act to "Black Friday". Originally organized in Vancouver in 1992, Buy Nothing Day is celebrated on Saturday. Occasional discussion has pointed out that, because of the anti-action of the event, it is very easy for people who are avoiding shopping on this day to observe the protest. However, there are also many other people who decide to take a stand and go one step further. 
In this article you can read the story of a woman who, inspired by the Buy-Nothing-Day movement, intends to live 12 months on a very tight budget. As a matter of fact, she is willing to spend money on nothing but bills and food. 
Read her story here and if you want, leave your comments below. Do you think she will succeed? Why/not?
Watch the following video if you want to find out more about Buy Nothing Day. Click here

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving.

Click here, watch the videos and learn more about the first Thanksgiving (if you click on CC, you can watch the videos with subtitles).

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween: Spooky travel destinations in the USA

Halloween in here again. In this video, the reporter takes us to one of the spookiest holiday destinations in the USA. Now, watch the video (if you dare) and try the quiz. Click here
(Special thanks to Lydia Sanjuán at EOI Coruña),

Halloween in the USA

Click here and watch the video, then answer the quiz questions.

Halloween!!!

Have a look at these pumpkin carvings!Click here.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Irregular verbs (pronunciation)

I know how hard it is to learn the list of irregular verbs, but here you will find some videos of commonly used irregular forms, so you can practice pronunciation while memorizing the verbs. I hope you find the links useful!!!







Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Intermediate 2: Chicago, the windy city.

Click here. Listen to the recording and fill in the blanks with one word (select to see the solutions).

Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. Some of the things it is famous for are pizza, gangsters and sports. This is the Wrigley Field, home to the Chicago Cubs, Chicago's oldest baseball team.
Many American people call Chicago the second city because for a hundred years it had the second biggest population in the country. It was smaller than New York, but until the 1980s it was bigger than every other American city. Today Chicago is a very popular tourist destination. Every year over 30 million people visit the city. They go to the Millennium Park, the newest park in Chicago They walk along the shore of Lake Michigan, the second largest of the five Great Lakes and they admire the view from the top of the Willis Tower. The Willis Tower used to be called the Sears Tower and for 25 years it was the tallest building in the world. In 1969 Sears Roebuck and Company, the largest department store chain in the world at the time, built the tower to use its office blocks. 
Today the skyscraper is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. It is still the tallest skyscraper in the US, but it isn't as tall as the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, or the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Chicago's other famous nickname is the Windy City. People say that it is windier than other major cities but weather experts disagree. In fact, scientists predict that Chicago will have a very different climate in the future. They say that it won't be as cold and windy as it is now but will be warmer and wetter
This will mean many changes but Chicago is further ahead than most other cities in its preparations for climate change. The city is constructing new environmentally friendly buildings, planning more parks and green areas and placing big hedges alongside the city's pathways. Chicago is also investing in new roads and car parks for electric cars.
Chicago is a changing city. The windy city's famous climate is going to become much warmer. Chicago will be a hotter more tropical place than it is today. This will cause problems but at the moment America's second city is one of the first places to properly deal with pollution and climate change. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

The British General Election

Here is a guide explaining the British general election for people who are not familiar with the political system in the UK. Click here and enjoy!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Education

Watch this video about schools in Great Britain. Click here.
And now learn more about education in the USA. Click here.
Click here if you want to read about the difference between a college and a university.

Basic 2. Clothes

Listen to the conversation and choose the best answer. Click here.
Glossary:
Pants (USA) = trousers (UK)
To rain cats and dogs: llover a cántaros
Might: podría
Tuxedo: esmoquin

Basic 2. Listening comprehension. Shopping and prices

Listen to the recording and choose a, b or c. Click here.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Intermediate 2. Modal verbs. Translation

As we've been studying the different modal verbs, I thought it would be a good idea to translate the following sentences. You can download both the exercise and the key here.

Basic 2. Listening comprehension. On the phone.

Listen and do the exercises. Click here
and here 
and here
and here
and also here (listen to parts of telephone conversations and choose the best response for each)
And now for a more difficult task... Click here.


Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Basic 2. Present simple / present continuous

Click here and do the exercises.

Intermediate 2. Listening comprehension. Health in Britain.

In this video you'll hear a woman talking about health in Great Britain. Listen carefully and fill in the blanks with ONE, TWO or THREE words (select the blank spaces to see the right answer).

Click here

Transcript:
In Britain today people are putting time, money and energy into keeping well and keeping fit. Health care is important, so is diet and so is fitness.
If you're ill in Britain, you go to see your GP. A GP is a general practitioner, or family doctor. There are over 36,000 GPs in Britain, and about a third of them are women. Each GP has nearly 2,000 patients. If you need medicine, your GP will write a prescription for you to take to a chemist's or pharmacy. You don't have to pay to see your doctor, but you'll probably have to pay part of the cost of your medicine, unless you belong to one of the groups of people who get their medicine free; for example, you're a student or over sixty or expecting a baby. Chemists prepare about 505 million prescriptions a year.
If you need to see a specialist doctor or have medical tests or an operation, your doctor will send you to a hospital like this. This is the John Radcliffe hospital in Oxford.
In Britain most doctors and hospitals are part of the NHS, the National Health Service. All NHS hospital treatment and operations are free. In fact, the NHS provides free medical care, for everyone in Britain from the very young to the very old.
When the NHS started in 1948 it provided free visits to doctors and dentists, free treatment, free prescriptions, free eye tests and free glasses but today many people have to pay for prescriptions for eye tests and glasses and for trips to the dentist.
Britain has one of the highest levels of heart disease in the Western world. It also has a very high level of cancer. Nearly a million people work in the National Health Service in Britain and it costs almost forty billion pounds a year. It's a lot of money, and there are still problems. People sometimes have to wait a long time before they can see a specialist or have an operation. 
Because of this, many people see private doctors and use other kinds of treatment or alternative medicine like reflexology , homeopathy and acupuncture. It really doesn't hurt at all. In fact, there are more alternative medical practitioners in Britain than NHS doctors.
Medicine helps people get better. Diet helps them stay healthy. If you eat well, you'll probalby have a longer and healthier life. Nowadays, British people eat less red meat and more fresh fruit and vegetables than in the past. 
New medicines and better diet have raised life expectancy. On average, British men live to the age of 74, British women to 79. Many people live longer than that. In 1952 only 271 people reached the age of 100. Nowadays, the total is about 3,000 a year. I hope to see you on my 100th birthday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Intermediate 2. Films. Vocabulary: How to talk about movies.

Watch the video and practice. Click here.
Read the text and do the exercises. Click here.

Basic 2. Descriptions.

If you need extra practice, click here and here.

Basic 2. Descriptions.

First, revise the vocabulary with the help of this video. Click here.
Now, watch this video and answer the questions on the right side of the screen. Click here.
Finally, click here and you'll watch the same video again, but this time with subtitles.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Intermediate 2. Relationships: Speed dating.

Have you ever heard of speed dating? It is a dating system that allows men and women to meet new people. Participants are rotated to meet each other over a series or 3-8 minute dates. At the end of each interval, a bell rings and each participant is encouraged to move on to the next date. At the end of the event, each participant submits to the organizers a list of the candidates they would like to date again. If there is a match, the organizers of the event will forward contact information to both participants.
Now watch this video on speed dating and answer the questions. I know it is a bit difficult, but you can check the tapescript on the right. Click here

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Intermediate 2. Health.

Do you remember the names of the parts of the body? Click here if you need extra practice.
Now, check the vocabulary on this page and do the activities (health problems). Click here.
Have a look at this page and do the activities. Click here (click here to read the dialogue).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Basic 2. The House

Click here for extra practice on "the house". This lesson includes a lot of activities (reading, listening...), just click on "next" at the bottom of each page to see the different exercises. I hope you find them useful.

Glossary of terms:
"Stove" is a synonym for "cooker" (see unit 7B in your student's book)
"Sink" is a synonym for "washbasin" (see unit 7B in your student's book)

Monday, March 9, 2015

Basic 2: Homes and bedrooms

I hope this interactive book helps you to practice the vocabulary we studied in class. Listen and do the activities. Click here.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Intermediate 2. Reported Speech.

Report what these people said.
Statements: Click here.
Questions: Click here.
Commands: Click here.
Revise the conversion of time expressions in Reported Speech. Click here.

Basic 2: Prepositions of place and directions.

Do you know the difference between "opposite" and "in front of"? Do you know how to give directions? Well, if you need more practice, here you will find some extra activities. Click here, here and here.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

Intermediate 2. Listening comprehension: Saving for the Future

Listen to these people talking about how they plan to save money for their retirement. Click here and answer the questions on the right (Comprehension Quiz).

Monday, February 9, 2015

Basic 2. A funny interview

Some time ago Ricky Martin, the famous pop star, was interviewed at a TV programme by comedian Rosie O'Donnell. Click here and watch the video.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Intermediate 2. Tips to prepare for a job interview

Watch the video and then say whether the following statements are true or false.

http://video.about.com/jobsearch/Preparing-for-a-Job-Interview.htm

STATEMENTS:
1. Always wear a dark suit.
2. A good manicure is important to your appearance.
3. Some professional sites may help you find information about the job you are applying for.
4. You should get to the interview on time.
5. Print several copies of your CV.
6. Ask a friend to help you write a list of questions that you will probably ask the interviewer.

KEY (select to see the answers)
1. False
2. True
3. True
4. False
5. True
6. False

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Monday, January 19, 2015

Basic Level. What's the weather like?

What's the weather like?Watch the video (click here), then do the activities and practice.
Click here.
Click here.
The weather and the seasons. Click here.
Click here.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Basic Level. Past actions.

Listen to the recordings and fill in the gaps with the past tense form of the verbs in the box.
What I did yesterday: Click here.
What I did last weekend: Click here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Intermediate 2: The best job in the world.

Some years ago, a small Australian island offered what many people would define as the best job in the world. Click here, watch the video and enjoy. Do you think you could live like this? Now listen again and fill in the blanks (select the text to see the answers).

The best job in the world.
-          Depressed about the global economy, unemployed, or just looking for adventure? Well, then look no further because a tiny Australian island is offering a dream job advertising globally to find the right person.
-          Australian tourism officials are looking for a caretaker for the islands of the Great Barrier Reef.
-          This really is the best job in the world. It is a six-month contract where you live in this beautiful luxury house –it’s probably a four or five million dollar house, right on the edge of Hamilton Island looking out on the Pacific. We will pay you 150,000 Australian dollars, which is roughly 75,000 euro for the six-month contract, and your job, in a nutshell, is to travel throughout the islands of the Great Barrier Reef experiencing everything that the islands have to offer.
-          The caretaker will spend six months visiting Hamilton Island, promoting tourism through a video blog. Duties include feeding ocean fish, cleaning a pool and collecting deliveries of mail that arrive by plane. But the employee is also required to go scuba-diving, snorkeling and hiking and to enjoy at least 25 nearby island resorts. No skills or experience are required for the job that starts in July and there’s no age requirement.
Queensland created the job as an antidote to the global economic slump and is advertising in 18 countries including the United States and China.
-          Oh, I suspect the biggest catch is gonna be trying to get rid of them after six months. I suspect somebody will wanna stay forever. It’s obviously a bit of fun but there’s a serious side to it.  I think we are all in the tourism industry in for a very difficult twelve months ahead, not just in Australia but worldwide the tourism industry is in for a difficult time. Our role is to try and help our industry overcome the difficulties of the next twelve months, to protect jobs…
-          Applicants must submit a one-minute video expressing, interest in the Great Barrier Reef, a vast coral reef system that is classed as one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The campaign has already drawn more than 200 visitors through its website. Applications are open until the end of February.