21 December 2016


It's a time of celebration, but Christmas day with the family can be nerve-wracking and depressing. We offer some tips on how to cope.

Visiting the extended family for the holidays? Here’s how to keep your sanity in the face of all that good cheer.

How to avoid family arguments at Christmas. Watch this video:

How to behave at the office Christmas party:
And finally an article from THE GUARDIAN


A little history lesson

Hogmanay is Scottish New Year, a celebration providing a unique combination of both traditional and modern customs.
The exact origins of Hogmanay are unknown, but it is thought that it was introduced in the 8th or 9th century by invading Vikings. The Vikings originated from further north, so it is possible that they paid more attention to celebrating the winter solstice than to Christmas. The shortest day was a good reason for them to have a party. For nearly 400 years, from the 17th Century until the 1950’s, Christmas wasn’t celebrated at all in Scotland. Christmas day therefore was just a normal working day and the big celebrations were saved for winter solstice holiday, which became Hogmanay.
There is a lot of debate over the origins of the word “Hogmanay”. Some linguists say it comes from the Scandinavian word “Hoggo-nott”, which was the name of the feast before the mid-winter Yule festival. Other people believe it might originate in the Gaelic, Anglo-Saxon, French, or Spanish languages, to name but a few!

Weird and wonderful traditions

Nowadays Hogmanay mixes traditions of the past with modern day celebrations. Things start with a custom called “Redding”. This tradition means cleaning the house before the bells at midnight so that you have a clean house to welcome in the New Year and make a fresh start. All debts from the previous year should also be paid back. In the past, it was also important to clean ashes from the fires, to make space for the new fires of the New Year. People also burned juniper in the house to remove any negative spirits from throughout the year.
Another Scottish custom to survive is that of “First Footing”. The “first foot” is the first person to visit your house just after midnight to celebrate the New Year and the person who brings you good luck for the New Year. In the past the “first foot” used to bring a traditional gift of a piece of coal, but nowadays people tend to bring something to eat or drink. It’s bad luck to visit empty-handed, and tradition says that it’s lucky for the first foot to be a dark haired male!

Party time!

Nowadays the modern Hogmanay celebrations include all-night street parties in the cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with big crowds, live music, parades and fireworks. Some people wear traditional highland dress such as kilts – a tartan skirt worn by men. You can also find bagpipers and highland dancing. At midnight it is customary to sing “Auld Lang Syne” whilst dancing in a circle. This song is based on old Scottish songs and poems adapted by the poet Robert Burns. The phrase “Auld Lang Syne” means “time gone by” and is a way to say goodbye to the old year and welcome in the new one.
Maybe one of the best things about Hogmanay is that it is so important in Scotland that both the 1st and the 2nd of January are public holidays! (In England only the 1st January is a holiday).
If you ever get a chance to welcome in the New Year in Scotland make sure you take it!

People sing Auld Lang Syne at midnight on December 31, but what are the lyrics? Most people don't know that it is a Scottish poem written in 1788 by Robert Burns and later set to the music of a folk song. 


In most countries, Christmas begins and ends on 25th December. But in England and other Commonwealth nations, the good times roll on into the next day, known as Boxing Day. Writer Cat Allen shares some traditions and memories from her childhoodCLICK HERE TO READ AND LISTEN TO THIS ARTICLE.

20 December 2016


Write a story (200 words approx.) following the guidelines on page 35 of your student's book,. Choose one of the following titles. Write your story in the comments section below.

  • The luckiest day of my life
  • A day when everything went wrong
  • The most frightening day of my life
  • A day I'll never forget

19 December 2016

People will live on Mars and never come back

More than 100,000 people are eager to make themselves at home on another planet. They've applied for a one-way trip to Mars, hoping to be chosen to spend the rest of their lives on uncharted territory, according to an organization planning the manned missions.
There were 200,000 people who applied to participate in the project called Mars One. It's a private enterprise to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars and film a reality show along the way. "Mars One Way" documents the thoughts and theories of Five hopeful Mars One astronauts as they contemplate the reality of leaving planet Earth forever, for a new home on Mars.
I'd like to thank Sara for recommending this video.

The Mars One mission is a one-way ticket to the Red Planet. It’s scheduled for 2023, when the first group of 4 men and women will land on Mars. There, they’re expected to collect data, plant oxygen-producing vegetation and prepare the planet for human colonization. Despite the obvious dangers of this enterprise, over 200,000 people from around the world have applied.
Watch this video about ANGEL, a Spanish Candidate


Which of these people is the most heroic? Say why.
1 A climber who reaches the top of Mt Everest without oxygen.
2 A nurse who has never had a day off sick in 25 years.
3 A businessperson who has created thousands of jobs.

Can you think of a self-made man or woman you feel admiration for?
Who would you say are some of your heroes or heroines? Why do you admire them?
What is the difference between a celebrity and an icon?
Which modern icons do you admire?
Can you think of an unsung hero you know? What are they like?
Can you think of a hero you used to admire but who had feet of clay?
What fallen idols can you think of? What happened to them?
What folk heroes are there in your country? 
Who are some of your country’s national heroines? 
Do you think their heroic status is justified?

Have you ever had a moment of glory?

What characteristics do you think a modern-day hero should have? Choose from the list below or add your own ideas.
have a sense of humour
avoid conflict 
be open to bribery
be compassionate 
give up easily 
be resilient
be courageous 
be truthful 
show humility

Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian teen, crossed the finish line of a round-the-world journey in her pink yacht after seven months at sea. She has become the youngest sailor to circle the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted. Thousands of spectators erupted into cheers as Jessica sailed into Sydney Harbour, the finale to an epic adventure in which she battled 12-metre waves, homesickness and critics who said she'd never make it home alive. "She said she'd sail around the world, and she has," a tearful Julie Watson said as she watched her grinning daughter cruise past the finish line from a nearby boat. "She's home." Jessica waved as she sailed past the finish line at the entrance to Sydney Harbour in Sydney, Australia. She gasped, laughed and waved her arms frantically as she caught sight of her parents when they pulled alongside her 10-metre yacht, Ella's Pink Lady. The teen was set to touch land for the first time in 210 days by docking at the city's iconic Opera House, where she was to be greeted by throngs of fans, the Prime Minister and her family.
Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com 

14 December 2016


A video explaining this structure:
TO REFURBISH means to renovate and redecorate a building.


12 December 2016


For And Against Essays Guide from monira21
Choose one of the following topics and write your composition. (200 words approx.)

  • The internet as a reliable source of news and information.
  • Credit cards can be a blessing and a curse.
  • Damage to the environment is an inevitable consequence of worldwide improvements in the standard of living. Discuss.
  • Most study-abroad programs should be renamed "party abroad": they are a waste of time and money.
  • The media should not investigate the private life of the Royal Family.


  • Would you rather live in your home country or live abroad?
  • Would you rather be smart or beautiful / handsome?
  • Would you rather be poor and happy or rich and unhappy?
  • Would you rather marry someone plain with a good personality or someone beautiful without much personality?
  • If war broke out in your country would you rather flee the country or fight?
  • Would you rather be rich or famous?
  • If you had to lose one of your senses(sight, smell, hearing, touch, taste) which would you rather lose?
  • Would you rather marry a rich celebrity or a rich CEO?
  • Would you rather have a brand new Mac or PC?
  • Would you rather take a trip to a new country or get a new TV?

  • If you could be another person for a day, who would you be?
  • If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
  • If you could meet any famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
  • If you could solve the problem of hunger in the third world or repair the ozone, which would you do?
  • If you could go back to any moment in history, where would you go?
  • If you were given a choice between being given great wisdom or great wealth, which would you choose?
Here's a talk that could literally change your life. Which career should I pursue? Should I break up — or get married?! Where should I live? Big decisions like these can be agonizingly difficult. But that's because we think about them the wrong way, says philosopher Ruth Chang. She offers a powerful new framework for shaping who we truly are.


5 December 2016

Good Morning America - Toning Shoe Lawsuit

0. A lawsuit claims that the Shape-Ups can cause _________________
1. The Shape-Ups are easily identified due to their ____________.

2. The toning shoes are the ___________ segment in the athletic shoe market.

3. According to Holly Ward, the ________ of the shoes has injured her.

4. In their ads, the company claims that their shoes help you __________ and __________.

5. Ms. Ward wore the shoes during her _____________.

6. Ms. Ward had fractures in both hips, near where they meet the ____________.

7. She broke both of them without being in a/an ____________.

8. It is agreed that the Shape-Ups _________________.

9. Ms. Ward’s lawyer thinks the shoes are dangerous and  the company should have made sure they _______________.

10. Most orthopedists are ____________ about the shoes alone causing fractures.

11. According to some doctors, the shoes have also caused ____________ because people lost their balance.

0. A lawsuit claims that the Shape-Ups can cause _________________
1. The Shape-Ups are easily identified due to their ____________.
2. The toning shoes are the ___________ segment in the athletic shoe market.
3. According to Holly Ward, the ________ of the shoes has injured her.
4. In their ads, the company claims that their shoes help you __________ and __________.
5. Ms. Ward wore the shoes during her _____________.
6. Ms. Ward had fractures in both hips, near where they meet the ____________.
7. She broke both of them without being in a/an ____________.
8. It is agreed that the Shape-Ups _________________.
9. Ms. Ward’s lawyer thinks the shoes are dangerous and the company should have made sure they _______________.
10. Most orthopedists are ____________ about the shoes alone causing fractures.
11. According to some doctors, the shoes have also caused ____________ because people lost their balance.


Are you good at persuading people?
How easy is it to persuade you to do things?
Do you ever change your mind once you have decided (not) to do something?
Talk about a time when you managed/didn't manage to persuade someone to do something.

What do you think are common influences which persuade people to do things? Choose your top three from this list.
-the media 
-friends / peer pressure 
-feeling guilty about something
-feeling sorry for someone 
-passion and conviction 
-convincing arguments

Which of the following do you have strong opinions about? Which do you have more of an open mind about?
-clothes and what to wear 
-ecological and green issues 
-gun control
-food and diet 
-gender roles
-the healthcare system 

How strongly do you think you are influenced by advertising? 
Can you think of powerful or effective ads?
Have you ever bought an item because you had seen an ad?
What campaigns do you remember where the government is/was trying to persuade citizens (not) to do something?
How effective are/were the campaigns?
What effect do sales people and shop assistants have on you when you want to buy something?

Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com 

28 November 2016


  • What are important numbers in your life? (vg. '2' the number of children you have)
  • Do you have a head for numbers?
  • Do you find maths fun and easy?
  • What do you use numbers for in your everyday life?
  • Do you know anyone who's hopeless/excels at numbers?
  • What do you remember about your maths teachers at school?
  • Why do you think maths is often unpopular as a school subject?
  • How would you make the subject more accessible and popular?
  • Have you got a lucky number and why is it lucky?
  • Do you agree with Benjamin Disraeli's idea that "There are three types of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics"?
Answer these questions which all have idiomatic expressions with numbers:
1 On what occasions do you go out dressed to the nines?
2 Do you often leave things to the eleventh hour, or do you prefer to be well-prepared?
3 Do you know anyone who only looks after number one? Describe them.
4 Do you really think life begins at 40?

Watch the video and answer the questions below:

1. How far away from London is Ludhiana?
2. What two pieces of equipment are used for students and tutors to communicate?
3. How much money do online tutors make in Ludhiana? 
4. How many students are there on the online class?
5. What is the main disadvantage of the programme, according to the teachers union representative?

Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com

21 November 2016


Brainstorm some of the sectors of the population who are badly in need of help and who could benefit from a helping hand.
Example: families who have been evicted from their home 
Discuss the organisations that are trying to help those groups.
ExampleStop desahucios is trying to help families who are evicted from their home.

How can individuals contribute in the above-mentioned organisations?
Do you know any volunteers who lend a helping hand in these organisations?
What does their job consist of?
Would you like to volunteer in one of these organisations?
Which one(s) do you find most appealing? 
What are the rewards of being a volunteer?
What are the disadvantages?
What are the government's duties and responsibilies?

Interaction: Choosing a charity to volunteer
Choose A or B, tell your partner about your charity and together decide which one you both would like to join.

A) Worldwide restoration
The aim of our organisation is to empower women and provide decent housing for families, not only in the USA, but in many other countries in the world. We work to train volunteers in building skills. Our primary goal is to teach women how to solve problems for themselves through training in practical areas, such as making cement or plumbing and dealing with general house repairs. However, men are also welcome! Our volunteers work together with homeowners to rebuild or restore deteriorated houses and give disadvantaged families a place to live. We welcome volunteers but also need donations to buy materials and support our training programmes.

B) City education project
The mission of our project is to improve conditions for children and teachers in slum areas in Bangladesh. If you volunteer with us, you may be asked to help renovate a classroom in an existing school, carry out repairs to roofs or windows or even help to build extra facilities for the school. Traditional materials and techniques are used, but you don’t need any special skills because you will be supervised by local builders and carpenters. However, you should be fit and healthy and ready to work in all weather! You will stay in the school where the project is taking place, but it won’t be like home. Take a mat to sleep on and remember there are no showers, just a bucket of water.

To illustrate the point you can watch this video of The Duchess of Cambridge on the charity Children's Hospice.
Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com

20 November 2016

Earliest New World Writing Discovered

  • What events brought the ancient stone from the quarry to the archeologists?
  • What details from the story suggest that the markings on the stone are writing and not art?
  • Why might some of the symbols on the stone be familiar to archaeologists?
  • Why do you think ancient writings such as these were connected to religion and ritual practices?
  • Why is it now important for researchers to find additional artifacts similar to the Olmec stone?

14 November 2016


  • Being good at school subjects like languages and maths is a sign of true intelligence.
  • How should parents and society treat very intelligent children?
  • Brains or beauty? Which brings greater success in life.
  • Which animals do you think of as being intelligent? What about birds and sea creatures?
Do you … ?
1 have to solve unexpected problems on a regular basis
2 think studying is a wise choice
3 regret not acting more wisely in a particular situation

Classify the statements into advantages and potential dangers of using technology, machines and robots. Add your own ideas.
  1. Machines can’t interpret feelings, so interaction is more dehumanised.
  2. We are too dependent on computers and technology, which is problematic if a machine breaks or crashes.
  3. Machines don’t make mistakes, people do.
  4. Workers are replaced by machines, which increases unemployment.
  5. People stop thinking about how to solve problems because machines can do it for them.
  6. Technology means more people have access to education, health care, etc.
  7. Artificial intelligence can benefit society in numerous ways but it must be controlled.
Watch this EuroNews video on gifted children: Being gifted has long been equated to being intelligent and having a high IQ. However, many scholars believe that students can also be gifted in the sense of having increased emotional or social intelligence. Being gifted can be a double-edged sword: smart students can get bored and frustrated if their classmates and teachers fail to engage with their special abilities.

Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com


How to be happy? That's the greatest question of all, in the sense that it is what motivates what we do on a daily basis. All the choices we make stem from a consideration, often unconscious, between which choices would make us probably the most happy.


Do you have any tips for being happy?
Leave your tip as a comment (80 words). Thanks. 

13 November 2016

Small Business Owners Face Pressures Of Minimum Wage Bumps In Big Cities

  • How will raising the minimum wage be helpful for workers? 
  • What are the effects of raising the minimum wage? 
  • What pressures do small business owners feel when the minimum wage increases? 
  • What is Edica Reese teaching her daughter about pay equity by bringing her to minimum wage rallies? 
  • Why do some critics think that raising the minimum wage will not improve income inequality?

12 November 2016


If you like reading, learning about the English-speaking world, watching videos and learning a lot of vocabulary... This is your magazine. 
You can sign up FOR FREE and receive an issue in your email every month. There are lots of articles about different topics. This month's issue is about New Zealand. Besides apart from reading, you can also listen to the article.
In the articles you'll see there are some words which are underlined. If you place the cursor on them you have the translation. To sign up you have to scroll down the page.
So, What are you waiting for?  Sing up now!    http://www.teatime-mag.com/es/ 

New Zealand’s geography and culture have helped the locals develop a language all their own. Native Helen Cordery helps us tell ourjandals from our gumboots with no worries.
Text by: Helen Cordery
Country: New Zealand
ew Zealand, despite its relatively young history, small population, and variety of influences, has a strong sense of identity and what it means to grow upKiwi’.
Straight off the bat we are born into a world where the sayings “no worries” and “she’ll be right” indicate an easy-going attitude that can be seen almost everywhere, from mothers giving birth then buying the weekly groceries just hours after, to children being sent to school barefoot and playing rugby in stubbies (short shorts) during winter. Here you are not bundled up and protected from the environment, but rather, you adapt to the land.
What do you call a man with no shin? Toe-Knee.
We kiwis pride ourselves on our relationship with nature, and perhaps this is one of the reasons why ‘Jaffas” (Aucklanders) are viewed with such derision away from the big smoke (city). Even the biggest cities, however, provide ample spaces to connect with nature.   READ MORE...

9 November 2016


There are 12 zodiac signs, and each sign has its own strengths and weaknesses, its own specific traits, desires and attitude towards life and people. By analyzing the projection of the position of planets, and the Sun and the Moon on the Ecliptic at the moment of birth. Astrology can give us a glimpse of a person's basic characteristics, preferences, flaws and fears.
We made it simple for you to find out what your zodiac sign is, Its complete profile and it's compatibility with other zodiac signs. By selecting your sign from the detailed zodiac sign dates list you will discover everything on the character of your Sun sign, it's Horoscope, traits, profile, history, myth and love compatibility.
Each of the 12 horoscope signs belongs to one of the four elements – Air, Fire, Water and Earth. These elements represent an essential type of energy that acts in each of us. Astrology aims to help us focus these energies on the positive aspects and to gain a better understanding of our potential and our positive traits and deal with negative ones.
These four elements help describe the unique personality types associated with astrological signs. The four zodiac elements exhibit profound influence on basic character traits, emotions, behavior and thinking.

7 November 2016


How would you define “good manners”?
To what extent are good manners important?
Do you think our society in general is becoming less civil and more rude? Why or why not?
Do you remember an occasion when somebody was impolite to you?
Do you remember an occasion when you could have been more polite to someone else?
What examples of good manners do you think are most essential?
What examples of bad manners annoy you the most?  
    How do you feel about the following?:
    - Someone not saying please or thank you
    - Holding the door open for women
    - Someone picking their nose
    - Burping when eating or drinking
    - Boasting about money
    - Talking about your achievements  
    - Slapping someone on the back
    - Someone invading your personal space
    - Arriving late for a meeting or a date
    - Staring at people
    - Putting your elbows on the table when you eat
    - Not covering your mouth when yawning
    - Not giving your seat to an elderly person on public transport 
    - Staring at someone
    - Swearing 
    - Telling rude jokes
      What personal qualities do you think are the most and the least highly valued in your country?
      What eating habits do you consider unacceptable?
      What are your feelings about public displays of affection?
      Do you usually complain if you have a problem in a shop or a restaurant?
      Who do you habitually defer to: e.g. your parents, older people, your boss?
      Do you have a laid-back attitude to life or are you more uptight?

      To illustrate the point you can watch the Speakout video Behaviour, where a number of passers-by answer these questions:
      Give a recent example of when you experienced good or bad manners.
      Do you think our attitude to behaviour changes as we get older?
      What kind of behaviour in public places gets on your nerves?

      Thanks to mythatsenglish.blogspot.com