Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the USA on the 4th Thursday of November. It is a celebration in which families get together for a wonderful dinner that includes turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie and they give away presents and later watch the football on TV.
Image in

Related to other Harvest festivities, Thanksgiving  dates back to 1621 when the Mayflower pilgrims thanked God for helping them survive the harsh winter when many of them died of cold and famine. I suppose they also thanked the indians that taught them to grow corn and other vegetables.

It was Abraham Lincoln who, foreseeing the importance of a national day that could unite the country, decreed that it should be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November.

You will get more information in this video. - Thanksgiving Glitter Graphics

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Don't touch my junk!

Have you heard this expression recently and don't know what it means?

You have surely heard about the new scanners that are being installed at airports that show images of bodies in detail and are rightfully criticized by those who want to preserve some degree of privacy? Well, apparently, one of these people who opted out of the full body scan, called John Tyner, was reticent about  the pat-down search he had to undergo and he told the TSA* agent: "You touch my junk and I'm going to have you arrested.”

In the USA, the word “junk” is used colloquially to mean “things” or “stuff”. It is clear that in this case John was referring to his private parts, as these days they carry out body searches in a very thorough way, even probing up to the genital areas.

John recorded the whole search with his mobile phone and then he posted it to his personal blog. Since then, the phrase “Don't touch my junk” has become viral and even appears on T-shirts and magnets, representing for many people a cry against the oppression we are all going through in the name of security and freedom.

*TSA means Transportation Security Administration.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Prepositions of time: at, on, in.

With this presentation you will learn the use of at, in and on before time expressions. In the last slide there are some exercises that will help you check what you have learnt.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

An interview with Emma Watson

This week has seen the premier of the latest Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”, which is going to be the penultimate movie in the series. It is based in J. K. Rowling's last book, but the movie version has been divided in two parts and we won't be able to see the end of the story till 2011.
All the Potter books have been really successful and so have the films starred by Daniel Radcliff (Harry), Rupert Grint (Ron) and Emma Watson (Hermione). We can see the latter in a recent interview by Times journalist Radhika Jones, in which she answers some questions posed by young fans from all over the world.
After watching the interview you can do the listening comprehension exercise and see how well you have understood Emma.  

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day

You probably have seen many people wearing paper poppies on their lapels these days.
Photo: "Lest We Forget" 
The red poppy stands as a symbol of remembrance: by wearing it on our chests, close to our hearts, we remember those people that died at war. But, of all the flowers, why the poppy? Because it was the only plant that grew in the barren fields of northern France and Flanders after the great battles of the First Workd War, in which so many soldiers were massacred.

These poppies are mainly worn from the end of October up to Remembrance Sunday, which is the second Sunday in November, that is, the nearest one to Remembrance Day (November 11th).

Remembrance Day used to be called Armistice Day because it commemorates the signing of an armistice that put an end to the First World War. The date was declared a national holiday by many countries and today, not only the soldiers that died during that war are remembered, but also all those that lost their lives at any armed conflict.
Poppy wreath
On Remembrance Day, special services are held at war memorials and churches throughout most Commonwealth countries. In London, Queen Elizabeth II lays a wreath of poppies at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.
The Cenotaph at Whitehall, London

So many lives lost, so much blood spilled... what for? What is war good for?
Photos in FlickrCC

Friday, November 5, 2010

Past tenses

In English there are four past tenses:
  • Past simple:  I worked / you studied / we did (irregular form)
  • Past continuous:  I was working / You were studying / He was doing
  • Past perfect:  I had worked / you had studied / He had done 
  • Past perfect continuous: I had been working / you had been studying / We had been doing
The present perfect tense (I have worked) is not, strictly speaking, a past tense. It is a tense that relates the past and the present. We use it to express either actions that began in the past and continue up to the prensent (1), or finished actions that have some present importance (2). Examples:
  1. I've lived in San Pedro since 1990. (I came to San Pedro in 1990 and I still live here).
  2. I can't play football because I've broken my leg. (I broke my leg some time ago, but I use the present perfect because the result of this action has importance in the present).
With the following presentation you will learn the different uses of the past tenses.
Past tenses
View more presentations from IES.

Now you can check how much you have learnt with the following exercise.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The parts of the body

With this basic presentation you will learn the parts of the body. There are some exercises at the end to check how much you have learnt. Have fun!
Parts of the body

View more presentations from Inma Dominguez.
The following presentation can help you remember the words you have just learnt.
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