Top 9 board games to play with your kids in English

Christmas is around the corner! Are you still finishing your Christmas shopping? Do you need some cool ideas to finish your list?

Board Games are a ‘must’ in everyone’s homes. They are really fun and can be played by all members of the family (sometimes you will need to adapt them depending on the age of the little ones). A lot of board games are not only entertaining but also educational.

Just last week we started a debate about whether only talking in English to your kids is positive. If you want to play with them in English (even though you don’t speak to them in that language), check out these 9 board games to give to your kids for Christmas and take advantage of the opportunity to learn and practice English with them:

  1. BrainBox is a fast-paced game of concentration featuring a wide array of fun facts about different topics (depending on the theme you choose). You have 10 seconds to study a card before being asked a question from the back, chosen by the roll of the die.Brainbox
  2. Storycubes is a pocket-sized creative story generator, providing hours of imaginative play that reinforces artistic expression. It’s a not a competitive game, you simply have to throw the dice and make up a story starting with ‘Once upon a time…’Storycubs
  3. Ikonikus is a card game to learn about emotions. Each card represents an emotion and empathy is the key to success as you need to guess how each player feels.ikonikus
  4. Scrabble is a classic. Put letters together, build words, add up your points and play to win! You can add some extra rules e.g. being able to use a dictionary so you can increase your vocabulary bank.scrabble.jpg
  5. Scattergories is another typical board game you can play in English. Roll the letter die, flip the sand timer, and race against the clock to come up with answers to each category on the category list. You score points for writing down answers that no one else got. The more creative the answers, the more points you score!scatergories
  6. Pictionary is another classic. It’s a great game for kids and adults. You can only draw but the other players will have to look for the appropriate word (in English) to guess the right answer.pictionary
  7. Taboo. Surely you know it. In the Taboo game, you need to get your team to guess the secret word, but the obvious words you would use as clues are strictly off-limits. Even if you don’t have an excellent command of the language, you could still guess and win!taboo
  8. Word A round (in Spanish Palabrea) builds vocabulary and improves concentration. This card game is also perfect for travelling! You have to guess the word in the circle and have more cards than the other players.Word a round
  9. Guess who? (¿Quién es quién?) is the classic mystery face game that’s been around since the 1980s! There’s a mystery person on your opponent’s card. Can you find the matching face in the crowd and put into practice your ability to ask questions and use descriptive vocabulary?guess who

What about you? Do you have any other ideas? Please leave a comment or share your list with us!

English Daily Vitamin (November 2017)

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Hello!

Last month (November 2017) we looked at 4 different themes: Idioms for annoyance, expressions with having, animal idioms and ending a business email or letter.

If you missed a lesson, click on the relevant link below:

IDIOMS FOR ANNOYANCE

EXPRESSIONS WITH HAVING

ANIMAL IDIOMS

 ENDING A BUSINESS EMAIL OR LETTER

English Daily Vitamin (September – October 2017)

daily_vitamin_2016Hello!

This year, we are trying something new with the Daily Vitamin. Each week, we will have a different theme. All the lessons from the week will focus on that theme. We hope you like this change. If you missed a lesson, click on the relevant link below:

PHRASAL VERBS FOR THE OFFICE (September)
We began with Phrasal Verbs for the Office

BULATS READING PART 1 PRACTICE (September)
The BULATS exam (Business Language Testing Service) is to test your English in a business context, and many of the questions are excellent practice for English in work settings.

ADJECTIVES FOR A CV (September)
Both native English speakers and English learners often have problems writing a CV: it is very hard to describe ourselves without using boring or common language.

 SPOT THE ERROR (October)
Each day we are giving you a sentence in English and you must decide if the sentence is correct or not; if is it not correct, tell us what the mistake in the sentence is.

BEGINNING BUSINESS EMAILS OR LETTERS (October)
We are looking at Beginning Business Emails in English.

SYNONYMS FOR STRANGE (October)
We are looking at Synonyms for the Word Strange.

FCE READING AND USE OF ENGLISH PART I PRACTICE (October)
We are looking at some example questions from the Cambridge First Certificate Exam. All of these are sample questions from Part I of the Reading and Use of English module. If you are not preparing for the Cambridge FCE, this is still great vocabulary practice!

The Alphabet Game Summary

¿Habéis seguido el Alphabet Game de junio? Aquí tenéis todas las preguntas:

The Best Guidebooks for Travelling Abroad

I love to travel, and for me there is nothing more exciting than buying a new travel book before a trip. I spend hours reading the book and learning all about the new place: it’s an excellent way to get really excited for a trip and familiarize yourself with somewhere new! The following are some of the best guidebooks (and corresponding websites) for travelling abroad.

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  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest publisher of English-language travel and guide books in the world. The company is over 80 years old and is known as one of the authorities on travel writing and tips. Fodor’s guide books are excellent because they also provide a history of the region, suggestions for ‘free and cheap’ activities, activities for kids, and information on sporting events.
  • Online: The Fodor’s website has extensive information on travels throughout the world and includes trip itinerary suggestions, hotel discounts, cruises, and a forum where travellers can ask questions. Check it out! http://www.fodors.com/

 

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  • In print: Rather than focusing on entire countries, Time Out guides are focused more on specific cities that you are traveling to. The guidebooks are great resources for the city’s nightlife, foods and drinks, and entertainment. They’re also compact and easy to carry.
  • Online: Time Out’s website provides great lists of ‘101 Things to Do’ in many cities as well as ‘weekend guides’ for short trips. Read these lists here: http://www.timeout.com/city-guides/

 

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  • In print: Fodor’s is the largest English-language publishing company, but Lonely Planet earns the title of the world’s largest travel and guidebook publisher. Local writers create the content for Lonely Planet’s guidebooks, which are not only very informational, but also very well written articles that read more like travel stories.
  • Online: The Lonely Planet website provides information for bookings (insurance, hotels, car rentals, etc.). It also allows you to search for travel ideas using interesting categories, such as ‘Adventure travel’ or ‘Explore every day.‘ Lonely Planet has teamed up with GoPro to produce incredible videos that highlight destinations. See the world from all angles (and even underwater!) on their website. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/video

Print

  • In print: Frommer’s began in the 1950’s when Arthur Frommer published “Europe on $5 a Day.” Since then, the company has continued to publish guidebooks that are based on budgeting. Travelers who need specific information on the prices of hotels, restaurants, and attractions will enjoy the detailed pricing included in Frommer’s guidebooks.
  • Online: The Frommer’s website is an impressive compilation of articles, a forum, videos, and travel news. http://www.frommers.com/

 

Have you used an exceptionally useful guidebook on your travels?

Leave your suggestion in the comments!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality
http://sedimentality.com/ 

Highlights of the 2017 Cannes Film Festival

Are you a movie buff?* If so, you might be excited for the 2017 Cannes Film Festival! The international film festival, which is currently taking place in the French Riviera, is known as the best place to learn about the most exciting new movies from around the world.

If you are not familiar with Cannes, check out our article about this international film festival and its history before learning about this year’s celebration.

*movie buff = a person who likes movies

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70th Anniversary
This year is the 70th anniversary of the festival. The Jury for the main competition includes American actors Jessica Chastain and Will Smith, Chinese actress Fan Bingbing, French-Lebanese composer Gabriel Yared, and film directors Paolo Sorrentino (Italian), Maren Ade (German), Agnes Jaoui (French), and Park Chan-wook (South Korean). The Jury President is Spanish director and screenwriter Pedro Almodovar. The Jury will award films in many categories: check out our previous article for information regarding these main awards.

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Monica Belluci

A few other important names and faces of 2017 Cannes include Italian actress Monica Bellucci, who will be hosting the opening and closing ceremonies. The film Ismael’s Ghosts by Arnaud Desplechin was chosen as the film to open the festival and a beautiful photo of Italian actress Claudia Cardinale was chosen as the film’s official poster.

Golden Palm films
The most prestigious award for Cannes is the Golden Palm. The following films are competing for the award. Have you heard of any of them? Film lovers should check these works out: they are considered some of the best new movies of the year.

  • In the Fade (Aus dem Nichts) directed by Fatih Akin (Germany)
  • The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) directed by Noah Baumbach (USA)
  • Okja directed by Bong Joon-ho (South Korea and USA)
  • 120 Beats per Minute (120 battlements par minute) directed by Robin Campillo (France)
  • The Beguiled directed by Sofia Coppola (USA)
  • Rodin directed by Jacques Doillon (France, Belgium)
  • Happy End directed by Michael Haneke (France, Germany, Austria)
  • Wonderstruck directed by Todd Haynes (USA)
  • Redoubtable (Le Redoutable) directed by Michel Hazanavicius (France)
  • The Day After directed by Hong Sang-soo (South Korea)
  • Radiance directed by Naomi Kawase (Japan, France)
  • The Killing of a Sacred Deer directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (Ireland, UK, USA)
  • A Gentle Creature directed by Sergei Loznitsa (Ukraine, France)
  • Jupiter’s Moon (Jupiter holdja) directed by Kornel Mundrczo (Hungary)
  • The Square directed by Ruben Ostlund (Sweden, Denmark, USA, France)
  • L’Amant Double directed by Francois Ozon (France)
  • You Were Never Really Here directed by Lynne Ramsay (UK, USA, France)
  • Good Time directed by Joshua and Ben Safdie (USA)
  • Loveless directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Russia)

To learn more, visit the official Cannes Film Festival website.

Have you heard of any of these directors or movies? Do you think the jury and the films reflect the diversity of filmmaking? Give us your thoughts on the Ziggurat Facebook page!

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality
http://sedimentality.com/ 

Cannes Film Festival

May is the time when the weather warms, the beaches become filled with people, and celebrities from around the world gather in the French Riviera. Why? It’s Cannes!

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What is Cannes?
“Cannes” is another name for the Cannes Film Festival. Until 2002, it was called the “International Film Festival.” The festival is in Cannes, France, each year in May (this year from May 17-28). The 2017 Cannes is special: this will be the festival’s 70th year.

Cannes is not like events such as the Academy Awards (also called the Oscars), which are only awards shows. Cannes is where new films from all over the world are previewed, and it provides great opportunities for European film makers: because many film producers and celebrities attend, the festival is an excellent place for filmmakers to sell their films. People attend Cannes by invitation only.

Cannes Jury
Cannes awards are chosen by the Cannes jury (the group of people who vote). Each year, these jury members, who are all people in the international film industry, are chosen by the Cannes board of directors. The board also chooses a jury president. For 2017, the president is Spanish director Pedro Almodóvar.

Cannes Awards
Cannes gives many awards at its competition. The names of the awards are in French; below we are also giving including an English translation of the names.

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The main awards of the festival are the following:

  • Palme d’Or (Golden Palm). This award is for the best film of the year. The film is selected from 20 films.
  • Grand Prix (Grand Prize). This award is similar to “Second Place” for the festival’s films.
  • Prix du Jury (Jury Prize). This award is considered to be “Third Prize” at the festival.
  • Palme d’Or du court métrage (Best Short Film). This is the award for the best film in the category of short film.
  • Prix d’interprétation féminine (Best Actress)
  • Prix d’interprétation masculine (Best Actor)
  • Prix de la mise en scène (Best Director)
  • Prix du scenario (Best Screenplay)

There are other awards and categories, such as awards for student filmmakers, recognition for films about the environment, and a category for documentaries. One of the funniest is the award for the best performance… by a dog! Yes, a dog. The Palm Dog award is for the dog that “acted” the best in a movie.

Compared to shows such as the Oscars, many consider Cannes to be more “serious” festival that is an opportunity to learn about more artistic films.

What do you think? Have you seen some of the Golden Palm winners from previous years? Check out the list of previous winners and see.

By Amanda Jones @Sedimentality
http://sedimentality.com/