English Daily Vitamin (February 2018)

daily_vitamin_2016Hoy compartimos el resumen de lecciones de inglés de febrero. En febrero cubrimos 2 celebraciones importantes: San Valentín y los Juegos Olímpicos de invierno. Además, hicimos un bloque de práctica del examen BULATS y otro utilizando titulares de periódicos anglos.

Al final de este post encontrarás en enlace para descargar el PACK DE ACTIVIDADES para revisar las vitaminas de febrero.

Si te perdiste alguna lección, clica en el correspondiente enlace:

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EXPRESSIONS WITH LOVE
Many consider February the month of love in the Anglo world. To celebrate, we looked at Expressions with the word LOVE.

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SPORTS/TEAM EXPRESSIONS
Last month, the world came together for the Olympics. To celebrate the 2018 Winter Olympics, we spent two weeks on sports-related themes.

Idioms with win:

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BULATS READING PART 1, SECTION 2
For this theme, we practiced Part 1 Section 2 of the BULATS exam.  In this section, you have a sentence with a gap. You have four choices of words to fill the gap, and you have to decide which one it most appropriate. Sentences:

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FROM THE HEADLINES
We are taking a real headline from an online newspaper or magazine and removing one word. We are asking you to complete the headline with the correct word.

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English Daily Vitamin (January 2018)

daily_vitamin_2016Hoy compartimos el resumen de lecciones de inglés de enero. En enero hicimos un bloque de lecciones  ‘Spot the Error’, revisamos algunos usos del ‘Past Perfect’ y practicamos con la ‘Parte 3 del examen FCE’.

Al final de este post encontrarás en enlace para descargar el PACK DE ACTIVIDADES para revisar las vitaminas de enero.

Si te perdiste alguna lección, clica en el correspondiente enlace:

SPOT THE ERROR
Here are your sentences. Do you know what’s wrong with them?

PAST PERFECT
In each lesson, we are looking at one specific use of the Past Perfect. Remember that the Past Perfect has this form:  HAD + (not / never) + past participle.

 CAMBRIDGE FCE READING/USE OF ENGLISH PART 3
For this theme, we are practicing Part 3 of the Cambridge First Certificate (FCE) Reading and Use of English Module.  In Part 3, students are given a sentence with a word missing. They are also given a word to put in the blank, but they must use the correct form of this word to complete the sentence logically.

 

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A principios de esta semana también empezamos con una serie de lecciones con la palabra LOVE, pero nos las reservaremos para el resumen de febrero, el mes del amor.

See you soon!

La opinión de Matthew Ray ¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

The benefits of speaking with your children
I would encourage all parents to raise their children bilingual, or even trilingual, if they have the opportunity and the resources. Research has shown that multilingualism has positive cognitive, educational, professional and social benefits for children and adults. (See the following article below for more information.)

10 Amazing benefits of being bilingual

If done properly, speaking with your children in English can accomplish three very important objectives.

  1. It makes speaking English “normal”: Children often have trouble seeing the value of learning English. If their parents don’t speak or study English, then they question whether it really is important to learn it. However, when their parents speak with them in English, the importance is confirmed, and children will see speaking English as something “normal;” it creates a coherency that will help children to be more enthusiastic about English.
  2. It makes children less likely to reject English: children are less likely to reject English or view it as “work” or “study” if their parents speak it with them daily; English becomes part of the day-to-day routine, instead of something that is being forced on them.
  3. It accelerates learning by increasing input: non-native English input from parents can expose children to A LOT of English in a “natural” way very early on, which gives children an advantage when they start studying English formally in school and/or academies.

Finally, learning English “naturally” in this way can be fun for the whole family, and can also help the parents to improve their English. 😉

Concerns
Some parents might be concerned that their English is not perfect (with respect to accent and grammatical accuracy); but grammatical errors are normal, even when children are exposed to “perfect” native English. I have barely uttered a grammatically-incorrect sentence to my son in the 18 years that I have been speaking English to him, but he still makes grammatical mistakes when writing and speaking; this will be corrected and improved over time.

Remember, also, that there are more non-native English speakers in the world than there are native speakers, so most of the world is speaking “non-native” English anyway; your children don’t have to be perfect, they just need to gain fluency, confidence and a desire to speak English. Once your child is in a native environment, he or she will be able to continue to improve the “imperfections” in their English.

Conclusions and a caveat
The benefits that children gain by receiving English input from their non-native parents far outweigh any possible drawbacks (such as developing a “non-native accent” or imperfect grammar); so, I highly recommend it. However, there is one very important caveat. If your children don’t feel comfortable speaking English with you, or just don’t enjoy it, please do not insist; it could backfire if you do. There is time to learn English later; but if you create a negative experience with English for your children when they are young, it could keep them from enthusiastically embracing English later in life. Have fun and don’t force it!

Matthew Ray

La opinión de Jenny Smedley ¿Sirve para algo hablar en inglés con mi hijo si no soy nativo?

My first question would be WHY? What is your motivation for using English with your child? If it is primarily because you are worried that your child will not be able to reach a decent level of English without your extra input, I would tell you not to worry.

Nowadays, we all have far greater access to resources in English for children. There are so many other things you can do with your child to help them. Why don’t you watch one of their favourite cartoons in English with them, sing together, read together, take them on holiday somewhere English speaking, sign them up to activities in English with children their own age…. Why would you want to sacrifice the chance of communicating to your child in your own beautiful and rich language?

As a mother of two young children, I wouldn’t dream of speaking to my girls in any language other than my native language. We call it mother tongue for a reason. In my opinion, language is much more than a simple means of communication. It is a part of our identity and it allows us to form emotional connections. A fetus in the womb hears their mother speaking when they are just 15 weeks old and one of the first things we do with our babies is to sing lullabies. How natural would it feel singing lullabies in English or mimicking animal noises that are very different to your own language. Woof or guau? No matter how good you may be at English, conversing with a toddler may seem easy but how would you feel about potentially dealing with a teenager’s deeper and more difficult issues in a language that is not your own?

You may think that because I am English, it is easy for me to say all this but I really don’t think that is the case. My husband is Italian and before having our first child, he had pretty much decided that he would speak to our daughter in Spanish as it would be more “useful” for her than Italian as we live here in Spain. In the end, I managed to convince him to speak to her in Italian and to this day he doesn’t regret my doing so. She is half-Italian and the language is part of her identity, her emotional connection with her babbo and how she connects with her grandparents and family in Italy. It is so much more than language.

Summing up, I would tell you not to miss out on speaking to your child in your native language, whatever that might be, and by allowing your child to do fun things in English as they grow up, rest assured they will grow up with a love for English too!

Jenny Smedley

English Daily Vitamin (November 2017)

daily_vitamin_2016

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

Top 10 Tips for Travelling to an English-Speaking Country

Before taking your vacation in an English-speaking country, make sure you’re prepared to use the language! Our tips will help you speak English with ease during your vacation. Safe travels!

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Check out the suggestions that Amanda has for us!

  1. Know the basics of the language. Make sure you know how to function in English by learning the “survival” vocabulary: asking for directions, ordering food and drinks, and asking the price of something. These things will make communication easier, which will make your trip more fun.
  2. Familiarize yourself with the accent. Depending on where you go, the people will speak very differently! Watch YouTube videos or movies so that you are more comfortable with the local accent or dialect.
  3. Learn a little slang. Some Google searches and a few articles will help you learn some of the local vernacular, which is fun to use in conversations!
  4. 700px-MonumentvalleyResearch the place and “must-sees.” Just a little time spent researching the place’s foods, sights, and traditions will help you feel familiar with the area before you even arrive.
  5. Be social. When you’re out, try to start some conversations!
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask for suggestions. People love to help and give advice. Ask locals where they eat, where they drink their coffee, and where they spend their weekends. You will get an insider’s look into the area that might not be found in guidebooks.
  7. Know the local customs. Knowing customs, such as tipping, will make you more confident while traveling. Research these things before you leave so that you aren’t spending your time on Google during your vacation hours.
  8. descargaLearn the currency. Don’t be confused about the money: this will make paying for things stressful! Make sure you know the bills and coins before you leave.
  9. Buy a guidebook (if possible, in English!). See our recommendations. Study the maps, get the layout of the city, and have a good idea of where your accommodation is before you arrive. But don’t be stuck using it! As mentioned above, the best advice comes from locals.
  10. Research the public transport. Metros, trains, cabs, Uber . . . depending on where you go, the transport will be different. Knowing your options ahead of time will make you more comfortable (and might also save you some money)!

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

The Girl on the Train: the bestseller everybody is speaking about! by Patricia

Do you like thrillers? If so, The Girl on the Train is the book for you!

Although it is not a page-turner from the beginning, it won’t be long before you are hooked!

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The Plot
The main character, Rachel, is a woman in a very hard situation due to her divorce. First thing in the morning every day, she takes the commuter train to London where she sees a neighbourhood with different houses and different neighbours. While she imagines that life is perfect there, she finds herself involved in a crime which she tries to solve.

Nothing is what it seems in the Girl on the Train …

Why is this book good for learning English?
As well as enjoying the novel, you learn a lot of phrasal verbs and colloquial expressions from the dialogues that allow you to speak much more like a native person.

The book is written in the first person and the chapters are quite short… things that make a book easy to follow.

And finally, once you have finished the novel, you can also watch the film to see how it compares!

Happy reading!

Thanks to our student Patricia for this great review!

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

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  • 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/ 

The Alphabet Game

Estrenamos Alphabet Game para 2017. Los que seguís la Daily Vitamin desde hace años seguramente ya habréis vivido más de un Alphabet Game de los que hacemos en verano.

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Mañana empieza una nueva edición. Del 25 de mayo al 30 de junio jugaremos a este concurso con el objetivo de aprender nuevo vocabulario y repasar las Daily Vitamins de este año académico. Y, por supuesto, también os vamos a dar la oportunidad de ganar un premio:

PREMIOS

  • 1r premio: Kindle Fire Tablet
  • 2º premio: cheque regalo de Amazon valorado en 25€
  • 3r premio: 2 entradas de cine para ver la película que tu quieras

Cada día daremos una definición o pista para una palabra o expresión que empieza con una letra específica del abecedario. Empezaremos con la letra A, luego la B, la C… hasta que completemos las 26 letras del alfabeto inglés.

Enviaremos la pista en la Daily Vitamin y la compartiremos en Facebook y Twitter.

IMPORTANTE: para participar (y ganar uno de los premios) deberéis:

  1. Ser seguidor de alguna de las siguientes redes sociales (Facebook o Twitter)
  2. Compartir el post inicial (del 24 de mayo) en una de las redes sociales
  3. Postear la respuesta correcta en una de nuestras redes sociales cada día. Al final de las 26 lecciones, la persona con más puntos ganará.

CÓMO CONSEGUIR PUNTOS Y GANAR

Por publicar una respuesta correcta en nuestras redes sociales, cada participante del Alphabet Game recibe automáticamente un punto. Entre los participantes que posteen respuestas correctas cada día, el primer participante recibe 10 puntos adicionales, el segundo participante recibe 9 puntos adicionales, el tercero recibe 8 puntos adicionales, etc. Por lo tanto, las primeras 10 personas que publiquen obtienen 1 punto más los puntos adicionales según su posición (de la 1ª a la 10ª).

Si tienes alguna pregunta, contacta con nosotros (didactic@ziggurat.es).

¡Esperamos vuestra participación!