Monday, February 21, 2005

New Look for this Blog

Last week I changed the appearance of this blog. It used to be light-coloured text on a dark background. Then I thought that dark text on a light background would be easier to read.

When I taught Level 3 (S3Tth18) last Thursday, I showed the new-look Blog on the Interactive Whiteboard. And a number of students said: "We want the Old Look back!!"

So please vote by posting a comment. I would like to have everybody's opinion, if possible by Friday 15 February. Then I can decide whether to change it back.

Important note about posting comments: Blogger has added to the comment options. They used to be limited to: (1) 'Blogger' Member; (2) Anonymous. The third option is now 'Other'.

With 'Other', a window appears in which you can directly type your name and your Home Page on the Web, if you have one. It is easier than 'Anonymous', which was confusing.

Please can you use the 'Other' option, and enter your name, when posting a comment? Thank you.

One unexpected effect of changing the Blog's look was that the entire Permanent Collection of Web Links was lost. I am slowly reconstituting this collection.

I look forward to seeing your comments - they are very important.

Listening Practice on the BBC - This Week's Idea

St. Valentine's Day may be past now, but you can still read and listen about the psycological and medical implications of love in this week's edition of the BBC World Service's 'Learning English' site.

Elsewhere in the 'Learning English' site, have a look at:

Watch and Listen
Pronunciation Tips (ideas, or advice)
Business English
Quizzes
Talk About English
Grammar and Vocabulary

Everybody: look at this explanation of the 'zero article' - in other words, when do you not use the article in English?

Please read it and post a comment. I would love to see a comment from each one of you by the end of this week: Friday 25 February.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mid-February News - Test Results

You will notice that I have changed the appearance of this Blog. I thought that it would be eaiser for you to read dark text on a light background, rather than light-cloloured text on a dark background, which was the Blog's previous style.

Howver, there is one problem: I have lost the permanent Collection of Web links which I had listed. I will slowly restore this, however.

Level Three and Level Two have done their tests. I have almost finished marking them.
The results are rather mixed. Generally, it is clear that we need to do more work on vocabulary and grammar. Both problems can be confronted by doing plenty of regular reading.

Level Two have done well on the Listening. Level Three needs more practice, however. Here's my listening recommendation this week:

Death of a Lebanese Politician

This is a short piece about the murder of former Lebanese President Rafik Hariri, which has also been reported in Italian newspapers.

Listen and read at the same time.

Level One will be doing their test next week.

'Blogger' has now made it easier for you to post a comment. So please do take advantage of the interactive features of this Blog - and make yourself known.

Tell me what you think of the new look Blog!

More soon,

Mike

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The First Blog of February 2005!

Hello everybody. This is the first new blog entry for a month. It's not been negligence - just a very busy period.

This week I will give you some grammar links to help you revise for the mid-year test which is coming up in the next 2 weeks. And an obvious place for everyone to try is the new-look Learn English site.

Level 3. Check out the present perfect and past simple. Note the uses as well as the structure. And here is a further explanation.

Revise Quantifiers - "a few", "a little" - by clicking here. Then test yourself with this game. Wait a few seconds for the game to load, then use your mouse to drag the correct expression into either the "few" or the "little" window.

Also have a look at zero articles - in other words, situations when you don't use the article. There is a another long explanation here. Ask me next lesson if you are still having problems with this.

Verbs followed by other verbs: "I like singing" or "I hope to see you tomorrow": click here for a list and an explanation.

Level 2. Grammar points to check include these:

Present simple - all uses.
Present Perfect - basic structure and examples.
Relative Pronouns and clauses.
Present Continuous for the future.

Level 1. Look at these grammar topics:

Possessive with 's (on the Online Grammar site).
Present Simple on the Learn English site and on Englishpage.
Articles on the Edufind site.

More Grammar in the next Blog!

How about some listening practice? Listen and read the news on the BBC's Learning English site. make a note of new words and phrases.

Regular Visits:

Global Village: click "communities" on the Learn English site. Or try here. Do not forget to write ita- before your user name.

The Metro Zine: see some new Christmas Party Pictures, and Level Three's Introductions.

More soon! Please do post comments, with requests and ideas.