Monday, March 27, 2006

On the BBC: Italy Election Diary

Attention all Level 5 / FCE students.

You remember that last week we listened to BBC reporter Mark Mardell on the election campaign - the sound quality was rather poor.

Well, you can now follow BBC Europe editor Mark Mardell's observations and experiences of the Italian elections by reading his
Italy Diary. (opens in a new window)

Below his diary, you will see dozens of other people's comments as well. They are from Italians living in England or Argentina, English or other foreigners living in Italy - and even from ... Italians living in Italy!

And you can add your own opinion or comment. Do have a go - it is excellent practice in writing English. Do not worry about mistakes - no one will make fun of you. And although you'll be asked for your e-mail address, rest assured that it will not be published on the BBC site.

Please also leave your comment on this Blog: this is your homework! :-)
See you this week.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Listening: Italy's Election Campaign

To all students at level 4 and above: (but level 3 could also try it)

Listen to and watch a commentary on the latest developments in Italy's election campaign.

Go to
BBC News (opens in a new window), then click 'Latest News in Audio and Video', then 'News Bulletins', then 'Italy's Election campaign.

You will see and hear the TV debate, a rally in Genoa, the encounter in Bologna with the Confindustria and Romano Prodi speaking English.

Please do leave your Comment and say how easy or difficult you found this news bulletin.

Hurry before the BBC site is updated!

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Level 5 Students (Wed/Fri and Sat classes)

Vocabulary and Grammar Research: How To Get The Best From The Virtual Language Centre

In the past few lessons I have demonstrated the VLC and how it can demonstrate such things as verb patterns, collocations, position of adverbs and typical prefixes and suffixes.

Let's have a look at how you can adjust searches on the VLC so that the site gives you exactly what you want.

Go to the
VLC now. It will open in a separate window.
Click Web Concordancer and, under English of course, choose 'Simple'.
Your search options are: Entire keyword, Begins With, Ends With, Contains.

Sample exercise: find all the adjectives that end in -ly. Examples: lively, friendly, silly.
Type ly in the keyword search window.
Choose the search option 'Ends with'.
Choose your corpus.
Click 'Search for concordances'.
You will get a long list! Identify all the adjectives. Copy the lines containing the adjectives, then paste them into a Word document or text file. Send the file to me at
We will look at your lists together next lesson.

And do leave a comment telling everybody what you did.

What other searches can you do? Again, tell us all in a comment.
That's all from me today this gloomy Sunday morning! Ciao4now!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Some Sites For You

1. Listening: try this latest from the BBC Learning English site, 'Artworks stolen during Rio Carnival'. Suitable for levels 3 +

2. Level 1: look at
'English File [Elementary] Online' and try some Grammar or Vocabulary exercises.

Please do leave your comment after trying these sites. Your experiences are useful to everybody.


Mike :-)