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IN YOUR OWN WORDS…

Letter by Santi D. PET (B1) level.

Dear Mrs Hallan:

Firstly, I want to say congratulations to you because I think that the talent show competition is an excellent idea because it can be so funny and we can have a good time with our school friends, how did you come up  with it?

I think that the talent show should be for students of all ages, because everybody deserves to have a good time with his/her friends and students with similar ages can do such great numbers for the show. I think that before the talent show you can do a pre-selection to choose the best numbers for the show.

Regarding the parents’ judgement, it may be better that the teachers would judge the show cause parents could have some favouritism with their sons or daughters, but choose what you prefer.

About the prizes, I was thinking that the best prize might be 0.5 more in the final mark for the subject that the student prefers; or a medal and a candy bag.

See you in class:

Santiago D. G.

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CHRISTMAS PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION!

Here are the entries to our Christmas photography competition! Which is YOUR favourite?

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This beautiful sepia photograph is the winner of the FIRST PRIZE, and it´s by Reyes R.

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This original photograph won the SECOND PRIZE, and it´s by Jimena B.

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This funny and cute photograph won the THIRD PRIZE, and it´s by María B.

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And this creative photograph won the HONOURABLE MENTION, and it´s by Juan M.

And here are all the rest of the amazing photographs that entered the Christmas photography competition. Choose your favourite!

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Good job, everyone! Great photographs!

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IN YOUR OWN WORDS…

Creative writing by Lucia C. PET (B1) level.

Lois smiled as she put the tickets in her pocket and walked out of her house, she was very excited because the coronavirus had finally disappeared and she was going out with her friends after a long time at home. When she finally saw her friends, they went to the park together while they waited for the others to enter to see the show that they had so much wanted to see. While they waited, they all ran, jumped, sang, played, they could not believe that it was finally over, they had to continue wearing the mask but they could all stay together and no one died from that strange disease. The most important thing is that this surreal experience had made them learn to value things.

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DOING SPORTS SAVES LIVES

By Lucia C. PET (B1) level.

Today sport is one of the most important things for our health. We all have the opportunity to play sports, at school, in the gym or something as simple as walking down the street. Many times we do not realize that we are constantly doing sports with daily tasks such as climbing stairs or carrying bags. 

Even so, we have to get used to doing sport, especially young people; sport is an activity that helps us feel better, avoids health problems and avoids addictions to social networks.

Playing sports can change your life, many people have overcome illnesses thanks to sports, and it is also a way to have fun.

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IN YOUR OWN WORDS…

Letter by Lucia C. PET (B1) level.

Dear Beatrice Hallam,

I love the idea of doing this competition, I think all the students can have a great time. In my opinion, it is a very entertaining activity and we can also respect the coronavirus rules, which nowadays is very important. I think that children of all ages should be able to participate, so it will be much more interesting.

The idea that the family members are the judges does not seem bad to me, but I think it would be better for some teachers, even the school principal, to be the judges, so it would be more fair for everyone.

I think that a good option to give as a prize to the winners could be tickets to a concert or show, but due to the coronavirus I think the best option could be a trophy.

thank you for taking our opinion into account, 

Lucia.

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A COVID CHRISTMAS

By Alejandra Zamora Aeberhard.

It´s that time of the year again where the Christmas tree goes up, the Christmas lights on the streets shine and the holiday cheer surrounds us. But this Christmas is not like any Christmas before…Welcome to our first Covid Christmas!

There are travel restrictions, so if you were planning a holiday getaway, that´s off the table now. If you usually travel to a different country for Christmas, or were planning to do so this year, sadly that´s not an option. If you wanted to go to a different city in Spain to visit friends, that´s impossible to do as well, so you might be feeling glum and not in the Christmas spirit.

I wish I could travel too, and visit friends, but we have to realize that health and safety are the most important things and that at a time like this we have to be careful and know that our health comes first. Hopefully by this time next year, we can be planning the last details on our holiday getaway or on all the friends we are going to visit.

But this Christmas, whether you are alone, or are able to be with family, decorate your apartment; put up a tree and have little Christmas decorations around the house. Make yourself a true, glorious Christmas feast. Bake some cookies or a cake and indulge in the treats!!!

Remember that this year has been unexpected and difficult for us all, but that things won´t always be like this; a new year is coming and new changes are coming too. So enjoy the last days of this difficult year, enjoy your Covid Christmas, and be bad and eat a lot of yummy food. Ho, ho, ho. Happy Christmas, everyone!

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WHY «THE GOODWIFE» IS THE GREATEST SHOW OF ALL TIMES

By Gabriela Aeberhard.

I’ve recently decided to watch THE GOODWIFE again, all 7 seasons.  Each season has more than 20 episodes:  there’s a total of 156 episodes, which according to my calculations adds up to 151 HOURS of TV viewing.  So why is this show so incredibly good that I’d want to spend so many hours re-watching it?


First of all, each and every episode has a different story, because this is a show about lawyers and legal cases.  That means each episode presents a situation which is then resolved.  So whether you watch one episode or 5, you are not left hanging.  At the same time, there are more complex stories or themes that continue over the whole season, to make you want to keep watching.


In many shows today, you get the feeling that nothing happens, that the situation has been stretched out to make it last a whole episode or even more than one.  I am well aware that the producers of a show save money if there are endless conversations filmed in the same set/s and mostly indoors, since outdoor shots or changes of scenery cost a lot more money.  Moreover, I know that it’s in the best interest of many people if these shows are renewed, so many of them give you the impression that they will go on forever.  They have a «formula», and they can repeat this formula again and again.  


«The Goodwife» does none of these things.  First of all, it doesn’t feel «stretched» or repetitive.  The conversations are truly interesting, new and different. I find myself yawning when watching some other shows, which has never happened to me watching this one.  Secondly, there are plenty of different sets, not just the courthouse, the law offices, and the homes of the main characters.  There are many outdoor scenes and places that only appear in a particular episode.  And regarding the famous «formula» that has helped shows such as «Law & Order» last more than 20 years, not only does «The Goodwife» end after 7 seasons, but its main character (Alicia Florrick) truly grows and changes over the years.  This is part of the fun of watching all 7 seasons, seeing Alicia’s character arc.


But there’s more!  The secondary characters are hilarious, and it’s exciting to see them more than once.  For example, the judges are so funny and quirky, it’s great when they appear again.  The same with some of the lawyers that go up against the leading actors.  Many of them are well-known, and are able to create truly memorable characters we are eager to see again. 


Another reason I love «The Goodwife» is that many episodes deal with current situations many of us might be interested in, such as the creation of BITCOIN, or drones used by the military.  It feels like this show is talking about the real world, and real problems we are facing today.  And that is exciting.


But the main reason I am such a huge fan of this series is that nobody is 100% good nor 100% bad, things are never black or white.  Lawyers and politicians on the show sometimes «bend the rules» to achieve their goals, and even though it may sometimes make us angry when they do that, it also makes us laugh at times and root or cheer for these characters when they get what they want.  Real life is like that: some decisions are not easy to make, and when we see these fictional characters struggling to decide what’s right or wrong, we are reminded of our own struggles.  These stories are thought-provoking and definitely worth watching.  «The Goodwife» is truly GOOD.

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IN YOUR OWN WORDS…

Discursive essay by Diego H.P. (23) C1/CAE level.

UNEMPLOYMENT AMONG PEOPLE OVER 50


Unemployment is one of the greatest problems every country has to deal with. One big part of this issue is the percentage of people over fifty that do not have a job. For instance, in Spain there are more than half a million people who are over 50 and do not have a job. Furthermore, these people can not find a job because of their age, accentuating the problem.

One of the ways to deal with this complication has been retraining. Under this process, older people attend courses or programs to update their knowledge about new techniques or new technologies to catch up with younger coworkers in this aspect. Consequently, we can assume that if we had had this retraining before, we would have had less unemployment in people over 50.


However, we have to take into account that many businesses prefer to hire younger people because they are usually more flexible with their schedule, do not have kids to take care of or they accept lower wages. In addition, governments typically give aid to companies that hire young people to reduce youth unemployment,whereas they give nothing in regards to people over fifty. So, in my opinion, retraining is not a good way to approach this problem.


In fact, the best way to cope with this problem from my perspective is early retirement. If we lower the retirement age to 55, we will immediately not only diminish the number of people over 50 that are jobless, but also create easier access for young people who want to have their first job. To improve this measure, we should implement an earlier age to start working and better connections between universities and the the work market.

As a result of this, almost every graduate from university would ideally have a job immediately.

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WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH «COBRA KAI»!

By Alejandra Zamora Aeberhard.

I recently discovered on Netflix what has quickly become one of my favourite shows ever. My boyfriend found this show about karate called «Cobra Kai» which was based on the classic movie «Karate Kid». It picks up 30 years after the movie, and follows the life of Daniel Larusso´s (the main character and boy who learns karate in «Karate Kid») nemesis, Johnny Lawrence. I initially didn´t even WANT TO WATCH THE SHOW!!!! But my boyfriend convinced me to, and boy, am I glad he did.

Johnny Lawrence is an endearing character. Seeing things from his point of view, you quickly discover how he´s a good guy who´s just made a bunch of mistakes over the years which is why his life is such a disaster.

Daniel Larusso, on the contrary, is represented as a man who has it all, but who has become something of a conceited jerk because of everything he has achieved.

The show follows both old nemesis´s lives, centering mainly on Johnny´s, who you will soon love as much as I, as well as a few high school kids who sign up to the dojo, because Johnny Lawrence decides to re-open the dojo «Cobra Kai», his old dojo where he learned karate back in the day.

There´s a whole lot of drama in this show, awesome karate fights, and even love stories! To sum up, it´s the perfect show. I don´t want to give too much away, so do yourself a favour and just check it out for yourself!

Cobra Kai! Cobra Kai! Cobra Kai!

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IN YOUR OWN WORDS…

Informal letter by Antonio C. (14) B1/PET level.

Hi Robin!

It was so nice to hear from you. I really appreciate your invitation.
I would love to go to the sports camp with you because I really want to see you and to meet your friends too. The sports camp is so funny because last year I went to a sports camp in my city with my friends, we had a lot of fun and we got very strong.

I prefer to stay in rooms because when I went to the sports camp I slept in a tent and the last day a giant insect bit me in the face and I had the big bite for weeks.

Talking about the food, I know how to cook a delicious potato omelette that is a specialty of my country.

I would like to visit Niagara falls because I have seen it in photos and it is very beautiful. I hope you are close because I really want to see it.

Thank you for your invitation. See you there!

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IS IT BETTER TO WATCH A CONCERT LIVE OR AT HOME?

By Irene G. (15) B2/FCE level.

Concerts have always been very popular and entertaining for music lovers all over the world, but these days, with the help of technology, some people prefer to watch these concerts at home for different reasons.  In my opinion, I think that watching concerts which are performed on a stage is better and more enjoyable than at home.


When it comes to convenience, some people say it is more comfortable to stay at home because you are more relaxed and you can pause whenever you want; however, it is more exciting to be at a concert with the public singing along and dancing.  Moreover, you can see your favourite artist!  That is something you can’t do when watching it at home.


Also, when we talk about atmosphere, concerts are better than staying at home because of the lighting and the emotion of being there.  That’s another thing you can’t have at home.   Everyone knows that being at home is more comfortable, but you can have a lot of fun at a concert with your friends.


One more thing I would like to mention is the cost.  People usually don’t like concerts because of the fact that they are expensive, but not all of them are.  Also, you can choose different places to sit which are a bit far away, but it’s an option when you don’t have much money.  Furthermore, you can earn money by doing different things and then save it so you can afford being with your favourite artist.


In conclusion, I think concerts are more enjoyable and exciting when watching them on a stage as the public, instead of watching them on TV at your house.

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WHY I LOVED: «THE QUEEN´S GAMBIT»

By Gabriela Aeberhard.

A show as good as THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT does not air every day.  Not only is the story compelling, but the characters are captivating.  There are so many good things to say about this show that I think it’s best to go point by point:


1) THE CHARACTERS:  Beth Harmon is one of those characters we are not likely to forget very soon.  Like her «almost» namesake Lisbeth Salander, she shows a degree of resilience, resourcefulness, courage, gumption and downright intelligence that would make anyone fall in love with her.  Other characters, such as Benny, Harry, Townes, Beth’s adoptive mother, Mr. Shaibel, or Jolene, are also memorable and feel REAL, they are completely believable and three-dimensional.   Beth herself grows and changes, she has a character ARC, which is often missing in so many fictional characters.

2) THE TOPIC:  The game of chess, to the unenlightened, is an enigma.  Too brainy and difficult to be taken lightly, in this film it’s handled like an Olympic sport, and the players are seen as athletes, people to be revered.  This show has done a lot to promote the game, and to raise its status among young people.  In the current digital era, it’s nice to be reminded that the most interesting and complex game is 100% analog and 1500 years old.

3) THE STORY/PLOT/THEME:  This is not just a show about competition and wanting to be the best, although of course it’s about that as well.  This is a coming-of-age story, a story about discovering oneself, about overcoming difficulties, perseverance, friendship, etc.  There are many different aspects of the story which raise interesting questions:  Who were Beth’s mother and father and why did they turn out the way they did?  Why was Beth adopted? What’s more important, nature or nurture, when it comes to talent?  What effect did drugs have on Beth’s success? What did fashion mean to her?  Why did she sleep (or not) with certain characters?

4) THE MESSAGE:  If there’s one message THE QUEEN’S GAMBIT leaves you with, it’s about the importance of friendship.  I wouldn’t want to spoil the ending but that is what I was left with at the end.  We all want the main character to triumph, and receive recognition, but it’s often lonely at the top.  The ending of this show is not really an ending, but a new beginning.

5) THE ACTORS:  Anya Taylor-Joy has all the makings of a star.  Her looks are striking enough to make you look twice, and special enough not to be mistaken for  anyone else.  She is perfectly bilingual in English and Spanish, having lived in Argentina for 6 years before settling down in the UK.  She says she fell in love with the character instantly, and I’m not surprised.  But many other actors are also memorable: her adoptive mom, her best friends, the other chess prodigies, even her High School nemesis!

6) THE HYPE:  Yes, it’s now being hailed as one of the MOST WATCHED Netflix shows ever.  That makes many people jump on the bandwagon, while others are turned off by that.  But the reason this show is so popular is that it’s truly good.  Also, it has been filmed with such care, such attention to detail in every sense, that it’s a feast for the eyes.

7) FINALLY, THE VERDICT:  If you haven’t seen it, what are you waiting for?  If you have, why not watch it again?

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RECIPE FOR HOLIDAY COOKIES

Children will have a great time helping decorate the myriad shapes that can be cut from this basic cookie dough.

INGREDIENTS:

COOKIES

1/3 cup oz/90g butter or margarine, softened.

1/4 cup/6 oz/185 g granulated sugar.

1 teaspoon baking powder.

1/4 teaspoon salt.

1 egg.

1 tablespoon milk.

1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

2 cups/8 oz/250 g all-purpose (plain) flour.

ICING

1 cup/4 oz/125 g sifted confectioners (icing) sugar.

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract.

1 tablespoon milk.

Few drops food coloring (optional).

METHOD FOR MAKING HOLIDAY COOKIES:

Preparation time: 30 minutes.

Chilling time: 3 hours.

Baking time: 7 to 8 minutes.

Makes 36 to 48 cookies.

For cookies, in a large mixing bowl beat the shortening and butter or margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the sugar, baking powder and salt; beat till combined. Beat in the egg, milk and vanilla. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour with a wooden spoon. Divide dough in half. Cover and chill for 3 hours, or till dough is easy to handle.

On a lightly floured surface, roll each half of the dough to an 1/8-in/3-mm thickness. Using 2- or 2 1/2-in/5- or 6-cm cutters, cut dough into desired holiday shapes, such as hearts, shamrocks, eggs, rabbits, flags, angels, or stars. Place 1 in/ 2.5 cm apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake in a preheated 375F/190C/Gas Mark 4 oven for 7 to 8 minutes, or till edges are firm and bottoms are lightly browned. Remove cookies and cool on a rack.

Meanwhile, for icing, in a small mixing bowl stir together confectioners sugar, vanilla, and enough of the milk to make an icing of piping consistency. If desired, stir in food coloring. Use a piping bag and writing nozzle to decorate cookies with icing.

Per cookie 95 calories/399 kilojoules, 1 g protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 4 g total fat (2 g saturated), 11 mg cholesterol, 39 mg sodium, 12 mg potassium.

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HOW TO DO A JIGSAW READING

By Gabriela Aeberhard.

TIPS on doing a JIGSAW READING:

1) Read both parts quickly (the longer texts on the left and the shorter texts on the right, A-G) just to get an idea what they’re about.

2) Now read the first two paragraphs on the left more carefully, and look at the shorter texts of the right (A-G) to see if any seem to «fit» in the first space (number 1), but DON’T EXPECT to be able to get this one right. Sometimes I have two possible answers the first time I read it, and they could both be wrong, so I write them ON THE SIDE, as «possible answers».

3) Now read the second and third paragraphs on the left and look at A-G again. Now you might be able to find or choose the right one, but you still should not COMMIT. Just put your possible answer/s on the side.

4) As you read the third and fourth paragraphs and start looking for the answer to number 3, you might realize that you understand the texts much better, and that you see little clues in the texts that help you. I’m talking about information that clicks or doesn’t click with the other texts….

5) When you start looking for the answer to 4, it might become much easier. Everything starts to make sense now, and in general, 5 and 6 should be a lot easier. But this means that you might have to go back to 1 and 2 and CHANGE your answers…

DOING A JIGSAW READING TEXT REQUIRES LOTS OF PATIENCE, GOING BACK AND FORTH, AND NEVER GIVING UP, UNTIL ALL THE DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE TEXT FIT TOGETHER LIKE A PUZZLE!