Saint George is coming!!!!

It’s time to participate in the school’s literary contest. This year we are going to write a cinquain.

But what is a cinquain?

Have a look at this cinquain poem by Khaled, an adult intermediate-level ESOL student at the University of Oregon:

by Khaled

Beautiful, pure 
Refreshing, enjoying, relaxing
Nature is healthy. 

I. A cinquain is a 5-line poem. An what is its structure? Match these parts of speech to the 5 lines in the poem:

a) 2 adjectives. They describe the noun in line 1.
b) 1 short, complete sentence about the noun in line 1.
c) 1 noun. This is a synonym for the noun in line 1.
d) 1 noun. This is the topic or theme of the poem.
e) 3 gerunds (verb + ing). They describe the noun in line 1.

II. Now check the structure:


Other examples:

by Miki

Clear, wonderful 
Slapping, whirling, flowing 
The river is cold. 

by Min

Active, free 
Flying, sitting, crying 
A dove is free. 

Have a look at the poems written by Mireia Xortó’s students.

Now it’s your turn!!!!

[All activities inspired by PIZZAZ & the University of Oregon and the post has been adapted from Mireia Xortó’s blog]


Patricia Highsmith and her criminal mind

Have you ever heard of Patricia Highsmith? Do you know any of her works?

I. Watch the video and fill in the gaps with the missing information about Patricia Highsmith’s biography.

  1. Born in her grandmother’s boarding house in _____________ in ________.
  2. She was born ______ days after her mother divorced her father.
  3. Her mother went off to Chicago to be an _______________ and left her with her grandmother. This was the author of much of her _________ in later life and she never forgot.
  4. She had a wonderful ability to ___________ herself in her work.
  5. Her interesting mother was the ______________ for every noir bitch that turned up in her writing.
  6. She wrote two famous books turned into _________ :”Strangers on a train” and “The talented Mr. Ripley”.
  7. Hichcock thought her work was too _______________ and he toned it down.
  8. The film version of Mr. Ripley isn’t as  ______________ as the book.
  9. Both men and women found her extremely seductive but she has a preference for ___________. 
  10. According to the speaker, she was an obsessive, homicidal, ______________ lesbian who never ceased thinking about ___________.

WORKSHEET STDs& teacher’s Continue reading


About Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is a British writer, novelist, screenwriter, and essayist. He is also a music and literary critic as well as songwriter. As a philanthropist he set up a kids literacy project called “Ministry of Stories” aimed at helping children and young adults develop writing skills and to help teachers inspire their students to write.

PRE-WATCHING – Check the meaning of these words.

tentpole / treatment / ministry / debt / charity / background / to grant / literacy / dystopian

I. You’re going to listen to Nick Hornby talk about different topics. In this first clip he talks about tips to come up with ideas for writing. Listen and answer the questions.

  1. Does Nick Hornby plan his stories? ___________________________________________________________
  2. What do Nick Hornby and Woody Allen share about how to get ideas for writing? ____________________________________________________
  1. When he starts to write, what does he take as a starting point? ________________________ or ________________________________
  2. What is the structure he has when he starts writing a novel? A _____________,a ___________________ in the middle and a kind of _______________.
  3. Why can’t his brother-in-law, Robert Harris, use the same strategy when plotting?____________________________________________________
  4. As a screenwriter, why did he think he was not a professional writer? ___________________________________________________________
  5. Why doesn’t he like treatments?__________________________________________________
  6. Does he revise his texts a lot? __________ How many drafts does he write? ____________________________________

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Poetry, music, emotions & the brain

A research study has looked into what happens inside your brain while you read and listen to music. 

You know that thrill you get when listening to your favourite music? That exciting feeling down your spine when you hear your favourite melody or rhythm? According to a recent study, it seems the same thing can happen while you are reading, but not with every kind of text. This opens up fascinating questions around how music, reading and emotions are connected in the brain.

I. Read the following text and answer the questions below.

[Source: Learnenglishteens]

II. Read the following texts and decide if they belong to a song or to a poem. Why do you think that? What characteristics do they share? What makes them different?

III. Let’s check your answers! 

  1. Fear – by Raymond Carver
  2. I wanna be yours – by John Cooper Clarke / Arctic Monkeys
  3. Find Me – by Forest Blakk

This is how I discovered this beautiful spoken song. It was published by @culturainquieta on Instagram and I couldn’t tear my eyes away…

IV. Write a short text answering the following questions: How do you think poetry and music are related? What do you prefer? Can you think of any songs or poems that stirred up your emotions? Which ones and why? (Remember to organise your ideas and use paragraphs and connectors. Write 80-100 words) 


Women’s rights country by country

What aspects of gender equality should be legislated? What laws do you know in your country that help achieve gender equality? Do you think it is the same in other countries around the world?

Check the following interactive by The Guardian which analyses different aspects related to gender equality legislation.

  1. Match the words with their definitions:
harassment 1. when requested, asked for
non-discrimination clause 2. to give official permission for something to happen
provision 3. the status of being in a parent and child relationship
ownership rights 4. the legal right to be a citizen of a particular country
inheritance rights 5. Behaviour that annoys or upsets someone.
on request 6. To give an official title, honour, or advantage to someone
maternity & paternity leave 7. Rights determine who has the legal right to claim your property after you die
to mandate 8. the act of giving someone something he or she needs
family status 9. to employ someone or pay them to do a particular job
ban 10. the fact of owning something
  hire 11. a part of a legal document that establishes people mustn’t be discriminated
  dismissal 12. a mother who is breast-feeding her baby.
  nursing mother 13. to officially stop a person or many people from doing something
  confer 14. the situation in which an employer officially makes someone leave their job
  citizenship 15. a period in which a woman/man is legally allowed to be absent from work in the weeks before and after she/her wife gives birth

II. Go to the infographic and choose an area of the world. What are the OECD countries? Discuss with your group what countries protect women’s rights and what rights are still not guaranteed. Note down three facts you find the most striking.

The Guardian 2013

1- East Europe & Central Asia (23 countries)

2- East Asia & Pacific (13 countries)

3- Latin America & Carib (19 countries)

4- Middle East & North Africa (14 countries)

5- OECD (30 countries)

6- South Asia (5 countries)

7- Sub-Saharan Africa (36 countries)

III. Write an opinion essay on the topic: Women’s rights struggle is going for a long time. How have governments contributed to equality worldwide and what does it still need to get done?

Students’ worksheet

Source: http://


Plastic Ocean

I. Name 20 things that are made of plastic.

II. Do you recycle plastic at home? Have you ever found plastic in the sea when you go to the beach in the summer?

III. Watch the video and fill in the gaps with the missing words (up to 1:16)

  • The world produces more than ______________________ tons of plastic every year including billions of plastic bottles and __________________ plastic bags.
  • Plastic is wonderful because it’s ____________________ and plastic is terrible because it is _________________. Almost every piece of plastic ever made is still on the planet in some form or another.
  • Half of all the plastic produced will be used just once and then thrown away. By _______________, when the population explodes to almost _______________ people, it’s expected that plastic production will triple
  • The problem with that is that today only _______________ of the plastic that we produce is recycled.The rest ends up in our environment and it’s coating our lands and our oceans like a disease.

IV. Listen to the rest of the video and say if this sentences are true or false (correct the false ones)

1. Garbage thrown away in the USA can make its way to Asia.
2. There is one ocean current that pulls plastic into the center of massive gyres.
3. Seabirds pick up plastic off the surface of the ocean and they feed it to their chicks. 
4.This provides scientific data in terms of where the plastic comes from, its distribution and how it breaks up on the ocean surface.
5. The plastic found in the stomach of the bird accounts for 5% of its body mass. In human terms it is equivalent to having 2 to 3 kilos of plastic inside our stomach.
6. 90% of birds have swallowed plastic at some point in their lives.
7. There is an equivalent of a large garbage truck every hour of every day dumping plastic into the ocean.

Student’s worksheet

Teacher’s worksheet



How Hollywood says “I love you”

Let’s play Bingo!

Take a piece of paper and draw a graph with 16 boxes (4×4).

Write 16 out of these 21 words in the boxes:  love, you, weak, home, I, very, want, only, smart, sorry, need, never, one, give, more, day, always, fly, wait, life, hello

We’re going to listen to the audio of the following video. Every time you hear one of the words on your sheet, you should put an “X” in that box.

The first five people to have four X’s in a row will be the “winners” 

Are you ready?

[Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo]


Amanda Gorman’s Poem for Inauguration Day

I. Who is Amanda Gorman, and what has she been asked to do? 

II. Watch the video about Amanda Gorman and answer the following questions with one word.

  1. How old is Amanda Gorman?
  2. What topics does Amanda Gorman explore in her poetry? R_______________, m_______________, A______________ H_______________.
  3. At what age was she named the nation’s first youth laureate poet?
  4. When did she start to write the inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb”?
  5. Where is she from?
  6. What impediment did she have as a child?
  7. Who had this impediment too?
  8. What is the power of poetry for her? Poetry is a w_______________
  9. What university did she recently graduate from?
  10. What are her political aspirations?


Continue reading


Jane Austen’s World & Literature

Watch the following video about Jane Austen and answer the questions. You can stop and watch the video as many times as you need.

  1. What period is described in Jane Austen’s novels?

2. What did she want to achieve through her novels?

3. What was her father’s job? Were they rich?

4. Did she get married?

5. How many novels did she write? Which ones do you know?

6. Why are Elizabeth and Darcy in Pride and Prejudice good for one another? 

7. What are the lenses Jane Austen tries to exchange in Mansfield Park?

8. Does Jane Austen talk about money in her novels? What are the two important aspects of money she deals with?

9. What is Emma’s flaw in Jane Austen’s novel? 

10. What is the characteristic in Jane Austen’s novels that makes it unique and has disappeared from current literature?



300 Possible Habitable Worlds in the Milky Way Galaxy

I. Check the meaning of these words: 

earth  /  evolve  /  environment  /  evolution  /  unlikely  /  however  /  diversity of life

II. Watch the video up to 0:32 minutes and answer the following question:

Why is the Earth the best planet for us? 

III. Why do you think life can exist on the Earth? In pairs, think about possible reasons.

IV.Watch the second part of the video and complete the reasons why there’s life on Earth with the missing word.

surface                            habitable                      oceans                      atmosphere             magnetic                 cosmic rays                moon                        solar


  1. We’re located in the ____________zone of a main-sequence star that doesn’t produce too many killer __________ flares.
  2. We’ve got a thick _______________filled with oxygen and nitrogen that we can breath
  3. The planet is large enough so that it’s still molten in its core with a rotating ball of iron that maintains a planetary _______________ field. This combined with a thick atmosphere protects the surface of the planet from _____________, the worst of ultraviolet radiation from the Sun and deadly solar storms.
  4. We have plate tectonics that constantly recycle material on the _____________ of the planet bringing fresh chemicals up from its interior.
  5. We have a relatively large _____________ which probably keeps our planet more stable in its axial tilt with tides that helped early life-forms transition from the oceans to the land. But not too big a moon.
  6. We have huge ______________that help regulate the climate of the planet moving warm waters to cooler regions to make them more diverse and habitable.


IV.In pairs, write the introduction of your article on a Google Doc.