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A1
Keeping a journal helps you see how your English is improving as well as where you’re still having problems. Journals are good for practicing your writing and they’re a nice way of communicating privately with your teacher. Buy yourself a nice notebook and a good pen, and use them only for your English learning journal.

A2
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“Today I learned………………………………………………………”

A3
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“Today’s lesson was easy /difficult because………”

A4
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“The most fun /boring part of today’s lesson was…….”

A5
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I love it when my teacher……………………………………….”

A6
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I hate it when my teacher…………………………………….”

A7
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I love it when my partner/ classmates……………….”

A8
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I hate it when my partner/ classmates……………….”

A9
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I’m good at…………………………………………………………………”

A10
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“I need to improve………………………………………………………”

A11
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“To improve my English I want to do more…………………in class.”

A12
Complete this sentence everyday in your journal:
“To improve my English I want to do more…………………at home.”


B1
Use 2 dictionaries:

  • A Spanish-English/English-Spanish dictionary will help you learn the translation of the word.
  • An English-English dictionary will help you learn how the word can be used in a sentence. Remember to get a good learner’s dictionary (Cambridge, Cobuild or Longman are the best), otherwise, you won’t understand the explanations.

B2
How many vowel sounds are there in the English language? Check in your dictionary under the phonetic alphabet.

B3
How many consonant sounds are there in the English language? Check in your dictionary under the phonetic alphabet.

B4
How can you use your dictionary to learn correct pronunciation?

B5
How can you use your dictionary to learn correct word stress?

B6
How many words begin with “in”? What does “in” mean in these words? Check in your dictionary.

B7
How many words end in “-ful”? How many words end in “-less”? What do these suffixes mean? Check in your dictionary.

B8
What adjectives can be used with “coffee”? Check in your dictionary.
Are they the same as in Spanish?


C1
Read articles from newspapers, magazines and the internet
If you’re intermediate and up, all you have to do is:

  1. Choose an interesting headline.
  2. Write 3 questions you want the article to answer.
  3. Read quickly to find the answers.

You should try to guess the meanings of difficult words from the context first; if that doesn’t help, then use the dictionaries (see what I wrote above).

C2
Find the weather report about Quito.

C3
Read the comics. Are they funny? Why or why not?

C4
Compare the front page of “El Comercio” with the front page of “The Miami Herald”. Are they the same or different? Why?


D1
Find out as much as you can about the movie from the box, and read the summary on the back or find an article about it. Make sure it’s interesting.

D2
Watch a little bit of the movie until you know who the main characters are. Write down everything you know about them (rich, beautiful, aggressive, smart, etc.) Then try and predict what will happen in the story based on what you think the characters will do. Watch the movie to check if you’re right. Don’t worry about vocabulary.

D3
The second and third time you watch you can check the meaning of difficult words, but only the ones you think are important.

D4
Stop the movie sometimes and guess what will happen next.

D5
Stop the movie sometimes and guess what the character will say.

D6
Read the subtitles in Spanish as you watch a movie in English. Are there any mistakes in the translation?


E1
Before reading a novel or a graded reader on your own, figure out as much as you can from the cover, and read the summary on the back. Make sure it’s interesting.

E2
Read little bit until you know who the main characters are. Write down everything you know about them (rich, beautiful, aggressive, smart, etc.) Then try and predict what will happen in the story based on what you think the characters will do. Read the book once quickly to check if you’re right. Don’t worry about vocabulary.

E3
The second and third time you read, you can check the meaning of difficult words, but only the ones you think are important.

E4
When you’re reading, stop and guess what will happen next.

E5
When you’re reading, stop and guess what the character will say.

E6
When you’re reading, draw pictures if it helps you understand better.


F1
Search the internet. Go to www.google.com and search for ESL /EFL. Find games and quizzes to practice with.

F2
Compare your horoscope in Spanish with one in English. Are they the same or different? Which one would you prefer to believe?

F3
Look up the web page of your favorite movie star, pop star or athlete.


G1
Walk around “Gringotown”. How much can you understand?

G2
Listen to the people around you.
If they’re speaking in English, what are they saying?
If they’re speaking Spanish, can you translate it into English?

G3
Listen for examples of the grammar you’re learning.


H1
Think in English!
Yes, that’s right. Whenever you’re doing something simple (like cooking, or driving to work) think about what you're doing in English.
For example, I think in Spanish when I make coffee in the morning
“Quiero un café...Tengo que hervir agua...Donde puse la leche?...”

H2
Do you have a favorite activity (Cooking, salsa dancing, playing “cuarenta”)?
How would you teach an English speaker how to do it?

H3
Try and describe your favorite food in English.

H4
Try and tell the story of your favorite movie or book.


I1
Do you like to learn with music or in silence?

I2
Do you prefer to study with friends or alone?

I3
Do you prefer to study outside or inside?

I4
Do you prefer to study for a few minutes every night or for a long time the night before the test?

I5
Try studying in different ways to see what works best for you.

I6
Imagine speaking to your favorite movie/pop star…in English!


J1
Buy yourself 1 piece of candy for every 10 new words you learn.

J2
For every 2 movies you watch in English (no subtitles!), relax and watch one in Spanish.

J3
Put a special sticker or a happy face in your journal for everyday you remember to use the 3rd person “S”.

J4
Buy yourself a small present after each test…even if you fail!


K1
How much Spanish do you think your teacher should speak?

K2
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having an Ecuadorian teacher?

K3
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a foreign teacher?

K4
What’s the difference between spoken and written English? How about spoken and written Spanish?

K5
Think about everything you’ve read today in Spanish. Did you pay attention to every word? Were you looking for specific information? Or were you just reading to get the main idea? Think about why you read in English?

K6
Think about the things you usually write in Spanish (shopping lists, emails, etc.) Could you write some of those things in English?

K7
What do you plan to do with your English?

K8
Do you think it’s easier to learn Spanish or English? Why?

K9
Can you hear the differences between accents in English?

K10
When native speakers use the words “lame” or “stupid”, are they always insulting someone? How do you know?


L1
At home, look through the book to see what you are going to learn next. Next to each part, put a “+” if you already know it and a “-“ if you don’t. You’ll be surprised at how much you probably already know!

L2
In class, you’ll need to listen for 2 things:
1. To make sure you were correct in what you did understand at home.
2. To learn about the parts you didn’t know.

L3
Remember, you don’t need to understand every word your teacher says. It’s more useful to listen for keywords and then check your understanding in the exercises and activities you do afterward.


M1
When you have lots of verbs or words to learn:
Put a “+” next to the words you already know and a “-“ next to the ones you don’t.
Copy all the “-“ words into your notebook. Put them in categories that will help you remember them better. Use colors.

M2
When you have grammar to learn:
Think about your favorite movie star or singer or athlete. Or you can imagine the perfect lover for you. Use the grammar to make sentences about this person. You’ll see, it’ll be easier to remember.

M3
Photocopy exercises from your book and try and do them again before the exam. Check your answers by looking at what you did in class.

M4
Practice the grammar you’re learning by writing sentences about your favorite movie star, pop star or athlete.


N1 (listening)
Read the questions first. Try to predict what words you will hear for each question (think of synonyms too!). Then listen for the key words.

N2 (listening)
Be careful of “trick questions”, particularly in sufficiency and proficiency tests. Usually the answer that sounds most like what they say is wrong!

N3 (listening)
Remember that listening to a tape of other people talking is not a realistic situation. Feel confident that if you can understand your teacher or other native speakers, you are a good listener, no matter what your test score.

N4 (reading)
Read the questions first.

N5 (reading)
Read the text quickly to find the answer to each question. Don’t worry about difficult words if you don’t think they’re part of the answer.

N6 (reading)
If one of the questions asks “What is the main idea?”, answer that last.

N7 (reading)
Use your knowledge of the topic to help you.
(ex: “Dinosaurs lived in the cretaceous period.” I don’t know what cretaceous means, but I know that dinosaurs lived a long time ago.)

N8 (writing)
Make sure you understand the question!

N9 (writing)
Plan your answer and write it as clearly and simply as possible.

N10 (writing)
The shorter your sentences, the less chance you have of making mistakes! Include subject-verb-complement, then stop!


O1
Write 10 adjectives describing a good teacher. See if your classmates agree. See if your teacher agrees!

O2
Write 10 adjectives describing a good student. See if your classmates agree. See if your teacher agrees!

O3
Who decides what you will do for homework: you or your teacher? Why? Should it be different?

O4
Do you always work with the same partners? If so, would you like to work with different people? If so, how can you arrange this?

O5
Remember your teacher works for you. Ask him or her questions.

O6
What kinds of class activities do you like best?


P1
Choose an English song you like. Listen to it 10 times and try and understand the lyrics (words). Then look them up on the internet.

P2
Have you ever tried writing a song in English?

P3
Try and translate Shakira’s songs into English. Then listen to the English version. Are yours and hers the same?


Q1
Write down 20 words you’ve been taught this week. Can you organize them so they’re easier to learn? (ex: alphabetically? by topic? by ending? etc.)

Q2
Organize vocabulary so that degrees of meaning are clear.
Ex: YOUNG baby-toddler-child-teenager-adult-senior citizen OLD

Q3
Use colors to organize your vocabulary. Can you figure out my code?
Wife, man, knife, foot, life, woman, tooth
(answer: think of the plural forms of these words.)

Q4
Do we say “There was strong traffic on the highway.” or “There was heavy traffic on the highway.”? Ask a native speaker or check your dictionary.

Q5
What’s the difference between telling a girl she has a “pretty little dress” and a “pretty small dress”. Ask a native speaker.

Q6
Write new words on cards and tape them around your house.

   

 



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