Archive | December 2014

Christmas Eve 1881

A wonderful story. All the best for 2015!

Morning Story and Dilbert

Morning Story and Dilbert Vintage Dilbert
December 18, 2010

This is  one of the best Christmas stories!!!  Get your box of Kleenex….  Kenny  T

Pa never had much compassion for the lazy or those who squandered their means and then never had enough for the necessities.  But for those who were genuinely in need, his heart was as big as all outdoors.   It was from him that I learned the greatest joy in life comes from giving, not from receiving.

It was Christmas Eve 1881.  I was fifteen years old and feeling like the world had caved in on me because there just hadn’t been enough money to buy me the rifle that I’d wanted for Christmas.  We did the  chores early that night for some reason.  I just figured Pa wanted a little extra time so we could read in the Bible.

After supper was over I took my boots off and stretched…

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Practical ideas for the Business English classroom: Part One – Developing critical thinking

Business English teachers, here’s one for you…

Oxford University Press

Developing critical thinking in ESLThis is the first article of a three-part Business English series by ELT teacher, teacher trainer and course book author, John Hughes. Here, he looks at the core critical thinking skills required by business English students.

Business English teachers are familiar with teaching the language for communication skills, such as giving a presentation or negotiating a deal. Perhaps fewer of us consider including the skill of critical thinking as part of our typical Business English course. And yet critical thinking is regarded as one of the key twenty-first century skills that employees look for in a candidate when recruiting. This demand for job applicants with critical thinking skills is also reflected in the course descriptions of many MBA and university-based business programmes which list the development of critical thinking as a core objective.

So can we, as business English teachers, integrate this skill into our courses? The answer is ‘yes’ and…

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Has it been a good year?

Well, I have to say that my year has been pretty good!  We came back from Abu Dhabi and settled back into our life here in Spain.  Mike has got on with putting the finishing touches to the house and land. We have a pool! The landscaping is coming along slowly but surely.  And we’re decorating the house to our liking and comfort.

As planned, I have gone freelance. Originally, I thought I would do proofreading and did the necessary training. ELT (English language teaching) was to be my USP (Unique Selling Proposition/Point).  However, I’ve found that my experience in ELT has equipped me well to become an editor, both content and copy, within the ELT publishing industry. Therefore, most of my projects thus far have been editing.  And I love it!  I already have projects lined up for the new year. So professionally, life is good!

Winter has descended on the mountain but, as usual, this brings great variety in the weather. This morning, for example, we are sitting in cold grey wet cloud:

Winter cloud

Winter cloud

Sitting in the clouds...

Sitting in the clouds…









It’s feeling very Christmassy!

However, three days ago, we had a pre-Christmas trip to the coast for fish and chips, and the weather was gorgeous!


Yacht, anyone?

Yacht, anyone?

The Marina, Garrucha

The Marina, Garrucha









We had a browse around Garrucha market…

Garrucha market

Garrucha market

Last minute Christmas shopping!

Last minute Christmas shopping!









Then headed along the coast road to Mojacar, where we had fish and chips at the Irish Rover.  I know, not very Spanish! Then we had a stroll along the promenade…


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As you can see, it was very quiet. It’s the winter season – only residents around.  The perfect time to visit!

So, who knows what the weather will be like on Christmas day? But, you know what? I don’t mind at all! I’ll be with friends and family, and yes, that does include our dogs!

Wherever you are this Christmas, we wish you the happiest of times and a hopeful, healthy and inspiring 2015!

From our little corner of the mountains…



©Natalie Murray, 2014. Copying strictly prohibited. Extracts and links may be used only with full and clear credit given to Natalie Murray/English in Andalucia with appropriate links to the source material.

Christmas Trivia Quiz

A fun Christmas quiz for the last day of term!

Tim's Free English Lesson Plans

This is a fun Christmas trivia quiz for the last day of term. Bring prizes for the winning team.

Split the class into small groups and get them to come up with a festive team name. There are two rounds, the first is the picture round. Show the pictures in the picture round handout, students have to name the items they see.

The second round is the trivia round. Read out the questions below one at a time, students write their answers on a piece of paper. You can download the list of questions here. Christmas Trivia Quiz

Trivia Round

  1. What are the names of these dates? 24th + 25th, 31st of December, 1st of January. Christmas eve, Christmas day, New Year’s eve, New year’s day.
  2. What do people traditionally do under the mistletoe plant? Kiss
  3. Where do children hang their stockings on Christmas Eve? Next…

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Classroom resources for Christmas

Is Christmas coming to your classroom?

Oxford University Press

Christmas ESL resourcesChristmas nearly upon us, so we thought we’d share some classroom resources to help you and your class get in the festive mood.

Teacher trainers Stacey Hughes and Verissimo Toste from our Professional Development team have prepared some multi-level activities for you to use in your classroom.

Christmas Activities

Christmas Activities 2014, including:

  • Jigsaw Reading – pre-intermediate and above
  • Christmas Word Search – pre-intermediate and above

Christmas Cards Activities

Christmas Cards Activities, including:

  • Christmas Cards Activity – any level
  • Christmas Cards Worksheet – any level
  • Delivering the Christmas Cards – any level
  • The 12 Days of Christmas – pre-intermediate and above
  • A Christmas Wreath – young learners

Extensive Reading Activities

More Resources

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