Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Online Games

Do you like to play games online? Try JoyTube for some fun trivia and word games!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Learn Grammar and Have Fun!

Like to play word games? Want to practice your grammar at the same time? Here is a list of some online games you can use to practice your grammar - and have fun doing it!
Have fun and learn lots!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Exotic Fruit Translations

CEC students sometimes wonder how to say the names of their favorite foods. It can be difficult translating foods, since different regions name things differently, while other regions may not even know about the food in question! So, for Ecuadorian students, we have compiled a list of some of the translations for those more exotic and difficult-to-translate foods. This post will focus on FRUITS:
  • tomate de árbol: tamarillo
  • grosella: Tahitian gooseberry
  • uvilla: cape gooseberry
  • taxo: banana passionfruit
  • achotillo: rambutan fruit (similar to lychee)
  • guayaba: guava
  • guaba: no translation found, I guess we have to call it guaba and try not to get confused with a guayaba!
  • ovo: similar to a natal plum
  • babaco: babaco or champagne fruit
  • maracuyá: passionfruit
  • naranjilla: naranjilla
  • granadilla: sweet granadilla or golden passionfruit
  • tuna: cactus apple or prickly pear
  • capulí: black cherry
  • guanábana: guanabana or prickly custard apple
  • oritos: baby bananas
  • maduro: sweet plantain (very ripe plantain)
  • plátano verde: plantain
  • chirimoya (cherimoya): custard apple

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Test-taking Tips for the TOEFL iBT

  1. Become familiar with the format. Review the amount of time you have for each section.
  2. Remember: the TOEFL iBT tests not only language skills but academic skills, such as how well you take notes, remember information, can compare and contrast information, etc.
  3. Within the test, the same skills are tested over and over again.
  4. The same kinds of questions are repeated throughout the exam. Recognize this early on so that you feel more comfortable with the types of questions being asked.
  5. Don't worry if the reading topics seem unfamiliar - you can be assured that all the information needed to answer the questions will be included in the passage.
  6. Don't "get lost" in the details. Understand and take note of the main points.
  7. Answer the questions in the writing and speaking questions. Be direct and get to the point quickly. Your answer should be transparent (easy to understand).
  8. Use your organizational skills in the writing and speaking sections. Take notes on how you will organize your thoughts before you begin speaking/writing.
  9. Use vocabulary and grammar structures that you know you can use correctly. This is not the time to try something new and unfamiliar.
  10. Be sure to answer all the questions. Guess if necessary.

Tips from

Monday, May 21, 2007

Listening Site for Beginners

Beginners may be overwhelmed with the English on the web, but there are some good listening sites for beginners, too! Check out VOA'S Special English web site for listening activities that are slower and with limited vocabulary and grammar. Now beginners can practice their listening skills, too!

Friday, May 18, 2007

More Videos for English Students - This is a great web site for English students! Watch short videos, according to your level. Beginners included! The Smallest Restaurant in the World, Are You Married?, Ray's Indoor Bike Park - these are just some of the titles of the videos available. A great resource for teachers, also.

Practice Vocabulary at Home!

Do you need to learn more vocabulary? The best way to learn vocabulary is by READING. There are other ways, however, to improve your vocabulary and review words you see when reading or in class. Here are some tips:

  • Make a vocabulary "flip pad." Put a verb on each page. Add words that you can use after it. (For instance: write the verb DO, and afterwards common words that follow DO, such as your homework, the dishes, some reading, etc.)
  • Go to the drugstore and look at the objects on the shelf. Tell yourself the names of these objects in English. What helath problems are they for? Can you remember the names of the health problems in English?
  • Label broken items in your house. Look around your house. Put the name of problems you see on a sticky note (Post-it) and put it on the object that needs to be fixed. Remove the notes when the problem is fixed.
  • Find a fashion magazine and label as many of the different styles, materials, patterns, colors, etc. as you can in 15 minutes.
(Ideas taken from Touchstone.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007


The war in Iraq is objectionable, but no matter what your opinion is about it, you can't help but feel for what this guy is going through! Have you ever been misunderstood because of your "accent"? This is a funny video that any English speaker can relate to.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Do You Speak English?

Quite a funny little video! Shows how ridiculous the question "Do you speak English?" is.

Focus on English Listening Web Site

Here is another link to a web site where you can practice your listening skills. Focus on English is a web site where you can hear native speakers and develop your conversational English skills.
  • Learn useful idioms.
  • Learn common words and phrases.
  • Test your vocabulary skills.
  • Practice responding to real-life English conversations.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Note taking skills - Improve your TOEFL score!

Note taking is an important part of college life. The better your notes are, the better you will understand the subject presented. The TOEFL iBT exam stresses this importance. On the TOEFL exam, better notes could mean a better score, since you will be more organized and prepared for the speaking and writing sections. Here are some basic techniques for note taking:
  • Date your notes. Use a pen, not a pencil.
  • Keep all your notes in one place - a large notebook divided into sections by subject is a great place to consolidate your notes, and will make it easier to cross-reference them.
  • Listen for "signals" that will tell you if what the speaker says is important. Phrases like, "The most important point is...", or "Remember that..." or "It's essential to realize that...", etc. are all indications that what the speaker is about to say is important, and should be written down. Things that are repeated or put on the board are usually important.
  • Don't copy everything the speaker says. The average speaker speaks at a rate of 125-140 minutes, but the average note taker writes about 25 words per minute! Listen to what the speaker says, then analyze it, judge it, compare it to what you already know. Only then summarize what he/she said in your own words.
  • After the lecture, write your own summary of the most important points of the class. Put key words and phrases in your own words, using the language of the subject if possible. Use different colors. Make each page look different. Star or highlight the most important points. Write questions you still have about the material.
  • Once you have summarized the class in your own words, review the notes you took. Try to summarize the class using your notes from above. If you have trouble, go back to your class notes and review. Review often.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Listening Practice with ComAudio

At ComAudio you can listen to many different kinds of audio items - poetry, songs, stories, etc.. Read the texts at the same time. Learn new vocabulary - to find the meaning of a word, click on it and then click the
Find button. Here you can also test audio books before purchasing them.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Funny Videos

Some funny videos to practice your English with and get a laugh!

More on Listening Practice

CNN Stories Archive is a great place to test your listening and reading skills. You can read, listen to, or watch a clip of the news item. There are interactive activities to test comprehension. The story can be seen in its complete version or its abridged (shortened) version.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

More Listening Practice with ELLLO

ELLLO stands for English Language Listening Lab Online. This web site is a great place for students of English to practice listening skills. There are more than 1000 activities archived on the site, and a variety of activities updated every Monday. Here are some of the site's features:

Interviews: Hear English-speakers talk about their jobs, families, lives, hobbies, etc. There is a good variety of English spoken, so students can hear many different types of English.

Newscasts: Short news stories with accompanying comprehension questions. Funny, motivational, debatable - there is something for everyone in these mini news stories!

Surveys (Mixers): Hear 6 people answer the same question. Again, a variety of English is presented: Australian, American, British, Swedish, etc.

Songs: Read the lyrics as you sing! Lyrics displayed on the monitor karaoke-style.

FOR BEGINNERS!!! Listening games: Listen to a short clip and find the matching picture.

This web site is very interactive, and fun for students and teachers alike. Visit every Monday and improve your listening skills!