sestdiena, 2012. gada 29. decembris

piektdiena, 2012. gada 28. decembris

Beyond Planet Earth

I believe people have always been interested in things around them as well as things that are either far away or not possible to see. Here you can find scales to both - galaxies and neutrons. Click on start, go right or left and I hope you will enjoy having a look :)

svētdiena, 2012. gada 2. decembris

IELTS practice

IELTS exams are one way how to prove your level of English if you are planning to study at a university where the language of instruction is English. Here you can find some practice material that you can use either to prepare for IELTS or for your school leaving exam :)

Twitter vs Facebook

I belong to both of these social networking sites - Twitter and Facebook, however, I had never considered either their advantages or shortcomings before reading this article by Matt Haughey. Although I would say each of them has its value that I appreciate, I go with the opinion expressed in the article concerning here and now as well as positive emotions regarding Twitter. 

What do you think?

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 22. novembris

trešdiena, 2012. gada 24. oktobris

Book Report

As December is not very far, I would like to remind you of the home-reading assignment. You can use these questions while discussing what you have read:

TYPE: Is it a detective story, spy thriller, horror story, historical novel, science fiction, romance, etc.?
SUBJECT: What is it about, e. g. family life, an unusual person, a mystery, an adventure?
CHARACTERS: Who are they? What are they like?
SETTING: Where does the story take place?
TIME: Is it written in the present time, or is it historical, or set in the future?
EVENTS: What happens? (Don't tell the whole story, just enough to interest your listener) Your favourite episode, why this?
IDEAS: Is the writer saying something important about people? Is there a 'message' in the story?
COMMENTS: What was it like to read? easy / difficult? short / long?
                        How would you describe the story? realistic / amusing / exciting / fast-moving?
                        What did you like especially about it?
                        How did you feel?

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 8. oktobris

Correction of mistakes in written work

This entry is for those who are not familiar with the way some teachers including me correct their written work :)

The mistakes are marked in the following way:
wo - word order
ww - wrong word
wf - wrong form
wm - word missing
pr - incorrect preposition
a - incorrect article
gr - unspecified grammar mistake
t - verb tense
sp - spelling
? - it means there is something unclear
p - punctuation
wavy line - I do not exactly like the way you have written something (as it probably does not sound natural), but it can be left as it is :)

If I have missed any, you are welcome to remind me :)

All the mistakes need to be corrected in the text (with a differently coloured pen or pencil) except for the spelling mistakes - each misspelt word needs to be written five times correctly :)

If your work is in a printed version, use track changes for correction.

Remember that diligent correction work improves your grade :)

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 1. oktobris


As some of you have asked me to provide a few more tasks on indirect (or embedded) questions, here are some pages you can have a look at:

1. Some good examples for indirect questions can be found here. Be sure to click on Part 1 and Part 2 for more examples :)
2. You can have a video to listen to some theory (if you feel like it) and examples :)
3. If you want to practice more, open this :)

ceturtdiena, 2012. gada 27. septembris

For you - biology lovers

I believe that this film on butterfly migration can be an exciting experience for all of you who love nature and biology.

British vs American English

When students study English, they quite frequently ask the teacher whether the English they are studying is British or American English. I usually tell them I do not have any preference as regards one or the other, as there is also a term "general English" or "global English". Sometimes I try to demonstrate the differences by giving examples, sometimes students themselves bring examples to class for discussion. However, the argument is always alive and this article from BBC news shows exactly what I mean :)

If you have come across any good examples, you are welcome to join the discussion :)

trešdiena, 2012. gada 26. septembris

Premium B2 Vocabulary

As we have together discovered that some of you have a problem with vocabulary, for each unit there is a long list of words that you can check out if you feel like :) The list can be found here; if you have any questions, you are very welcome to.

otrdiena, 2012. gada 18. septembris


You all know how frustrated I am if there is a situation of a student having copied material without referencing it properly. I also believe that most of you after having thought about it would never do this. However, in the age of technologies, it cannot always be escaped. Ana Christina, a teacher of English whose blog I follow, has beautifully reflected on the issue and offers some insightful videos for you to watch in her blog. If it raises any thoughts, you are very welcome to share :)

trešdiena, 2012. gada 12. septembris

New vocabulary approved!

Hey, good news for those who are looking for new words or wondering whether this or that word is in the dictionary. Here you can find out which words have been added by Collins Dictionary. Some examples like FaceTime, cyberbully and other can be found on this list. Honestly, I think it's high time for me to start learning :) Which ones do you know? Which ones should be added to the list?

trešdiena, 2012. gada 5. septembris


Dear graduates,
hopefully you all have entered the schools you really wanted to and are ready to face challenges that you will encounter. I sincerely hope that you are equipped with the necessary English skills to complete your assignments. However, if there is anything missing :) or there is a piece of advice you would like to give, you can always come back and share it.

Wishing you all a fruitful and full of successes academic year!

piektdiena, 2012. gada 8. jūnijs

Ray Bradbury (August 22, 1920 – June 5, 2012)

This short article in The New Yorker by Ray Bradbury shows just how important things in life influence us later.

A great artist is always great - either while being a child or a grown-up man :)


pirmdiena, 2012. gada 21. maijs

Previous exam writing tasks

Task 1 Your Best Quality
What do you think your friends or other people like most about you? What could you change about your personality and why? Write a diary entry in about 60 words.

Task 2 Giving Advice
Donald, aged 16: 'I don't know what to do. What's the point of staying at school? I ding maths and languages impossible. I don't need physics and chemistry. I have no idea what career to choose.'

Write Donald a letter (about 110 words):
  • give him advice how to improve his results at school,
  • explain the advantages of staying at school,
  • advise him what he could do to choose a career. 
Task 3 Reasons for Leaving Latvia
One of the main reasons why people have left Latvia during the last few years is that they say they are better paid in other countries. Add two other reasons and discuss all of them in an essay (about 250 words), giving your own opinion.

Task 1 Computer games
Write a paragraph for a school project expressing your arguments for and against computer games. Write about 80 words.

Task 2 Your town/village
Write a description of a sightseeing trip in your town/village for a tourist brochure.
Write about
  • the area in general,
  • 3 significant landmarks,
  • accommodation and catering possibilities that might attract visitors. 
Write about 110 words.
Welcome to my town/village... 

Task 3 Young people's health 
Write a composition (about 250 words) describing 3 factors that affect young people's health and physical fitness. Explain why these factors are important and add your suggestions about how to keep fit and healthy.

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 14. maijs

Some fun before the exam

I suppose we all need a break for a couple of minutes now and then. Why not watch something in English? Try this video :)

trešdiena, 2012. gada 25. aprīlis

Brainstorming - The New Yorker

As some of you might know, I do not read 'beauty magazines' (not 'because they make you feel ugly' but because I have more important things to do in my life). There are, however, a couple of editions I do read. One of my favourite reading materials in English is tjn or The New Yorker - a magazine with aura and tradition. I know that some of you would definitely appreciate the beauty of language; it also does have a cartoon of the day for those who don't want to bother with longer texts :)

I just came across this article on brainstorming - why not start with this? And maybe find something of your interest afterwards?

The ambivalent Shakespeare

The question of authenticity of Shakespeare and his works has always been an issue. Scientists have to prove the existence of the great author, there is a special foundation in Stratford-upon-Avon that works with the audience. The most recent news you can read in this BBC article.

What do you think?

otrdiena, 2012. gada 10. aprīlis

Learning a language

There have always been a discussion whether we need a teacher to learn a language. Some of us think that a teacher can motivate and enhance learning, some of us believe that we can easily do without anyone controlling our learning process.

Here you can find a beautiful way of explaining what learning a language is like :) I strongly agree to the idea that at some point it is you, the student, who needs to take the responsibility. I would be happy if you fairly early could decide which direction to take, and I could take up the role of a facilitator :)

Any thoughts on this?

New English Studies Page

I would like to invite you to check out a new English studies page provided by the British Council. There you'll find:
- tips for doing your exams better
- practical grammar and vocabulary activities
- blog posts on books, entertainment, life, etc

Some of you might find most of the things a little easy :)
If you have any comments, please, feel free to leave them here. 

svētdiena, 2012. gada 1. aprīlis

Consumerism and kids

Sometimes we are unaware how things around us happen and make us change starting from the moment we are born. This documentary is quite thought-provoking.

pirmdiena, 2012. gada 26. marts


As the ubiquitous Internet and computer work have taken over almost everyone's mind, there happen to be more and more spelling mistakes in handwritten work. Here you can find some tips to improve your spelling and not only :)

trešdiena, 2012. gada 1. februāris

Humour in 1951 :)

This is a really old video, even I was not born yet :) However, everyone can appreciate its clean humour. I received it from my very special friend Al from Oklahoma and this is his message to all of us:

For you youngsters the show host is Frank Sinatra. He was an actor and singer. He was hosting a variety show with singers, comedians, etc.
The video and sound quality is not High Definition. It was made back during the pioneer years of television. Most television was live, so this is very rare to have anything preserved on film.
This was back when humor wasn't dirty.

piektdiena, 2012. gada 20. janvāris