Thursday, December 28, 2006

Topic Specific Exercises

The topic this week in the IELTS preparation class is ENVIRONMENT. You can find many English exercises about the environment at The Web Language Lab. They also have exercises about other topics that we'll be studying about in the IELTS preparation course.

Take some time over the holiday and see how many of the exercises you can complete. When we return after the break we will continue with the topic GM foods (genetically modified). There's an exercise about that topic too: The Web Language Lab

Enjoy your holiday!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

A Childhood Memory – from one of our teachers

When I was a young girl my family lived in Illinois, in the United States. It was always very cold there during the winter. One winter my father decided that we would all go on an adventure. He told my mother to go to our schools and ask the teachers to give us enough schoolwork to keep us busy for a month and to pack our summer clothes. He said we’d be leaving in the early hours of the next morning for a trip to Florida.

My father put our boat on a trailer and attached it to the back of the car. Before dawn, he woke us up and all six of us piled into the car for the start of our journey. The weather was cold and it was snowing as we drove away from our house. It took us two days to drive to Florida with the weather becoming warmer with every mile that we drove south. Soon we were drinking freshly squeezed orange juice and wearing our summer clothes. The cold weather and snow were far behind us.

My father had given our small boat the name ATHA – it was an acronym of the names of the children in our family - Andrea, Therese (that’s me), Holly, and Anthony. It wasn’t very big, but we were comfortable. We launched the boat in Miami and spent about a month cruising around the various islands that make up the Florida Keys. During the day we swam in the warm, crystal clear waters and at night we slept on deck under the stars.

Around Christmas time we moored our boat at a dock were there was a filling station (petrol station) and a small grocery store. The owner of the grocery store lived behind his shop and inside his shop was a very large salt-water fish tank filled with beautiful fish. A navy research vessel was moored at the same dock, right behind our boat. The crew of their boat was especially friendly, and they had two unusual members of their crew – two harbour seals! These seals were specially trained to help with underwater research. We enjoyed watching the seals swim and play in the water near our boat. The crew of the boat had taught the seals to climb up on the research vessel using a special landing deck on the back made just for the seals. They were quite tame, but their handlers told us not to get too close as the seals occasionally became aggressive and might bite.

One morning we got up early and prepared our breakfast – bread, butter, jam, milk, cereal, coffee and juice. It had been a bit chilly that night and we had put up the canvas cover of the boat. We were all enjoying our breakfast when we heard something make a big spash! Then BOOM! The canvas covering of our boat began to collapse. I peeked out from behind the fabric and was surprised to see that one of the seals had decided to join us for breakfast!

The seal was wet and slid right down the canvas and onto the table! My mother grabbed the camera and got onto the dock to take some pictures. The seal was flopping, slipping and sliding all over! We managed to release the canvas cover and tried to help the seal. By now the seal was smeared in butter and jam, our breakfast was everywhere. In the midst of all the commotion, the crew of the research vessel came and rescued their seal. Our breakfast was ruined but none of us cared because, ‘How often do you have a seal land on your table?’

We cleared up the mess and spent the day exploring the surrounding area. We decided to return to the same dock to spend the night as it was Christmas Eve. We bought some food for dinner at the small grocery store and my sisters and brother and I looked at the colourful fish swimming in the tanks while my parents visited with the owner of the shop.

It was going to be a different Christmas that year as we were not at home. There wasn’t a tree and we weren’t going to exchange gifts. We would only have Christmas stockings which we hung from hooks on the sides of the boat. My father turned on the radio and we all snuggled down listening to Christmas carols.

Around midnight we heard someone walking on the dock towards our boat. We looked out and found the shop owner. He asked if we would like to see something very special. Curious, we all climbed out of the boat and followed the man into his shop. There, in the dimly lit shop next to the beautiful fish tank was a smaller aquarium that contained some green seaweed and one large sea horse. We peered into the tank and were astonished to see that the seahorse was giving birth! How amazing and how truly perfect to be happening at midnight on Christmas Eve.

A true story by Mrs Khadija

The seal who decided to come for breakfast.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Feeling Vocabulary Exercises

Here are 15 exercises using vocabulary about feelings. To visit the webpage click on the image above or on this link: Feelings

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Links to Reported Speech Exercises

FCE students are learning Reported Speech. Here are some exercises to help revise what you are learning in class.

At the movies

The FCE (First Certificate English) students are discussing movies in Unit 8. Here's a fun website that will help you improve your English using movie trailers.

What's a movie trailer? A movie trailer is a commercial for a film.

On this website you can watch many different trailers and work on English exercises about each film. It's lot's of fun! - Click on the image above or on this link: to visit the English Trailers website.

Tajoura, near Tripoli

Hello my name is Ramsay and I'm from Tajoura, near Tripoli. Would you like to know more about me? I guess you do.

How many people are in my family? There are six of us; my parents, two brothers and one sisiter and of course me.

My hometown is Tajoura. Would you like to know more about Tajoura? Well, Tajoura is one of the biggest cities in the Tripoli area. The population is about 600,000.

Where about in Tripoli is Tajoura? Tajoura is at the seaside and it's not that far from the city centre. Tajoura is a very calm city. It's not that busy in Tajoura.

What's the weather like in Tajoura? Tajoura is very hot in the summer and cold and rainy in the winter.

What are good things about Tajoura? It's not that far from the town, it's calm because it's not that busy and it's near the sea so you can go fishing and swimming in the summer.

What are the bad things about Tajoura? There are a lot of farms in Tajoura so you might get attacked by a snake and there's no nightlife, but the good thing about Tajoura is that you can grow plants and fruit there.

Tajoura is famous for it's natural beauty, so if you have time I'll advise you to visit Tajoura because it's an interesting city.

FCE preparation

My hometown - Benashur, Tripoli

Dear Michelle,

Hello my friend, how are you? I hope that you are fine.

Do you want to know about me? I'm from Libya - Tripoli, I've lived my whole life in Benashur so it's my hometown.

I live here with my mother, father and my older brother. I've live in Tripoli but the roots of my family are from a nice city called Zlitan. I have never been there but some of my friends have visited there and they told me it's a nice place and I should go there. I'd love to go if I ever have the chance.

What do I like about Benashur?
It's near the city centre, it has lots of shops, everything is near and available and it's close to the beach.

What are the things that I don't like?
That it's crowded, noisy, busy and the traffic is so bad because there are a lot of cars. That's all because Tripoli is the capital city of Libya.

What is the weather like in the summer?
It's very hot in summer, the air is so dry, but it's OK because it's my hometown, after all.

That was about my hometown. Do you want to know about me?
About me, I like reading, writing, the internet is the thing I like to do most in my free time. sometimes I spend 2 - 3 hours a day surfing the net. I love school so much and I like learning English.

I wish that you can come to visit Libya soon and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best wishes, your friend,

Magda Buhajar
FCE preparation


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Alkhoms is my hometown

Hello my name is Niall and I come from the city of Alkhoms in Libya. Do you want to know more about me? I expect you do!

How many people are in my family? Well, there are five of us; my parents, my two brothers and I. Where are we from? Well, originally we came from Alkhoms.

Where is Alkhoms? Well, it's a city in the northwestern part of Libya on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.

What qualities does Alkhoms have? Well, Alkhoms has a very good economy due to processing and manufacture of some products. Among some of these products are cement, with two big cement factories, the local people have jobs provided for them. Other products include olives, olive oil, dates and a kind of grass used in the production of paper. it makes high quality paper that is used to make books. Alkhoms also has some of it's ancient Ottoman and Italian buildings left plus a very popular beach in the east of the city.

What are the advantages of living in Alkhoms? Alkhoms is well connected with some major cities on the coast like Tripoli and Benghazi in Libya and Cairo in Egypty. There are also a lot of farms in Alkhoms that grow olives and dates with lots of palm trees.

What is the population of your hometown? The population of Alkhoms is about 230,000 inhabitants.

What are the bad things in your hometown? If you're on a farm there is a risk you might get bitten by a snake or stung by a scorpion and another thing is that you need a car to get to hospitals or shops.

What's the weather like in Alkhoms? It's very hot and dry int he summer and rainy and cold in the winter.

Niall Binmusa
FCE preparation

Benashur Street

Posted by Picasa

Do you want to know about where I'm from?

My name is Najib. I am from Libya. Can I give you some information about my country? OK. I think you agree.

Well, as a matter of fact Libya has been occupied by mankind for a long time, I think because of it's important location. It's located in north Africa facing the Mediterranean with a coast stretching about two thousand kilometers long.

Do you want to ask me about myself? Let me see, in fact I don't prefer to give much details about myself, so I think I'm going to make it brief.

I am twenty-nine years old. I am single, male and Muslim like all Libyans. I graduated from the Higher Institute for Tourism and Hotel Industry, but I'm not working in this field anymore.

In the meantime I am studying English at Yethreb School in Tripoli. Although I have been studying English for several years, I don't seem to do well in it. Anyway, I really don't like to bother you with my problems, adn instead of that let me ask you this question: Do you suggest that I give you an idea about my hometown? Good.

As I mentioned before, you know now that I live in Libya close to the capitol, Tripoli, which is in the northwestern part of the country. I live exactly in an eastern suburb of Tripoli which is called Suk Juma. This town has been my hometown and my grandfathers hometown for more than one hundred and fifty years.

Suk Juma is one of the biggest towns in Tripoli and has a large population. It consists of big families which all know each other and keep good relationships between themselves.

People work in various occupations like; agriculture, teaching, commercial trade and many other jobs.

Do you know what the weather is like in Suk Juma? Alright, I will give you some information about that. Because of it's nearness to the sea, the town during summer doesn't get so hot as in gets in the towns located further inland, but it may get pretty hot on some days. In winter the weather is not very cold, the sun shines nearly everyday. Rain is common but not so heavy.It rarely snows but the temperature may get very low at night.

The town has lots of schools of different categories and there are some hospitals and medical clinics spread throughout the town.

The most famous thing in Suk Juma is the huge popular street market on Fridays. It always gets extremely crowded and good of all kinds are displayed on the streets.

At the end, I hope you have a good background about my hometown, and thank you for your concerns.

FCE preparation

A village in the desert of Libya

Where are you from? I'm from the region of Aljofra; Zella Village.

What is your hometown like? It is desert. It's very large and there isn't a lot of houses. There are a lot of wild animals like wolves, wild dogs, foxes and you can see many camels walking freely in the desert. I think that it is very nice.

What are some nice things about your hometown? The nice things are that all the people know each other so you can walk in any time and you feel safe all the time. Most people there are my friends. No busy places exist in my village, it's very quiet. The kinds of food there are delicious; we depend on meat and cereals. And we have very interesting songs and music in my village.

What are negative things in your town? The weather in summer is so hot that you can't go out of the house and in winter it is quite cold. The best season is autumn. The weather is pleasant all the time in autumn.

Can you tell me about some special things about Zella Village? The special thing is that all people in my hometown like foreigners very much and they are used to different people visiting the desert from all over the world.

Hafez Melad
FCE preparation

My home town - Tarhuna

Can you tell me about your hometown?

OK. I will tell you about my hometown. My hometown is Tarhuna, it's southeastward of the capitol city, Tripoli. It's faraway, about a hundred kilometers from the centre of the capital. It's nice, quite a large city.

What is Tarhuna famous for?

Tarhuna City is famous for agriculture, especially for the production of barley, wheat, olive oil and pickled olives, almonds, figs and some other vegetables such as potatoes, onions and also watermelon. Also it is famous for animal production, such as live animals, milk, meat and wool.

Do you have any ideas about tourist attractions in Tarhuna?

In Tarhuna there are a lot of ancient houses, small castles and mansions. They were built long ago from big stones and mud. Also, it has a very famous spring called Ayn Al-Sharshara but it is dry now so I'm very sorry about it because it was once a nice thing in my hometown.

How many people live there?

Ah, you ask me about the population. Believe me, I don't know.

Elmehdi Mohamed
FCE preparation