dijous, 15 de desembre de 2016

Christmas Festival 2016

Pictured here are the boys from 2nd Primary before their acting debut as superheroes in this year's Christmas festival. Preparations have been underway since October, ending with today's dress rehearsal, which has gone according to plan. The boys have been very excited, but they are now ready for action! There is also a CD available at reception of the songs from the festival recorded by the boys. 
The finishing touches have been made and everything is ready for the big night..

divendres, 2 de desembre de 2016

3rd Primary Reading Session!

Pictured here are the boys from 3rd Primary during their Tuesday reading session from 1 to 1:30pm. 
Their classroom library is growing, and will soon include simple readers in English, which will help to reinforce the language work they do in the classroom. 
Our  half-hour session is a time exclusively for reading. We value it highly, as it is a time for reflection, relaxation and for improving reading skills before the lunch break. 

Reading has so many important benefits! It increases our knowledge, expands our vocabulary, improves our writing skills, as well as being extremely enjoyable! 

divendres, 25 de novembre de 2016

Cosmocaixa Science Museum!

Tuesday 25th November was this term's 'excursion day' for Mestral. 3rd & 4th Primary and 3rd & 4th ESO had an exciting day at the Cosmocaixa Science Museum in Barcelona. The Primary boys received a guided tour about the origins of life on our planet from our excellent guide, Raúl.They saw some very interesting and strange creatures, which, over many millions of years, had started life in the oceans and had ended up on land!

divendres, 18 de novembre de 2016

Mestral library lending service

For several years now, Mestral has had a daily slot of half an hour during which students can either attend Holy Mass or spend time reading. Pictured here are the boys from 4th Primary during their Thursday reading session, when they can go down to the library to take out a book for a week. 
Of course, we know that reading broadens the mind, makes us more literate and helps us no end with our studies!

divendres, 11 de novembre de 2016

Christmas is coming!

Preparations are well underway for this year's Christmas Festival in Mestral, which will take place on Thursday 15th December. Pictured here are the teachers preparing to record a song for the second edition of our Christmas CD, which will be on sale on the day of the festival. We thank Mr Martinez, our musical director, and our sound engineer, Roger, for their invaluable help!

dimecres, 2 de novembre de 2016

Castanyada 2016!

On Friday 28th October, we devoted our time and energies to doing various activities connected with this year's 'Castanyada'. The boys from Primary received a visit from two very generous 'castanyeres', and spent the morning decorating  their classrooms with all things autumn. Sr Martinez spent his lunchtime roasting chestnuts, which were given out in the afternoon in the playground. The boys also learnt how to play some new team games and finished the day with a traditional snack of chestnuts and 'panellets'!
Now, after a long weekend for All Saints, it's business as usual and we're back to work!

dilluns, 3 d’octubre de 2016

Cambridge exam speaking practice!

Shown here are the boys from 2nd ESO doing a speaking activity of the type which is found in part 3 of the Cambridge exam interview. Typically, it  requires candidates to hold a conversation using a visual prompt, which involves making suggestions, agreeing and disagreeing and reaching a decision. 
In the classroom, they practise these functions of English regularly, and so learn how to hold a conversation in a foreign language, using different types of question forms, and by employing techniques which 'keep the ball rolling.'

divendres, 23 de setembre de 2016

Writing - my least favourite activity!

It's September 2016, and 1st ESO are making their first attempts at coherent writing in a foreign language! There are several ways to approach this from a teacher's point of view. Nevertheless, it is essential that students have some sort of framework or model to work with. They also appeciate having a 'mobile dictionary', in the form of the teacher walking around the class offering help. 
In this day and age of online chat nonsense, usually devoid of punctuation and structure, students need constant reinforcement as to what is correct and what is not. 
As always, practice makes perfect!

dilluns, 20 de juny de 2016

Blues Workshop

This workshop gives a general overview about what Blues music is all about: it’s origins, format and relevance today. Pupils from 2nd and 4th ESO learnt to play some rhythm guitar progressions such as I-IV-V using a 12-bar blues format. I recorded a loop for them to play along with, then they started to learn to play guitar solos with the five-note pentatonic scale, which is a good place to start for young blues guitarists! Probably the most important thing, however, is to listen to a lot of blues music, which leaves its mark on listeners in many ways.

Keep practising!

divendres, 17 de juny de 2016

The end of the school year

Pictured above are 4th ESO doing some revision activities for their last test of the school year. They are aware that they won’t be able to make a significant change in the result of the work of the last 10 months. However, they do know the importance of being consistent in their effort over the whole year. 
Language learning is a never-ending process! As with many things in life, there is no magical solution to achieving our goals. Hard work, time and effort  are the only things that will bring success in learning a foreign language.

divendres, 3 de juny de 2016

'Què puc fer per recuperar el curs?'

How time flies! We are almost at the end of the school year. The above question is often heard at this time of year. Of course, learning a language isn't just about doing a few tests and getting pass marks. It is a process which is often long and laborious. Therefore, it is impossible to make up for missed work, or work which has not been done over the course of the academic year with one exam.
The first step for students who find themselves in this situation is to complete the 'contracte d'estiu'. Then they need to make sure that they do regular revision of work which has not been done. Finally, they need to make sure that their effort remains constant throughout the school year.
Language learning is, of course, a life-long journey.

Hauria d’haver passat a la història que amb un sol examen es pugui aprovar una avaluació i, menys encara, una assignatura sencera. Qualsevol activitat que es faci a classe pot ser utilitzada amb una finalitat avaluadora"
Sotsdirector del col·legi Terraferma

dimarts, 17 de maig de 2016

Cambridge Exams - Young Learners

Last week, the boys who signed up for Movers took their exam. It consisted of a reading, writing and listening test, followed by an interview. They are pictured here with Mireia, one of the Cambridge examiners. They will find out their marks at the end of next month.

divendres, 22 d’abril de 2016

We all make mistakes!

This week, 2nd Batxillerat handed in their latest English composition. It was an opinion essay entitled: 'Every child should learn how to play a musical instrument.' We have spent this academic year working on essay technique. They are now more than aware of what they need to do to improve their writing, by using clear simple ideas and a wide variety of language, while avoiding basic mistakes. Before giving back their work, they were given a list of their mistakes to analyse.

Yes, of course it's true. We do all make mistakes, but the secret at this level is to avoid the most basic ones. How can this be done? By doing systematic checking of the essay before it is handed in! 

divendres, 15 d’abril de 2016

'With your partner...'

When 4th ESO hear these famous words, they know that they will have an opportunity to do some speaking practice. The success of the activity depends on a few things: giving them a task within their ability range with specific objectives and, of course, their own motivation and desire to complete it.
The advantage of this type of task is that students share knowledge with each other, rather than solely with the teacher. 4th ESO have been practising 'modal verbs'. Using them at any level is a great way to improve your language skills, as they are extremely common in both spoken and written English. 

divendres, 1 d’abril de 2016

You Are What You Eat

With the start of the new term, 3 ESO have begun a new unit on the theme of 'food and nutrition'. As well as learning new vocabulary to do with food and diet, they are also seeing the importance of having a healthy lifestyle, as well as learning what a balanced diet consists of. 
They now know how we can both lose and gain weight. They also understand what calories are and what types of nutrients we need and why. 
Along with this, they have been practising 'gerunds and infinitives', which is one of the main themes tested in the Cambridge external exams, in the section called 'Use of English'. 

dilluns, 14 de març de 2016

TV3 visit 4 ESO

TV3 visited Mestral last Thursday, as the boys from 4th ESO were going to appear in action as part of a debate on single-sex and coeducational schools. We thank the cameramen Èric and Juli for their time and for coming to visit us. The debate is to be shown on the programme 'Els Matins' on Monday 14th March.

divendres, 4 de març de 2016

Our First English Week : Home To Home at Mestral

From 29th February to 4th March, four English teachers, Cristian, Jonathan, Jack and Jordan, who form part of the Home To Home organisation, have been working all week with 4th Primary, 1st and 2nd ESO. The pupils have not been doing English lessons as such, but rather a series of activities and tasks which have been completed with English as the means of communication. Work in the morning has been done in the classroom, while the afternoon sessions have involved taking part in English team games in the playground.

The feedback from the boys has been extremely positive, with most of them saying that they would like to carry on with this type of work all the time! They have had to make the effort to communicate in any way they can with the teachers, by using sign language, gestures, translators, etc., which is exactly what will happen in real life when they are faced with the reality of having to express themselves in a foreign language.

dilluns, 29 de febrer de 2016

26th February Visit to Cardona

Last Friday, 5è and 6è had a fantastic day out! It started with a visit to the castle in the morning. We learnt all about its history, design, strategic position and legends, such as that of the ‘torre de la minyona’. In the afternoon, we went down to the amazing salt mines, which were in operation until 1990 but now receive regular visitors. We thank our excellent tour guide, Mònica, for making it an informative and memorable day!

divendres, 19 de febrer de 2016

6th Primary The birds and the bees..

In Mestral, students of 4th, 5th and 6th Primary study both Natural Science and Social Science in English. We use material from the ‘Sciences’ series, the content of which is in English, and is published by Oxford University Press. This allows students to cover the material of Natural and Social Science which corresponds to their year group, while at the same time being involved in a greater number of  lessons with English as the means of communication. This is particularly appropriate in the field of Science, as its international language is English.

At the moment, 6th Primary are studying human reproduction, which of course includes information about reproductive cells, systems, processes, cycles, pregnancy and birth, with an evaluative test at  the end of the unit. 

divendres, 12 de febrer de 2016

4 ESO Basic Competences: 16th & 17th February 2016

4th ESO are currently preparing to take the Basic Competences exams next week, The English exam consists of a series of reading, writing and listening tasks. These are administered and marked externally. The results will give an indication of the level of each student in comparison to the rest of Catalonia.
The writing section  usually consists of questions which require students to produce certain linguistic functions, such as the use of different tenses, making plans, requests and invitations. The boys are pictured here working in groups, while examining and correcting each other’s work.

We wish them the best of luck!

divendres, 5 de febrer de 2016

The Yellow Pages

Towards the end of each unit of the Advanced Real English coursebooks in ESO, students will come across a 'yellow page'. They now know that this means that they are going to be doing some activities which are the same as the ones they will find in the Cambridge external exams which we offer here at Mestral.
Over the next few days, families of 5è, 6è, 2nd and 4th ESO will be receiving information by letter and by e-mail about these exams. The closing date for registry and payment is Friday 11th March. Students from other year groups are also elligible to take an exam if they so wish, with the consent of their English teacher.

divendres, 29 de gener de 2016

My Lips are Sealed

1st Batxillerat are doing their English lessons as Cooperative Learning for the duration of this term. During the first two weeks, the lessons have included different learning techniques, which aim to make learners both more self-sufficient, and at the same time more dependent on their team members. At the moment, they are studying conditions, time clauses and idioms to do with the theme of the unit: Codes, Secrets and Spies!

Learners have the opportunity to share their knowledge with their team members, as opposed to knowledge coming exclusively from the teacher.

dimecres, 27 de gener de 2016

Welcome to the Mestral blog in English!

This blog contains information about a variety of activities happening both in and out of the classroom..