Extra Tasks

Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Boys and girls should attend separate schools. Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

If boys and girls attend the same schools and universities, they will get equal opportunities of education. When they are together, they will study in the same laboratories, attend the same libraries, and learn from the same professors. In contrast, if they are separated, most of countries would take care of boys’ education more than girls’. Thus, it is important to have boys and girls together, to have the same chances of learning at schools.

If boys and girls attend the same schools, they will have better personalities in future. They will learn to talk together without being afraid or shy of each other. They will communicate and work better in their future jobs. If they grew up in separate schools, they would tend to be timid and less cooperative at work in the future. Thus being together will ensure that they will be successful and creative in their professionals.

Attending school together will help them to have a wonderful relationships when they grown up. When boys and girls are together in the same place, they will get to know each other better. Boys will know what girls like and dislike, what their interests, and how to handle some emerging problems with them. The same thing, girls will know boys’ characters better. This helps them to be a great spouses or life partners in the future with successful families.

To sum up, some countries may encourage a separate school for boys and girls while others support coeducational school. I believe that the last one is better because it will help boys and girls to be more social individuals with strong personalities and gorgeous relationships. Also they will gain the same rights of having equal education.

 April 1-10


Do you have any favorite idioms in your language? Can you translate them into English?


Five idioms every English student should know

Idioms are one of the hardest parts of learning a language. For those of you who don’t know, an idiom is a phrase which has a meaning, but the meaning is not clear from the words themselves. If you translate an idiom word for word, it sometimes makes no sense at all. They are like puzzles and even native speakers can get confused when someone uses a phrase that they’ve never heard of.

With that in mind, here are five common English idioms that you can use in a variety of situations.

1. Get your act together (Meaning: you need to improve your behaviour/work)

This might be something your teacher says to you if you score badly in an exam or if you misbehave in class. You can also use it to talk about people in general. For example, if your friend is being mean or nasty for no reason, then you can tell them that they need to get their act together.

2. Pull yourself together (Meaning: calm down)

This is a somewhat impolite way of telling someone that they are overreacting and that they need to relax. Only use this if you think the person you are speaking to is getting upset over something insignificant. If your friend tells you that their close relative has died, it is NOT the time to tell them to pull themselves together.

3. I’m feeling under the weather (Meaning: I’m sick)

Yes, it’s longer and more difficult to say than ‘I’m sick’, but if your English teacher asks you why you haven’t done your homework, he or she is more likely to forgive you if you say that you were feeling under the weather. You may not have done your English homework, but your teacher might be impressed that you know how to make eloquent excuses in a foreign language.

4. It’s a piece of cake (Meaning: it’s easy)

I don’t know why this means what it does, but sometimes you just have to accept that English people use weird phrases.

5. Break a leg (Meaning: good luck!)

This is perhaps one of the most confusing yet well-known English idioms. If someone says this to you, do not take offence or think they are threatening you; they are just wishing you luck. It is most often used for people wishing success to actors and actresses before they perform on the stage, but it can be said in other situations, too.

All in all, learning a new language can be challenging. It’s definitely not a piece of cake, especially when there are so many confusing idioms. However, with enough hard work and interest, you will succeed in no time. Break a leg!


What do you think about graffiti? Is it really art?

The story of street art

Modern graffiti began in big cities in the United States in the 1970s. In New York, young people wrote their names, or ‘tags’, in pen on walls around the city.

One of the first ‘taggers’ was a teenager called Demetrius. His tag was TAKI 183. He wrote his tag on walls and in stations in New York. Other teenagers saw Demetrius’s tag and started writing their tags too. Soon, there were tags on walls, buses and trains all over New York.

Then, some teenagers started writing their tags with aerosol paint. Their tags were bigger and more colourful. Aerosol paint graffiti became very popular in the 1970s and 1980s. It appeared on trains, buses and walls around the world.

In the 1990s and 2000s, a lot of graffiti artists started painting pictures. Some artists’ pictures were about politics. Other artists wanted to make cities beautiful and painted big, colourful pictures on city walls.

Graffiti in galleries

In some countries, writing or painting on walls is a crime. Sometimes, graffiti artists have problems with the police. In other countries, artists can draw and paint in certain places. For example, in Taiwan, there are ‘graffiti zones’ where artists can paint on walls. In São Paulo in Brazil, street artists can paint pictures on walls and houses. Their pictures are colourful and beautiful. Some tourists visit São Paulo just to see the street art!

In Bristol in the UK, there is a street art festival in August every year. Artists paint all the buildings in a street. Lots of people come to watch the artists and take photos. You can see exhibitions of street art in some galleries too. There have been exhibitions of street art in galleries in Paris, London and Los Angeles.

Who are the artists?

Some street artists have become famous. Here are three stars of the street art world:

  • Os Gêmeos are twin brothers from São Paulo. They paint big, colourful pictures of people on buildings. In 2007, they painted a castle in Scotland!
  • Blek le Rat is from Paris. He is famous for painting pictures of homeless people in big cities.
  • Faith47 is from Cape Town in South Africa. She paints big, colourful pictures of people and animals. She likes painting in different places and you can find her work on pavements, postboxes, buses and, of course, on walls!

The future of street art

Many street artists use the internet to look at photos of street art from around the world. They communicate with other artists online and share ideas. Some street artists are famous and you can see their pictures in galleries. We don’t know about the future of street art, but it is here to stay for sure!

Robin Newton

Language level:


Why Being in a band is cool

by : Claire Alexander

When you were younger, a piano lesson may have ruined your day. Carrying a flute from class to class just for a half-hour lesson may have seemed pointless. But as you enter the adult world suddenly you realise that knowing how to play an instrument is pretty cool. Yes, even the flute.
So, what makes being in a band so cool? Is it because you get to go on stage and play to millions of adoring fans? Well, yes, but it’ll be a few years before your dodgy rendition of ‘Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star’ starts to resemble a Mozart symphony.

Even if you’ve been born with endless talent it’s still not easy to organise a band, but here’s a quick guide to get you started:

1)    Find your members.
You’ll need a drummer, a guitarist, a bass guitarist and a singer. Any other instruments are a bonus. This is where playing the flute comes in, if you can make playing the flute cool, you deserve all the fame and fortune in the world!

2)    Organise a band practice.
If you are lucky enough to have a band member with a drum kit and parents who are hard of hearing, you can practise at home for free. Otherwise, you’ll need to find a local studio which can be expensive. Split the cost equally, including the cost of hiring any equipment such as cymbals for the drummer, you rock together, you roll together!

3)    Be productive.
If you’re paying for a studio, the last thing you want is to spend it catching up with each other, so meet half an hour in advance to get all the chatting out of the way.

4)    Agree on songs to learn, and learn them!
Each band member should choose a song for the whole band to learn ready for rehearsal. This will allow you to see what genres work for your group.

5)    Start writing.
Once you know what music works for you, start writing! You can do this individually or as a band but the most important thing is to respect other people’s songs. It’s very rare to find someone who isn’t shy about sharing their first few pieces of writing, so be nice!

If that sounds like a lot of hard work, then you’re right! If it also sounds like a lot of fun, get started!
But what is it that makes all that hard work worth it?

Being in a band teaches you precious life lessons. It is a fun way of learning about how to share opinions respectfully, be creative, become more confident and work as a team. Once you can do that you’ll be well on your way to finding what it is about you that makes you unique, special and cool!

Language level:

musical instruments


Do you sing or play a musical instrument? Which one? Are you in a band?

Positive Sentences

Put the verbs into the correct tense (simple past or present perfect simple).

  1. Mary (win)  the lottery last year.
  2. We (prepare / already)  dinner.
  3. James (find)  your ring in the garden yesterday.
  4. He (come / just)  home.
  5. They (buy)  their car two years ago.

Negative Sentences

Put the verbs into the correct tense (simple past or present perfect simple).

  1. (see / not)  anyone yet.
  2. Phil (go / not)  to the cinema last night.
  3. We (be / not)  to the zoo so far.
  4. She (arrive / not)  yet.
  5. Emily (visit / not)  me last week.


Put the verbs into the correct tense (simple past or present perfect simple).

  1. (you / read)  the book yet?
  2. How many letters (they / write)  so far?
  3. When (he / tell)  you that?
  4. (you / be)  at home last night?
  5. How often (you / travel)  abroad till now?


Put the verbs into the correct tense (simple past or present perfect simple).

  1. A: (you / taste / ever)  sushi?
  2. B: Yes, I (eat)  sushi at least five times so far.
  3. A: When (you / eat)  sushi for the first time?
  4. B: I (eat)  sushi for the first time on my dad’s 50th birthday. He (invite)  the whole family to a Japanese restaurant.
  5. A: (you / like)  it?
  6. B: Absolutely. In fact, it (be)  so good that we (be)  to that restaurant three times yet. And on my mum’s birthday, we (order)  some sushi and (have)  it at home.


Essential Grammar in Use, Units 15-20


Look at the magazine article and do the exercises to practise and improve your reading skills.


Who is your favourite film star? Tell us about them!


Have you got a tip for how to be a super-organised student?

Are you a super-organised student? How do you make sure you get your homework in on time? Read the blog post and tips to see if you agree with them.


Tips for being a super-organised student

posted 2 hours ago by Amy

I have always admired students who hand their homework in on time and never forget to do it. Me, on the other hand, … OK, I admit. I’m terrible at getting myself organised!

But lately I’ve started keeping a small study diary. I write down everything I need to do and when it needs to be done by. Then I write a reminder a few days before the date just in case. It’s helping.

So I was wondering, what are your tips for getting organised? Post a comment below. I’m hoping we can all share some tips to teach us all better study skills.



Good question, Amy. I always spend about five minutes at the end of the day tidying up the desktop on my computer. I make a backup of important documents. I delete things I don’t need any more and put everything into the correct folder.


Nice tip, Hana. I think it’s a good idea to do a little bit of tidying up every day. Then it becomes a habit and your desktop is always organised.


The most important thing is to start studying a few weeks before the exams and not leave it until the night before! That’s just common sense, I think.


Thanks, Gloria! I agree.


Hi, Amy. My tip is to have a big noticeboard in your bedroom, divided into different sections. I’ve got one. It’s a whiteboard. I’ve got a section for each school subject and another one for other stuff. I use board pens to write reminders and I make sure I look at it every day. The best part is when I remove something from the board!


Great tip, Lou. I’ve got a cork board with pins. I use it in the same way.




Here’s Scarlett, in the garden of a friend’s house in London on a sunny summer morning, the kind of mornings that are unusual in England. Scarlett is twelve years old (‘Thirteen in November,’ she tells me), and is trying to understand the world around her. She asks questions about everything, all the time.

I tell her that I want to ask her a question, and I ask her why she’s called Scarlett, and what the name means, and if it comes from anywhere in particular, and she says: ‘No, it’s just a stupid name my parents chose because they liked it. It doesn’t mean anything.’

I wonder if her parents named her after the heroine of a favourite film, perhaps, but then again, I know her dad and this sounds unlikely. I think they probably chose it just because they liked the sound of it.

Scarlett is worried about changing school after the summer. She worries that she’s too short for her age and that the other children at the school will make fun of her. She shows me some pictures of the school she is at now and her classmates. I look at the picture and it shows children of all heights and shapes and sizes. Some are tall, some are short, some are fat and some are thin. Some are black and some are white, and most of them are somewhere in between. Some have red hair and some have blond hair, some have long hair and some have short hair.

I tell her not to worry about the new school, tell her that she’ll be OK, and ask her about the new subjects she’ll be studying. She tells me that she’s worried about learning French, and I tell her not to worry, that it isn’t a very difficult language. She tells me that she already knows five languages.

‘Five languages!’ I shout. ‘That’s impossible! How do you already know five languages?’

‘Because I’ve got five languages in my body,’ she says.

I ask her what she means, and she starts to tell me the story of her family. Some of the story I already know. I’ve already heard stories about her grandfather. He was from Scotland; he was a sailor, but not a very good sailor, so he only got as far as Portsmouth, a big navy town on the south coast of England, not very far from Scotland at all. When he got to Portsmouth, he stopped there, left the navy and became a boxer. He lost fights and drank a lot. However, he still managed to see the world by meeting a woman who came from Laos. Nobody really knows how this woman had ended up in Portsmouth, but she still lives there, and I tell Scarlett that she should try and find out her grandmother’s story.

‘No, she’s too old now,’ says Scarlett, ‘and anyway, she’s lived in Portsmouth nearly all her life.’

Scarlett’s grandparents were only together long enough to produce a son – probably one of the only Scottish-Laotians in the world. They called him Bill, which is usually short for ‘William’, but his name was just ‘Bill’. Bill inherited his father’s personality and his mother’s looks, so the only thing he thought he could do was become a rock star. He never really managed to become a rock star, though, so now he works as a graphic designer.

I don’t know Scarlett’s mum, so I ask her to tell me about her mum.

‘My mum’s Polish,’ she says. ‘Well, not really, because she was born in Brighton, but her mum and dad are from Poland. But they’ve lived there, like, for always. But I know that her mum was from somewhere that was Germany and then became Poland, so she’s really German, I suppose. So that’s another language that I’ve got in my body.’

I ask Scarlett if she can actually speak all the languages that she says she has ‘in her body’, and she looks at me like I’m stupid.

‘Of course not!’ she says. ‘But I’ve still got them in me!’

We count up her ‘languages’: Scottish, Laotian, German, Polish.

‘That’s only four!’ I tell her.

‘No, there’s English too!’

‘Of course there is,’ I say. And then I look at Scottish–Laotian–German–Polish–English Scarlett, with her name that comes from nowhere, and I ask her: ‘And you, Scarlett, where are you from?’

She thinks for a long time – such a long time that I think perhaps she hasn’t heard my question. But then, before I can repeat it, she looks up and at me.

‘I’m from here,’ she says. ‘I’m from London.’

Chris Rose


Which animals do you see in the town or city where you live?

Animals in the city

Which animals can you see in cities? This article tells you about more than just dogs and cats!

One night in December 2011, a bear came into the city of Vancouver in Canada. It walked through the city streets past houses, shops and offices. Then it found some food in bins outside a restaurant and started eating. In the morning, someone saw the bear and called the police. The police came with a vet from the city zoo. They put the bear in a lorry and took it to the mountains outside the city. Luckily, the bear was safe. But what happens in other countries when big animals come into cities? In Vancouver it is unusual to see a bear, but in some cities you can see big animals on the city streets every day.

Big animals usually come into cities to find food. In Cape Town in South Africa baboons come into the city when they are hungry. They go into gardens and eat fruit from trees. They even go into houses and take food from cupboards and fridges! Baboons are strong animals and they can scare people. But the city can be dangerous for baboons too. Sometimes, cars and buses kill baboons in accidents. Human food is very bad for the baboons’ teeth because it has a lot of sugar. Now, there are Baboon Monitors working in Cape Town. Their job is to find baboons in the city and return them to the countryside.

In Berlin in Germany, pigs sometimes come into the city to look for food. They eat flowers and plants in parks and gardens. Sometimes they eat vegetables from gardens and they walk in the street and cause accidents. Some people like the pigs and they give them food and water to drink. Other people do not like the pigs and they want the government and the police to stop them entering the city.

In Moscow in Russia, there are 35,000 wild dogs. The dogs live in parks, old houses, markets and train stations. Some dogs live in groups and others live alone. Many people in Moscow like the dogs. They give them food and water. Some people make small houses for the dogs in their gardens. This helps the dogs in winter, when the temperature in Moscow is -10 ºC and there is a lot of snow and ice.

Many animals live in cities. In some cities, you can see birds, insects, mice and squirrels every day. But sometimes, it is dangerous when big animals come into cities to find food. We need to find ways of stopping animals coming into the city without hurting them.

Robin Newton