Coronavirus in the news

Sadly, we are surrounded by news related to the coronavirus outbreak, which is having an effect on people’s health, obviously, but also on the economy, on jobs, even on the environment. Instead of writing a blog post every time I find something which might be relevant for students in terms of vocabulary, I thought I had better start a Google site. In it you can find extracts from radio shows with their transcripts as well as annotated articles. I will be updating it as the days (and the lockdown) go on.

[I originally started a Padlet, but in the end, for different reasons, I decided to swap to a Google site]

Click on the picture to visit the site

Listening- Bookclub (C2)

Listen to some short extracts from interviews with world-famous writers. Match each extract (1 – 6) with the best heading (A-H) and write the letter in the appropriate box. ONE of the headings does not correspond to any of the extracts. The first extract is an example. You can listen to the clips twice.

Keeping up with the news in English

If you want to keep up with the news, these may be useful sources of information:

To see the front pages of newspapers every day, you can visit these links:

You can also watch these news channels: 


Further ideas:

Money- resources

You can find below a series of resources which can be used if you need to deal with the topic of money and finances:

Debit card ad:

Money and consumerism- Spotify playlist

Word cloud with idioms from songs:

Edpuzzle quiz– clip captioned in English, questions and comments aimed at working on the vocabulary of money. (C1)

Winning the lottery:


  • Cashless societies:
  • Pensioners splashing out vs cash-strapped millennials:


      • Facebook cryptocurrency launched:
      • Have you/Would you invest in bitcoins? Why? -Watch these clips from The Big Bang Theory (The Bitcoin Entanglement)


Model declared bankrupt:


Sex and the City- Ring a Ding Ding (the protagonist finds herself broke after years of splashing out on, among other luxuries, shoes)

Crime and money:

  • Cybercrime and fraud:
  • Measures to prevent fraud:
  • Using a dead woman’s card (B2):

suggested reading for teenagers and young adults

This is a list of books for children, teenagers and young adults, by no means comprehensive, which could be used as reading material in the English classroom, or as recommendations for independent reading:

Further suggestions (year 4 secondary and upwards):

Roald Dahl’s short stories:



Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Last week (12th March) it was the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, invented by (now Sir) Tim Berners-Lee. If you would like to know more about him and his groundbreaking invention, you can listen to any of these shows/podcasts:

You can also read this article that Stephen Fry wrote some years ago about him and his invention.

Finally, Stephen Fry also narrates what this video about what the world would be like now (at least for some people) if the world wide web hadn’t been invented 30 years ago (a good exercise to practise mixed conditionals):


Lesson plan on appearance: petition to Parliament to make it illegal to require women to wear high heels at work

This is a lesson plan I came up with some time ago about appearance and dress codes. It is based around a controversy involving Nicola Thorp, a (then) aspiring actress and temp worker, who was forced to wear quite high heels to work, or else lose her job. She felt something needed to be done and started a petition to Parliament to make it illegal for a company to require women to wear high heels at work. [Since then, she’s moved on to become an actress in Coronation Street, one of the UK’s longest-running soap operas].

Watch Nicola Thorp’s interview. Then, in pairs, answer these questions:

  1. What was Nicola’s job?
  2. What shoes was she wearing on the day she was sent home?
  3. What option did the company give her before sending her home?
  4. What did the employment hotline say to Nicola?
  5. Why don’t many companies follow the dress code laws?
  6. What were Nicola’s duties at work?
  7. What’s Nicola’s opinion of female workers who want to wear high heels?
  8. What were high heels originally designed for?
  9. When was Price Waterhouse Coopers, the company that hired Nicola, aware of the controversy?

2. Watch this second interview now. What is the host’s reaction to Nicola’s petition? What expressions does the host use to support his view / agree or disagree with Nicola?


This is what Parliament finally ruled:

WRITING: Write a comment on Nicola Thorp’s Fakebook page giving your views on her petition and whether or not you agree with the points she made about gender equality in the workplace.


C1: Read the text below. Then, for questions 1 to 12 choose the best option from the list (a-l) to complete the missing information.

Click on the screenshot to see the exercise

Link to exercise

Link to self-grading version of exercise- GoConqr

Now, summarise the main ideas and contentions in the article. To what extent do you agree with them? Discuss with your partners. Try to use expressions showing your opinions.

B2: Read the text and drag and drop the words to fill in the gaps

Screenshot 2019-02-03 at 11.39.45

SPEAKING. Discuss these questions in pairs:

  1. How do you feel about Nicola Thorp’s story? Do you share her views on the subject?
  2. Should women have to wear heels at certain jobs? If so, which? Why?
  3. Is there a dress code for teachers in Spain? What do you know about other countries?
  4. Should there be a dress code for teachers? Why? Why not?
  5. What clothes would you choose to be your workplace uniform?

LISTENING COMPREHENSION: Listen to the clip below, and fill in the gaps with no more than four words. 


  1. According to Lucy, …………………women wear high heels in traditional offices.
  2. She is terrified by the ………………………………………………in senior women gatherings.
  3. Apparently, each of these senior women has spent 20 minutes in her daily ……………………………….
  4. All women journalists at the BBC look a bit ………………………………………
  5. Shahidha is wearing black ……………………………………at the time of speaking.
  6. She needs the heels to ……………………………… the lectern.
  7. On the tube she was wearing ………………………………