Friday, 18 December 2015


Hi, my name is  Lucrezia B. and my favourite activity is riding a horse. I love being in the outdoors. I enjoy texting with my friends on my mobile phone. I love going out late. I rarely go to the gym but I like keeping fit.
I hate being at home so, as soon as I can, I meet up with my friends in the town centre. I can't stand cooking, in fact when the people ask me to cook or help them cook my answer is always: NO. I hate watching football matches on TV but I enjoy watching films. I hate reading books.

Hi! I’m Samuele, I'm 14 and my favourite activity is the riding my mountain bike. I live in Italy and I like travelling around my country . I’ve got a lot of nice friends and I can’t stand boring people. In my free time I enjoy playing football, as I told you, riding my bike and in the summer I love swimming in my grandpa’s swimming-pool. I like watching films ,but I don’t like horror movies. I think keeping fit is very important, I keep fit doing exercise with my friends. Whenever I can, I enjoy meeting up with them.
Hi everyone, my name is Giorgia. I love reading books and swimming. My friends say I’m dreamy and funny. I enjoy spending my time listening to music, watching TV or playing video games. I like training as a way of keeping fit. I like meeting up and chatting with my friends. I hate cooking and making cakes but I enjoy eating. I can't stand acting or dancing but I love being creative.

Hi, my name is Mariano. My favourite hobby is riding my bike. I also love riding motorbikes. I sometimes invite my friends to come round. Do you know what I can't stand? When my parents reproach me! In the evening I enjoy playing clash of clans on my mobile phone. I've got a lot of friends and I love chatting with them. I hate going to school but I like swimming, especially in the summer.

Monday, 7 December 2015


Hello, I’m Emanuele and Mrs Spila was my English teacher during my high school years,  so I’m really proud to write a post for her blog.
Let’s see what happens when I try to sum up my whole life in a short post... Well, let’s start from the beginning. My high school career wasn’t that brilliant, mostly because I spent those years playing the guitar, listening to music and reading fantasy books. I was quite weir and it was really  hard for me to study something I couldn't  find cool, exciting or useful. So,  I have to admit, high school was really boring for me.

After leaving school  I had no idea of what I was going to do in my life so I enrolled to University, Computer Science Department of  La Sapienza, in Rome.

The first year was a nightmare! I couldn’t pass any Maths exam because they were so hard for me and I had no skills for programming.  Till then I hadn’t written a single line of code in my entire life. I started feeling really frustrated and, at the end of the first year, I started thinking that computer science wasn’t the right choice. However, I decided to resist just another year  before quitting definitely.

Guys, guess what? My second year was amazing!

I started  studying  hard, I totally changed my attitude and, finally, I discovered the creative and fun aspect of this world. I clearly remember those years, they were tough but, at the same time, challenging. I studied a bunch of new things every day and all classes where based on cutting edge technologies: algorithms, artificial intelligence, micro processors, data bases and other nerdy stuff I’d always loved!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015


Mr and Mrs Bennet - Pride and Prejudice (2005)

Mr. Bennet

Mr. Bennet is the patriarch of the Bennet household—the husband of Mrs. Bennet and the father of Jane, Elizabeth, Lydia, Kitty, and Mary. He is a man driven to exasperation by his ridiculous wife and difficult daughters. He reacts by withdrawing from his family and assuming a detached attitude punctuated by bursts of sarcastic humor. He is closest to Elizabeth because they are the two most intelligent Bennets. Initially, his dry wit and self-possession in the face of his wife’s hysteria make him a sympathetic figure, but, though he remains likable throughout, the reader gradually loses respect for him as it becomes clear that the price of his detachment is considerable. Detached from his family, he is a weak father and, at critical moments, fails his family. In particular, his foolish indulgence of Lydia’s immature behavior nearly leads to general disgrace when she elopes with Wickham. Further, upon her disappearance, he proves largely ineffective. It is left to Mr. Gardiner and Darcy to track Lydia down and rectify the situation. Ultimately, Mr. Bennet would rather withdraw from the world than cope with it.
The 5 Bennet sisters: Jane, Mary, Lydia, Elizabeth, Kitty
Mr Darcy  and Mr Bingley - Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Mrs Bennet
Mrs. Bennet is definitely a comic character. Noisy and foolish, she is a woman consumed by the desire to see her daughters married and seems to care for nothing else in the world. Ironically, her single-minded pursuit of this goal tends to backfire, as her lack of social graces alienates the very people (Darcy and Bingley) whom she tries desperately to attract. Austen uses her continually to highlight the necessity of marriage for young women. Mrs. Bennet

Monday, 9 November 2015


Maria Sofia and two of her little friends in Bethlehem
Hello, my name is Maria Sofia and I am one of Mrs Spila’s former students.

When I left school I wanted to discover the world, to travel, to meet people; for this reason I decided to study Arabic Language and Culture at Rome University "La Sapienza". The Arab world is so close to us, geographically speaking, but it can be considered so far for the misleading idea that we, the westerners, have of it.

So during my studies in Rome I had the opportunity through the Erasmus Mundus Project to spend eight months in Cairo, in the aftermath of the Revolution,  then ten months in Irbid, a Jordanian town located 30 km from the Syrian border. These experiences gave me the chance to know several people, to learn and understand their culture, to discover, that despite the different religion and traditions, we have more in common than we can imagine. I noticed more similarities between Italy and Arab countries than between Italy and Northern Europe, we are Mediterranean people after all!

Friday, 9 October 2015

Sunday, 4 October 2015


U2 formed in Dublin in the fall of 1976. Since then,  they have been one of only a few bands to achieve consistent commercial and critical success across three decades.  U2 has charted success on its own terms on both the artistic and business sides of the music industry. From the band's earliest days in Dublin, Ireland, to the present, U2 has broken free from the traditional limitations of what a rock band -- and rock music -- could and couldn't do. By combining an original sound with honest lyrics and a challenging social message, U2 has earned the respect of their peers and critics, and an almost fanatical following of fans around the world.

This is their story

Song for someone - Tasks

1. Watch the video, listen to the song and complete the lyrics  (Task 1 HERE)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


In this video John Green, author of "The Fault in Our Stars" and "Paper Towns" among others, discusses the Syrian refugee crisis and the growing number of refugees from Syria, Afghanistan, and Eritrea crossing the sea with the help of smugglers to seek refuge in European Union nations.

Watch also The European Refugee Crisis and Syria Explained

Module 1. List of texts and authors

Articles and excerpts to read and discuss:

The Reluctant Fundamentalist  (2013)

End of Module 1 Test

Monday, 14 September 2015


Italish (Italian+English) is a word I often use to joke about us Italians speaking English. Our former Prime Minister, Mr Renzi, showed off his own Italish around the world and his videos went viral, but there are other examples and some versions of Italish can be very good, you know?
I've chosen a couple of clips to start the new school year with a smile and some music. I asked my students, Which Italish do you want to speak? Tanino's or Andrea's?

"My name is Tanino" is an Italian movie directed by Paolo Virzì in 2002. It's the story of naive Sicilian Tanino (Corrado Fortuna) who finds himself taken with Sally (Rachel McAdams), a sophisticated rich girl vacationing in Italy. The feeling is mutual -- she's thrilled with the idea of a summer fling -- but, when she goes home, Sally assumes her tryst with Tanino is a thing of the past. Tanino disagrees, and he tails her back to the United States. For Tanino, his reunion with Sally is just the first chapter in what turns out to be an eventful international excursion. 

Andrea's Video - Transcript 

Andrea Faustini and his adventure at The X Factor UK

Sunday, 13 September 2015


The following article was originally posted at Babbel Blog

1. Think outside the box

When a new and unexpected problem arises, don’t wait for some expert to fix it for you – get creative and fix it yourself. Don’t know how? Improvise! Are you already aware of a standard solution? Come up with ten alternatives! Even if you lack the right tools and expertise, devising your own wonky and eccentric DIY solutions is much more satisfying than going by the book. Perform such experiments with a confident, winning smile and no one will even realize that you’re making it up as you go along.

Monday, 24 August 2015


1. Testament of Youth  

Testament of Youth is a British drama film,  released in the UK in January 2015, which is based on the First World War memoir of the same name written by Vera Brittain.

At the beginning of the book, Vera Brittain describes how she originally intended to write of her experiences as a novel but was unable to achieve the necessary objective distance from her subject. She then tried to publish her original diary from the war years but with all names fictionalised. This too proved unworkable. Finally she decided to write her own personal story, putting her own experiences in the wider historic and social context: an autobiographical memoir with documents (letters and poems written by the protagonists) and intellectual digressions.
Several critics have noted the cathartic process by which she deals with her grief at the loss of young men close to her - her brother Edward Brittain, her fiancé Roland Leighton, her friends Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow - in the writing.
The narrative begins with Vera's plans to enter the University of Oxford and her romance with Roland Leighton, a friend of her brother Edward. Both were commissioned as officers early in World War I, and both were subsequently killed, as were several other members of their social circle.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015



Changemakers come in all shapes and sizes. Often we forget what young people are capable of achieving amazing things. But it’s young people who have the creativity and the energy to solve many of our society’s most difficult problems and in fact they are already starting. That’s why the Barron Prize was founded. To remind young people that they too have the power to be powerful shapers of society. 

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes was founded by author T. A. Barron in honour of his mother, the prize celebrates outstanding young leaders. Each year the Barron Prize honours 25 inspiring young people who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.

Now read T.A. Barron's essay about the prize (HERE)  and do the excercises in the worksheet (HERE)

Friday, 10 July 2015


Most people have seen the 2000 movie Billy Elliot, the moving story of a boy from a working-class family who becomes a ballet dancer. It starred a young British actor called Jamie Bell. Jamie is still a successful actor today. The only difference is that he is now a man.

Here's Jamie Bell  as Billy Elliot in the 2000 movie

Here is Jamie Bell as Abraham Woodhull in his latest TV series,  "TURN, Washington's Spies"

TASK 1 - Listen to an article about Jamie Bell and complete the first task in this worksheet
TASK 2 - Reading comprehension (Task 1 & 2 Worksheet)
CLIPS FROM THE MOVIE - Clip 1  Clip 2  Clip 3 Clip 4  Clip 5  Clip 6 Clip 7 Clip 8 

Clip 9  Clip 10  Clip 11 Clip 12   Finale 

Billy Elliot is now a global stage sensation, a musical with Elton John's music 

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


Reading, listening, writing

Watch the video, read and complete the text 

Read this article: Take the test - Do you have social media addiction?

 then answer the following questions:

1. How much of your life have you wasted on facebook? (take the test)
2. What is the best test to check if you are a social media addict?
3. What advice does the blogger suggest to stop beind addicted? 
4. Now write down a list of advantages and disadvantages related to the use of social media. Which of your two lists is the longer one? 

Thursday, 11 June 2015


In the last couple of days, these summer tasks went viral. They were posted by an Italian teacher, Cesare Catà, on his facebook page  and from there they made it to the national press and were spread all over the Net. What's special in them? See it for yourself.  I've translated them for you. Useless to add, I'd sign them myself.

In the mornings, sometimes, go and walk along the seashore in complete solitude: look how the sunlight reflects on it and, thinking about what you most love in life, feel happy.

Try to use all the new words we learnt this year: more things you can say, more things you can think;  and more things you can think, more free you are.

Read as much as you can. But not because you must. Read because the summer inspires adventures and dreams and  reading you feel like flying sparrows. Read because it is the best form of rebellion you have (for good reading advice, ask me)

Avoid all things, situations and people that make you negative or empty: look for stimulating situatuations and the company of friends who can enrich you, understand you and appreciate you for what you are.

Saturday, 9 May 2015


At the EC Language School - Bristol 
We realize that every experience in life teaches us something once we evaluate its pros and cons. I asked my 4scA students to reflect on our week in Bristol (14th/20th April 2015) and point out its advantages and disadvantages.
While we were there, they went to EC Language School and had native-speakers teaching them for 4 hours and 30 minutes every day, they lived with English host families, they visited Bristol in the afternoons, went to Bath  and London at the weekend. They had plenty to tell once we were back.
In my questionnaire I also asked my students about the best and the worst moments,  or what they liked and disliked (click here to see my questions). Here are some of their answers. On the whole all of them thought it was a great experience. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2015



N.B. Download the audio files for this lesson from the flash widget_box on the right sidebar
 ( Folder Audio Files ) Electromagnetism: Audio Files & Texts 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015



Fragments from CHILDE HAROLD’S PILGRIMAGE , Canto III , lines 5-18; 109-117; 127 -144 

 The lines below from Byron’s Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage provide an insight into the wild beauty of Nature and  the Romantic themes of solitude, melancholy and the transcience of life.

LINES 5 -  18
Awaking with a start,
The waters heave around me; and on high
The winds lift up their voices: I depart,
Whither I know not; but the hour’s gone by,
When Albion’s lessening shores could grieve or glad mine eye.
Once more upon the waters! Yet once more!
And the waves bound beneath me as a steed
That knows his rider. Welcome to their roar!
Swift be their guidance, wheresoe’er it lead!
Though the strain’d mast should quiver as a reed,
And the rent canvas fluttering strew the gale,
Still must I on; for I am as a weed,
Flung from the rock, on Ocean’s foam, to sail
Where’er the surge may sweep, or tempest’s breath prevail (... )