Spelling Bee 2018

Spelling Bee 2013Last Friday our students and teachers took part in a new edition of our Madrid Sur Spelling Bee / Bilingual Day together with students, language assistants and teachers from other nine bilingual Secondary schools in the Region of Madrid.

It has been a long road since we launched the idea at our school back in 2012. It started as an activity to reinforce vocabulary specific to some subjects taught in English. We wanted to agree on a common set of lexical items all students had to know and use in Technology, Biology, Geography and History, Music, Arts, Physical Education, Physics & Chemistry, English and Advanced English lessons. The first edition was a success so the following year the other four bilingual schools from our town, Móstoles, were invited. Three schools accepted so we decided not only to hold the spelling bee contest but also to organise workshops in English for the participating students with the help of our teachers and language assistants. These four schools (our Clara Campoamor, IES Velázquez, IES Juan Gris and Antonio de Nebrija) have become ten (the above mentioned plus IES Antonio Gala, IES La Serna, IES Dionisio Aguado, IES Barrio Loranca, IES Neil Armstrong and IES El Pinar) and other schools have also launched a second Spelling Bee in the region.

This is a list of the different editions of our contest and the venues:CartelSpellingBEE.indd

2012 – IES Clara Campoamor (Móstoles)
2013 – IES Clara Campoamor (Móstoles)
2014 – IES Velázquez (Móstoles)
2015 – IES La Serna (Fuenlabrada)
2016 – IES Juan Gris (Móstoles)
2017 – IES Neil Armstrong (Valdemoro)
2018 – IES Barrio de Loranca (Fuenlabrada)

By the way, congratulations to all our students and especially to Diego (winner in 2nd year CSE), Sylvia and Mariel (both got a special mention)!

Spelling Bee - 27 de abril 2018 - Facebook copia


Spelling Bee 2014



I am excited to announce that the 2014 spelling bee will be held at IES Velázquez next May 14th. Thanks to all the other bilingual coordinators and teachers who are preparing the finals and workshops for the participating students.

Please find here the list of words for each year. Only students in the bilingual sections are expected to study the lists for Social Sciences and Biology.

Spelling Bee – 1st year

Spelling Bee – 2nd year

Spelling Bee – 3rd year

Our school finals will be held at our school in the first week of May. Two students will be chosen in each group and five students in total per year will represent the school at IES Velázquez. Have a look at the list and revise the vocabulary items. You may be one of the happy few! 🙂


Two new words for our students: Analemma and tutulemma

On Friday the 30th we visited the Planetarium of Fuenlabrada where our students worked and learnt more about our planet, the Solar System and the Universe. To this visit, Cuca Legaz, our Spanish teacher came with us and after the visit she sent me one interesting picture from one of her friends. The picture shows what astronomers call an “analemma” (analema in Spanish), that is a composition made of several pictures of the Sun taken from the same place at the same time along a year; the result is a very curious image showing the movement of the Sun in the sky. Looking for information about this pictures, I’ve found another composition similar to the analemma called “tutulemma” (tutulema in Spanish) that shows the same images of the Sun taken from the same place at the same time but with an interesting difference because one of the picture is taken while a solar eclipse is occuring. Analemma and tutulemma, amazing images, amazing words…

image001 tutulemma2_tezel

Terrifying Nature: Hurricanes (II) – Spanish students send their support to Staten Island

Last Thursday 30th November students from the groups 1st year CSE A, 2nd year CSE A and C found out more on the terrifying power of natural disasters, hurricanes in particular, with the help of two teachers, Alejandro (Biology) and Jaime (English), together with two of our American language assistants, Michael and Kayla. Since one of our language assistants, Michael, is from Staten Island and Staten Island has been one of the areas most affected by hurricane Sandy we decided it might be a good idea to include info and pictures displaying the terrible damages caused by the hurricane in some neighbourhoods of New York. Thus, Michael brought the pictures he had used in his Hurricane Recovery Project and we could display them in our school dining room. Big thanks to the photographers and him!

[Update (12th December): The Typhoon Bopha has hit the Philippines and killed 902 people. This typhoon has been the strongest so far this year. You can watch some scary pictures of the damages here. You should remember that hurricanes and typhoons are tropical cyclones. The difference is just geographical: in the western North Pacific, tropical cyclones are called typhoons; in the Atlantic, tropical cyclones are called hurricanes and in the Indian Ocean and South Pacific Ocean tropical cyclones are called cyclones.]

55 students also wrote really moving support notes and drew fantastic pictures for the students in one of the schools most affected by the hurricane. From our Clara Campoamor school we send them our best wishes.

Cheer up & Keep fighting!



Saint Andrew’s Day – 30th November

Scottish Flag – ©James.Stringer (on Flickr)
The Saltire (the Scottish Flag) – ©James.Stringer (on Flickr)

Today is Saint Andrew’s Day, the patron saint of Scotland, but what do you know about Scotland?

From CIA World Factbook
From CIA World Factbook

Scotland is one of the four countries which make up the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Scotland is a mountainous country in the northern tip of the island of Great Britain and is bordered by the Northern Sea on the east and the Atlantic Ocean on the west.

© Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting
© Eric Gaba – Wikimedia Commons user: Sting

Scotland is a small country. It is only 440 km long but has a coastline of more than 3,200 km. It has an area of 78,772 sq km and a population of 5,253,800 inhabitants. They live in the mainland (the island of Great Britain) and on other smaller islands. Scotland has more than 790 islands, but only 170 of them are inhabited.

The capital of Scotland is Edinburgh but the largest city is Glasgow (1,200,000 inhabitants). Scotland can be divided into three regions from south to north: the Southern Uplands, the Central Lowlands and the Highlands.

Scotland has some awesome scenery landscapes. You are invited to visit some of the pictures tourists have taken in some of the most beautiful Scotland in these flickr galleries.

– The Highlands

– The Orkney Islands (to the north)

– The Shetland Islands (to the north)

– The Inner and Outer Hebrides (to the west)

The highest mountain in the UK is in Scotland. It is Ben Nevis (1,344 metres above sea level), near Fort Williams.

Ben Nevis & Fort Williams
Ben Nevis & Fort Williams

The largest lake in Great Britain is also in Scotland, near Glasgow: Loch Lomond (Loch is the word for Lake in Scottish Gaelic). However, Loch Ness is more famous than Loch Lomond. Do you know why? Nessie, of course!

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond

Do you know any Scottish famous people? Probably yes. There have been very famous Scots (try this quiz on Scottish celebrities here): Inventors writers, scientists, explorers, actors, musicians, to mention a few.

Traditions in Scotland are also very important. The traditional Scottish costume is the kilt, but men just wear it on special occasions, such as weddings or important holidays:

©jennifrog (on flickr)
©jennifrog (on flickr)

Another important part of Scottish life is music and especially ceilidhs. A ceilidh, pronounced /ˈklɪ/, is a gathering (meeting) in which people usually listen to Gaelic music and dance. You can watch a short video displaying what a celidh is like here. If you want to try something really traditional, head for a ceilidh, dance and taste some haggis too.

Haggis ©Great British Chefs (on Twitter)
Haggis ©Great British Chefs (on Flickr)

Scottish people not only speak Scottish English. They also speak Scots (an ancient variety of English) and Scottish Gaelic (a Celtic language). The word of Scotland in Scottish Gaelic is Alba. Wanna know more? Well, you can learn some basic Scottish Gaelic here, on BBC Alba (BBC Scotland).

Here I embed a video on the story St Andrew (please listen to the speakers’ beautiful Scottish accent too). Thanks to http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk

The transcript of the video available here.

beannachd leibh! (bye in Scottish Gaelic)

Terrifying Nature: Hurricanes

Two weeks ago a superstorm hit the East coast of the United States and devastated some areas of New York City and Staten Island. As you know, one of our language assistants, Michael Young, is from Staten Island and feels personally affected by this dramatic event. 42 lives were lost in New York city, almost half of whom came from Staten Island. Thousands of people are still without homes and are living in temporary housing.

This can make us reflect on the terrifying powers of Nature and how natural disasters can damage our modern society more than we like to think. During this week some of the groups will find out more on how hurricanes are formed and act and we will invite some of our students to write support notes to other students at schools on Staten Island.

As a a starter, please feel to watch this video made by David Dilillo, one of Michael’s friends and also of our school (he visited us last year and gave an interesting talk on Geometry in Photography).

Within two Worlds

© 2012 GoldpaintPhoto

Music composed by Serge Essiambre entitled, ‘Believe in Yourself’. – sergeessiambre.com.

I was surfing the Internet and came across this terrific video. I contacted the photographer at twitter.com/GoldpaintPhoto and he was so kind as to grant us permission to include the video here:

I include here the video info available on Vimeo:

“Within Two Worlds depicts an alternate perspective by giving us the illusion of times movement, signifying a beginning and end within a world of constant contradiction. It appears you are traveling in the midst of a dream, half-sleeping, half-waking, and touching the arch connecting heaven and earth.

I discovered my passion for photography shortly after my mother’s passing while hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) 3 years ago. This time-lapse video is my visual representation of how the night sky and landscapes co-exist within a world of contradictions. I hope this connection between heaven and earth inspires you to discover and create your own opportunities, to reach your rightful place within two worlds.

Locations include:

Tumalo Falls, Three Sisters Wilderness, Mount Shasta, Big Bend National Park, Mono Lake, Aurora Borealis over Crater Lake National Park, Texas, Painted Hills, the High Sierra, and the Aurora Borealis over Sparks Lake.

Please feel free to share #withintwoworlds! Special thanks to all for your continued support and encouragement.”

You can visit the photographer’s website: goldpaintphotography.com, his Facebook: facebook.com/goldpaintphotography or his Twitter: twitter.com/goldpaintphoto.

Have a nice week! Remember too next Thursday is Thanksgiving so I’d like to start thanking @GoldpaintPhoto for letting us use their video again.

Enjoy the awesome images and music!