I asked my 1st class students to write a short essay on “What I have learned this academic year in English: comparing my expectations with my results.” I chose some of the most meaningful writings to share here with everybody. Congratulations to my 1st class students, it has been my pleasure to spend so much time with you!

© Anny Ballardini

This was the first year for me in this school. At the other schools I was, I didn’t have good English teachers, they were not mother tongue. Because of that, I didn’t learn English very well. But I want to have a good English because I know that this is an important language.

My expectations for this year, where very high. I hoped that I would have a good teacher, who could speak a good English. Now I’m happy; my teacher speaks always English with me and with my class. I have to thank her because I’ve learned a lot. At the beginning of this academic year, I was bad at this language, but I put a lot of commitment in studying and now I can see the results.

A few days ago, some American friends of a friend came to Italy and we had a nice time together, we spoke a lot and I noticed that it wasn’t so difficult for me. I could explain many things about the history of my town and about the flowers of the botanic garden.

I was very happy, they also asked me to go to Tennessee one day, where they live.

I was surprised of my English, once I couldn’t speak one entire minute in English, without stopping. Now I can and I am very happy and proud of this. I did a good progress.

I am also very happy because I know that this school will give me a good basis in languages., so I’ll be able to travel around the world. I would like to live in the United States, so I have to learn English very well. If I continue studying as I have done this year, I will have good results and I will be able to go living in the U.S.

I can see my progress in English because when I am watching English movies or videos, I can understand the biggest part of what the actors say. I often watch the videos of an American man, who teaches how to play ukulele. Thanks to my English I can understand what to do.

Once I couldn’t understand anything.

This makes me so happy.



I have studied English since the 3rd elementary class and I have always loved this language. Last year I already knew a good English, but I hoped that I would become better this year.

I learned a lot of new things, especially in grammar. After this year it seems to me I have more confidence with the English grammar rules. Another thing that makes me very proud, is that I have learned a lot of interesting topics and now I can also explain them to other people.

If I compare my expectations with my results now, I have to say that I never thought that I would learn so much in just one academic year at the Marcelline School.

As soon as I arrived at this school I thought that I would study only from the book, but it was not so: we did a lot of different things like projects, a movie and some essays.

Last year I never did an essay, so I was very surprised with my results. I can also say that it helped me very much to summarize a book after reading it.

Another thing that helped me to learn a better English, was doing research, like that one about my personal inspiration. With this I had the opportunity to learn a lot of new words. We learned also a lot of things about famous people, like Frida Kahlo and Alfred Hitchkock. These where the most interesting things lessons, because I love to learn new things about foreign or famous people.

Comparing all these things with those that I learned last year, I am very proud that I have studied so many new things that I will also need in the rest of my life. I am also very happy and proud of my results. In the past I never thought that I would speak in English so easily. I know that I have to learn and to study more English to become even better, but t the moment I am proud of my English-level.

I have learned a lot of new things, and I am very happy I have chosen this school; in another school, maybe I would not learn so much.

In conclusion I am happy with my marks and I am surprised that I have learned more than what I have expected.




Now we are almost at the end of may, this means, that the school-year is almost over. I’m really glad to finish this, at the beginning, very hard year, and not only in English, I have reached very good results.

I must say, that at the beginning my expectations for this school and especially for the languages, that are learned here, were very high, because this is a very good school. I really like the teachers and I think that in English, compared with the beginning, my level has raised a lot.

I love the way we learn English here: from making a video of our town, to writing a text, to reading different books or doing exercises, we do really everything. I must say that it was never really hard for me to learn English or any other languages, but sometimes I asked myself :” how can I master this?” But only by learning hard, it has brought me good results. I think, that I did a big progress from the beginning of the year in English, especially in writing. Such a progress was really unexpected. This is a school with a quite high level, with very good teachers and very intelligent students. Because of this, before I joined this school, my expectations were even higher, perhaps too high. I never thought that I was going to have these good results, but I also never thought that my English level would improve that much. For example, reading a book in English, helped me a lot, also studying again the irregular verbs helped me.

I finish this year being happy, speaking better in English and having good expectations for the next year.

© Evamaria Mayr


End of the Academic Year: 1st Class

My travel blog by Belen De Bacco

Our coursebook – Language Leader, Upper Intermediate by Ian Lebeau and Gareth Rees, Pearson Longman – offers an interesting reading on trips under the form of “Travel Blog”. I suggested to the students of the 2nd Linguistic Lyceum, to write a post for our Blog on trips they have undertaken. The very first one to reach my mailbox is by Belen De Bacco, an excellent example of an entry for a “Travel Blog”. She gives interesting information on the sites she visited to the point that we wish we could go there soon.

Since she talks of bullfighting, I would also like to remind my students to read the impressive The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway, novel written in 1926 about a group of American and British expats who traveled from Paris to the Festival of San Fermin in Pamplona to watch the famous “running of the bulls” [believe it or not, many of my university mates – although warmly advised otherwise – took part in it!], and the bullfights. It is a book that allows you to get into contact with the innermost spirit of the Spaniards, and since Spanish is on our school curriculum, I dearly advise my students to put this book on their summer reading list.

© Anny Ballardini


Málaga, Granada and Ronda (Andalusia, Spain)

Day 1

Puerto de Malaga

The first day we arrived at the airport of Málaga in the morning. Our hotel, Alameda Principal, was on the main street. In the afternoon we visited the city center and the harbor. Málaga is in the south of Spain and it is a combination of land and sea. It is situated on the Costa del Sol (Coast of the Sun) of the Mediterranean sea. It is the second most inhabited city of Andalusia, one of the oldest European cities. Málaga will be the 2016 European Capital of Culture. It has an average annual temperature of around 20°C and 300 days of sunshine a year.

We walked down the shopping street, Calle de los Larios, and to the main square, Plaza de la Constitución. Then we visited the heart of the city: the cathedral. in its Baroque and Renaissance style, La Manquita (in English “The One-Armed Lady”), because first it was a mosque and then, when it changed into a church, they couldn’t finish the bell tower.

Calle de los Larios en Malaga

We didn’t have time but it would have been very interesting to visit the bishopric museum. It is very interesting from an architectonic point of view, and it contains many objects related to the Catholic religion in Málaga and Andalusia.

We went to Plaza de la Merced to see the house in which Pablo Picasso was born. He was a famous painter, the creator of the Cubist movement. His house has four floors and it is a typical Spanish house of the bourgeoisie of the XIX century. There are many photos, documents, and personal objects of the Picasso family. We also saw the museum of Picasso with many of his paintings in 11 rooms.

We took a walk through the city by night. It is a lively city at night and calm during the day. We saw from the outside the Roman theatre, beautifully lighted.

Day 2

The second day we walked through Alcazaba, the residence and the control tower of the Arab sovereigns. We could understand the way they lived and their traditions. Architecturally, it is very well built, carefully planned down to the smallest details. From the top of the Alcazaba we could have a beautiful view of the city.

Alcazaba en Malaga-2

Near the Alcazaba, there is the Plaza de Toros. We didn’t see it from the inside because we saw it in the city of Sevilla the year before and they all look similar. If you have time you have to see it because it is the most traditional center of Spain. They often have also in the inside the bullfighting museum that explains the history of the Corridas and the Toreros .

Torero en Ronda

Then we went to see a little but very curious museum called Museo de Artes Populares (Museum of Popular Arts). It is the fundamental reference point in Málaga in order to understand the typical day-to-day life, the city, and its people at the end of the 19th century. It shows handmade polychrome clay figures, animal-drawn carriages, skilled trades of the blacksmith, baker, fisherman and printer. It also shows how wine and oil were prepared and how countryside life unrolled through farming equipment, folklore and popular religion.

Day 3

Alhambra en Granada

The third day we went to visit the city of Granada, another city in Andalusia. We went through the city center and the small traditional ancient Spanish streets. We walked through the highest point of the city, the Arco de Elvira (Arc Elvira) and we visited the famous Alhambra and the Generalife. From 1984, it was elected to be under the UNESCO World Heritage. It is a construction for protection and vigilance. It takes at least 3 hours to visit it all, so if you want to see it you have to book a ticket to enter and calculate the time you want to spend there. The view is absolutely stunning, especially from the highest towers. It is divided into six main parts. The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra and the military area of the fence. Another part is formed by the Palacios Nazaríes (Nazaries Palace) with three palaces built in three different periods (Palacio de Mexuar, de Comares, de los Leones). The Partal is an area that groups the porch of the palaces, the gardens, the Palace of Yusuf III, the Rauda and the walks. The Generalife has the lower gardens, the palace of Generalife and the upper gardens, built to be the recreational area for the sovereigns. The Escalera del Agua (Water Ladder) has canals from which the Acoquia Real water flows. The Silla del Moro (Moro Chair) was a construction for the surveillance and the protection of the Generalife and the orchard for the distribution of the Acoquia Real water.

Day 4
The fourth and last day we went to visit another city on the countryside, very particular for its location: Ronda. Also here there is a Plaza de Toros and a bullfighting museum.

Poster 2

There are three main bridges but the most important is the Puente Nuevo (New Bridge), the tallest – 120 meters, and it was built with the most modern technologies of the century. It towers the high cliffs, called in Spanish El Tajo for the number of murders that happened here. The view from here is spectacular.

Puente Nuevo en Ronda

A lot of writers and poets came here and described the place in their books or poems, for example Ernest Hemingway, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke, and the Argentinian poet Jorge Luis Borges .

We saw a very interesting museum about the Bandoleros (Bandits), they came here in Ronda when the authorities in bigger cities looked for them, because this was an isolated place and difficult to reach. A museum in Ronda is dedicated to them to explain the phenomenon of the bandolerismo. Its peak was in the XVIII century. The museum has more than 1.390 objects: documents, books, clothing, prints, comic books, lithographs, official seals, photos, oils, and films. The contrast between the upper and the popular social classes were very marked by corruption which triggered men to go against established order. These men were called the Bandoleros, who have been seen by Spanish history as generous human beings. One of the most famous is Diego Corriente (1757-1781), called the “Bandido Generoso” (“Generous Bandit”). He was an example of a romantic and kind bandolero. He never killed a man, just stole the money from the upper classes and gave it to those who ranked among the poorest social Spanish classes. He operated in Andalusia, especially in Sevilla, where he was executed.

Poster 1

Last night we went to a famous and typical restaurants, Bodega Bar El Pimpi. Exhibited are the autographs and the inscriptions of famous people, like Antonio Banderas and the daughter of Pablo Picasso, Paloma Picasso. Here we had fried fish and tapas, little portions of all kinds of food. It was delicious.

Bodega Bar El Pimpi en Malaga

© Belen De Bacco



375059-BooksPHOTOSCREATIVECOMMONS-1336339168-934-640x480 copy 

I have noticed that our students, especially in the first classes, find it difficult to find books to read. This post is meant to guide them through the many online sites.



Is simply and incredible non-profit digital library where you can find videos, texts, and audio. What can be particularly captivating on this site are the original scanned texts, see the section for Children’s books, for example. You will have to be patient to understand how to navigate through the many links and pages, definitely worth the time:


Children’s Library:



Project Gutenberg


Project Gutenberg offers over 46,000 free ebooks in different formats. The featured ebooks were “previously published by bona fide publishers” and were digitized and diligently proofread thanks to thousands of volunteers. They ask for a contribution if the reader wishes to donate, I think that the work accomplished is definitely worth any donation people can give.

You should start browsing around the

Special areas

Audio Books, both human-read and computer-generated.

Bookshelves: Groupings of related books.

CD and DVD Project. Download entire CDs or DVDs, or have a free disc sent to you.

Digitized Sheet Music (dormant).

Free Kindle Books: about free kindle books at Project Gutenberg.

Mobile Reader Devices How-To: about kindle, nook, cell phone, and other mobile devices

New Books Feeds: ways to keep you updated on new publications.

Offline Catalogs: handy ebook Listings to consult offline.

Old Online Catalog: more ways to browse the book catalog.

Report errors, bugs, typos (or, see detailed information about errata reporting)

Top 100 Books and Authors: the most downloaded books and authors.

Authors our students need to read might be the following:

Mark Twain, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Jane Austen, George Eliot, Francis Scott, Fitzgerald, Charles, Dickens, Lewis Carroll, Arthur Conan Doyle, Rudyard Kipling, Oscar Wilde, Edgar Allan Poe, Robert Louis Stevenson, Shelley Mary Wollstonecraft, Joseph Conrad, H. G. Wells, Jonathan Swift, Jack London, Bernard Shaw, Bram Stoker, Daniel Defoe, Charlotte Bronte, Edith Wharton, Louisa May Alcott, Thomas Hardy, Agatha Christie, Emily Bronte, Virginia Woolf, …

But I left out many more.


University of Adelaide

offers a vast series of books as well. You can browse by Author:



by Title:


or by Subject:




 © Anny Ballardini