Tuesday, December 23, 2008

New on the blog

Searching for info — Since I started this blog a litle more than a year ago (October 2007), it has grown to a searchable size. If you're looking for a particular post, you can always enter a key word or phrase in the Search box at the top of this page, and then click SEARCH BLOG. Today I added a Labels section on the right-hand side of the blog. This is an index to the posts by keyword. For example, if you want to see all the posts that have something about holidays, scroll down to the labels section to holidays and click.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas — 2008

This song is by now a traditional end-of-semester performance (this being the third class that's done it, and in my family anything that gets done at least twice becomes a tradition). If you love it, you can also see the performances from 2006 and 2007. Challenge question for those who love math: How many gifts did True Love give?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The Gift of the Magi 2008

Our final project for the fall 2008 semester was a reading of an adaptation of O'Henry's "The Gift of the Magi." In the slideshow below, two groups of students spend time rehearsing before the camera starts rolling.

The result is a "walk-through" reading of the play.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Green Eggs and Ham 2008

When I was as the TexTESOL state conference earlier this month, I saw a demonstration by John Schmidt (Texas Intensive English Program) that I knew I had to try with my class. He and a volunteer did an interpretive reading of "Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss — good for practicing American English vowel sounds. It's a long poem, so I divided it into six parts and had a different pair of students read each part. Here's how it came out with my beginning ESL class...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Democracy: Yes we can!

The world stayed up late last night to watch the results of the U.S. presidential election and Barack Obama making his first speech as the president-elect of the United States. I have to say I am filled with feelings of optimism and hope today. To me, Obama's win is important because it shows that many people making small contributions can achieve the result they want. As Obama reminded us last night, change won't come by magic, but with the work and support of those who want it — just the way the election was won. Yes we can! See news reports, photos, and videos about the election at CNN.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Birthday Surprise

My ESL class surprised me with the most awesome birthday party this year. There was enough food for a village, and I have no idea how they ever found so many candles! Thank you, Sergio, for contributing your photos. Thank you everybody!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dialogue Line

Dialogue lines are a great way for English learners to practice conversational skills. In this video, beginning-level students are telling about something that is important to them or to their families. Before the activity was over, each of the 16 students had told their story to eight different conversation partners and engaged in English conversation for more than half an hour!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Patriot Day

On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew two hijacked planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Photos and videos of the resulting devastation, terror, and heartbreak are etched in our memories. Now on September 11 of every year the U.S. observes Patriot Day as a day of remembrance and honor for those who were killed on that day in 2001 and for those whose heroism in rescuing survivors will not be forgotten.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Beginning Again

Doors close, and other doors open. This semester, many things are new for me; many new doors have opened:
  1. I am at a new location. The people I have met at Southwest Key are very nice and helpful. Usually, there are not any other classes or meetings near us, so we can be as loud and noisy as we want to be.
  2. I have a new class. Almost all of the students speak Spanish, and all are at or near the beginning level of learning English.
  3. I am learning again how to teach beginners. They are very patient with me, energetically enthusiastic, extremely eager to learn, and diligent about using — if not only, then mostly — English in class.
I have a feeling it is going to be a very good year. I hope everyone reading this is having a good year, too!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

2008 Olympics: One World One Dream

This has been the week of the 2008 Olympics in our house, from the awesome opening ceremony last Friday through the continuing coverage on cable channel 4 (KXAN TV). The dedication and performance of these athletes is inspiring (so maybe I'll try harder to open a jar of jelly before I ask my husband to help). While I was looking on YouTube this morning for video of the opening ceremony, I found a slide show with the official song of the 2008 Olympics — You and Me. Here are the words to the song in Chinese and English:
我和你 Wǒ hé nǐ
You and me
Wǒ hé nǐ, xīn lián xīn, tong zhù dìqiúcūn, 我和你,心连心,同住地球村,
You and me, From one world, We are family.
Wéi mèngxiǎng, qiānlǐ xíng, xiānghuì zài Běijīng。 为梦想,千里行,相会在北京。
Travel dream, A thousand miles, Meeting in Beijing.
Láiba!Péngyǒu,shēnchū nǐ de shǒu, 来吧!朋友,伸出你的手
Come together, Put your hands in mine,
Wǒ hé nǐ, xīn lián xīn,yǒngyuǎn yìjiārén. 我和你,心连心,永远一家人。
You and me, from one world, We are family.

If you change Beijing to Austin...

Visit the 2008 Olympics official Website to learn more about the athletes, events, and history of the Olympic Games.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Last Waltz: June 27, 2008

As we celebrate a year of successes and memories, we are reminded that happy and sad are not always opposites.

BubbleShare: Share photos

A Celebration of Poetry & Song

Our final project for the 2007–2008 school year was a celebration of poetry and song. Students chose a poem or song to recite or sing, but they also had to do research on their piece and/or on the author or artist to present as an introduction. Click on a name below to see a student's presentation. I've also included OutTakes just for fun.

Albina Alejandra Angeles Anna Buja Clementina Fela Felix Hyon Inés José Martha Nena Sabina Suzan

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The ACC Adult Ed Department has had to change the schedules and locations of many classes for the fall semester. I will be moving to Southwest Key to teach a beginning level class. The intermediate/advanced HBC class will continue with Jeong Christensen as teacher. The HBC class will also have a new time. Instead of 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, it will begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 11:00 a.m. I believe in the positive value of change — it keeps us from getting stuck in one way of doing things. Change is good. Even so, I will miss all of you at HBC!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

WorkSource Tour

On Tuesday, May 6, we met at WorkSource, 6505 Airport Blvd, at 9:00 a.m. for a tour of the facility. WorkSource can help people find better jobs — and much more. They have computer classes and information about job training programs all over the Austin area. Visit their Web site to learn more.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Biopoems, March 2008

A biopoem is an autobiographical formula poem for expanding students' use of adjectives and writing about feelings. Here is an example:

Who Is Gaby?By Gabriela Fuentes

Friendly, tall, athetic, curious, smart
Wife of Aaron
Who loves family, music, and movies
Who is afraid of heights, snakes, and sharks
Who wants to see Europe, family happiness, and sons
Resident of North Austin

Click here to see more biopoems from our class.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Vowel Hatch Sounds Online

If you misplaced your CD of Ted Klein reading his English vowel pronunciation exercises, you can now hear them online. He has teamed up with Jade Lindquist, who has added Ted's CD to her Web site for learning Spanish, edufone.com. You will hear Spanish at first and in the explanations, but don't give up if you are not a Spanish speaker. Keep listening, and you'll hear Ted's pronunciation exercises.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jesse Jackson for President? Shirley Chisholm?

While discussing the historic nature of this year's Democratic primary election -- a black candidate against a female candidate -- Hyon reminded me that we have had a black candidate for president before. Jesse Jackson was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984, winning more than 12% of the vote. He did much better in 1988, when he won more than 31% of the vote at the Democratic Convention. Since then, he has continued working for peace and justice in the U.S. and throughout the world.

In addition, Hillary Clinton is not the first woman to run for president of the United States. Neither was Shirley Chisholm when she made her 1972 run for the Democratic presidential nomination. However, Shirley Chisholm was the first black woman presidential candidate. See a video of her announcing her candidacy for the Democratic nomination for president of the United Staes. Chisholm died in 2005.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Okay, ok, O.K.

If you want to know the etymology of a word or phrase, you want to know where it came from or how it got started. There are several stories about the origin of the word okay. Do an Internet search using the key words okay and etymology. Take notes about what you find for class discussion later today. Okey dokey?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Presidents' Day

On Monday, February 18, banks and government offices will be closed in honor of Presidents' Day. However, ACC and Austin public schools do not have a holiday. We will have class on the 18th of February. Click here to read more about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. If you're feeling adventurous, take a Presidents' Day quiz.