Monday, December 14, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Food, glorious food!

ESL classes are punctuated regularly with parties for all occasions, culminating in the end-of-semester gastronomic celebration of friendship.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A Night at the Museum

Tonight the SWK class was able to take advantage of an invitation from the Bob Bullock Museum to see their educators' preview of the new quilt exhibit. After the tour, we went upstairs for a film, Crazy Texas Weather, complete with special effects for the audience to give us the "feel" of hurricanes and tornadoes.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Friday the 13th—good luck for us!

In the US, Friday the 13th is considered a bad luck day, a day when one has to be careful to a avoid accidents and misfortune. There's even a word for it: paraskevidekatriaphobia! Here's a website that explains the word and the superstition.

However, my SAC students from Mexico told me that in their country, Friday the 13th is a "social day"—a day to visit friends and enjoy the company of others. I think the Mexican tradition prevailed in our classroom because we were fortunate on that day in at least two ways: (1) everyone in the class was present and (2) Brandon, a new teacher to ACC, came to observe our class and volunteered to serve as photographer. Thank you, Brandon, for our new class photo. Friday the 13th was a lucky day for us!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Why Computers?

I asked my Southwest Key students tonight why they liked computers. Here are some of their answers, along with two of my own.
  1. Everyone can study what they need to at their own level.
  2. English practice can be personal and individual.
  3. Computer skills can be used outside of class.
  4. Computer skills can help you find a better job.
  5. You can use a computer to communicate with family far away.
Click on Comments below to add more reasons.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

ACC Eastview Library

Last Wednesday the SWK class had a tour of the Austin Community College Eastview campus library. So many choices! So many possibilities!

We Read English

Reading in English is a great way to improve vocabulary, fluency, and even grammar. The key is to choose a book that is highly interesting and at an appropriate level (not too easy, not too hard). In the photos below, students are reading, writing about what they've read, and checking out new books.

Friday, October 2, 2009

TPRS—Asking a Story

I became intrigued with Teaching Proficiency through Reading and Storytelling last summer, and with the encouragement of Will Slade, a fellow student at UT, I finally decided to have a go at it. I'm posting an edited version of a much longer story developed by my beginning-level SWK students. The story began with a character (Gloria). Where does Gloria live? What is her job? I asked the questions, students supplied the details. Well, most of them. This is our second story for this class, and we're looking forward to doing more.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

September always feels like New Year's to me. The weather starts to get cooler, and life starts to wake up from the lazy days of summer. I look forward to new classes, new students, and new things to try out in the classroom. This year I teach two classes—beginning students at Southwest Key (SWK) and a multilevel class at ACC South Austin Campus (SAC). I just posted a photo of the SWK class. (Aren't they wonderful?!) The SAC class meets all day on Fridays, so I should have their photo up by next Saturday. Best wishes to all students and teachers for an exciting and rewarding semester!

Saturday, July 18, 2009




Alejandra and Maria

School's Out for Summer!

Last day of class until August, and that means… PARTY! So why does everyone look so sad?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

One of America's Newest Citizens

Suzan K. Modi, formerly of Sudan, became one of the newest citizens of the United States on Saturday, June 20, 2009. The Spirit of Texas Theater in the Bob Bullock Museum in Austin was transformed into a federal courtroom at 1:00 this afternoon for the citizenship ceremony for 21 people from 11 different countries. In the photo above, Suzan waits for the ceremony in front of a statue of former Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock.

Below, with citizenship certificate and flowers in hand, she celebrates with Jeong Christensen, her ESL teacher who spent many after-class hours helping her prepare for the citizenship examination. You can read a very abridged account of how Suzan arrived at this moment in Texas Adult & Family Literacy Quarterly.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Writing About the Future

Our end-of-year project involved using the future tense and learning PowerPoint. The movie below is a compilation of all the students' PowerPoint projects.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Teacher Appreciation Day

May 15 in Mexico, but my class surprised me with an early appreciation party on May 14...Thank you!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Biopoems: The Movie

Here's the video of students reading their biopoems! I think they did an awesome job. Listen for how well they pronounce "snakes" :-)

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Biopoems — Beginning ESL

A biopoem, or technically speaking, an autobiopoem, is a poem about oneself. Click here for a PDF of all the poems from the class.

Friday, January 30, 2009

This is my classmate...

It's a new semester and a new class at SWK. Making introductions helps new and returning students get to know each other while they become more confident speakers of English.