Tuesday, December 21, 2010

We've Got Talent!

We a lively celebration of a semester of studying English together. More than enough food, lots of laughter, singing, dancing, and cameras everywhere!

The 12 Days of Christmas 2010

This song is a well established tradition for my ESL classes. Taking it further: How many gifts in all? How much would they cost?

The Gift of the Magi 2010

Here are two productions by beginning ESL students performing an adaptation of O'Henry's short story, "The Gift of the Magi." Students made the background posters and then became cast members.

Making the Posters

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham 2010 Fall

Below is the third production of Green Eggs and Ham starring beginning ESL students. This one is unique because of the special surprise after the story. A big thank you to all who participated!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Library Story

After the trip to the library, we worked together to create a story about a mother and son visiting their local library. Click here to hear how the story developed.

Cepeda Branch Library

On Monday, September 27, we had a tour of Austin's Cepeda Branch Library. More than half the students got library cards and checked out books and DVDs while we were there.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fall 2010 SWK Class

Presenting most of the students beginning the Fall 2010 class at SWK (3 absent)…

Sunday, June 27, 2010


A cinquain (5-line poem) is one version of formula poems that work well with beginning English learners. There are many varieties of cinquain, but I like to give students the following formula:

Line 1 — 1 noun (person, place, thing, or idea); this is the subject of your poem
Line 2 — 2 adjectives that describe the noun
Line 3 — 3 present participles (-ing words) that describe the subject
Line 4 — 4 words that tell more about the subject
Line 5 — 1 word: repeat line 1 or use a word that is similar (synonym)

Southwest Key students wrote their poems on paper, typed them in MS Word, and imported pictures (their own or from the Internet) to complement them. I have also had students transfer their cinquains to storyboards as a basis for creating PowerPoint presentations. Here are this year's poems, translated from students' MS Word files to a slideshow:


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Big Night at Maria's Cafe

South Austin Campus students participate in a readers' theater production that takes a behind-the-scenes look at a fundraiser put on by a small cafe. Click on the book cover to see the movie.

The cookbooks are ready!

Both of the ESL classes made cookbooks for the culmination of our semester-long discussion of food. Students contributed recipes and titles for the books. Thanks to Alejandro Garcia for the SWK cover art and to Monica Carrillo and Angelica Fiallos for the SAC cover art. Click on a cookbook to download a PDF of it.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Real Rain Man

Kim Peek was the inspiration for the character Raymond in Rain Man. He died in 2009 at the age of 58. Click here to read more about Kim Peek.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Green Eggs and Ham 2010 Spring

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seusss is a great vehicle for pronouncing American English vowel sounds. It also provides a good excuse to have a party. Green eggs and ham, anyone?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

American Sabor

On February 9, students from both ESL classes met at the Bob Bullock Museum for the American Sabor exhibit. The bilingual exhibit demonstrated the influence of Latino rhythms on rock music in the U.S. It showed major Latino influences in the music of New York, Miami, San Antonio, and Los Angeles with videos, interactive listening and mixing booths, and rhythm instruments to try for a real hands-on experience.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Translate It

I've added a link to the ESL links on the right for Google Translator. You can Copy and Paste any text or website address into the translator box, choose your language, and have a pretty good translation of the text or website. Try it with this message:
  1. Drag the pointer across all of the text to select it.
  2. Right click, and choose Copy
  3. Go to Google Translator
  4. Right click, and choose Paste
  5. Choose languages to translate from and to
  6. Click Translate
Now try it with the whole blog. Paste http://esol4u.blogspot.com in the translator text box and see what happens. Be patient. It's a big blog, so it may take awhile.