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.