Saturday, May 8, 2010

Saving Our Planet


Good morning class. Today I am home with my husband who needs  a small surgery! Sorry to be absent today after the picnic on Friday. I am sure I'll see you tomorrow! I hope you enjoy today's lesson.We can fill out your Fall 2010 programs later this week.

Today you can choose to study with:
  1. a reading and vocabulary lesson about recycling in San Francisco.
  2. a video listening lesson about endangered elephants.
  3. grammar practice with 1st, 2nd and 3rd conditionals.
Part One: Online Reading Lesson

Have you heard this proverb? "The longest journey begins with the first step." I think this is simple, important and helpful advice. There are so many long journeys. Sometimes we really need to get busy and start walking!

To take better care of our environment, we all need to take steps on a long journey. We need to take steps every day. We need to take steps soon. Fortunately, some steps we can take are very simple. Let's begin our lesson today with reading about recycling. Recycling has become required now in San Francisco, so everyone needs to be more careful and learn about it. Also, recycling is a small, important step we can take on this long journey. When we recycle regularly and carefully, I think we also remind ourselves to consider environmental problems more carefully and thoughtfully all the time.

How much do you recycle? How often do you feel confused about what you can recycle, or where you can recycle things such as old cell phones? What happens when we recycle here in San Francisco? In this lesson, you will read two pages about recycling, then you can take a quiz. Click here to begin the recycling reading lesson. 

Part Two: Video Lesson

People who work to protect the environment are called environmentalists. I believe when we take small steps, we can all be environmentalists. Some people become very busy with taking care of the environment. We call them environmental activists. Every April,  there are six prizes for every day people around the world who have worked as environmental activists and made an important change. These prizes are called the Goldman Awards. The winners receive $150,000 which will help them continue to do their work. These prize winners have all worked for many years with little or no money. They just had a dream to change a problem, and they got busy with small steps. 

This year, one winner was, Tuy Sereivathana from Cambodia. He has been working to help save elephants because he knows the elephants, farmers, and other animals, too, need to share the environment to live well. The elephants and farmers were having many problems living near each other. In our class, we read about elephants and farmers in Africa who had been having the same kinds of problems. 

Today, please listen to this short video. The video is about 4 and 1/2 minutes long. If you feel confused, you can stop the video with your mouse before the video finishes. You can rewind and listen more than one time, too. Listen, watch, and decide if the sentences below are true or false. Check your true false answers with your classmates and teacher.

  1. The video shows a temple called Angkor Wat, which elephants destroyed many years ago.
  2. Tuy grew up in a big city. 
  3. There are only about 2,500 elephants still living in Cambodia.
  4. Elephants need to swim across rivers when they migrate
  5. Elephants had been raiding farms for food. 
  6. Many people in the video are not afraid of these large wild animals.
  7. Farmers built towers to watch for elephants who were coming near their farms. 
  8. The farmers put up wires to frighten elephants away. 
  9. Since 2005, no one has killed elephants to protect farmers or crops. 
  10. A man who had hunted elephants before has refused to stop hunting them. 
Part Three: Grammar Links

First Conditional Practice Lesson: 
  1. Example: If I recycle more, I'll help the environment. 
  2. Practice Online
Second Conditional Practice Lesson: 
  1. Example: If more people recycled carefully, we could reduce our waste.
  2. Practice Online
Third Conditional Practice Lesson: 
  1. Example: If we had begun recycling plastic earlier, we would not have created so much water pollution.
  2. Practice Online

Friday, April 30, 2010

What are your Education Rights?

Sixty years ago in the United States, we had less equality in our schools than we do today. We had segregated schools, so that children from different races did not attend the same schools. There were many "Whites Only" schools, as well as restaurants, parks, hospitals, businesses and neighborhoods. I think you would not be surprised to know that the schools for white children were better in every way  because these schools had better budgets for everything from buildings, books and supplies, libraries and teachers.
 
We have been learning about the U.S. Constitution, justice, our rights and responsibilities. Today, let's listen to a story about our equal rights and education from the Mendez sisters, whose parents decided to fight against injustice in schools. 

  1. Listen to their storyUse your mouse to stop or rewind the story.
  2. Listen again and answer some questions. We'll check answers together. 
  3. For extra practice, you can also write the words you hear on your class handout.

Work with a classmate to look online for more information about them. The Mendez story is interesting and important.
  • Go to Google. 
  • Type Mendez vs. Westminster. 
  • Look at the first three links.
  • Skim the websites to answer these questions together:
  1. When did the families file the lawsuit because of unconstitutional discrimination in schools?
  2. When did they win the lawsuit?
  3. Where was the lawsuit?
  4. What did Sylvia Mendez do later in her life?
  5. What year was Sylvia Mendez born?
  6. What career did she choose?
  7. When did she go to the White House to meet the President?

Many people discriminate against the poor in many different countries. Other people have noticed that if we can give everyone a fair chance and protection, people who are poor or rich can do well in life. Here is a video from television about an exciting and successful program for poor children. They don't live here in the U.S. but we can learn from their story. Maybe their success can give us some ideas for our schools here. (Sorry, but there is a short commercial at the beginning.)


Do you have a comment or an idea for how to make schools fair and equal? Why do you think it is important to have fairness in education?

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Health and Laughter

I read an interesting story in San Francisco Chronicle about jokes and laughter. I read that children laugh more than 300 times a day, and most adults laugh only about 17 times a day! I felt sad when I read that! We all need to laugh. It's good for our health, and good for our minds, too.

Still, many people don't enjoy jokes that hurt another person's feelings. We feel bad about laughing at jokes that insult other people. For example, I do not like jokes about women, gay people, old people,  Asians, Latinos, black people or immigrants! But I still love good jokes.

Sometimes people tell a joke that is unkind, and then they say,
  • "Don't worry, it's just a joke!" or
  • "Can't you take a joke?"
to people who feel hurt or feel insulted.

When we are nervous about telling jokes at work, it's too bad because laughing helps us enjoy our lives. We get nervous, or stressed, and jokes can help us at those times.   I also think it is very good when we can be strong and say we don't like jokes that are insulting to each other. You can tell someone, "I don't like jokes like that!" We can laugh without hurting other people! At work, it's great if you can relax and laugh, but also feel comfortable that everyone feels comfortable and respected.

Look at this comic. Does it give you a little smile? I can always use a joke about computers and technology, can't you?


Also here is a short video from an American comedian, Steve Martin, about learning English. People can be very funny, or sometimes ridiculous when we teach and when we learn. What do you think of the teacher and her student? Can you understand the sentence he is trying to learn to say?



Learning to tell jokes, and beginning to understand jokes is an important and fun part of learning a new language. 
Speaking Practice: Click here to listen to a joke. Then, tell the same joke.

Writing Practice: Do you have a story this week about how humor and laughter help you be a healthy person? How do jokes and laughter help you with take care of stress? Have you ever told a person not to tell insulting jokes? Click on comment and tell us what you think.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Our Health

We will listen, read and learn about health insurance and healthy  brains this week. (You can see the cartoon dialogs from last week in last week's lesson. Also, since the cartoons all begin at the same time, you can turn down the sound on your computer or headphones. Then watch them one by one.)

Choose one question and write a comment after you do the lessons, part 1, 2, 3 and 4.  You can write at home if you don't have time in class. You will click on comment down the page to write:
  1. How do you stay healthy? (Don't get sick like me, home with the flu today!)
  2. What is your opinion about health insurance? Did you have good insurance in your home country? Do you have insurance here?
Part One: Listen to this discussion about health insurance. Take the quiz, too. This is an easy listening exercise!

Part Two: Click here to see a diagram of your brain and to hear how to pronounce different parts. A healthy brain will help you learn English, and live better. 

Part Three: Listen to this lesson about the brain and nervous system. 

Part Four: Take this quiz about the brain. There are ten questions. If you can get 7 or 8 correct, that is great. If you don't get 7 or 8 correct, you can watch the lesson from Part Three again. 

Click below to write your comment.
Check your grammar, vocabulary and spelling. 
Your substitute teacher, Anne Huntzinger, can help you.  

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Feedback at Work and Other Places

Although we can feel nervous about feedback, we can also benefit from communication. We can find out how we are doing at work, at school, and with our friends and family. We are finishing our lessons about getting and giving feedback at work in performance reviews. Unless you have an unusual or very casual job in the U.S. you will have a review at your job.

Also, sometimes your boss will give you feedback from time to time about your work. Here is the video that we watched in class on Friday. You can listen again, and pay attention to the "indirect" criticism Joanna gets from her boss about how she dresses at work.



Read our class handout again. Study the new vocabulary. Read the dialog with a classmate.

Next:
  1. Watch this cartoon movie. 
  2. Then work with a classmate, and write a dialog. Your dialog can be two people at work, or two neighbors or friends. The dialog topic is "Feedback!" , and one person should give criticism to the other person. Use good grammar. Your dialog should be 6-10 sentences.
  1. Click on this link to make your movie
  2. We will go step by step in class to make one simple movie together so you know how to do it. 
  3. Then make a cartoon movie on your own with the dialog you have written with a classmate today. 


    Sunday, March 14, 2010

    Getting Ready!


    We have begun learning about earthquakes and other emergencies in our class. We have also been studying how to discuss mistakes. For example, people say:
    1. We should have made an earthquake kit. 
    2. Maybe we could have found more survivors.
    3. That must have been a terrible shock! 
    4. They shouldn't have built unsafe schools.
    Take a look at this video about the earthquake in China, and use your class worksheet to find out some information:


    We have a saying like this: "Hope for the best, plan for the worst!" We know California is going to have a "Big One" someday, an earthquake that is bigger than 7.5. Have you and your family made a plan? Here are some lessons to help you get ready.

    Learn about the 1906 Earthquake and answer questions with a classmate. The first team to answer correctly will get a prize today in class!
    1. History
    2. Information 
    Learn about earthquake preparedness. 
    1. Take this quiz. What do you already know?
    2. Read about making an earthquake kit. Write down five things you need to do. Compare with your teammate.
    Grammar:
    1. Past Modals
    2. Modal Review Webpage
    3. More Phrasal Verbs
    4. Enjoy this song by Abba, The Day Before You Came; You can listen to many modals! Get the handout in class.


    Sunday, March 7, 2010

    Women Hold Up Half the Sky

    March 8th is International Woman's Day, so we can take some time to learn about women.

    Speaking:

    First take a look at this woman. Make a comment about her. Listen to my questions, think about possible answers, and then record them. Later, I will tell you about her. Here is a link to a new window.


    Listening and vocabulary:

    Next, listen to this report from Nicholas Kristof, an excellent journalist from the New York Times. He has written a book about women throughout the world. He called this book, "Half the Sky." Click here and listen to the beginning of this story today. Listen and  answer the questions from your class handout about Saima Mohammed. Her story is inspiring! (You can listen to all of the story, or just the beginning about Saima Mohammed.)

    Writing:
    Click on comment. Answer one or more of these questions:
    1. Who is an inspiring woman that you know? How has this woman been important to you?
    2. What would you do with a small business loan? Would you start a business in this country or in a different country?
    3. What is the biggest obstacle facing women today in your opinion? What can help women overcome this obstacle?