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.

  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.
    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.


    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.)

    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?

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    The March 22nd Sacramento March for Education

    Grammar: Phrasal Verbs with "hold"
    1. Click here for a list with definitions
    2. Exercise One
    3. Exercise Two
    4. Exercise Three
    Speaking Practice: 

    Here are some students like yourselves from CCSF Chinatown campus. Please take a look, then introduce yourself. We will make a story next week and send it to them. Maybe we can meet some of them in Sacramento, or in San Francisco. Click here for a new window.


    What do you think about speaking up for education? I never thought I would need to attend protest rallies for education in California. I feel both sad and angry that our economy and government cannot financially support educating students of all ages. We are such a rich country! I believe strongly that getting an education can change lives. I know my education changed my life. I am glad we have the freedom to speak up for important things in many places in our world today. I know there have been many times in history all over the world when people could not speak up freely.

    I remember clearly when my elder daughter was just a young toddler. We watched the Chinese students protesting in Tiannamen Square on television for hours together. This impressed her a lot because I rarely watched television. Her eyes and her mind were wide open with surprise and many questions. I tried my best to explain why I thought the students were doing a brave and good thing. I wanted her to grow up and not be afraid to speak up bravely. I am happy that she has grown up to be brave and to speak well!

    This week, please click below on comments and try to answer at least one of these questions:
    1. What does your education mean to you?
    2. What do you think about peaceful protests? How do they help an important cause?
    3. Have you been to Sacramento on a student march. What was your experience like? Will you join us this year?

    Sunday, February 21, 2010

    Have you ever felt nervous about speaking English?

    Grammar: How are you doing with present perfect? Have you made progress understanding this important verb? You can study some more today, or skip down to speaking, listening, or writing practice.

    Present Perfect Review: You can skip this if you feel confident.


    Job applications, resumes, and cover letters need to be perfect so you have a better chance of getting an interview. 

    Speaking Practice:  

    Last week, we finished our chapter about Job Interview and Job Applications. Some of you had a chance to practice answering job interview questions online. This week, you can practice more questions, or you can begin for the first time. 

    If this is your first time, register for Voicethread today so you can record  answers to interview questions. If you registered last week, sign in and answer more questions. Also, you can listen to each other so you can learn from each other. Click here to answer interview questions.

    Here is a great song about we handle the changes we face in life. What has been changing in your life? What have you been nervous about? What have you been looking forward to?


    I have been learning new languages since I was a teenager. I have always thought the challenges of new languages are fascinating. Every language is amazing and beautiful to me. Also, I have been
    teaching English for about twenty-eight years. I have not stopped enjoying my work as a teacher. My students have always made a positive impression on me. I think immigrants are some of the bravest, and most hard-working people in the world. People have been moving all over world for thousands of years. We move far from home to begin new lives, sometimes with a great sense of adventure. Sometimes people leave home for terribly sad reasons. I am happy that I chose a job that mixes my love of languages with the chance to watch history, and the chance to meet so many brave and interesting people, such as my students. 

    What about you? Please click on comment and write.   
    1. What have you been doing for a long time? 
    2. Why have you been doing this? 
    3. What have you learned?

    Wednesday, February 10, 2010

    Getting Ready for Job Interview

    Happy Mardi Gras everyone!

    Listening Practice:

    Click to listen to video advice about job interviews. The woman in this video will give you advice that we have discussed in class.  You can listen and write the missing words, too.

    Speaking Practice: Practice answering job interview questions online. Register for Voicethread today so you can record  answers to interview questions. Click here for a bigger window.

    Reading: Read my interview story. Write your interview story as a comment below.

    When I got ready for job interview as a teacher at City College, I had to do a lot of difficult work. I felt nervous most of the time, and had to try my best to feel confident about myself. After I sent a long cover letter with my resume and application, I was so excited to get an interview. At that time, the college was not hiring many teachers, so there was a lot of competition. For this reason, I was excited about getting an interview, but the interview was not a guarantee of a job. I knew I had to prepare for the next big step, the group interview with a lesson plan.

    In our interview, applicants had to write original lessons about a newspaper article about culture in China. All of the teachers who had interviews had to create a lesson for the same newspaper article. I needed to explain how I would teach the vocabulary, and how I would handle students' questions. I needed to try out my lesson if possible, so I went to a new class and tried out my lesson. That way I could report about my experience during the interview. In addition to knowing my lesson, and my profession, I also had to understand a lot about all of City College, not just the ESL department. I had to learn about the CCSF administration in more detail.

    Being relaxed, prepared, and confident was more difficult than I expected. I remember feeling so tired from all of the stress. However, I will always be grateful for all of my preparation because I got hired in a fantastic college. Getting ready for the interview took months of work, and lots of mental energy, but the outcome was perfect for me. I wish you all good energy for getting ready, feeling confident, and finding a great job.

    Click on comment, then write about your interview experience from the past, or your ideas about an interview in your future. You can write and post at home, too.

    Sunday, February 7, 2010

    Help for Haiti


    This week at school, your student council will have a fundraiser for the earthquake survivors in Haiti. Our campus has collected donations for hurricane, tsunami, and earthquake many times. We will send our donations to Partners in Health. This is a group that has been working in Haiti for more than twenty years. The group has focused on food and medical needs. You can listen to a video about this group today. The video explains how we can know where our donation dollars, quarters and pennies can help the most. Click here for the video.

    Also, last Friday in class, we listened to a story about "Hope for Haiti," a telethon fundraiser. You can listen again today. Just click here. Pay attention to the vocabulary we learned in class. 

    Finally, here is an extra listening lesson about the Toyota recall. We have been following this story in our class. You might appreciate listening to the BBC news about the problems with these well-known cars. 


    Do you have personal or family story about being in a disaster, or an accident? Write about your story this week. I have been in many earthquakes, but I have never been in a terrible earthquake. I had very few problems in the 1989 earthquake. My home and family were all fine, even though we had so much damage in San Francisco. Since I have never been in a big disaster, I wrote about my sister. She lived in an apartment that was dangerously flooded. You can read her story below. Click on comment at the bottom of this page, and write your story! 

    Please write about:
    • a disaster or storm that you have been in.
    • a disaster or storm that a friend or family has been in. 
    Tell the story with careful grammar and spelling. You can write in the comment box, but it is a little small to look at. You can also write your story in Word first. It might be easier to use! Then you can copy and paste into the comment box. It's up to you!

    Sunday, January 31, 2010

    Learning about Each Other

    Thank you all for your interesting posts last week about Dr. King. You might like to read the comments from your classmates if you have time today. 

    Writing: This week, please introduce yourself to class online. 

    To begin, listen to these students from six different countries.  There are some easy questions to answer. Then click back to this page.

    Next, practice with the comment link down the page. Click to post your answers to these questions. Write a short paragraph about yourself. You can see my example answer in the comments. Ask for help with typing or using the comment link.
    1. What is your name and where are you from?
    2. What do you spend most of your time doing these days?
    3. What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
    4. What did you decide to do last year? How do you feel about your decision?
    5. What do you look forward to doing this year? Why?
    Get your photo taken in class today. We will make a slide show so you can get to know each other better.

    Review for Chapter One. Try using your cd-rom from our textbook in class today. Look at the videos, and get ready for the test in class on Tuesday.

    Here is one easy review with Gerund and Infinitives. 
    Here is more explanation and more difficult practice. 

    Tuesday, January 19, 2010

    Imagine living in a different world! Can you do it?

    Reading and Writing Lesson: Read a little this week, then write a comment we can read. Next week, you will see a comment from me about you writing.

    On Monday, January 18,  we had a national holiday from school, and many businesses and government offices were closed because we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. every year. He was born on January 15, 1929, so we have a national holiday on the Monday after his birthday. Dr. King was an important, intelligent American leader. He taught us a lot about being kind and fair to people of every race and color. He dreamed that people of many races, religions and cultures can live together without hatred and without fear.

    I think everyone agrees that it is important to be fair, but history all over the world shows us that many people are not fair or kind to others. Dr. King encouraged us to fight in strong, peaceful ways for fairness, justice, and freedom. He encouraged us to fight for civil rights. For example, civil rights are the right to vote and the right to go to school. Dr. King had many successes working for civil rights. He won the Nobel Peace Prize, an international honor, because he worked so hard and so well. If you would like to know more about his life and work, you can read more online here.

    Dr. King spoke in a special style that is often used in churches. He spoke in a very emotional, dramatic way to encourage people to think and care. One time in Washington D.C., Dr. King made a very famous speech to more than 200,000 people. 

    Click here to get our vocabulary list , but I will give you one in class. These important words help you understand the speech.

    Click to watch some of this speech about his dream. Listen carefully to what he dreams for his children and all people. (You can watch the video more than once when it begins.)

    Now that you live and work in the U.S., you will meet and get to know people from many races and many cultures. I hope you will enjoy meeting and working so many different people. I hope your will not need to work with a boss or co-workers who have hatred in their hearts. I believe we can all encourage all to look at character, to build character, and not to act with hatred or unfairness.

    Sadly, there is racism, unfairness, and hatred in many countries, cities, and neighborhoods, not just the United States.
    • What about your home country? Do you have any stories about racism or unfairness? 
    • Who are your important civil rights leaders?
    • What is your dream for a better world?
    Please post a comment to our class bog. You don't need to write a lot. You don't need to write about history, just about your dream. 

    How do you do post? Look down the page a little bit. Find Post a comment. Click. Write your comment in the box. Write your name in your post. Click Anonymous. You will also need to copy a funny looking word before you can post. 

    Grammar and Vocabulary Practice with Gerunds :
    1. After you click and read about V+ing, scroll down the page to find 6 exercises to help you.