Tongue Twisters

December 13, 2010 at 3:38 PM | Posted in AmeriCorps, Class, Teaching | Leave a comment

Pronunciation is arguably the hardest language skill to learn. Depending on what your first language is, English pronunciation may often be counter-intuitive. Without accurate pronunciation, it is difficult to spell words correctly. Many of my students requested work on pronunciation, so for the last week, I have been focusing on the sh, ch, and th sounds and on the vowel sounds.

To work on the sh, ch, and th sounds, I gave my students tongue twisters to practice, including the infamous “She sells seashells by the sea shore….” There a lot of laughter as my students (and me) stumbled through “I’m sure she sells seashore shells” and “Three hundred thirty-three thousand therapists thought…”

In order to practice the vowels, I first go over the long and short vowel sounds. Then, we play a game in which the students have to identify the correct vowel sound as I read a list of words. For example, I wanted my students to practice hearing the difference between e and i. Each student got a green piece of paper labeled i and a blue piece of paper labeled e. As I read the words, the students had to lift up either the green piece of paper or the blue piece of paper (or both), depending on whether they thought the word contained an i, an e, or both i and e. The students still need some practice, but it seems to be an effective method of improving pronunciation and spelling.

-Kerrin Epstein, Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Member

A Trip to the Library

December 8, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Posted in Class, Family Learning, Teaching | Leave a comment
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It was a very wet and windy day, but twenty students and two teachers from the Crestwood Family Learning Program visited the Richard Byrd Library on December 1, 2010.  Sandy Freund, director of the library, welcomed us and showed us all around the new library building.  We saw the 18 computers, the circulation and information desks, the quiet study room, the many items for adult students learning English, and the area for children.  Seven students received library cards.

-Elizabeth Magee, Lead Teacher

The DREAM Act

December 6, 2010 at 3:39 PM | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

This morning, when I woke up, I had full intentions of writing this blog about LCNV’s upcoming Holiday Party. That will come later.  However, I made the grave mistake of reading the Post and Times headlines on a day when the news could only frustrate a person who sees justice and equality as paramount. While the donkeys in the administration deliberate with the elephants about whether there will be tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the lame duck Congress sits on its tail feathers, unwilling to dive into the pond of pressing issues during the remainder of this legislative session. None of them want to ruffle their fine feathers. None of them want to make a splash. As their fellow feathered friend, Daffy Duck, might say, “That’s despicable!”

One of the issues that could be voted on, if Congress gets its act together, is the DREAM Act. According to Wikipedia, this legislation, if passed, would:

Provide certain illegal and deportable alien students who graduate from US high schools, who are of good moral character, arrived in the U.S. illegally as minors, and have been in the country continuously and illegally for at least five years prior to the bill’s enactment, the opportunity to earn conditional permanent residency if they complete two years in the military or two years at a four year institution of higher learning. The illegal alien students would obtain temporary residency for a six year period. Within the six year period, a qualified student must have “acquired a degree from an institution of higher education in the United States or [have] completed at least 2 years, in good standing, in a program for a bachelor’s degree or higher degree in the United States,” or have “served in the uniformed services for at least 2 years and, if discharged, [have] received an honorable discharge.”

Approximately 2 million of our country’s youth would qualify. In many cases, the children don’t even remember being brought to the United States by their parents. As long as they arrived before the age of 16, they would be eligible.

Currently, an immigrant without papers cannot join the army or receive loans or aid to go to college. As Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano poignantly noted:

“What doesn’t make as much sense is the idea of spending our enforcement resources to prosecute young people who have no criminal records, who were brought here through no fault of their own, so they have no individual culpability, and who now want to go to college or serve in our armed forces,”

Even with the backing of the administration and most Democrats, the legislation has a lean chance of passing the Senate.

Now, on a lighter note…

Despite the frustrations of the lame duck session, I do love this time of year! As Kerrin mentioned in a recent post, it is full of family, fun, and food. To celebrate this holiday season, we hope that you can share all these traditions with us at our Holiday Potluck tomorrow, December 7th, at 6:00pm. Bring your family! Bring your friends! Bring a dish to share with others! I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

If you would like to read more about the DREAM Act, I recommend the Wikipedia article and today’s NPR article.

Minta Trivette, ESOL Learning Centers Specialist

Family Learning at the Gym

December 1, 2010 at 10:47 AM | Posted in Family Learning, Student Stories, Teaching, Volunteers | Leave a comment
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Twenty-two adult ESOL students, six children and five teachers played together in the gym at Crestwood Elementary School on October 27 as part of their Family Learning Program focus on learning about the school.  These gym visits have been a regular part of the program for the past few years.  The visits aim to help students experience the fun of exercising with their children.They also provide an opportunity to learn about healthy eating from Crestwood’s Health and Physical Education teacher, Mr. David Magee.

-Elizabeth Magee, Lead Teacher

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