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Landlines for Emergencies
May 22, 2013
Reader's Digest (March 2013) says that there were 193 million landline phones in the US in 2000, but that there were only 150 million in 2011. The article points out that there were 109 million wireless phones in 2000 and 333 million in 2011. Most rural households have landlines because there aren't enough cell phone towers in their area. My mom's cousin worked for Ma Bell back in the day, and the government required that they cover everyone within 10 miles of a main line. There is no such law regarding cell phones. I wonder why. But an advantage to a land line is that during storms the landline cables are safe underground and are less likely to get knocked off line.
Angelina Jolie's Double Mastectomy
May 19, 2013
Just read about Angelina's double mastectomy. Genetic testing showed that her risk for breast cancer was 87 percent. I think she made the right decision, considering how high her risk was even though she doesn't have the disease at the moment. Testing also shows that she has a 50 percent chance of getting ovarian cancer. Jolie's mother died from it when she was just 56 years old. So Jolie might be getting her ovaries removed too. I wonder if the Affordable Care Act, which starts in January of 2014, will cover such testing. I'd love to be able to take preventative measures. Hats off to Angelina for going public with this information. Now, more women will learn about their options. Twelve percent of women will get breast cancer. That's a lot higher than I realized.
ESL Lesson about Types of TV Shows
May 17, 2013
If you're looking for some light end of the year lessons, I created a lesson about types of TV shows. It includes image and information about newscasts, game shows, singing contests, love stories, nature broadcasts, cooking shows, etc. It would be a fun lesson to use as the year winds down and CASAS testing is over. Time to have a little fun.
ESL Mother's Day Lesson w/ Worksheets
May 10, 2013
Mother's Day is this Sunday. I have a Mother's Day lesson on this website. You can find it if you go to the home page and look under the section titled Holiday Lessons. It's designed for beginning to intermediate ESL students and it includes free worksheets.
Senate Rejects Expanded Background Checks
April 18, 2013
Obama called it a shameful day for Washington. The US Senate rejected a plan to expand background checks for guns purchased online and at gun shows. A father who lost his son four months ago at Newton said, "Any dad in America could be in my shoes." He called it unspeakable grief.
American Icon Dies
April 4, 2013
Annette Funicello died this week and a part of American history died with her. She was the most famous of the famous Disney Mouseketeers and one of the original kids to handle the role. Annette was a classy lady to the end. I'm reminded of the song the Mouseketeers sang at the close of each show:
Now it's time to say good-bye to our company.
M-I-C (See you real soon)
K-E-Y (Why? Because we like you!)
Good-bye, Annette. May you have a soft landing and be greeted warmly in heaven. RIP.
Voted in Mayoral Election
April 10, 2013
I did my civic duty by voting in the Rockford, Illinois, mayoral election yesterday. I voted for Mayor Larry Morrissey because he has kept the budget balanced despite hard economic times. When things get better, we won't have a lot of loans plus interest to pay off. There are 87,073 registered voters in Rockford and according to WREX, 19,313 ballots were cast in this election. So, 22.18% of registered voters voted. The population of Rockford is 152,222 (2011).
April Holiday Lessons
April 9, 2013
Earth Day, Secretary's Day, and Arbor Day are coming up. I have ESL lessons for each of these holidays. You can find the links to them on my homepage under the holiday heading in the center of the page. I still need to create a lesson about Tax Day which is April 15. I hope you did your taxes already. I finished mine on time and sent them in ahead of schedule. Lesson suggestion: Make copies of the tax worksheet on the IRS website and have upper level students complete the form using information from a fictitious person.
April Fools Day
April 1, 2013
I don't have an April Fool's Day lesson for ESL students on this website because I couldn't think of how to create one. I'll have to hop on it and see what I can come up with. I couldn't find nine photos of jokes, but I'm going to try to create my own images of jokes. I promise to have something ready for next year.
March 21, 2013
Weasle Words - I found this definition for weasle words on Wikipedia. It would be a good concept to teach upper level ESL students. The term means:
Vague phrasing that often accompanies biased or unverifiable information.
Presidential Secret Service Code Names
March 18, 2013
Presidents have code names that the Secret Service uses to identify them. Reader's Digest published a list of some of the presidents' secret names:
Barack Obama / Renegade
George W. Bush / Tumbler
Bill Clinton / Eagle
George H. W. Bush / Timberwolf
Ronald Reagan / Rawhide
Richard Nixon / Searchlight
John F. Kennedy / Lancer
Dwight D. Eisenhower / Scorecard
Saint Patricks Day Lesson for ESL
March 16, 2013
Saint Patrick's Day is tomorrow. Here is a three-page St. Patrick's Day lesson I created for ESL classes. It has nine photos, free downloadable worksheets, and some easy holiday facts. I also found this Irish Blessings that you can share with your class. You might want to write it on the white board.
An Irish Blessing
May your troubles be less,
your blessings be more,
and nothing but happiness come
through your door.
Should ESL Classes Talk about Pope Francis?
March 14, 2013
Congratulations to Pope Francis I and to Argentina. I'm a strong supporter of the separation of church and state, but we can still teach our ESL students about current events and include a short lesson on the new pope and on Argentina. Many of our ESL students are catholic and will be interested in learning more about him. Those that aren't catholic will benefit from keeping up with current events.
US Economy Compared to Finland
March 13, 2013
These facts are from the CIA World Factbook website. You can go to their site to learn more. I just wanted to take a peek at the healthcare costs and compare them. This is a great site for ESL students and teachers.
GDP - $36,500 Per Capita (2012)
Unemployment - 7.3% (2012)
Life Expectancy at Birth - 79.41 yrs.
Health Expenditures - 11.7% of GDP (2009)
Education Expenditures - 5.9% of GDP (2007)
GDP - $15.66 Trillion - Largest World Economy
GDP - $49,800 Per Capita (2012)
Unemployment - 8.2% (2012)
Life Expectancy at Birth - 78.49 (2012)
Health Expenditures - 16.2% GDP (2009)
Education Expenditures - 5.5% GDP (2007)
US Presidents on Cover of TIME Magazine
March 3, 2013
Richard Nixon was on the cover of TIME magazine 47 times, Ronald Reagan 38 times, Bill Clinton 37 times, George W. Bush 33 times, and so far Barack Obama has been on the cover 31 times. I think Obama might beat Nixon because he has four more years as president and I predict he will still be making news after he leaves office. This information was taken from an image chart in TIME magazine this week. The news magazine just turned 90 years old.
Google Invited Me...!
April 12, 2011
Google has invited me to an AdSense conference in Irvine. I'm thrilled. It's from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. They discuss how website owners can improve traffic and ad income. The neatest thing is that they also give one-on-one customized SEO recommendations for one of your sites. I imagine they will have some great suggestions about ad placements and colors. I think they are also interested in signing people up for their Double Click program. The notice they sent said that 400 people in Southern California attended last year's event. It's invitation only, so I'm glad I made the list. Can't wait to hear what they have to say.
ESL Teachers Applying for Unemployment
June 25, 2010
Like many other ESL teachers, I'm off for the whole summer this year. Bummer! I usually work summer school, so I'm going to miss the income. I filed for Unemployment and had my phone interview on Tuesday. I filed using the online form on California's official website. You can go to www.ca.gov and click on the link near the top that says "Jobs" and then select "Unemployment and Disability".
If UI denies your case, be sure to appeal. I was denied benefits last year, but I won on appeal. I cited a California legal case called Cervisi et al. v. Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board. You can look up this case online and learn more about it. I'm not a lawyer, so I don't want to mislead anyone.
Here's a quote: "The Superior Court concluded that "under the statute, an assignment that is contingent on enrollment, funding, or program changes is not a 'reasonable assurance' of "employment." The Court of Appeal adopted the Superior Court's findings and held that a contingent assignment is not a "reasonable assurance" of continued employment within the meaning of Section 1253.3."
Hope this helps. I'm glad we live in a country where the courts protect our rights. (I'm going to leave this blog post up so that you can find it next summer.)