ESL Teachers' Blog of Substance

ESL Teachers' Blog of Substance

You are welcome to email me with your questions and ideas.

Trump Inauguration Lesson

January 20, 2017
We will witness a peaceful change of government take place tomorrow when Donald J. Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. This peaceful process is what makes America a great democracy. It's going to be interesting to see what happens over the next four years. How will he change the office and the nation? Are we headed in a different direction or is this the last roar of the past? Let's see what sticks and what works. I would love to see the wars overseas come to an end. That would be my biggest wish.

Thoughts on 2017

January 6, 2017
I'm pleased that the unemployment rate is at 4.7 percent. I hope this number improves or at least stays the same. A new president and changes in the make up of Congress means there will be changes in the country. It will certainly be an interesting year. I wish you peace and prosperity.

President Trump Lesson

December 21, 2016
I'm going to start working on my President Trump lesson this week. It won't be too difficult to find photos and material. I will leave my President Obama lesson on this website and will create a new one for the new president. I'm always respectful about presidents no matter what the issues are. It's a tough job and I appreciate the work and skill it requires. Both of these men are achievers who worked hard all their lives. The man in the arena....etc.

Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays

December 7, 2016
I am okay using either one of these greetings. It really doesn't matter to me if someone says Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays. I suppose we should teach both greetings to our ESL students. Some issues are manufactured just for the sake of arguing. Just my opinion.

National Parks Lesson

August 25, 2016
Our National Parks System turns 100 today. We are so blessed to have such wonderful national treasures. I'm glad our politicians started this program. A big thanks to them for doing the right thing. You can find a National Parks lesson here on this website. It includes photos and worksheets. The photos can be shown on interactive white boards that are hooked up to a computer.

Fourth of July 2016

June 29, 2016
You can find my Fourth of July lesson by going to the home page and finding the link for 'holidays'. There are plenty of worksheets posted near the bottom of the page on the left side. I'm so glad that I live in the United States. Things are changing, but I think we will remain a strong and influential country for several more decades. I am, however, very disappointed with our political discourse. It is crude and there is very little substance to it. Lots of spouting off with few facts. Sigh.

Memorial Day 2016

May 28, 2016
Thank you to all the soldiers who are serving or have served in the United States military. We can never repay you what you have done for us and our country. I hope someday that the world will agree to end all war.

Thoughts on the Presidential Primaries

April 8, 2016
This is certainly an exciting primary season. I'm surprised at our choices for candidates. That's not really a criticism. In the past, I was fond of pointing out that the two major political parties were like Coke and Pepsi...there wasn't really much of a difference between the two. This time voters really have a choice because the divide between the parties couldn't be broader. I hope everyone votes this November. I registered to vote when I was just 19 years old. I'm very proud of that!

How Old Are the Presidential Candidates?

August 13, 2015
Here is a list of the ages of the major presidential candidates for 2016. I thought Marco Rubio was a lot younger than 44 years old. Also, I thought Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham were in their 70s.

Marco Rubio - 44, Ted Cruiz - 44, Bobby Jindal - 44, Scott Walker - 47, Rand Paul - 52, Chris Christie - 52, Rick Santorum - 57, Mike Huckabee - 59, Carly Fiorina - 60, Lindsey Graham - 60, Jeb Bush - 62, John Kasich - 63, Ben Carson - 63, Rick Perry - 65, Hillary Clinton - 67, Donald Trump - 69, Joe Biden - 72, Bernie Sanders - 73.

April Fool's Day Lesson

March 22, 2015
April Fool's Day is on a Wednesday this year. It not a real popular holiday, but it is a fun one. I created an ESL lesson about April Fool's Day which includes funny images of tricks people can play on each other. There are free downloadable worksheets near the bottom of the webpage. I hope you enjoy the lesson. Be sure to remind your students to only participate in fun, non-harmful pranks.

Daylight Savings Time Lesson for ESL

March 3, 2015
Remember to turn your clock forward this Saturday night before you go to bed. Remind your students, too, by teaching them the helpful sentence "Spring forward and fall back." Here is a simple ESL lesson on daylight savings time. It includes photos and can be shown on interactive whiteboards. There are free downloadable worksheets near the bottom of the page.

How to Teach ESL

February 27, 2015
OTAN has a nice downloadable package with instructions on how to teach English as a Second Language classes. It is a great resource for Adult Ed teachers who are new to the field. I wish I had been given this educational resource when I first started teaching ESL. I had no idea what I was doing or suppose to do. Luckily, I had some help from mentor teachers. The most useful experience I had was observing other teachers as they taught their classes.

College Grads Lack Civics Knowledge

November 15, 2013
This is a quote from TIME magazine regarding new college graduates per information from the American Council of Trustees and Alumni: "half know that the U.S. Constitution establishes the separation of powers. Forty-three percent failed to identify John Roberts as Chief Justice; 62% didn't know the correct length of congressional terms of office." I think they need to use my website to review their civics knowledge.

Hidden Picture Worksheets - Printable and Free

June 20, 2013
Summer school should be FUN for K12 and ESL students. Here are some free hidden picture worksheets that I posted to this website. I usually have my students describe the picture and practice saying the vocabulary words after they have found the hidden items in the picture. These worksheets are perfect for classrooms because they have the English vocabulary words listed on the bottom of the downloadable pages. The pdf files may take a little longer than usual to download because of the images. Enjoy and have a fun game day.

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 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.)

Copyrights to the pictures and photos on this ESL blog and EL Civics website belong to individual photographers. We have purchased the rights to use them. Do not copy the pictures and photos on this site. Permission is granted to copy any of the ESL worksheets for classroom use. Permission is granted to link to any page of this website. Contact Christina Niven, Web Developer, at Please send corrections, comments, greetings, and requests for new lessons. Copyright © Christina Niven, 2007.