The LAEO Blog Archive: 2006 / 2007 / Jan – March 2008
November 17, 2006  

Here’s a link to an interesting blog written by a Canadian English teacher living and teaching in China. Chinese students might especially like reading about their country from his perspective.

November 14, 2006

What is the first thing (word, phrase, expression) you really understood during your study of English as a second language? In other words, when you heard someone say or write something, suddenly you really felt like you understood these words fully. Send me your comments here and I’ll post them on my website somewhere yet to be determined. Maybe here. Perhaps they’ll go on another section but keep checking back frequently because I have some new ideas for making this website more interesting.

November 11, 2006

It’s Veteran’s day in the United States today. On this day, we honor military veterans, particularly those who have served in war in order to protect our country and preserve the U.S. Constitution. Thanks to all the brave men and women who have put their life on the line so that all Americans might breathe freely the air of freedom.

Now bring home the troops from Iraq. The U.S. has to figure out how to pullback and control the carnage it leaves in its wake. Let’s hope the American troops and people of Iraq get the support they need in the aftermath of Bush’s adventure.

November 7, 2006

The first Tuesday in November is election day in even-numbered years, so that’s today. Republicans fear they will lose many seats in Congress because, to be honest, they haven’t done a very good job, and now the people will let them know if they have a job to return to in January when the new Congress begins.

October 31, 2006

Halloween is always on the last day of October. This old European holiday is partly Christian and partly pagan. Today it’s celebrated by children who go from house to house collecting candy. When the children knock on the door and someone answers, they say "trick-or-treat" and then the children are given candy. It’s a fun holiday and anyone can participate.

October 13, 2006

Today is Friday the 13th. Many people in the United States believe that this in an unlucky day. Some people are so superstitious that they stay home from work or school.

September 12, 2006

Summer is over. How sad. Most Americans mark the end of summer with the Labor Day weekend which was September 1 – 4. The calendar end of summer is September 22nd, so we will have about one more week to go before fall. Or do you call it "autumn"?

Here’s some video I took of a parade at the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul. Most people who live in Minnesota try to visit it every year. It’s ten days of fun! There’s a lot of different food, and there are many things to do and see.

August 25, 2006

I’m currently on summer break. The program that I teach in takes a break during the last couple weeks of August. This will give me some time to work on the next level of instruction which I hope to introduce in September–the Yellow Level.

July 30, 2006

My deepest sympathies to the people of Lebannon and Israel who are being killed daily. War sucks. No matter how you try to justify it, killing other people is wrong. If each one of us took a vow never to kill another person, regardless of the circumstances, our world would be a much better place. Tell your government or local armed militia to get lost. (The second-to-last sentence is an example of the present unreal or present conditional. The situation doesn’t exist now. Notice the verbs are in the past tense despite the fact that I’m addressing a present possiblity.)

July 27, 2006

It’s been a very hot summer. This week in the Twin Cities, we should see temperatures reach up to 100 degrees. What do you do to keep cool? As for me, I like the hot weather. It’s cold so many months of the year here, it’s nice to go outside and experience the heat.

July 4, 2006

Today we celebrate the Fourth of July which commemorates the day when Thomas Jefferson completed the Declaration of Independence. This formal declaration was finished on July 4, 1776 and signed by prominent business and political leaders a month later. The two most important parts of that document are very memorable and very important for all Americans to believe: "All men (and women) are created equal," and all people are entitled to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

June 21, 2006

If a blog is going to be read, it’s going to be read because it’s controversial or titilating or it serves a very specific purpose. If I’m going to have a blog on here, it has to be about things I feel strongly about, and I hope that it will be interesting, though at times it might be controversial but let’s hope that it’s never boring.

Here, for example, are a few thoughts about American foreign policy:

– If the United States spent more money on helping poor people around the world, it might not need to spend so much money on its military. (this is an example of the present unreal or present conditional. This situation does not exist in the present.)

– If the United States helped neighbors to its south, such as Mexico and other Latin American countries, perhaps it wouldn’t have to deal with an immigration problem. The U.S. is the world’s most powerful and richest nation. There must be a way that we can help our neighbors to the south. The fact that we haven’t is disgraceful.

– We should wait out the deaths of despots whenever possible and contain their ill effects on the world. What will happen when Castro dies, for example? Let the people decide. Sadam Hussein was a bad guy, but he never attacked us and there was no link (none!) to Al Qaeda. But there is one now. We should have tried to wait until he was overthrown by his own people. It’s amateur hour at the White House. If Al Gore had won, the world would be a different place.

Maybe things have to get worse before they get better.

Today summer begins, and here in Minnesota we will have sunlight from early in the morning until late at night–about 9:30 p.m. It’s the longest day of the year.

The last sentence above is an example of a superlative adjective. You simply add "est" to short words and "most" in front of longer words (two syllables or more) and use the article the. For example: big–the biggest; small–the smallest; dangerous–the most dangerous; expensive–the most expensive.

This website continues to get more attention. Be sure to tell your friends about it. Remember, this is one of the few truly free English websites on the internet.

May 24, 2006

I changed the website a little. Instead of having six levels, now there are only two. I’ll add more pages as I create them.

Can you change the past? Of course not. However, we often think about the past and how it could have turned out differently. Lately, my 10:00 a.m. interemediate-level class has been working on this. Here are a few examples of how to express regret, a mistake, or happiness that something did not happen:

If I had made enough money last year, I would have bought a new car.

Did I make enough money? No. Did I buy a car? No. The word "if" creates a condition that did not happen. Here’s another example:

If it hadn’t rained last night, I would have watered the garden.

Did it rain last night? Yes. Did I water the garden? No. It wasn’t necessary because it rained.

May 6, 2006

There was a rally this week at Powderhorn Park (one of many beautiful parks in Minneapolis) in support of those who have immigrated to the United States. When Americans want the government to do something to make their lives better, a rally is a good way to get people together and allow for the free expression of ideas. Here’s a picture I took of the event:

May 1 rally at Powderhorn Park

March 14, 2006

Yesterday we got about 10 inches of snow here in the Twin Cities. In many parts of the metropolitan area, traffic problems caused delays for people traveling to work and school. However, many schools were closed for the day, so the situation could have been much worse. My classroom at the Mall of America remained open, but I had very few students.

It’s nice to see so much snow on the ground. It brightens everything up, especially at night. But the snow won’t be around for too long. Next week temperatures are expected to be in the 40s. Spring officially begins in one week.

March 8, 2006

March is usually a very snowy month in Minnesota, but this year we aren’t getting very much snow. It’s much warmer than usual. Some people think the warm weather is due to global warming. That could be true. What do you think?

February 14, 2006

Today is Valentine’s Day. In the United States it is a custom to give candy, flowers, or a Valentine’s Day card to the people you love.

This website has moved to a new server, so the problems that visitors had in connecting in the past should be gone. Let me know if you have any problems in connecting to the website.

The Red Level is halfway finished. I hope to have it completed by the end of the month.

January 23, 2006

The blue level is almost finished and now I’m working on the red level, which is the second level for Learn American English Online. The first three levels should provide a student with a very basic understanding of how English grammar works.

January 20, 2006

Learn American English Online begins the new year with a new look and a new approach to teaching English. Check back often for updates. The website isn’t finished yet, but I hope to have it completed by the spring. The blog will focus on the English language, my students, and world events.