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Blog March 2008

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March 31, 2008


Baseball season begins this week in the United States. With that in mind, I’ll be adding a sports section to the vocabulary page soon. What kind of sports do you like? Do you have a favorite sport?

March 30, 2008

Who is the best teacher you have ever had? Look in the mirror and consider yourself. Can you teach yourself anything? Of course, you can. With help from books, audio cassettes, videos, websites, and a lot of dedication and self-discipline, you can teach yourself how to do many different things.

Notice the use of the reflexive pronoun in the above paragraph. Do you know your reflexive pronouns? Here are some examples below. Here’s a link to a YouTube video on reflexive pronouns.

He taught himself how to speak English. She taught herself how to play the piano. They taught themselves how to cook.  The reflexive pronoun directs the reader or the listener back to the subject.

March 28, 2008

What kind of a student are you? Are you a serious student? When someone words really hard on his or her schoolwork, we say that person is "serious." A person who doesn’t work very hard is a "slacker" or, if used as a verb, the student slacks off.

March 27, 2008

There were a couple of words that came up in class discussion yesterday: "pursue" and "stress."

pursue (verb) = go after, try to get, work hard to obtain. For example: She’s pursuing a degree in business.

stress (verb) = show the importance of something, highlight, focus on. For example: The teacher stressed the difference between the voiced and unvoiced sounds in those words. (Notice that this is different from the noun form of the verb, which means "pressure" or "anxiety." )

March 23, 2008

Students in my intermediate level class at the Mall of America will be studying the topic of education this week. We’ll compare the differences between the education system in the United States and those of other countries. This is always a fascinating topic for me, of course, because I’m a teacher, and students generally appreciate the opportunity to talk about their educational background.

I got a good response from the last email sent out. If you haven’t written to me yet, go ahead and write. I usually reply within a day or so.

March 20, 2008

Students received an email today with a link to YouTube videos which show how to use the past tense. If you have any suggestions for how I can improve those videos, please email me. I like to get ideas from my students in order to make the website better.

March 18, 2008

A new email will be going out within the next couple of days. I haven’t decided what the topic will be yet, but I’m open to ideas if you have any.

What’s a "recession?" This word has been used a lot lately to describe the economy in the United States. When business activity slows down, stops, or contracts (gets smaller), economists describe this situation as a "recession." Many Americans are very worried that the economy is in trouble. Who’s to blame? Well, it’s not hard to conclude that George Bush, the Republican Party, and our nation’s business leaders have really "dropped the ball." And the recession is just the latest mess. The Iraq War, high gas prices, ignoring the victims of Hurricane Katrina, ignoring global warming, harming immigrants, and creating a climate of fear and suspicion nationwide is their legacy. History will be a harsh judge.

drop the ball = make a big mistake

March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  In the United States, this is an unofficial holiday which pays tribute to the Irish people and their culture.

March 16, 2008

The Iraq War is just about five years old. No weapons of mass destruction were found. Remember, that was the reason that George Bush gave for invading Iraq. Now the Iraqi people live day to day in misery and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been killed. Yeah, Hussein was a cruel dictator, but is this really a better situation for the people? What a mess!

If you are interested in helping the Iraqi people–especially the women and children who have been affected by the war–click here.

Dogsledding is a sport in northern Minnesota.  The dogs who do this kind of work thrive in cold weather. Here’s a picture of a musher and his team below:

dogsled team

A musher is a person who drives a team of dogs. The dogs pull a sled through the snow.

March 14, 2008

I added a few new videos to my YouTube channel. They show the difference between regular and irregular verbs in the simple and past tense forms. Go here if you want to take a look:

March 13, 2008

Here are some instructions for using my website:


March 12, 2008

What do you do to take care of yourself? Do you exercise? Do you try to eat right? Do you avoid eating and doing things that are bad for you? If you are reading this blog, you may write to me and tell me what you do to stay healthy.

take care of (oneself) = He takes care of himself. She takes care of herself. We take care of ourselves. Notice the reflexive pronoun matches the subject.

Some of my students are working on their U.S. citizenship. Good luck to you! Here are the 100 questions and answers that you have to know for the test. 😉

March 10, 2008

This week my regular classroom students will learn about health care and study vocabulary related to this topic.

March 8, 2008

For people in the United States, remember to set your clock an hour ahead tonight for Daylight Savings Time. Not all countries do this, but we do here because it adds more daylight to the evening hours and people don’t have to use as much electricity for lighting their homes in the evening.

March 6, 2008

Many of my students tell me that they have trouble expressing themselves in English. Self-expression takes time to develop even in your first language. One thing that will help you is if you keep a journal.  A journal is a place for you to write about what you do every day. You write about waking up, making breakfast, going to work or to school, activities outside of work and school–such as shopping, coming home, making dinner, and going to bed. It might sound like an unexciting thing to write about, but if you do it every day for a month, I guarantee you will see improvement in your ability to write and your ability to speak in English.

March 5, 2008

What kind of food do you like? I love Indian food! Here’s a picture of some food I made recently at home:

Up at the top are samosas. Samosas are fried bread filled with potatoes. On the right, the yellow stuff, is a potato dish. The one in the middle is cauliflower and tofu. The one on the left is a chutney which is made with yogurt and cilantro, among other things. I’m not very good at making some things, but I’m getting better.

March 4, 2008

Thanks to everyone for the email responses to yesterday’s email. I am slowly making my way through all them, but I should be able to respond to everyone individually. It has been a very interesting experiment!

March 3, 2008

Tomorrow we’ll find out how much strength Barack Obama has as a candidate for the U.S. presidency, or whether Hillary Clinton can prove that she has the ability to wage a comeback. The results will be very interesting. Primaries are in Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. Right now Hillary Clinton is behind Barack Obama in the delegate count but not by very much.

comeback = when you are behind someone in a competition and then regain a good position. "Comeback" can be used an adjective, a noun, or as a verb. Bill Clinton called himself "The Comeback Kid" during the 1992 election when he caught up to the other Democratic candidates, passed them, and then went on to be the nominee for the Democratic party.

March 1, 2008

Today is the first day of what will be a very busy month for me, and perhaps for you if you visit the website often. I’ll send out at least two emails this month and include some writing assignments for those who are interested in improving their writing skills.

click here to go back to February 2008

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