Wednesday, September 30, 2009

60 Years After PRC's Founding, Chinese Consumers Have a New Wish List

VOAVideo: Chinese Consumers Have a New Wish List

VOANews: 60 Years After PRC's Founding, Chinese Consumers Have a New Wish List By Alison Klayman Beijing, 28 September 2009

When the Communists took over China in 1949, some of the most highly sought luxuries were a sewing machine, a wristwatch and a bicycle. Now, 60 years later, urban Chinese people have a very different wish list.

ESL Discussions: China

  • What do you think of products with the “Made in China” label?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Executives Say China's Economic Rise Bodes Well for Hong Kong

VOANews: Executives Say China's Economic Rise Bodes Well for Hong Kong By Heda Bayron Hong Kong, 28 September 2009

Hong Kong has been the gateway to China for decades. In recent years, China's rapid economic growth has benefited the territory, and during the global financial crisis, Chinese funds have helped the territory ride out the storm.

ESL Discussions: Hong Kong

  • How different is Hong Kong from the rest of China?

Monday, September 28, 2009

ESL Podcast 247 – Asking for Recommendations

ESL Podcast 247 – Asking for Recommendations
I'll be in town for four days, and I'd like to see the sights. Download Podcast

ESL Discussions: Tourism
  • What are the major tourist attractions in your country?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Burmese Recall Their Saffron Revolution

VOAVideo: Burmese Recall Their Saffron Revolution

At the end of September two years ago, Burma's military government ordered troops to crush pro-democracy demonstrations led by Buddhist monks. As the second anniversary of the demonstrations approaches, security forces in Burma's largest city, Rangoon, are on high alert to prevent a repeat of the Saffron Revolution, named after the robes worn by the monks who led the movement. But as we learn in the following report, some of which contains video smuggled to VOA from inside Burma, the country's pro-democracy forces want to ensure that the Burmese people, and their government, remember what happened two years ago. Kaye Lin of VOA's Burmese Service narrates the story.

ESL Discussions: Buddhism

  • Do you thinks Buddhists are less violent than followers of other religions?

See also VOAVideo: Thousands of Burmese Refugees Remain in China
Although many of the thousands of refugees who recently fled into China from Burma have gone home, many have stayed, waiting to see when it will be safe enough to return to their communities. Stephanie Ho visited the Chinese border town of Nansan, where she found some of the many thousands of refugees still seeking shelter.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sân Khấu Việt Cali: “Dream and Life”

Based on true stories of once successful immigrants suddenly facing financial insecurity, divorce and suicide in the current economic crisis, SKVC performers stage the bilingual Vietnamese-English drama “Dream and Life” on Saturday, September 26, at 2:30 pm. Playwright /Artistic Director Van Pham Mai and Consultant Director Dr. Victoria Rue want the play “to provide hope and help in the midst of cultural and economic upheaval.” Since the drama is reality-based, each actor contributes to the script by writing their own scenes.

Dream and Life is presented as part of ARTiculate! Expressions of Global Arts and Cultures at Evergreen Valley College, September 21-26. Check their Events Schedule for further details. Teacher Jennifer's note: as an EVC aluumni, I am proud to support this festival.

Evergreen Valley College Arts Theater
3095 Yerba Buena Road,San Jose, CA 95135
Driving Direction:
Saturday, September 26, at 2:30 pm.
Tickets: $10/Student & Senior
$15 General Admission

Friday, September 25, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Sept 21-25, 2009

1. “Tell-all” memoir
2. “That’s like the blind leading the blind!”
3. “You stink!” / reek
4. A bundle / drop a bundle / bundle of joy
5. Adjusted
6. Alleys
7. As far as I know
8. Autumn Equinox
9. Back roads
10. Bacteria
11. Believe me. / Trust me.
12. Change of pace
13. City limits
14. Conditioner / Lotion / Moisturizer
15. Down-and-out / destitute
16. Eid-ul Fitr
17. Every nook and cranny.
18. Financial district (ex. Wall Street)
19. Flakey skin
20. From head to toe
21. Get off the beaten path
22. Getaway <> Staycation
23. Going in circles
24. Hazy
25. Historic district
26. Housing projects
27. I didn’t want to take any chances.
28. Incest / Incestuous relationship
29. Kick myself
30. Kitty-corner
31. Know my way around
32. Know something like the back of my hand
33. Lay of the land
34. Like the back of my hand
35. Lost my bearings
36. Outskirts
37. Play it safe / Safe and sound
38. Potluck
39. Ramadan
40. Residential neighborhoods
41. Rinse / Rinsed off the soap
42. Run out of
43. Run the water
44. Run up a bill
45. Shopping spree / Shopathon
46. Shower curtain / Showerhead / Stopper
47. Take a break cover a lot of ground
48. Take in the sights
49. Tenant
50. The wrong side of the tracks
51. Toweled off
52. Trade Zone
53. Uptown
54. Wander
55. Wipe out

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ESL Podcast 398 – Parts of a City

ESL Podcast 398 – Parts of a City

Are you new here? Learn how to describe different parts of the city in English in this episode.

ESL Discussions: Cities
  • Do you prefer city or country life?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Taking a shower may be bad for you

Breaking News English: Taking a shower may be bad for you

New research from the University of Colorado has found there can be a build-up of harmful bacteria in showerheads.

Monday, September 21, 2009

ESL Podcast 510 – Taking a Shower or Bath

ESL Podcast 510 – Taking a Shower or Bath

I spent the day helping my friend, Babbit, on his farm. When I got home, my wife said, “You stink!” I headed straight for the shower.

Learn how to talk about taking a shower and a bath in English in this episode. Download Podcast

ESL Discussions: Baths and Bathing
  • Do you prefer baths or showers?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Muslims End Ramadan With Eid al-Fitr Holiday

VOANews: Muslims End Ramadan With Eid al-Fitr Holiday

Muslims around the world are celebrating the first day of Eid al-Fitr, a festival marking the end of a month-long fast.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ramadan Iftar Celebrated at Jewish Synagogue in Washington

VOAVideo: Ramadan Iftar Celebrated at Jewish Synagogue in Washington

Iftar is the evening meal where Muslims break their daily fast during the holy month of Ramadan. It is also an occasion increasingly used by interfaith activists to help cross religious barriers. Recently an unprecedented Iftar was held at a Jewish synagogue in Washington DC. It brought together followers of different faiths in support of a service initiative announced by President Obama in his Cairo speech last June. Mohamed Elshinnawi has more

Friday, September 18, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Sept 14 – Sept 18, 2009

1. appalling
2. Booo!
3. burst into tears
4. come across something
5. Constitution day
6. criollos / mestiizos / indios
7. dive
8. El Grito
9. fast
10. feel at home
11. Fill me in.
12. get over something/someone
13. gulp down something
14. hammer out / iron out differences (details)
15. hand over
16. humungous
17. in no time
18. jet lag
19. La Nuevo Espana
20. leave a trail <> follow the trail
21. Los Insurgentes
22. Mexican Independence Day
23. Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla
24. Napoleon Bonaparte
25. on the bright side
26. pin someone up against the wall
27. Pot luck
28. President Benito Juarez
29. put something behind someone
30. quill
31. Ramadan
32. safe and sound
33. settle down
34. strangled
35. stretch one’s legs
36. the Amendments
37. the Bill of Rights
38. the Preamble
39. the Seven Articles of the Constitution
40. VIVA!

40 winks

Mug / mugger
Pick pocket
Purse snatcher
Thief / theft

“Excuse me!”
Bad breath
Fly is open <>XYZ
Picks his nose
Receding hairline
Wrinkled clothes

He was bombed. (adjective; slang)

He bombed the village. (past tense verb ; active voice)

The village was bombed by him. (past tense verb ; passive voice)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Happy Constitution and Citizenship Day!

The NCC: Creating the Constitution via TeacherTube

More games from the National Constitution Center:

Seize the Vote!
Test your knowledge of voting rights and gain the right to participate in the ultimate act of citizenship for your characters!

Interactive Constitution
The U.S. Constitution, including detailed explanations of the text is just a click away.

Citizenship Timeline
This online experience highlights some of the key dates and events that mark more than 200 years of U.S. constitutional history.

Lincoln’s Crossroads
What would you have done in Abraham Lincoln’s shoes?

Bill of Rights Game
Help restore the Bill of Rights!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

El Grito de Milpitas

Viva Mexico!
Viva Milpitas!
Viva San Jose!
Viva Milpitas Adult School!

Happy Mexican Independence Day from Milpitas Adult School!

Happy Independence Day, Mexico!!

Happy Independence Day, Mexico!!
by armyveteran101st

This is a video I made also for my first YouTube account, at some point in the last couple of years, in honor of my other country, Mexico. I'm posting it here and now to celebrate the upcoming anniversary of Mexican independence from Spain, which was proclaimed on September 16th, 1810.

My father was from Mexico, and I spent a significant portion of my childhood and young adulthood there with him. I had the opportunity to travel extensively around the country, and to share in the richness of its culture and the warmth of its people.

The musical piece is called "Huapango de Moncayo", and it is one of the most beloved Mexican musical compositions next to the Mexican National Anthem. The images depict the many different views and places that the country offers, and also a little bit of its history.

Monday, September 14, 2009

After Obama's Speech, Health Care Reform Still Divides

VOAVideo: After Obama's Speech, Health Care Reform Still Divides

President Obama's speech on health care reform before Congress highlighted the tensions over his plan within the U.S. government and across the country. One Republican congressman even called Mr. Obama a liar during the president's speech. President Obama and Democrats favor a public insurance option they claim will keep private health insurance companies honest and competitive. Opponents of the Democrats' proposals fear a government-controlled health care system. And they question Mr. Obama's ability to pay for his version of reform, which he says will cost $900 billion. VOA's Elizabeth Lee has this report.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Health Costs Will Rise With or Without Reform

VOAVideo: Health Costs Will Rise With or Without Reform

President Obama says it's time for Congress to act to reduce the cost of health care and ensure that all Americans have access to good quality, affordable health care. But many critics say the president's plan is too costly and threatens an economy still reeling from the worst recession since the Second World War. As VOA's Mil Arcega reports, others say the cost of doing nothing would be worse.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama Presses Case for Health Care Reform

VOANews: Obama Presses Case for Health Care Reform

On IN THE NEWS: ''I will not waste time with those who have made the calculation that it's better politics to kill this plan than to improve it,'' he told Congress and the nation.

Friday, September 11, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Sept 8 – Sept 11, 2009


Labor Day
California Admissions Day
Mexican Independence Day
Constitution and Citizenship Day

1. “Booo!”
2. “Fill me in.”
3. “I’m not exaggerating!”
4. “If you misrepresent what’s in this plan, we will call you out.”
5. “The time for games has passed.”
6. act for the common good
7. airsickness bag
8. alcohol
9. appalling
10. B.O.
11. bickering
12. bombed
13. booze
14. brat / bratty
15. breaking point
16. burst into tears
17. call button
18. champagne
19. cocktails
20. come across something
21. compare / contrast
22. complimentary drinks
23. dive
24. drunkard
25. feel at home
26. get over something/someone
27. government takeover
28. gulp down something
29. Healthcare reform
30. humungous
31. in no time
32. in-flight magazine
33. jet lag
34. literally
35. meal service
36. nap / siesta
37. on the bright side
38. opponent
39. pin someone up against the wall
40. private insurance
41. put something behind someone
42. safe and sound
43. settle down
44. Single payer system
45. spoiled /spoiled brat
46. Springs to mind
47. Status quo
48. stretch one’s legs
49. The Public (Insurance) Option
50. turbulence
Small Talk

Run off at the mouth
Yak / yap


VOAVideo: Memorial and Museum for 9/11 Attacks

Visitors to New York will find construction underway on a memorial and museum at the former site of the World Trade Center's twin towers, destroyed in the September 11th attacks seven years ago. A different kind of work is under way for survivors of the 2001 attacks: remembering those who were lost while rebuilding their own lives. Carolyn Weaver talked with the Memorial and Museum's president, and visited with the mother of one of the dead.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

President Obama: Address to Congress on Health Insurance Reform

This post has two videos.

VOAVideo: Obama Addresses Nation on Health Care Debate
U.S. President Barack Obama went before Congress and the nation Wednesday night to urge action on his top domestic priority: health care reform. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports his nationally broadcast address followed a month a setbacks for the reform effort. President Obama: Address to Congress on Health Insurance Reform

The President delivers an address to a joint session of Congress, explaining just how he wants to bring peace of mind to Americans who have insurance, and affordable coverage to those who don't. September 9, 2009. (Public Domain)

New: VOA Special English Videos on YouTube!

NEW: VOA Special English news and information service is very popular with English learners and teachers worldwide. Reports are written in VOA Special English and are read one-third slower than regular English programs. VOA Special English now has videos on YouTube!

E-Books Hold Next Chapter for Book Industry
From: VOALearningEnglish

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

The book industry is trying to get a good read on its future.These days, instead of turning paper pages, many readers reach for handheld devices. These electronic readers not only store books to show on a screen, they can also read them out loud.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Students Get Encouragement from Obama

VOAVideo: Students Get Encouragement from Obama

When the White House revealed President Obama's plan to give a welcome-back speech to returning school children, along with lesson plans on how students could help the President, some Republicans were irate. They attacked the President for what they said was an attempt trying to indoctrinate children. But Tueday's speech at a high school near Washington, DC stayed clear of politics. VOA's Laurel Bowman has more.

Watch Obama's full speech: President Obama's Message for America's Students

ESL Podcast 362 – Getting In-Flight Service

A Year in the Life of an ESL Student does not have audio practice, so we will use listening exercises from ESLPod that are like the chapter in the book.

LISTEN: The first chapter is about Andre's terrible airplane flight, which is similar to the problems in ESL Podcast 362 – Getting In-Flight Service .

ESL Discussions: Flying
  • Do you think flying has got better or worse over the years?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

A Year in the Life of an ESL Student

Today, we will start using the book, A Year in the Life of an ESL Student by Edward Francis.

The book follows Andre, a student from Switzerland, as he spends a year completing his English studies at a private language school in North America: from his arrival at the airport, to getting around the city, to attending school, to hanging out with his classmates. The book features good dialogues, interesting idioms, and fun activities.

This book does not have audio practice, so we will use listening exercises from ESLPod that are like the chapter in the book. The first chapter is about Andre's terrible airplane flight, which is similar to the problems in ESL Podcast 362 – Getting In-Flight Service .

I hope you enjoy the new book!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day Celebrated Across the U.S.A.

VOAVideo: Labor Day Celebrated Across the U.S.A.

It is Labor Day weekend here in the United States -- a national holiday dating back more than 100 years. It is meant to honor the more than 155 million workers in the United States, and for most, it is a day of play. VOA's Paul Sisco tells us about it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Stocks Edge Lower Despite Better Economic Data

VOAVideo: Stocks Edge Lower Despite Better Economic Data

Upbeat reports on factory orders and jobs did little to ease worries about the world's largest economy. Despite a private sector report showing job losses eased last month and worker productivity is rising, investors remain troubled that stock prices may have risen too far - too fast. VOA's Mil Arcega has more.

Friday, September 4, 2009

ESL 5 Summary of Vocabulary and Idioms Aug 31 – Sept 4, 2009

Up and down

Double-dip recession
Easy credit / Credit squeeze
Nose dive / skyrocket
Recession / recovery
Roller coaster ride
Sales are flat / down / up.
Sales bounce up and down.
Volatile / volatility
1. “I’m just browsing.”
2. “I’m scouting out the place.”
3. “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
4. “We must live within our means.”
5. Abducting / abduction
6. Accessory to the crime
7. Awful lot
8. Back-to-school season
9. Beautiful
10. Brain-washed
11. C4C
12. Captive / capture <> Escape / release
13. CASAS eTest
14. Chase
15. Clunkers
16. Compound
17. Consumer confidence
20. Fuel-efficient
21. Gas-guzzling
22. GDP (Gross National Product)
23. Get
24. Google = 10100
25. Handcuffs
26. Hardware
27. Heart-warming story
28. Hide
29. Hitting the marketplace
30. Incentive
31. International Monetary Fund
32. Kidnap / kidnapping
33. Laid off / called back
34. Mixed emotions
35. Nice spike
36. Pay attention more
37. Prison / imprison / imprisonment
38. Put off buying
39. Raised Hopes
40. Rape / rapist
41. Rebate
42. Regret / Guilt
43. Reimburse
44. Sell body parts for transplants.
45. Software
46. Spings to mind
47. Stimulus
48. Get stuck
49. Terrible
50. To keep pace with
51. Unwind
52. Vindicated
53. Voucher
54. Witness protection program
55. Yahoo = Crazy (person)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Labor Day prep

ESL Holiday Labor Day

Labor Day is a national holiday in the United States. It is celebrated on the first Monday in September. This year, Labor Day is on September 7. Remember--no school!
ESL Discussions: Jobs

What kinds of jobs interest you most and least?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

California abduction: mystery deepens

Breaking News English: California abduction: mystery deepens

Phillip Garrido and his wife Nancy have denied kidnapping Jaycee Lee Dugard in 1991 and keeping her captive for 18 years.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Wildfires Rage in California

At least eight large wildfires are raging in California. The largest is in Los Angeles, where a massive blaze in the Angeles National Forest, north of the city, is threatening suburban communities. That fire has scorched more than 34,000 hectares and destroyed at least 21 homes. Mike O'Sullivan reports, more than 6,000 homes have been evacuated, several people have been injured and two firefighters have died.