Monday, October 31, 2011

Online Vocabulary Practice

These activities are good for 120's-130's levels, but some may be easier or harder.

English-Arabic Vocabulary Quizzes

Vocabulary-EasyVocabulary-Medium Vocabulary-Difficult

Please ignore the format/color issues.  Copying and pasting from other websites always causes formatting differences.


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

GRE Organizational Tool

This is a tool I have developed to help organize the info you need to understand and answer the Argument Task on the GRE.  Here is the official website explanation of the task.

Remember that you have 30 minutes to read, organize, write, and make corrections, so spend only 5-7 minutes filling in the boxes.  

(Click to enlarge.)

Your final answer should be at least 350 words!

What’s missing?

Alternative explanations:

Download a word doc of this form here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Use your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad to Practice for IELTS

What are you doing at the bus stop while you're waiting for your bus?  Get to the doctor's office on time but you still need to wait?  A perfect time to practice for IELTS.

Here are some apps:

IELTS Master Vocab Guide (English) powered by Cambridge University Press

By DW Education Group Limited

IELTS Master Vocab Guide (English) powered by Cambridge University Press
View In iTunes
  • $0.99
  • Category: Education
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2011
  • Current Version: 4.0

IELTS 7 Trainer

IELTS 7 Trainer

By Cambridge University Press - English Language Teaching

View More By This Developer

And an e-book you can read on any nook, computer or tablet.  I have this on my nook and will show it to you in class.

IELTS A Very Brief OverviewLeann Richards
(No Customer Ratings)

GRE Apps for iPhone, iPad & Android


·        View In iTunes
·        This app is designed for both
iPhone and iPad
·        $9.99
·        Category: Education
·        Released: Jun 30, 2011
·        Version: 1.0
·        1.0
·        Size: 1.2 MB
·        Language: English
·        Seller: gWhiz, LLC
·        © Copyright 2011 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.

GRE Practice For Dummies
By gWhiz, LLC

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad
Category: Education
Updated: Jul 29, 2011
Current Version: 2.1
2.1 (iOS 4.0 Tested)
Size: 2.0 MB

And since you asked ..... my opinion:

Betsy’s Overview
Advantages of these APPS
Disadvantages of these APPS
·        Inexpensive
·        Students can work on them anywhere.
·        Students can keep track of their progress, go back to unfamiliar vocabulary, and easily see their improvement.
·        These are still vocabulary based, addressing only one section of the test.
·        None of the new tasks or sections are here yet.
·        None of the publishers ask students to come up with two synonyms that both

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Why I’m Not Buying Colored Pencils Tonight

School starts tomorrow.

School starts tomorrow at the public schools here in Texas, and I am not buying Office Depot pocket folders or Staples' eraser packs for a penny apiece today. I'm not even driving from one Target to another so I can pay a nickel per spiral and buy 30 or 40 in a day. (Yes, I do that.)

School starts tomorrow and I didn't spend my weekend setting up a classroom or an office.

For the first time since 1988, school starts tomorrow and I won't be there.

Instead, I have an afternoon appointment at the Texas Workforce Commission's orientation for the unemployed.

Irony of Ironies.

I am not alone though. According to the Texas Tribune,
The Associated Press reported that up to 100,000 of the state's 330,000 teachers might lose their positions. Officials at the Texas State Teachers Association estimate that about 12,000 teachers have lost their jobs so far, and they warn more teachers could be laid off in the second year of budget cuts.

Back in 1988, I accepted a Title VII fellowship from the federal government that paid for my teacher certification program in exchange for an agreement that I would teach ESL or bilingual education in a "high needs area" for three years. The government got its money's worth from me as I extended those three years into 21 years and never left. Until now.

Some years I spent more of my time tutoring small groups, testing, mentoring new teachers, evaluating high school transcripts from 45 countries, acting as a counselor and administering a newcomer program, but mostly I've been in the classroom. Since arriving in Texas in 1998, I've become something of a specialist in teaching SIFE: Students with Interrupted Formal Education, kids with a five year (or more) gap in their education. That is to say, I have become very good at working with war refugees and students so poor that their families couldn't pay for their textbooks or uniforms beyond third grade. I've developed curriculum to help make up for four or five years of middle grades math in a year or two, while integrating English, life skills and US culture. In the past few years, I added English-keyboarding and computer skills to the mix.

But this year, the State of Texas decided that education is not important enough to fund, and my services are no longer required by my district.

What does this mean for the state and for the students?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Thursday Homework

1) Finish the powerpoint presentation, practice it, and mail it to Betsy and Randi.

2) Answer each of these questions in a complete sentence.

Vacation starts Friday afternoon.

  • What are your plans for the weekend?
        I will ….
        I plan to ….
        I’d like to ….
        I might ….

  • Where will you be next week? I’ll be in __
  • Where will you study next semester? I will study at __

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Tuesday Night Homework

1) Find some images (pictures) and youtube videos that represent your country well.  You may want to look on tourism sites, and search for them by typing the English name of the website.
2) Please practice the tools in google documents, and see if you understand how to make a google presentation. Read this.

If you have powerpoint on your computer, you may work with that instead.

3)  Please bring a laptop to class tomorrow if you have one and if it's convenient.  If not, we can work in pairs.  You may want to bring a thumb drive, or else you can email your finished presentation to me and Randi.

Our Sample Presentation

Monday, August 8, 2011

Google Presentations

Grammar Homework for Monday 8/8

Today's sentences and questions from class are here.

Tonight you are completing the first page of the workshop on negative sentences & questions in the past tense. Here's another website you may want to use for practice. There are other grammar exercises here.

More here:


Sunday, August 7, 2011

After the Trip -- Lots of Writing Monday

We took a field trip on Friday and have a lot to do to catch up with our grammar lessons first. But before that, let's talk and write about where we went, what we saw and did, what surprised us, what amazed us, and of course the maddening heat.

After we process through all that within ourselves and within our group, it's time to write a thank you note or two. The first one is required, and that's the one for Richard, our tour guide from Whole Foods

. Listen here for some ideas on how we might do that.

Let's learn the form and format for thank you notes in general, and narrow it down to what elements we want for our class thank-you note.

I will also be thanking Tali, who woke up very early for a vacationing teenager, Pushed my chair around in 100 degree heat, was helpful in every way I asked, and was a pleasant traveling companion for all of us. Perhaps, you can each write a sentence or two to tag onto a bigger thank-you-card from me.

As you know, I am Ms. Electronic Gadget for nearly all of my communication, but for this task I use pretty stationery and nice pens.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

One more video about the Indonesian Smoking Baby

Read the story here.

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words from the article are most interesting and which are most boring.
images / toddlers / smoking / addicted / nicotine / nasty habits / throwing tantrums / worrying trends / statistics / smokers / tobacco companies / sponsors / challenges
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. ADDICTIONS: Do you have any? Complete this table. Show your partner what you wrote. Change partners and share what you heard.
Addicted to…
Yes / A little / No
Wanna stop?
How to stop?
television / gaming
the Internet

Field Trip Info for Friday

The trip is FRIDAY!
PLEASE Come to school on time, bring money, and wear sunscreen and a hat or a cap. You may want to bring a water bottle.

1) 8:35, we will walk from school to the bus stop with Betsy and Tali. We will ride 338 Bus Southbound
8:54am - 8:58am (4 mins, 4 stops)
2) 9:00-9:25 Book People - a book store
We will look at books about Texas, movie books, movies, recipe books
You will complete the activity handout.

3) 9:30 Whole Foods - an expensive, healthy grocery store
We will meet Randi at 9:30 at the service desk in the produce section. This is near where we pay for vegetables, fruit, etc.
We will have a tour from 9:30-10 and then complete the handout until 10:30.

4)  At approximately 10:30 (maybe 10:45), we will go to Waterloo Records and look at movies and CD's.

Quiz Yourself

Quiz yourself here on verb tenses. When you're done, print the screen, or copy the results and email them to me.

A fun word find on the irregular past tense verbs.

Test yourself and a friend on the irregular past tense.

Another very useful website.

Past Tenses : past simple, continuous, present perfect etc.


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Irregular Verbs for Wednesday and Thursday

Activity 1:  What do they mean?

Activity 2: When do we use each in the past tense?

Activity 3: PAIRS  Testing each other for meaning, pronunciation, and spelling (flash cards)

Activity 4:   Classification:  THINK, PAIR, SHARE

  • What are five you know how to do? (answer in present)
  • What are five you did this week? (answer in past)
  • What are five an animal can do? (answer in present)
  • What are five you did as a child? (answer in past) 

Activity 5:  PAIRS  Testing each other by offering definitions first.

Activity 6: Negatives and Questions, pages 46-47.

Past Tense