Elizabeth Claire's E-News

March 2014 E-News from Elizabeth Claire

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Contents of this March E-NEWS

Tips for Coping with Our Own and Our Students' Stress

A Favor for Gene Zerna, Speech Coach

Contents of Easy English NEWS for March 2014

New Jersey TESOL Teacher Award...Essay Contest

Tips for Coping with Our Own and Our Students' Stress

What are the challenges and difficulties that are stressing you?

Multiply those five-fold for immigrants who have left home to live in a new country.

We are all stressed; the environment is stressed. Wars, money troubles, unemployment, water shortages, pollution, violence, unsafe schools, fears, horrendous fare on TV and in movies and video games, addictions, addictive junk food, dieting, divorce, disasters, death of loved ones...we can make ourselves sick just from reading this (sadly partial) list.

Add: language barriers, culture shock, prejudice, dangerous living conditions, poverty to the levels of stress our immigrant students cope with.

Our bodies produce chemicals to cope with emergencies...fight or flight. And when we can't run from a challenge, and can't fight, those chemicals are toxic to our bodies. The adrenal glands squirt adrenaline; our heart races, our breathing quickens so our brain can get more oxygen. Our muscles tighten and blood pressure goes up. A few seconds later, the hypothalamus gets signals from the brain about the emergency and tells the adrenal glands to squirt cortisol into the bloodstream; We’ve gotten ready to act. It is how we protect ourselves from lions and, or if we can't run, ... fight for our lives.

And if we are in a situation that cannot be resolved or run from, and keep producing cortisol, we are left with too little cortisol. And that leaves us feeling constantly depleted and tired.

ESL teachers are on the front lines, facing students under stress. That stresses us in obvious ways and in unseen ways. We want to help our students cope, and their needs are endless; our time and energy is limited. It can seem that each individual in the class could use a whole committee to help them fend. We use our waking moments to prepare for our classes, and fret about students with problems. ESL teachers have been known to neglect their own families' needs.

We need to take care of ourselves. As the flight attendant says before take off, explaining the use of the oxygen masks "put your own mask on first, then assist those around you." We need to secure our personal and family needs before diving in to the sometimes seemingly bottomless sea of needs of our students.

Solutions for teachers: weight training, aerobic training, getting enough good sleep (in total darkness so melatonin can form) nutritional care (protein, vegetables, fruits, cutting sugar and junk food) hugging our loved ones or pets.

Help for our classroom: Exercise in the classroom before the lesson; do silly things like Stand Up Sit Down Stand Up Sit down to move oxygen around. Add some total physical response activities for the class or groups; send many students to the board to write answers.

It's easy to make a lesson difficult for language learners. Whoa...And it's also easy to bore the more advanced students. Strive to have a multi faceted lesson where each level of student can feel smart, and confident they have learned something. Lower anxiety by training the class not to laugh at others' mistakes. Engineer a bit of success each day for each student. Praise and praise again.

And take some praise yourself. Bask in your students' appreciation. And mine: I salute you in the ESL classroom, creating a better world through developing better communication and cooperation.

A Favor for Gene Zerna, Our Speech Coach

Do you have newcomers who have access to a webcam? Do you have a YouTube account? Do you have 5 minutes?

Gene Zerna, the speech coach who writes for Easy English NEWS is preparing his new website. He needs a favor that would take you just a few minutes. He wants short samples of several newcomers' speech...they just need to read a few sentences. He wants you to record it at his website.

Go to Gene's website:

See the sentence in the center of the page. It shows the way the voice goes up and down in a sentence in normal English intonation.

Click the Play Button, and listen to the sentence. Practice it once or twice, speaking along with it.. The person will have to use a webcam and upload it to a YouTube account.

If this is outside of your technological comfort zone, please skip the rest of this request.

Then press the "record on webcam" button. (You can record, playback, and rerecord if you wish).

Record your voice saying the sentence. Don't try to make it perfect. After repeating it a few times, record it just the normal way you would say it. Note: Turn down the playback volume when you are ready to record, so your own voice will be louder). Then click the Upload button. This will upload your sentence onto YouTube.

Send Gene ( the YouTube link (all you need to use this website is a webcam and a YouTube account). The try the other 3 lessons by clicking on them from the SCAN Lesson Plan button.

Gene will put the Best and Second Best into the top results pages and put his own video comment on what you did (see top results pages at the website NAVIGATOR button). If you have any questions, please direct them to Gene. (

Contents of Easy English NEWS for March 2014

Front page: Immigrants and Stress.

Shopping for Groceries, Part 6:
Reading Nutrition Facts

Events in March covered in Easy English NEWS:
    • Women's History Month
    • Read Across America
    • Mardi Gras
    • Ash Wednesday
    • Daylight Saving Time
    • St. Patrick's Day
    • Income Tax Time
Additional Tax articles: reading a W-2 form and Filling out a Form 1040 EZ.

Heroes and History: Sandra Day O'Conner, First Woman on the Supreme Court

Ask a Speech Coach: /sh/ and /zh/

Plus our regular features: This Is Your Page (readers' stories), Funny Stuff, Idioms, the Crossword Puzzle, Let's Talk About It, and Word Help.

PLUS PLUS: free at my website: 16 pages of self correcting tests for the current issue of Easy English NEWS. CLICK HERE.

If you didn't get your teacher's guide for March, its available at CLICK HERE

FREE 24-page generic "How To Use Easy English NEWS in Your ESL Classroom" with 9 reproducible graphic organizers. CLICK HERE.

Click here for a Spring 2014 order form for Easy English NEWS.

NJTESOL Teacher Award...Essay Contest

Are you a current member of New Jersey TESOL? Do you teach under difficult circumstances? I am sponsoring an award of $500 which can be used to purchase materials or services from any vendor. I sponsor this because I was once a teacher under difficult circumstances. Back in 1967, I faced 48 ESL students of all levels, of all educational backgrounds, with no text books and no guidance.

Here is the data from the NJTESOL/BE website:

Elizabeth Claire, publisher of Easy English News, is offering a $500 grant to an ESL teacher who teaches ELLs under difficult conditions. The money may be used to purchase materials or services from any source to improve their teaching situation. If you have any questions about the grant, please contact the Awards Committee at

The applicant(s) must be a New Jersey ESL teacher who is a paid member of NJTESOL/NJBE as of March 3, 2014.

All sections of the grant application must be received on or before March 3, 2014. Proposals sent after this date will not be reviewed.

The application consists of two sections. Each of the sections is considered carefully in selecting the award winner so please follow the directions explicitly. The forms are attached. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Part I: Grant Application Online Form with demographic information and a two-part narrative.

Part II: The Signature form which must be signed by the applicant and the applicant's supervisor or administrator, and then photographed or scanned as a .jpg or .pdf and attached to the applicant's cover letter e-mail.

Go to for the application.

Send the cover letter e-mail to:

Available at website

Books by Elizabeth Claire:

ESL Phonics for All Ages, Books 1 through 5 with CDs

ESL Teacher's Activities Kit

ESL Teacher's Holiday Activities Kit

Easy English Crossword Puzzles

Classroom Teacher's ESL Survival Kits # 1 and # 2

Kristina, 1904, the Greenhorn Girl

Easy English Crosswords

Just-A-Minute! Speaking Game

Help Your Buddy Learn English

The Constitution in Simple English: Click Here

Hurricane Safety in Simple English: Click Here

Other free materials: Click Here

Your Health by Dr. Majid Ali: A reproducible E-Book packet of 31 articles from past columns of Your Health by Dr. Ali, in Simple English $10. Click Here

Treasure Chest 1, a potpourri of reproducible games, songs, and useful stuff is also $10. Check them out: Click Here

Got a Kindle reader? Elizabeth Claire's books on Kindle are available at, which you can access through my website.

Don't have a kindle? No problem. Amazon will let you download a free Kindle Reader for your computer or other device.

Prices range from free to 99 cents to $4.99.

Click here to go to the Amazon Kindle Store at my website

Carry on your good work!

© Elizabeth Claire 2014.
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