September 2014 E-News from Elizabeth Claire
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Contents of this E-NEWS
Happy summertime. I hope you are enjoying, resting, getting refreshed. I'm at my summer headquarters escaping the heat in St. Martins, NB, the village of my Canadian ancestors. In between working on September's Easy English NEWS and beachcombing, I looked at the hundreds of questionnaires that teachers returned to me to help plan the next year. It's your newspaper, so your ideas make it better.
Thanks to all the teachers who sent back the feedback questionnaires! Here's a summary of how we're doing, what you'd like in future issues. First, thank you for all the wonderful compliments! That keeps me going! About 60% of the responses were to keep the paper just as it is and don't change a thing. Others had some good ideas which we will put into practice.
Things that teachers ask for that I can't or won't be doing:
- Teachers have asked for articles on immigration (Coming up in September!)
- Social issues
- Grammar (a few articles in Ask Elizabeth will be coming up this year)
- College application help. A bit coming up in September
- Some want to make sure I never leave out the Speech Coach.
- He'll be in most, but not all months.
- Teachers requested articles to help students understand the government. That will come up in the October issue featuring Mid-term elections. In later months I'll write articles on how laws are made and how they are enforced; levels of government; what to do if arrested; trial by jury; life in jail; becoming a police officer, duties and responsibilities of citizens, registering to vote.
- Teachers ask for more geography of the United States, immigrants' rights, the importance of paying taxes, and what taxes are used for. I'll get right on those!
- More world news (This is not our specialty
it's so hard to discern fact from fiction. I have no reporters in the field...and it can get pretty depressing, too) For those issues that seem like they won't be going away, I'll have background and maps...but more than that is out of my comfort zone.
- My focus is helping newcomers to the US adjust to this country, build vocabulary and discussion skills. Try News for You for more world and national news when students have been in the country several years and have no more need for Easy English NEWS.
- A teacher asked for Word Help with native-language definitions. Yipes,
That's way beyond our abilities, time and space. I hope students have their own bilingual dictionaries if the English definitions are too difficult. Preparing Word Help with short, concise definitions in simple English already takes the longest time each month.
- Quite a few teachers asked me to bring back Dr. Ali's articles on health. Many teachers say they miss these; others said his articles were too difficult. The compromise I've come up with is to make 31 of his past articles with Word Help in a reproducible E-Book available at my website for $10. Click here..
- Some teachers want more content for grades 5 to 8
hmmmm. Movie stars, sports, more human interest topics, etc. Easy English NEWS is more geared to the academic and survival needs of high school and adults who have to manage their affairs in the U.S., and succeed in their mainstream school subjects. I will put in a sports article and movie review from time to time.
- There was more than one request for an article on gun control. This subject is too big an issue to handle well in Easy English NEWS. It would take several pages to get the various backgrounds and arguments on both sides in. So rather than that, at my website, there are two articles, one pro-gun control, one anti-gun control, written by experts on each side. I've converted them to simple English at my website. They are reproducible. And free. So help yourself. Click here...
- Some teachers asked for an editorial page with a strong opinion for students to ponder. I will consider that, but not on politics
on that topic, I bend over backward to not have the paper express any opinions so students can gather facts and keep or develop their own opinions. I'm happy to express a strong opinion on foods, tobacco companies, recycling, drugs, solving problems, human nature, paying taxes, serving others, success in the U.S. etc.
- A few teachers would like the answer to the crossword puzzle in the teacher's guide only, or in the next month's paper. I understand the desire to have students do their own best work before checking the answer...but...sorry
some people subscribe to every second month
and we send out samples of an issue of the paper without the teacher's guide. This would create a problem for those readers. If your students are looking at the answers
relax...that's the way most people eventually learn to do a puzzle. Don't make a test out of the crossword puzzle; it's there for fun! Encourage students to do their best before looking up answers. Show them how the words DOWN help with the words ACROSS. Have them see how many answers they can get before looking at the answers. Have them work in groups and ask each other questions such as: What's a nine-letter word for a holiday in October? It begins with H.
- Some teachers have asked for political cartoons to analyze. I'll check to see if there are sources. Sounds like a good activity. Again, I don't like Easy English NEWS to appear to take any sides in political debates.
- Other requests were for human interest for service workers; games to enhance vocabulary building; American customs; new technology; fracking; brain research; sports celebrity news; and true stories about successful people especially immigrants; and more positive subjects, not depressing ones.
Thank you! If you haven't been heard, you can email your suggestions for improvement to me at ESL@elizabethclaire.com
Contents of Easy English NEWS for September 2014
Front page: Children at the Border The problems of refugees from Central America crossing the border, hoping for asylum in the U.S.
Life in the U.S.A. What Comes After High School? Opportunities and choices for high schoolers and their parents
Events in September covered in Easy English NEWS:
America the Beautiful: None this month: I made room for additional material for What Comes After High School
- Labor Day
- Grandparents Day
- Patriot Day
- Hispanic-Heritage Month
- Constitution Day
- Rosh Hashana
Heroes and History: Writing the Constitution of the United States: The Founding Fathers, purposes, issues, procedures, compromises.
Ask Elizabeth about Grammar: Active and Passive Sentences
What Is Ebola?
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.
If you didn't get your Teacher's Guide for September, its available at my website.
FREE 24-page generic "How To Use Easy English NEWS in Your ESL Classroom" with 9 reproducible graphic organizers.
Order form for Easy English NEWS. There is no change in prices for the coming year. The prices will be valid until June, 2015.
Available at ElizabethClaire.com website:
- Your Health by Dr. Majid Ali An E-Book of 31 reproducible easy English articles with word help from past columns of Your Health by Dr. Ali, $10.
- Treasure Chest 1, a potpourri of reproducible games, songs, and useful stuff is also $10. Check them out.
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Carry on your good work!
© Elizabeth Claire 2014.