Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Teacher Ideas: Planet Money Makes A T-Shirt

In December, I shared an interactive piece made by Planet Money on how t-shirts are made. This piece functions as a web-based app, with videos, text, and photos to tell a fascinating story about globalization and the garment industry. Neil created a lesson to go with the series, and he has shared it with us. He says:
In “How to Make a T-Shirt”, National Public Radio’s “Planet Money” host Alex Bloomberg takes us around the world to follow the manufacturing of  a simple t-shirt. From the cotton fields of the Mississippi Delta to the garment factories in Bangladesh, the story gives us insight into how the modern global economy works, and how it impacts the lives of people all along its path. This video lesson is appropriate for intermediate and high intermediate classes (4-6).
If you'd like to use this lesson, here are the materialsIf you plan to have the students work through the questions independently in a computer lab, direct them to the homepage of the app and let them navigate the content at their own pace. If you plan to show the videos on a classroom screen, the introduction video is above and the videos for the four chapters - Cotton, Machines, People, and Boxes - are embedded below.

Friday, May 23, 2014

World Cup Time!

Are you coming to cheer your students and colleagues along? You should! We have a final planning meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 4 at 1:00pm (C322), and we would love to see teachers there. Help us generate enthusiasm and spread the word!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Teacher Ideas: Off To The Met

Off To The Met, by Nursen Turan

I remember my first trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a Sunday afternoon in September 2003. I was a 24 year-old new ‘New Yorker’, a little overwhelmed but mostly amazed by the big city. It was an interesting day because it was my first visit to an art museum, ever. The only other museum I’d ever been to was a small museum of archeology in Turkey. And to be honest, as an eight year-old, I was too young to appreciate the artifacts I saw that day. Hence, ‘boring’ was the word that resonated from that visit.

My next museum experience, however, was to change that notion forever. I couldn’t believe my eyes as I was standing across from the works of Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet, and other giants. After that day, I kept going back until I had seen every exhibit. To this day the Met is one of my favorite places in the city. It is therapeutic when alone on a quiet weekday, hectic but exciting on a Friday, always a great venue to meet with friends.

When I went back there on a field trip last Friday with a group of my level 3 students, the memories of that first trip rushed back in. I saw my old excitement and fascination in my students’ eyes. Most of them had never been to the Met before. And The Met didn’t disappoint. Their jaws dropped to see Egyptian fabrics from around 2000 B.C. “Is this painting real?” one asked pointing to a Van Gogh self-portrait. They especially got excited to see Toulouse Lautrec because we had talked about one of his paintings, At the Moulin Rouge, while studying language of description. It was a lesson where they described to one another their favorite painting so that he/she could draw it without looking at the picture. They took pictures of the paintings, took ‘selfies’ with numerous pharaohs, admired the beautiful period rooms and the sculpture garden.

We walked until we couldn’t walk anymore. And then we walked a little more. By the time it was 6pm, we had seen the exhibits of Egyptian Art, 19th and 20th Century European Paintings, The American Wing, and European Sculpture. It was time to end the day. We decided to do that with early dinner at a Colombian restaurant in Jackson Heights, Queens. It was the first Colombian food for those from China and Thailand. And needless to say they loved it. We talked about spicy food, salsa, tongue twisters in different languages, and many other things. We learned more about each other. I saw Jessie’s wedding pictures and learned about Marlon’s goal to be a pilot. And they learned that I’d learned English as a foreign language. It was a nice ending to a fun and informative day.

While saying goodbye, there was already talk of where to visit next and what kind of restaurant to try afterwards. By the time I went home at 8pm, I was exhausted but glad to have had a virtual time machine experience. I saw my younger self in my students. I hope they remember this day as one of the good days they had in this city. I certainly will.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Teacher Ideas: Steve Jobs Commencement Address

A few teachers have been using this speech in their classes for a while, and Kevin was kind enough to share his lesson plan with us. Kevin says:
This lesson based on Steve Jobs' commencement speech at Stanford University blends reading and listening skills and invites expansion in writing and speaking. It is for high-intermediate to advanced classes (4 and up, but can be adapted for use in 3 as well). Jobs offers his own life story as an example of risk-taking and the rewards of independent thinking. Students seeking challenges in New York respond with near-universal enthusiasm to his message: "Don't settle. Stay hungry. Stay foolish."

If you'd like to use this lesson, here are the materials. Kevin has prepared warmup, vocabulary, and note taking exercises.

Monday, May 12, 2014

This Friday: Writing Meeting, Round 2

We had a great conversation at our writing meeting in April, and we are doing it again this Friday. Please come and share your ideas.

Important question...  WILL THERE BE BABKA?

Saturday, May 10, 2014

College Workshop For Saturday Students

Share this information with your students! 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Print Shop Closure

We just received word that LaGuardia's print shop will be closed for over a week this month, right as we are gearing up for the end of our term. Plan ahead if you can and send your big jobs over as soon as possible!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Spirit Day This Friday!

Group selfie in the cafeteria at 10:30!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Where We're From: Spring 2014

This semester, students at The English Language Center are from 78 different countries. Share these charts with your students!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Support For The Sewol Ferry Victims

A group of students created a banner for us to write notes on - and we will be sending it to the high school in South Korea where the majority of the ferry passengers were students. The board will be in the cafeteria or TELC lobby until Wednesday.

World Cup Sign Up!

Please remind your students about this meeting on Wednesday. We hope to sign up the players and start making teams this week, so it's important that people come to the meeting. See Wayne, Liz or me for details. (Teachers can play, too!)

Friday, May 2, 2014

Workshop Next Saturday

It was a great success this winter, so Kata is running this workshop for Saturday students again this term. Please share this information in your classes today, and encourage students to attend next week. 

Students must sign up in C354 in advance. Space will be limited!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Language Clinic

Spread the word to our students! Someone from the office (Liz, Evelyn, or me) will stop by during first period today to let students know about the clinic. Please let us have just a moment of class time. Thanks!