Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from Senior ESL!

Mrs. Song, Mr. Lin, Mrs. Kim, & Mrs. Tai

Mr Lin's Jack o' Lantern

ESL Holiday Lessons: Halloween
Halloween is celebrated on October the 31st every year. It originated from a pagan holiday and the Christian holiday of All Saints’ Day.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rooftop Gardening is a Growing Trend in New York City

VOAVideo: Rooftop Gardening is a Growing Trend in New York City

New York is a city notoriously short on space, but also one whose residents are big on innovation. In the Big Apple, the latest trend is rooftop farming. Individuals and restaurants are beginning to grow some of their own food in the only space available to them - their roofs. While the practice is currently an environmental rather than a financial trend, some companies hope it can become a money-making business model, providing a cheaper alternative to store-bought produce, especially in low-income neighborhoods where fresh vegetables are expensive and scarce. Paige Kollock reports. (Read the Full Story)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Obama Declares H1N1 National Emergency

Breaking News English: Obama Declares H1N1 National Emergency

President Obama has declared H1N1 influenza a national emergency in the USA. He has given doctors and medical facilities more resources to deal with the pandemic.

PRINT: 13-Page Class Handout
LISTEN: MP3 (2:01 - 948KB)
PLAY: Online Quiz

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

American Workforce Getting Older, Working Longer

VOAVideo: American Workforce Getting Older, Working Longer

The American workforce is getting grayer. And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of workers between 65 and 74 years old will grow by more than 80 percent between 2006 and 2016. As Steve Mort reports from Florida, economic hard-times are causing members of the so-called 'baby-boomer' generation to postpone their retirement plans. (Read the full story)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Constituents of the 15th District of California Speak Out About The Need For Health Care Reform

Rep. Mike Honda: Constituents of the 15th District (San Jose/Milpitas) of California Speak Out About The Need For Health Care Reform

Although resilient and innovative, the 15th District (San Jose/Milpitas) has struggled through successive financial challenges in the past decade that have resulted in growing unemployment and rising numbers of the un- and under-insured. Over the past nine years, Rep. Honda has heard repeated pleas from the Constituents of the 15 th District to fix the system, protect their families financial health, and ensure access to high quality healthcare. This is just an excerpt of the many meetings he has had.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Police to charge Balloon Boy father

Breaking News English: Police to charge Balloon Boy father

Police in Colorado, USA, are to charge a man who started a massive emergency rescue operation for his son. It seems the search may have been nothing more than a publicity stunt...

PRINT: 13-Page Class Handout
LISTEN: MP3 (2:05 - 988KB)
PLAY: Online Quiz

Monday, October 19, 2009

50th Anniversary of VOA Special English

Happy Birthday, VOA Special English!

What is VOA Special English?

On October 19, 1959, the Voice of America broadcast the first Special English program. It was an experiment. The goal was to communicate by radio in clear and simple English with people whose native language was not English. Special English programs quickly became some of the most popular on VOA. They still are. Special English continues to communicate with people who are not fluent in English. Over the years, its role has expanded. It helps people learn American English while they learn about American life and stay informed about world news and developments in science. It provides listeners with information they cannot find elsewhere.

Three Elements Make Special English Unique

  • It has a core vocabulary of 1500 words. Most are simple words that describe objects, actions or emotions. Some words are more difficult. They are used for reporting world events and describing discoveries in medicine and science.
  • Special English writers use short, simple sentences that contain only one idea. They use active voice. They do not use idioms.
  • Special English broadcasters read at a slower pace, about two-thirds the speed of standard English. This helps people learning English hear each word clearly. It also helps people who are fluent English speakers understand complex subjects.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Inventive New Yorkers Develop Bamboo Bicycles

VOAVideo: Inventive New Yorkers Develop Bamboo Bicycles

In major U.S. cities, bicycling is increasingly seen as an environmentally-friendly way to get around. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has launched a campaign to promote bicycling by adding bike lanes and proposing a tax on cars that drive on city streets. In 2008, an estimated 185,000 New Yorkers bicycled to work, an increase of 35 percent over the previous year. Now one New York bike studio is teaching people how to make their own bikes. VOA's Paige Kollock reports.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Mr. Fu!

Mr. Fu and I share the same birthday--
Happy Birthday, Mr. Fu!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Pumpkin squashes competition in Calif. weigh-off

Pumpkin squashes competition in Calif. weigh-off

A giant pumpkin from Iowa is the prize of the patch after squashing the competition in a heavyweight championship on California's coast. The gigantic gourd tipped the scales at 1,658 pounds to win the 36th annual World Championship Pumpkin Weigh-Off in Half Moon Bay.

At $6 a pound, Des Moines grower Don Young will take home a $9,948 prize. He says he didn't expect to win and is very happy. Read more...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Happy Double Ten!

Double Ten Celebration in Santa Clara, CA.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

More Earthquakes After Samoa Tsunami

USPS American Samoa flag stamp
The flag is blue with a red-edged white triangle.
Inside the white triangle is an American bald eagle
clutching traditional Samoan symbols: a war club and a staff.
Snapshot art depicts palm trees and mountains.

News English Lessons: More Earthquakes After Samoa Tsunami (October 2, 2009)

New earthquakes are continuing to cause panic in Samoa and Tonga.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Food of the China's Emperors for Sale to the Public

VOAVideo: Food of the China's Emperors for Sale to the Public

Chinese culture centers around food, and imperial cuisine elevates Chinese food to a rarified art form. In the past, only the emperor and his family could eat imperial food. But now in communist China, anyone can eat imperial food -- that is, anyone who has enough money. Stephanie Ho reports from Beijing. Read more...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Life expectancy in Taiwan increases to 78.57 years

Taiwanese life expectancy at birth averaged 78.57 years last year, up 0.19 years from the 2007 average, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) announced. Over the past 13 years, life expectancy has increased 4.04 years . . . Last year, Taiwanese males and females lived 75.59 years and 81.94 years respectively. (Read more)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Spices of Life: Moon Cakes

The hostess of Spices of Life learned a wonderful version of moon cakes from a Chinese chef years ago in Taiwan and adapted the recipe. Her Five-Treasure Moon Cakes have a buttery-vanilla crust stuffed with a delicious apricot marmalade filling.

Friday, October 2, 2009

MoonCake (月饼)

More than six types of mooncakes are made for the festival which falls in the middle of the eighth lunar calendar month. This is when the Chinese moon is fullest and largest. The mooncakes can be sweet or salty - an oil and molasses-sweetened pastry filled with duck egg yolks (symbolising the full summer moon), red bean, lotus seed paste or a plain molasses and flour filling for children. Each different type is set in a patterned mould before baking.

Legend has it that in the time of the Yuan dynasty in China, an underground group led by Zhu Yuan Zang was determined to rid the country of Mongolian dominance. The moon cake was created to carry a secret message. When the cake was opened and the message read, an uprising was unleashed which successfully routed the Mongolians. It happened at the time of the autumn moon... so that is why moon cakes are eaten at that time even to this day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

China Celebrates 60th Anniversary of Modern State's Founding

On October 1, China celebrates the founding of the People's Republic with great fanfare. Over the past sixty years, the world's most populous country has transformed itself from a struggling poor civilization to an industrial and military power with few rivals.