Lunar New Year Phrases

If you’re seeing red after Valentine’s Day, it’s probably because of Lunar New Year. Red is often associated with the holiday because it symbolizes good fortune and joy. Lunar New Year is one of the most important holidays of the year for Asian communities. Since it follows the cycle of the moon, the date is different each year. This year’s Lunar New Year falls on … Continue reading Lunar New Year Phrases

Dispelling Five Common Myths About Teaching ESL/ELL to Write

1) Myth: The ultimate goal for ESL/ELL learners is to speak/write like native-language speakers. When teachers think the ultimate goals for ESL/ELL learners is to speak and write like native-language speakers, they usually focus on the surface structure of the language–making sure students “sound” like a native rather than actually understanding what is being said. It’s one thing imitate the speaking and writing of native-language … Continue reading Dispelling Five Common Myths About Teaching ESL/ELL to Write

English Idioms Explained

An idiom is an expression with a figurative meaning that is different from the literal meaning. Idioms are heard every day–in conversation, in literature and in media. Idioms are frequently used because it’s a short way to express more complicated ideas. They also help add color to your writing by introducing topics in a different way. If you do decide to use idioms; use them … Continue reading English Idioms Explained

Outside the Classroom Tips for Learning English

  Learning a new language is difficult, but that doesn’t mean it should be boring. Here are some helpful tips to make learning English more fun: 1. Find a Conversation Partner  I spent four years of high school learning Spanish. I can also probably tell you exactly how many minutes I spoke Spanish because it was limited to the five minutes of conversation for participation … Continue reading Outside the Classroom Tips for Learning English

Rejecting Thesaurus Temptations and Finding Comfort in Simplicity

On an episode of F.R.I.E.N.D.S, a classic American television sitcom, Joey struggles with writing a recommendation letter to an adoption agency for his friends Monica and Chandler. To make himself sound smarter, Joey decides to use the thesaurus on every single word. Sentences like “they’re warm, nice people with big hearts” become “they’re humid pre-possessing homosapiens with full sized aortic pumps.” Joey’s kind and sincere … Continue reading Rejecting Thesaurus Temptations and Finding Comfort in Simplicity

From Trilingual to Monolingual: Losing My Chinese Dialects and Learning English

As the newest ESL/ELL Peer Counselor, I thought it would be fitting to talk about my experience with the English language. English is not my first language. It’s also not my second language. I grew up listening and speaking an amalgamation of three different Chinese dialects: Mandarin, Cantonese, and Fujianese. Most children played with dolls and teddy bears; I spent the first four-and-a-half years of … Continue reading From Trilingual to Monolingual: Losing My Chinese Dialects and Learning English

Thinking in Math: How Certain Languages Make Learning Math Easier

“一二 , 一二 (one two, one two),” I counted as my tiny toddler feet ascended the stairs. The first two Chinese numbers were—according to my mom—my first words. Growing up, my peers at school would always joke about the stereotype that Asians (specifically, Chinese Asians) were good at math. Although it does not always hold true that Chinese students can solve linear differential equations faster … Continue reading Thinking in Math: How Certain Languages Make Learning Math Easier

Introduction to Introductions

Writing the introduction paragraph is always my favorite part of any essay. A good introduction sets the tone and structure of the entire paper. Writing a strong, solid introduction sets your paper up for success. Different styles of papers (i.e., analysis, narrative, research) call for different kinds of introductions. In general, the “funnel” introduction is the most common for papers involving literary analysis. As the … Continue reading Introduction to Introductions

How to Begin an Essay

Topic sentence is one sentence that states what will be proved in your paragraph. It includes the title of the piece of literature and its author. General statement, major statements, major reasons are referring to a one-sentence subtopic of the topic sentence. For example, if your topic sentence states that University of California, Los Angeles is a great university to attend for your future, your … Continue reading How to Begin an Essay

Cultural Understanding and Language

Cultural norms are important to look at or considering when working with ELL students. It is a great way to understand a person’s language development and their understanding. I of course grew up in a Spanish speaking household. I only spoke English when I went to school or when having to interact with others aside of my family. I often times thought I was the … Continue reading Cultural Understanding and Language

Some Helpful College Essay Writing Rules in the U.S. to Follow

Write an outline, mind map, or rough draft of what you want to write. This will help you develop your idea in a more coherent way, rather than a random stream of your thoughts. Double space if you type. Write on every other line if your paper is handwritten. Leaving space between the lines allows room for comments. Book titles are underlined or italicized; the … Continue reading Some Helpful College Essay Writing Rules in the U.S. to Follow

Valid and Deductive Argument on Monika Bartyzel’s “Girls on Film: The Real Problem with the Disney Princess Brand”

The article, Girls on Film: The Real Problem with the Disney Princess Brand by Monika Bartyzel highlights the fact that Disney princess-movie marketing strategies set many unrealistic expectations and are a harmful influence to a great majority of young people, especially to young girls. For instance, a negative influence suggested by Bartyzel is the racial stereotypes which most Disney movies have, including their princess brand. … Continue reading Valid and Deductive Argument on Monika Bartyzel’s “Girls on Film: The Real Problem with the Disney Princess Brand”

ICE Raids

The political climate in the United States has been a bit strange and hostile. Since Trump has taken over as president, his xenophobic speeches and promises have slowly become a reality (or are in the process of becoming a reality). His plight against the undocumented community, specifically Latino undocumented immigrants has risen since his inauguration. It is easy to look at your local news or … Continue reading ICE Raids

Abbreviations and Milk Tea: Differences in Chinese and English

Pearl milk tea, or 珍珠奶茶 (zhen’zhu nai cha), is the staple, most iconic dessert drink of the Bay and Taiwan. Often abbreviated in English to PMT, the delicious concoction is never referred to as ZZNC in Chinese. Rather, its name is shortened from four characters to two: 珍奶 (zhen nai). So what are the differences in abbreviating English words versus Chinese words? In English, phrases … Continue reading Abbreviations and Milk Tea: Differences in Chinese and English

International Reads: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Homegoing was one of the most fascinating books I have read. Exceptionally sad but beautifully detailed, I was immediately hooked. The story follows two sisters that will never meet and do not know of each other’s’ existence in 18th century Ghana. We see their family tree unravel as one sister becomes the mistress of a British man and the second sister is sold off into … Continue reading International Reads: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

Long Term English Language Learners

Long term English Language Learners are students that are often times in grades 6-12. These are students that have attended U.S. schools for seven years or more.These are students that often times do not get the necessary resources or attention needed to improve their English in comparison to students that are in elementary school. These students may also have a grasp of English orally and … Continue reading Long Term English Language Learners

Grammar: Contractions

Contractions could be complicated for students to understand, especially when they sound the same. A contraction is when you make two words shorter by placing an apostrophe between them. Contractions seem to be a popular grammar mistakes that people like to refer or talk about on social media. People often write posts about knowing the difference between “their, they’re, and there.” It’s understandable why people … Continue reading Grammar: Contractions

Identifying with ESL or ELL: Knowing the Difference

Telling the difference between ESL and ELL could be difficult for some people. ESL was most commonly used in the past (especially when I was growing up), and ELL has become the term to use in recent times. ESL is the acronym for English as a Second Language. This was what I commonly knew as I was placed in ESL classes during my first three … Continue reading Identifying with ESL or ELL: Knowing the Difference

Books on Immigrant Experiences

Drown by Junot Diaz Junot Diaz’s debut short story collection follows snippets of the main character, Yunior. Set in the Dominican Republic and New Jersey, these stories show the coming of age of a young Dominican immigrant. Snippets of his family life that have formed who he becomes, shows the complexities of being human. After reading Drown, make sure to follow up with The Brief … Continue reading Books on Immigrant Experiences