Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!

The Moon Goddess

From Wikipedia:

The Mid-Autumn Festival, also known as the Moon Festival or Zhongqiu Festival, is a popular lunar harvest festival celebrated by Chinese and Vietnamese people. The festival is held on the 15th day of the eighth month in the Chinese calendar, which is in September or early October in the Gregorian calendar, close to the autumnal equinox. This year it is on September 30th.

The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of the most important holidays in the Chinese calendar, the others being Spring Festival and Winter Solstice. Accompanying the celebration, there are additional cultural or regional customs, such as eating mooncakes, matchmaking, lighting lanterns, and burning incense.

Celebration of the Mid-Autumn Festival is strongly associated with the legend of Chang’e, the Moon Goddess of Immortality.

Watch this video for more information, then take the quiz to test your understanding!:

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Idiom of the week

Act of God

Meaning:  when something happens (usually an accident) and no human is responsible; often an act of nature


  • When the tree fell on my car, the insurance company said it was an act of God and wouldn’t pay.
  • The thief told the police that he didn’t know how the diamonds got in his pocket, it was an act of God.
  • I was struck by lightning two times on the same day, is that an act of God?

Pop Quiz: What would be considered an act of God?

a) a forest fire started by campers

b) a war because of religion

c) a volcano erupting

Read the answer below…

Read More »

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Happy Birthday, John Coltrane

Septemeber 23rd is the birthday of musical icon John Coltrane. Read more from Simple English below and enjoy to some of his music

John William “Trane” Coltrane (September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.

Coltrane played the bebop and hard bop styles of jazz early in his career, and helped start the use of modes in jazz and later was a very important part of free jazz. He made about fifty recordings as a bandleader, and appeared on many other albums, for example with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. As his career progressed, Coltrane’s music became more spiritual. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane, and their son Ravi Coltrane is also a saxophonist.

He influenced many musicians, and is one of the most important tenor saxophonists in jazz history. He got many awards, including Special Citation from the Pulitzer Prize Board in 2007 (many years after his death) for his “masterful improvisation, supreme musicianship and iconic centrality to the history of jazz.

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Meet the Presidential Candidates

On Tuesday, November 6th, United States citizens will vote for President.

The current President is Barack Obama. He is a Democrat. Mitt Romney, a Republican, is his opponent.

There is a presidential election every four years in the United States. Presidents can only be elected twice – eight years in total.

If you are a U.S. citizen and you haven’t registered to vote, click here for more information on how to register. You can also talk to your teacher or the office if you need help!

About Barack Obama

Barack Obama was elected President in 2008. He beat Republican candidate John McCain.

Obama is 51 years old – he was born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1961. His mother was from Kansas, and his father was from Kenya.

He graduated from Columbia University in New York, and he got a law degree from Harvard Law School. He has worked as community organizer, a lawyer, an Illinois State Senator, and a United States Senator.

He has written two best-selling books, Dreams From My Father and The Audacity of Hope.

He is married to Michelle Obama, and they have two daughters.

About Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney is 65 years old – he was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1947. His father was born in Mexico, and his mother was from Utah.

He graduated from Brigham Young University, and he got a law degree from Harvard Law School and a Masters Degree from Harvard Business School. He has worked as a businessman and he was the Governor of Massachusetts. He also helped organize the Olympic Games in 2002.

Romney started his own investment business called Bain Capital and became a millionaire.

He is married to Ann Romney, and they have five sons.

Now that you know a little something about the two presidential candidates, take the quiz to test your knowledge:

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Elective Classes and Free Fitness

Today Lucian may have come to your class to tell you about some great new opportunities for University Settlement students. Two of them are elective classes: Computer Class and English Through Movies.

In the Computer Class, you will strengthen your English skills and learn how to operate a computer. In the English Through Movies class, you will watch movies and TV shows and discuss them and write about them.

Computer Class

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9:00AM to 11:00AM or 11:00 to 1:00PM

Oct. 2, 2012 to June 20, 2013

Where: 184 Eldridge St.

Go to the office if you’re interested!


English Through Movies

When: Monday through Thursday from 1:00PM to 3:00PM

Oct. 1, 2012 to June 20, 2013.

Where: 184 Eldridge St.

For students in Classes 2A or higher. Go to the office if you’re interested!

The last opportunity is free access to the pool, fitness center, and exercises classes at the Houston Street Center. You can swim and exercise for free at certain times on certain days. Your husband or wife or children can also use the facilities for free.

Click here to read more information in English.

Click here to read more information in Chinese.

Click here to read more information in Spanish.

Click here to see the Houston Street Center’s location on Google Maps.

Health and Fitness Programs

When: Now until December 21.

Where: Houston Street Center, 273 Bowery

IMPORTANT: If you are interested in signing up, you will need to enroll at the Houston Street Center located at 273 Bowery and attend an orientation with Xing Hui on Mon. 9/17, Tues. 9/18, or Wed. 9/19/12 from 1:00PM to 1:30PM.

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Writing Class Celebrates 10 Years

Professor June Foley

Ten years ago, Professor June Foley, Director of NYU’s Gallatin Writing Program, started a writing class for University Settlement’s Adult Literacy Program. We want to show our appreciation for this wonderful woman who has helped our students overcome their fear of writing and tell their stories to the world, all the while inspiring the next generation of students to be creative writers.

Professor Foley also founded The Literacy Review, a collection of writing by adult education students throughout New York City. To celebrate ten years of collaboration, NYU Gallatin and the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program have published Ten, a collection of writing by Adult Literacy Program students.  Edited by Professor Foley, it features a wide variety of stories about the immigrant experience.

In the following video, Adult Literacy Program Director Michael Hunter says a few words about Professor Foley, then a student of hers, Josephine Lam speaks – and then we get to hear from June herself!

Thank you, Professor Foley!

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