Cliff’s Hobby

In this post, 0C and 1D teacher Cliff Prisament writes about his hobby…

If you look carefully at my wrist while I’m teaching, you might notice I wear a different watch almost every day.  Since 2005, I have been collecting and fixing watches as an amateur horologist (someone who fixes watches and clocks).

In 2005, I moved to Shanghai, China to teach children English.  While I was there, I found several markets that sold very cheap, antique watches (watches that are very old).  I fell in love with watches and it became my favorite hobby.  I would sometimes buy 2 watches a week!  In 2007, I owned almost 40 watches!  Now, I only own about 15 watches.

My oldest watch is a Mickey Mouse watch made in 1933!  It’s half a century older than me!

Most people just buy a watch because they think it’s beautiful or fashionable.  When I buy a watch, I buy it because of its movement.

There are three types of watch movements.  They are quartz, automatic and manual-wind.

1. Quartz watches are the most popular.  Your watch is probably a quartz watch.  Quartz watches have a small, round, silver battery that powers the watch hands.  Quartz watches are the most accurate. 

2. Automatic watches do not have a battery.  They have a rotor, which winds a mainspring that moves the hands.  So if you wear an automatic watch every day, you never need to change a battery.

3. Manual-wind watches only have a mainspring and no rotor or battery.  You have to wind them every day or they will stop moving!

Any questions about watches?  Let me know!

Now take a quiz to test your understanding of what you just read:

Idiom of the Week

Crack a Smile

Meaning: to smile or grin (sometimes when you do not want to or should not)


  • The student cracked a smile when the teacher was mad and then had to do extra homework.
  • I was trying to be serious, but cracked a smile when I remembered a joke I heard.
  • After I saw the girl crack a smile, I went over to talk to her.

Pop Quiz:

My father is very serious, but I saw him crack a smile when he…

a) got some bad news.

b) was playing with my baby sister.

c) when he dropped a beautiful photo.

Read answer below

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What’s Happening in Class E2

This post is for both teachers and students. Teachers, you can learn about a good lesson idea that you can use in your classes. Students, you can understand how lessons are constructed and how teachers think. Enjoy!

Dinner Parties for Five

Class E2

Class E2 students know how to “stretch a dollar,” an idiom that means getting as much as you can for a little bit of money.

The Challenge

 First, each group of students had to use an Associated Supermarket flyer    to shop for food items for its imaginary dinner party for five people.  Associated is an American supermarket and labels are printed in English.

Second, each group had to plan a menu using the items they bought at the  supermarket.

Each group had a budget of $50, and they had to remember that one of  their guests did not eat cucumbers, meat or peanuts.

The Purpose

Students used realia to connect the lesson to real life. They had a chance to: (1) work in teams, (2) use their English-language skills to read and understand the flyer, (3) use their creativity to plan a menu and (4) use basic math skills.

The Results

Each group used a colored marker to write its shopping list and menu on a large sheet of poster paper. They hung them around the room for the class to examine. Then, among much laughter, each group discussed its food and menu choices and experience, as students in other groups and I asked questions. This activity was a lot of fun.

Now you can try it! You have $50. Click here to look at the supermarket flyer, then decide what you will buy. Type your shopping list in the comments section – remember to include the exact name of the product and the price!

November Student of the Month: Lisa Zhou

Everyone say hello to our November Student of the Month, Lisa Zhou from E4. Below is an interview with Lisa and a story she wrote about her son. Congratulations, Lisa!

Don’t forget students, do your homework, come to class every day, ask questions, study hard – and the next Student of the Month could be YOU!

My Shining Son

The correct decision of people who come to America have various purposes; religion, democracy, freedom and family reunion. Families want to make more money to pursue a better life, etc. I came to the United States completely for my son.

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Two Upcoming Events at University Settlement

This Saturday University Settlement will be hosting two events. Finish holiday shopping early, or just buy yourself an early Christmas gift.

The first is the ‘Ladies Love Project POP-UP Shop‘ at 184 Eldridge Street, where you can find some great designer crafts and gifts from local artists! There will be music, food, photos and fun. Come check it out!

The second is a clothing sale at 189 Allen Street. Buy some skirts, blouses, pants, scarves, leather, suede and much more. Prices from $2 to $10. Wow, what a deal! (Don’t forget to bring your own bag)




Join US in celebrating and supporting the creative and sustainable

spirit of the Lower East Side with

The Ladies Love Project

and their

2012 Holiday Pop-Up Shop and Performance Festival!

Saturday, November 17, 12pm – 10pm

*A portion of all proceeds will go to support University Settlement’s work

helping low-income families hit hard by Hurricane Sandy.

For one day only, University Settlement will be transformed into a boutique market featuring some of NYC’s most exciting underground artists and designers. But don’t shop ’til you drop! Take a break with a manicure, makeover or Tarot card reading, and don’t forget to swing by the LLP photobooth for a pic to remember your day. Then cap the evening with a very special performance.