This Land Is Your Land

Below is a video of 0A and 0B teacher, Bob Malenky. We visited Bob in his classroom at 189 Houston Street and he told us about one of his favorite musicians, Woody Guthrie. Bob also sang one of Woody’s songs, “This Land Is Your Land”. Read about Woody, listen to the song and take the quiz below. Let us know in the comments what you think about the song, Woody Guthrie and if you enjoy folk music.


Woody Guthrie was born on July 12th, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma. After a turbulent childhood, he moved to Texas and from there traveled to California. Woody played the guitar and harmonica and wrote songs based on his travels and observations, many using melodies from older folk and country songs.
 This Land is Your Land was written after Guthrie had traveled to New York from Texas in 1940. 
 Woody Guthrie’s lyrics sung  in his true rural American style gave rise to a generation of followers including Bob Dylan, and Woody’s son, Arlo.
 Guthrie died in October of 1967 from a hereditary disease of the nervous system, but his songs such as “This Land is Your Land”, “Pastures of Plenty”, “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You”, and many others continue to be sung around the world.
Click here to hear Woody Guthrie sing “This Land Is Your Land”
Read the words to “This Land Is Your Land” here.

Idiom of the Week: Cut Class

skip class

Meaning: to skip a school class or a day of school without an excuse; also called skipping school or playing hooky.

Watch a video about one of the most legendary class cutters, Ferris Bueller.


-It’s too beautiful to be inside today. I’m cutting class and going to the beach!

-Michael found out the student cut class and told them not to come back.

-Cindy: I’m going to cut class and go the movies today.

 Talisa: You shouldn’t skip school, we have a test soon and need to prepare.

 Cindy: You’re right, let’s go to school. We can play hooky another day.

Pop Quiz:bueller2

A student is cutting class if they don’t go to school because…

A. They are too tired.

B. They are sick.

C. It is a holiday and there is no school.

Read the correct answer below

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Language Learning Strategies

This post is from our E4 teacher, Mary Staub. Mary shares some language learning strategies she’s used. We also get to watch a video of her students sharing their favorite tips to improve their English. Read and watch below, then share some of your favorite ways to practice English in the comments section:

Foreign languages have always been part of my life.

I grew up bilingually, speaking Swiss German swissand English since childhood, and started learning French and Spanish during high school. More recently, I’ve tried to start englishlearning Arabic.  Over the years, I’ve used a lot of different language learning strategies to help me improve more quickly.


For example, when I was living in Seville, Spain, for eight months during college, I looked for opportunities to meetferiaSpanish people and took part in all the town festivals. I also joined a Capoeira (Brazilian martial art) group capoeirawhile I was there, where all of the members spoke only Spanish. This forced me to use Spanish all the time and helped me become more fluent. Another thing I did was take dance classes from a teacher who spoke only Spanish. All her instructions were in Spanish so I had to learn to

Another thing I did and continue to do is to read as much as possible in Spanish or French. I read books, newspapers, or ???????????????????????????????anything else that I am interested in. I look up the words that  I don’t understand and seem important. newspapersThen I write the ones I want to remember in a journal  so I can review them. I also sometimes make flashcards, especially at the beginning when I’m learning a new language. That’s what I did when I started learning Arabic.


I also practice using new words and phrases by imagining little conversations where I can use them or I’ll try to start ‘thinking’ in the language. I often do this when I’m taking the subway or riding my bike and have time to let my mind wander.


Watch the video to hear about the language learning strategies that some of my E4 students use. Then add a comment to share some of your own strategies.

March 2013 Student of the Month


The University Settlement Adult Literacy Program is pleased to announce the March 2013 Student of the Month: J.C. Ye. He was nominated by his Class 2B teacher Regina, who said:

I nominated J.C. as Student of the Month because he is a highly motivated and outgoing student. He participates a lot in class, encourages his fellow classmates to speak, and asks a lot of questions. In addition to my class, J.C. also attends the movie class with his fiancée, Debbie, and June Foley’s writing class. He told me his goals are to improve his English and to eventually go to university here in New York City.
Here’s a video interview we did with J.C.:
J.C. and Debbie
J.C. and Debbie

Idiom of the Week: Hold Your Horses


Meaning: To wait; to be patient. Usually said as a command.


A: “Let’s go!”     B: “Hold your horses! I still need to take a shower.”

The teacher told everyone to hold their horses after he passed out the exam because he still had a few important instructions to give.

A: “Will you marry me?”     B: “It’s only our first date! Hold your horses!”


Pop Quiz:

Someone might tell you to hold your horses if…

A. You forget to bring your cell phone to school.

B. You sit quietly in a hospital waiting area until your name is called.

C. You enter the bathroom before the custodian is finished cleaning it.

To see the correct answer, click on “Continue reading”:

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St. Patrick’s Day


Above is a picture of the Chicago River, but why is it green?!

This Sunday, March 17th is Saint Patrick’s Day. Listen to the song ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling‘ and read about the holiday from Simple Wikipedia. You can also watch a fun, animated video about St. Patrick’s Day:

Saint Patrick’s Day is the feast day of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland and a day of celebration for Irish people. It is celebrated on March 17 all over Ireland and everywhere in the world where Irish people or their descendants live. New York City has one of the biggest parades. It is a very Irish festival and it involves a lot of feasting and celebrations, which includes traditional Irish music, drinking Guinness and eating bacon and cabbage. Another tradition is one has to wear green clothing or they will be pinched. Green is the color for Saint Patrick’s day as it is the national color of Ireland and people often wear green on that day or have some type of shamrock on their clothing.

You can read the text from the video below-

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