April 2013 Student of the Month

April’s Student of the Month is Lois Geng. She is from W4 and her teacher is Lynne Hayden-Findlay. Lois is a great writer and one of her writings has been chosen to appear in the Literacy Review (you can read more about the Literacy Review here). Below, Lois tells us a little about herself and then shares some of her writing. Enjoy and keep working hard, the next Student of the Month could be you.

My name is Lois Geng. I was born in China and immigrated to the United State of America.  I have been in New York City for more than ten years.  I love New York because of its fantastic lifestyle and that it’s full of opportunities.  I like to challenge myself even though I have a happy life.  I want to continue to work hard improving my language skills in order to better integrate into American life.

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Water is the source of life. Water is the treasure of life.

In our lives, we cannot be separated from water. Water will always accompany us. During my childhood, I lived in my grandmother’s hometown which is in China’s Southern countryside. In front of the house, there is a big stream flowing down from the mountains. It is crystal clear and there is a lot of small fish hiding under the stones. We often went to catch the fish and played in the water. The water left me with the joy of childhood. But when I returned to my grandmother’s home a few years ago, I couldn’t recognize the stream I once knew. The stream is now a victim of pollution. It gave me a feeling of sadness.

Water is the best gift nature gives us. We should cherish it, protect it. If people do not cherish water resources, then the world’s last drop will be tears.

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Idiom of the Week: Night Owl


Meaning: someone who likes to stay up late


I always do my homework late at night. I’m a night owl.

Her husband likes to go to bed early, but she’s a night owl.

“I stayed up till three am last night reading.” “Wow! You’re a real night owl!”

Pop Quiz:

You’re a night owl if you…

A. usually go to bed at ten pm.

B. drink a lot of coffee in the morning.

C. have more energy late at night than in the morning.

To see the answer, click on “Continue reading.”

Read More »

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Poets in Unexpected Places


More poetry coverage for National Poetry Month. This is a story from the New York Times about a group from New York who performs poetry in public places.

Watch the video and read the article (don’t forget to read some of the NYT comments to see what others think about this story).


Comment below, let us know what you think about the video and answer some of these questions:

How do you feel about performers on the subway?
Do you prefer to be left along, or enjoy the show?
Have you seen any of these performers on your train rides?

You can find more information about Pop Up Poets here.

You can also read some great poems about New York here. Which one is your favorite?


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Today Is Earth Day


From timeanddate.com:

Earth Day aims to inspire awareness of and appreciation for earth’s environment. It is celebrated on April 22 every year.

What do people do

Earth Day is usually celebrated with outdoor performances, where individuals or groups perform acts of service to earth. Typical ways of observing Earth Day include planting trees, picking up roadside trash, conducting various programs for recycling and conservation, using recyclable containers for snacks and lunches. Some people are encouraged to sign petitions to governments, calling for stronger or immediate action to stop global warming and to reverse environmental destruction.  Television stations frequently air programs dealing with environmental issues.

Public Life

Earth Day is not a public holiday and public life, with regard to transport schedules and opening hours for schools and businesses, is not affected.


The April 22 Earth Day, founded by Senator Gaylord Nelson, was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution.


Symbols used by people to describe Earth Day include: an image or drawing of planet earth; a tree, a flower or leaves depicting growth; or the recycling symbol. Colors used for Earth Day include natural colors such as green, brown or blue.

A few questions for you:

Do you recycle all your paper, cardboard, plastic, and metal?

Do you drink tap water instead of bottled water?

Do you bring your own bag to the store instead using new plastic bags?

Do you turn off the lights and appliances when you’re not using them?

Do you use public transportation?

If you answered “no” to any of these questions, think about how you can turn it into a “yes”!

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My Year with 1A & 1B


This blog post is brought to you by 1A & 1B teacher Elsie Choi. She uses some great English expressions which are in bold letters.

My Year with 1A & 1B

By Elsie Choi

August 29, 2012 was Orientation Day already after a long summer of relaxation.  It was time to meet a whole new group of students and get the show ready for the road. I was a little nervous. First impressions are very important. What should I wear for the day? I am sure that my students feel the same way. They were there to check me out, and at the same time, wondering what is in store for them for the coming year.

A few students come in way before class time but the majority can barely make it. There is a tendency that people come in later and later as the year goes on. Of course they have tons of excuses… my children, my dog, my watch….”See, my watch says 9…”

Students gradually become friends and chat. Think that they do not know enough English to do so? No problem. Their native language kicks in naturally. Or, a mixture of languages will do. “I did my homework la. (Chinese)”, “Is this good ma? (Chinese)”,“Michael is outside ah! (Chinese)”.  ALL ENGLISH! …..ALL ENGLISH!

Oh! No! Test again?! Eyes are wandering around. Some just want to get that 100 percent in the test. Believe it or not, a few people know they are right but still glance at their neighbor’s paper to see if the other person is doing it correctly. What a busybody!

Homework is usually done by most students but it is like pulling teeth for some. To enforce this requirement, it causes more work for the teacher to follow up and make sure that make-up homework is done the next day. A threat using Michael’s name is useful, sometimes.

Well, the year is going by swiftly despite the heartache and headache we have had. We have shared tears and laughter with personal happenings and have grown together. Let’s celebrate. Food is the number one choice. Students feed the teacher, me, all year long. I thank you all by showing you my forever growing “muffin top.”


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Call Your City Leaders!

On Thursday April 18th between 9am and 6pm, parents, providers and concerned New Yorkers will take action by calling City leaders and letting them know we are paying attention. 

Call 855-466-7517 to let our City leaders know that child care and after-school must be saved!

Use this script as a guide for your call (and please be polite):

Hi, my name’s ________. I’m calling to urge you to save child care and after-school programs.

With the newest budgets cuts, more than 47,000 NYC children are at risk of losing the educational opportunities that pave the way for success. Families that rely on subsidized child care and after-school work hard and play by the rules. Without these programs, many working family members will be unable to keep their jobs and provide for their households, or will be forced to make potentially unsafe arrangements for their children. It is morally wrong to balance the city budget on the backs of children and hard-working families.  We’re counting on YOU to restore the funding to save child care and after-school programs. Thank you. 

Calls to the number above will be automatically connected to one of the City leaders in charge of the budget.  If no one answers, leave a voicemail. Despite what message you get from their office, please be assured that these are the key people in making budget decisions.  

For more information visit: www.CampaignforChildrenNYC.com

Facebook: Campaign for Children // Twitter: @ChildrenNYC #Campaign4Children

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