Idiom of the Week: Fair-Weather Friend



Meaning: A friend who’s there for you when everything is good, but when things are bad they’re nowhere to be seen.


When I was rich I had a million friends. But now I’m poor and I know they were only fair-weather friends.

She’s a fair-weather friend. Whenever I need help she never returns my calls.

Sometimes I don’t know if he’s a real friend or just a fair-weather friend.

Pop Quiz:

Which one is an example of a fair-weather friend?

A.  A friend who lets you stay at his apartment when you get evicted from yours.

B.  A friend who lends you some money when you lose your job.

C.  A friend who refuses to take care of your dog when you go back to your hometown to take care of a sick relative.

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

Read More »

April 2014 Student of the Month

Everyone say hello to Gilbert Derival. He is our April Student of the Month.

Gilbert is in class E3. He’s a hard worker, both in and out of class. He works as a home health aide and attends English classes Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at University Settlement.

Recently, Gilbert became a U.S. citizen. Way to go, Gilbert!

Watch his video above, read his writing below, then take the quiz to test your understanding:

Spring Is Coming
Gilbert Derival

Spring is my favorite season among the four seasons. I like the weather in spring. It is not as cold as winter and not as hot as summer.

When it is spring, I can see many beautiful flowers and green leaves on the trees. I like flowers because they make our environment more beautiful and comfortable. I like trees because they can produce fresh air.

During spring, my family and I always go to Central Park to look at flowers. I remember one time I brought my sons there. What they said was, “Here it’s super beautiful!” and “Cool! I like it!”

We often bring food so that we can also enjoy our lunch in a wonderful place. Sometimes we also wake up early in the morning and going running in the park.

Absorbing fresh air in the morning is good for the human body. Starting this spring, every morning I hope to keep breathing fresh air.


And here are videos by the musicians Gilbert mentioned in his interview:

Under the Weather Revisited

Here’s a song using the idiom “Under the Weather,” brought to you by Sesame Street:

I’m Under the Weather Over You

by Polly Darton

Oh, I’m under the weather over you
It’s been raining since you told me we were through
You’ve been awful underhanded
And I just don’t understand it
Yes, I’m under the weather over you

Oh, it’s freezing and it’s snowing in my heart
You were cold when you told me we must part
When you said I had to go, ma’am
You were icy as a snowman
Yes, it’s freezing and it’s snowing in my heart

Oh, my tears are falling down just like the raindrops
That sprinkle on our heads from clouds above
When you rushed me out the door like a tornado
Like a hurricane you blew away my love

I’ll be happy when this thunderstorm is through
When the sun might shine again I was I knew
And if I ever meet you, fella, I’ll just put up my umbrella
Because I’m under the weather over you – achoo!
Yes, I’m under the weather over you

we were through = we broke up
underhanded = unfair
fella = fellow, guy, man

Website Spotlight: What’s Going On In This Picture?

What’s going on in this picture? Look closely at the image above or view it in a larger size, then tell us what you see by posting a comment. On Tuesday, we will reveal more about the image and its origins at the bottom of this post.

From the New York Times Learning Network:

1. After looking closely at the image above (or at the full-size image), think about these three questions:

  • What’s going on in this picture?
  • What do you see that makes you say that?
  • What more can you find?

2. Next, join the conversation by posting a comment. (Please remember not to post your last name.)

3. After you have posted, try reading back to see what others have said, then respond to someone else by posting another comment. Use the “@” symbol to address that student directly.

Each Monday, NYT’s collaborators, Visual Thinking Strategies, will facilitate a discussion from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Eastern time by paraphrasing comments and linking to responses to help students’ understanding go deeper. You might use their responses as models for your own.

4. On Tuesday, the NYT will reveal more information at the bottom of this post about the photo. How does reading the caption and learning its “back story” help you to see the image differently?

To go to the “What’s Going on in This Picture?” page, click here.

Idiom of the Week: Under the Weather


Meaning: To be sick.


I’m feeling under the weather today, so I’m not going to work.

She looked like she was under the weather: she had big bags under her eyes and she was moving really slowly.

A lot of my students looked like they were feeling under the weather this morning.

Pop Quiz:

How should you respond if someone says “I’m feeling under the weather“?

A.  “That’s too bad.”

B.  “Congratulations!”

C.  “That’s interesting.”

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

Read More »


 It is difficult (and rewarding) to learn a new language and students need all the help they can get. In the video below a man is working hard to learn English. He gets help from his school, library, friends and family. Watch the video and comment below. Tell us the special reason the man is learning English and let us know your goals and reasons as well.

There are about two months left of classes. Don’t let the spring weather distract you too much. Keep working hard so you can improve your skills, achieve your goals and celebrate with a nice drink.