Library Tour

Our classes, 1B, 1C, 2A, 2P, E1, E2, W1 and W2 went or are going on library tours at Seward Park Library. The students learned or are going to learn how to use the New York Public Library. The students who didn’t have a NYPL card also received or are going to receive their new card. Here are some pictures taken by our 1B and 1C teacher, Joe during the tours.

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Culture Club!

This summer, the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program began a month-long Culture Club which met twice a week and not only studied English but also explored New York. One day was spent in the classroom learning relevant vocabulary and reading articles, and the second day was a field trip. Here’s a quick rundown up what we did:

√  Got an IDNYC

√  Studied NYC geography and learned how to use the subway system

√  Learned about Native Americans and the Lenape

√   Visited the National Museum of the American Indian

√   Learned art-related vocabulary and practiced describing paintings and sculptures in English

√   Visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art

√    Read about Chinese-American history

√    Visited the Museum of the Chinese in America

√   Studied vocabulary and read about gardening (This was in preparation for volunteering at the M’Finda Kalunga Community Garden but unfortunately we got rained out.)

√   Talked about and wrote about all of the places we visited and then typed up our writing on Microsoft Word

Here’s one student’s writing about one of our trips:

A Happy Day

Suman Li

Our teacher took us to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday. The teacher said he would meet us on the front door steps at 10 A.M. so I got up early yesterday. I took the Manhattan-bound E train to 51st Street. Then I transferred to the uptown 6 train. I got off at 86th Street. When I arrived at the front steps, it was exactly 10 o’clock. We bought tickets and then went through security. First, we visited the Egyptian art. I visited the temple of Dendur. It is over two thousand years old. I was interested in the ancient Egyptian murals on the walls. I learned a lot of new things there. About half an hour later, the teacher led us to the roof garden. What a beautiful view! From that roof, I could overlook Central Park and the gorgeous New York City skyline. I also saw two sculptures on the roof. They were made from steel and stone and looked like 9 planes in the sky. Last, we returned to the second floor to visit exhibits from Europe and Asia. We left there at about 2 p.m. I was still very excited on the way home. It was really a happy day!



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Puerto Rico!

Two of our University Settlement Adult Literacy Program teachers recently took part in the Hunter College Study Abroad program in Puerto Rico. This unique program offered the opportunity to engage with education and educators in Puerto Rico, deepening the close ties between Puerto Rico and New York. They learned firsthand how the historical, social and political contexts of Puerto Rico impact English as a Foreign Language learners and educational systems, and worked side by side with local Puerto Rican English language teachers. This program gave them an opportunity to immerse themselves in critical inquiry about English language teaching in settings outside the US.  They visited eight schools, learned about bilingualism from Puerto Rican university professors, worked with students, judged an English contest, and conducted community service.

One teacher had this to say about her experience:

“This Education and Language Teaching in Puerto Rico program was an excellent study abroad course to learn about bilingual programs in Ponce schools. There were plenty of opportunities to observe and collaborate with English language teachers in K-adult classrooms as well as volunteer in community service projects. In just five days, we could plunge into Puerto Rico’s culture, learn to dance salsa, and study its resilient history.

Furthermore, we could experience beautiful colonial architecture with pastel-colored facades in Old San Juan and evocative murals around every corner in Ponce. We enjoyed the warmth of Caribbean breezes and splendor of tall coconut palms wherever we went. Besides this, we had scrumptious mofongo – fried plantains mashed with meat or seafood – and met many warm-hearted people. Most importantly, we acquired different perspectives towards teaching bilingual students.

I am so grateful and blessed to have attended this course. I am indebted to the generosity of the Adult Literacy Program at University Settlement and appreciate their support.”

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NYC Summer Hot Spots

It’s almost summer break! Are you wondering what you can do to enjoy this summer? The students of class 3C would like to share some of their favorite spots in New York that you could visit this summer!


Brooklyn Botanic Garden

“For the holidays, we go to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden with our families. It is close to Prospect Park. It has a Japanese Garden, the Palm House, and colorful flowers. A major attraction is the Cherry Blossom Festival where 200 cherry trees are in full bloom. It’s like a pink ocean, very spectacular! Our children like to play in there. The garden is beautiful and full of different plants. There are  many people in the summer.” – May Ma and Miya Wu

Address:990 Washington Ave, Brooklyn, NY ‎

How to Get There: 2, 3, 4, or 5 train to Franklin Ave. in Brooklyn


Coney Island

“Coney Island is a peninsula and beach on the Atlantic Ocean in southern Brooklyn. In the summer, many people like to go there to relax and go swimming on the weekends. The New York Aquarium in Coney Island is open almost every day of the year. So, I always go to Coney Island to play with my family.” – Sandra Liang and Bonnie Huang

Address: Surf Ave. and W 12th St., Brooklyn, NY

How to Get There: D, F, N, or Q train to Coney Island/Stillwell Ave. in Brooklyn


Central Park

“This is the biggest and most important park in the middle of Manhattan. There are a lot of ponds and lakes and the park is surrounded by buildings. It’s great to go there in any season. In the winter, you can go ice skating. There are some ice rinks there and, during the summer or spring, everything is green. I like to go there and lay on the grass to read a book or just to relax.” – Daniela Polidura and Jackie Huang

Address: 59th St., Manhattan, NY

How to Get There: A, B, C, D, or 1 train to Columbus Circle, or N, Q, or R train to 5th Ave./59th St.


The Metropolitan Museum of Art

“Before you go to the museum, it is hard to imagine how wonderful the huge building is.  It gathers all of the East and West cultures. In the Chinese section, you can see a Su Zhou garden, statues of Buddha, curios, and jades.” – Kelly Zhao and Li Duan Chen

Address: 1000 5th Ave, New York, NY ‎

How to Get There: 4, 5, or 6 train to 86th St.


The American Museum of Natural History (AMNH)

The American Museum of Natural History is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City. It is one of the largest and most celebrated museums in the world. In the museum, you can visit some wonderful exhibitions halls. For example, the African Mammal Hall, with exciting dioramas of monkeys and elephants, the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life, with its share of whales and fish, and the Fossil Hall. This amazing exhibition shows fossils of all kinds, like mammals and dinosaurs. You would feel amazed by the huge dinosaur fossil in the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Hall, the Museum’s main entrance. Wouldn’t you want to go there? – Bella Zhao and Khanh Au

Address: Central Park West at 79th Street, New York, NY

How to Get There: B or C train to 81st St./Museum of Natural History


Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge ranks as one of the greatest engineering feats of the 19th century and remains one of NY’s most popular and well-known landmarks. The impressive bridge spans the East River between Brooklyn and Manhattan and stretches for a length of 5989 feet, about 1.8km. The span between the large towers measures 1595.5 feet. This made the Brooklyn Bridge the world’s largest suspension bridge. – Kiki Wang and Ji Peng Wang

Address: New York, NY

How to Get There: J or Z train to Chambers St., or 4, 5, or 6 train to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall in Manhattan – or A or C train to High St. in Brooklyn

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A Poet in New York

Federico Garcia Lorca
Federico Garcia Lorca

The New York Public Library on 42nd St. (the big one next to Bryant Park with the two big lions sitting in front) has a special free exhibit about one of Spain’s most famous poets: Federico Garcia Lorca. He came to New York in 1929 to study English as a Second Language and also learn about America. They have his letters, manuscripts, and drawings on display, as well as his guitar and passport.

Since it’s National Poetry Month, why not go check it out? It’s going to be there till July 20th.

The exhibit’s name is Back Tomorrow: Federico García Lorca / Poet in New York. From the NYPL website:

In June 1929, at a time when young writers and painters dreamed of living in Paris, Federico García Lorca (1898–1936), Spain’s greatest modern poet and playwright, broke boldly with tradition and sailed for New York. His nine months here, followed by three months in Havana, changed his vision of poetry, the theater, and the social role of the artist.

Lorca came to New York to study English but devoted himself instead to writing Poet in New York, a howl of protest against racial bigotry, mindless consumption, and the adoration of technology. “What we call civilization, he called slime and wire,” the critic V. S. Pritchett once wrote. But Lorca’s book reaches beyond New York—“this maddening, boisterous Babel”—into the depths of the psyche, in a search for wholeness and redemption.

In 1936, the poet left the manuscript of Poet in New York on the desk of his Madrid publisher with a note saying he would be “back tomorrow,” probably to discuss final details. He never returned. Weeks later, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, he was brutally murdered by fascist elements in Granada, his body thrown into an unmarked mass grave. The book was published posthumously in 1940, but the manuscript mysteriously disappeared, lost to scholars for decades. The Fundación Federico García Lorca in Madrid and The New York Public Library exhibit it now for the first time, together with drawings, photographs, letters, and mementos—traces of a Poet in New York . . . and of New York in a poet.

To get more information, click here.

And here’s one of his poems about New York, translated into English:

Dawn by Federico Garcia Lorca

Dawn in New York has
four columns of mire
and a hurricane of black pigeons
splashing in the putrid waters.

Dawn in New York groans
on enormous fire escapes
searching between the angles
for spikenards of drafted anguish.

Dawn arrives and no one receives it in his mouth
because morning and hope are impossible there:
sometimes the furious swarming coins
penetrate like drills and devour abandoned children.

Those who go out early know in their bones
there will be no paradise or loves that bloom and die:
they know they will be mired in numbers and laws,
in mindless games, in fruitless labors.

The light is buried under chains and noises
in the impudent challenge of rootless science.
And crowds stagger sleeplessly through the boroughs
as if they had just escaped a shipwreck of blood.

Dawn in

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International Center of Photography

Looking for something to do during the vacation? Here’s a blog entry brought to you by Brian, the computer class teacher:

Most of us have many interests and hobbies that we like to explore in our free time. Whether it is trying new foods, going to live music concerts or visiting the movie theater to enjoy the newest films, there are plenty of things that keep us curious.

One of my interests is photography. Growing up I was always curious about the process of developing film, drawing with light and traveling with a camera in hand, capturing the world around me. In fact, while in college my major was photography, but then I changed it to English to become a teacher. And although I might not attend school for photography, it is still something that I love learning about.


A favorite museum of mine that is rich in history and pictures is called the International Center of Photography (ICP). It is located at 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036, which is close to Bryant Park.


There is also a school at ICP where people can study photography professionally or recreationally. What I love most about this museum is that they always have new photography exhibits, and they often show photos from 30, 40 and 50 years ago. The museum displays photographs from international photographers, which is great because you are able to see different cultures and countries through the eyes of the people who live there. It is a very fun mixture of new, old, and creative pictures.

Also, the founder of the museum, his name was Cornell Capa, had a brother named Robert Capa, who is my favorite photographer; they are both from Hungary like my family. Robert Capa was a photojournalist, someone who wrote stories with pictures, and often went into war to take photos for newspapers. He died at age 40 after stepping on a landmine in Vietnam during the first Indochina War. His photographs of the Spanish Civil War and of World War II are some of the best and only images the world has.


The museum sometimes shows Robert Capa’s original photographs from war, and they are very interesting to see. It is a great place for learning the history of photography, and there is always something new for visitors to enjoy. You can also take a tour of the school where you can see all the different classrooms and photography labs where students study.


If you’re interested in visiting the museum or finding out more information, check out their website at and then take a trip to the International Center of Photography and enjoy what this wonderful museum has to offer.

Oh, and don’t forget your camera!

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