Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Better living through vocabulary!

Just in time to appease the spirit of holiday giving, FreeRice.org makes donating almost effortless. In fact, it won't cost a thing to make your donation to the World Food Program except for some free time and a bit of brain power.

Free Rice is a vocabulary quiz game that is just plain addictive. Remember studying all of those words for the SAT or ACT before college? Well, it's time to dust off that knowledge and put it to good use feeding hungry people around the world.

The Website, www.freerice.org, challenges you to match definitions with some pretty lofty vocabulary words. For each word you match correctly, Free Rice will donate 20 grains of rice to the World Food Program. Go ahead, give it a whirl!

Learn all about it: The Website and game were recently featured on National Public Radio. You can read the brief article (or listen) on the NPR Website by clicking here.

Have fun!

Christmas fun!

If you're looking for some very easy Christmas activities to use this week, check out the sites listed here. Many have accompanying worksheets, puzzles, and activities that are free of charge.
  • A simple explanation--with pictures--of common holiday themes. Click here.

  • Bingo! Print out these Christmas Bingo cards to use with intermediate-level students.

  • I printed out the slides of this Christmas vocabulary Power Point and shared them with my students. High-beginning and up.

  • ESL Christmas flashcards are here and they're free!

  • The History Channel has lots of information both in text form and video! My intermediate-level students understood a lot of the video information. Click here for the Christmas Home Page, and be sure to check out the links on the left side of the screen, especially "Fast Facts."

  • One of my favorite Websites, HowStuffWorks, has the most in-depth Christmas section on the Internet (so far). Start by clicking here, and look around. You'll be overwhelmed, I promise!

  • BogglesWorld always has something for just about any holiday or social situation you wish to discuss with your student. Click and check out the New Year's stuff.

If your student is Muslim, you should know that the biggest holiday of the Islamic year, Eid-al-Adha, starts on Wednesday, December 20.

What is `Eid Al-Adha ? The `Eid Al-Adha is a major religious event in the lives of Muslims. Usually, communities celebrate this occasion over a period of several days. Although only the pilgrims in Makkah can participate in the Hajj fully, all the other Muslims in the world join with them by celebrating the `Eid Al-Adha, or Festival of Sacrifice. On the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah, Muslims around the world wear their nicest clothing and attend a special prayer gathering in the morning. This is followed by a short sermon, after which everyone stands up to hug and greet one another. The traditional `Eid greeting is "`Eid Mubarak," which means "Holiday Blessings." Next, people visit each other's homes and partake in festive meals with special dishes, beverages, and desserts. Children receive gifts and sweets on this joyous occasion.

In addition, like the pilgrims in Makkah, those Muslims who can afford to do so offer domestic animals, usually sheep, as a symbol of Abraham's sacrifice. The meat is distributed for consumption to family, friends, and to the poor and needy. (information courtesy: http://www.islamonline.net/)

To find out more about this holiday--as well as why sheep and/or goats are so important to this festival--
visit Wikipedia's excellent Webpage on the subject.

Your student's food stamps

For the last year or so, I've fielded a lot of calls about refugee families having problems with their food stamps. Yes, this is a legitimate problem, but it is not the fault of the resettlement agencies in any way. Case managers throughout the resettlement network are struggling to help their clients with an unforgiving and complicated system.

The Rocky Mountain News recently ran several articles about this, including an editorial that explains the situation quite well. Click here for a link to the story.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Time to report your hours!

I woke up this weekend and it was December. Is that possible? Please don't forget to report your tutoring hours for November. I need your information no later than Friday, December 7.

You can send the information via email. Please include the following in your message:
  • Your name
  • The name of your student
  • The number of hours you spent together in November
  • Do not include planning time or driving time.
Please don't foget to send me this important information each month. Last month, no more than a handful of volunteers--out of dozens in the program--bothered to report their hours. Thank you to those who remembered and took the time to tend to this piece of business.

Remember, our program's funding and very existence depend on our ability to show that the refugees enrolled are receiving in-home instruction. Without your information coming in, I have nothing to report. It only takes a minute, and you can do it via email or phone. There will always be a reminder posted here on this blog, but you have to check in here from time to time.

CHECK THE BLOG! Once a week is probably enough. This is where I post teaching ideas, resources you might find helpful, and all kinds of ideas, including your monthly reminder to report your tutoring hours. Stay in touch--check the blog!

Looking forward to receiving your report of tutoring hours before Friday! Try to stay sane in the holiday rush.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Really Helpful Resources

Hands-on English
This information-packed newsletter brings ready-to-use activities, exercises, ideas and inspiration right to your mailbox. The newsletter is written by teachers for teachers, and covers practical topics about life skills and language for everyday life. Hands-on English also includes suggestions for adapting lessons so they can be used by students at different levels. The annual subscription price is $29, and it would be money well spent for any tutor who craves new teaching ideas. for more information, visit the HOE Website: www.handsonenglish.com

Courtesy of Leecy Wise in the Four Corners Adult Education program, one of the most user-friendly guides you'll find regarding technology in adult literacy and language education. Leecy does an outstanding job of making technology accessible and fun. Past topics have included blogs, Google Earth, links for ESL teachers, Life Skills, and math projects. TechBeat is published monthly and It's free! http://www.coloradoadulted.org/techbeat/techbeat.htm

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday wishes to Lisa Voelz, our co-trainer for the In-Home Tutoring Program. Best wishes for many more in good health and with many delightful days. Happy, happy birthday!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Just in time for the holidays!!

Emily Griffith Opportunity School Presents:
World Boutique
An International Holiday Craft Sale

Wednesday, December 5
10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Shop for very special, one-of-a-kind gifts just in time for the holidays!
Choose from handmade jewelry, weaving, needlework, crochet, paper crafts, and more, all crafted by international students. 100% of the sale’s proceeds go directly to the artists.

Visit the World Boutique for unique handcrafted gifts.
Support Fair Trade and our talented student artisans.
Think globally—shop locally.

1250 Welton St. • Room 238
Denver • 80204
Next to the Colorado Convention Center

Friday, November 16, 2007

Don't leave me hanging!!

Are you ready to leave our program? When the time comes to say goodbye, please let us know. Please. If you vanish without a word, we have no way to know what's going on or when or why you stopped tutoring. All it takes is a simple phone call or quick email to say you won't be continuing with your student.

When volunteers leave without the courtesy of letting us know, it makes us conclude that the program was so insignifcant and of so little value that it wan't worth your time to let us know you were moving on. It also implies that you didn't take into account your student's chance to get a new teacher. When you leave without any notice, it can take months before we can rectify the situation for the student.

Please be considerate and give a heads up when your time has come to leave the program. It's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The African Community Center
A refugee resettlement agency


Voices of Refugees
A Community Discussion

Thursday, Nov. 15th 7:00pm
Auraria Campus, North Classroom (Room #1130)

Hear refugees, from two of the world’s most intense “hot-spots,” speak about their experiences in fleeing armed militias, braving hunger and eventually finding safety in the U.S.

Aung Kyaw Toe, a Burmese refugee from Rangoon, arrived in the U.S. just this past August. Toe will speak of the current situation in his homeland and his experiences in fleeing from the military junta after the bloody 1988 protests.

Lado Jurkin, a Sudanese refugee, and one of the “Lost Boys,” arrived in the U.S. in 2001 after living in refugee camps for 15 years. Jurkin will speak about his extraordinary experiences while walking from Southern Sudan to Ethiopia and then to Kenya.

Space is limited, so please RSVP to: kmohatt@africancommunitycenter.net

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

We need a lawyer

Our sister project, A Little Someting (www.refugeecrafts.com) is in need of some pro bono legal help. We need to set up our organization as a business, but we have neither the experience nor the knowledge we need to get that done correctly. We might be a business. Or charity. Or 501(c)3. Or LLC. or...whatever. If you know of anyone who would be willing to donate legal services for this project, please contact Sharon at sharon_mccreary@dpsk12.org. Thanks.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Farming, food, and drums!

Join us for a celebration ceremony!

The Somali Bantu Farming Council of Colorado
Parkside Apartments Community Room
23rd Ave. and Syracuse St.
Saturday, November 17
2:00-4:00 p.m.

Join the celebration honoring the Somali Bantu's immense accomplishments over the 2007 growing season. Presentation begins at 2:30 followed by drumming and East African cuisine.

Please RSVP by November 12 to Heather at heather@dug.org, or call 720-404-0615 .

Have you reported your October hours??

Please don't forget to report your tutoring time for October. I really need this information no later than this Friday, November 9. Send your information to sharon_mccreary@dpsk12.org .

Remember, our continued funding depends on our being able to show participation.

Thanks very much for your timely cooperation!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Dear Abby has some advice for you!

This is from the 10-29-2007 Dear Abby column. Some of you have asked me about this very thing, so here's advice from a pro:

DEAR ABBY: How do you stop someone from serving food you don't like? A woman I tutor was nice enough to make me a dish native to her country, and when she asked me if I liked it, I gave her a rave review (to spare her feelings). I really hated it, but now she thinks I love it, and she keeps making it for me.
How can I refuse without hurting her feelings? I don't want to continue to just accept it and have to throw it away. -- WASTING FOOD IN VIRGINIA

DEAR WASTING FOOD: Try this: "You were so kind to make it, and I thank you. But as much as I like it, it doesn't like ME -- so I cannot accept it."
It's as close to the truth as you can get without being offensive, and should successfully discourage her from making it in the future.

Click here to read this on the Dear Abby Website.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Newspaper coverage galore!

The Burmese Karen have been in the news a lot this week. There's a lot to learn and a lot to know about this population. Click on these links to read articles from the Associated Press, Rocky Mountain News, and more.

Photo by Javier Manzano, RMN
This article is from Rochester, NY, but could easily be about any community that is currently accepting refugees for resettlement. Very nice read. Click here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's time for the COTESOL conference!

The Colorado chapter of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages hosts a conference every fall. You don't need to be a professional ESL teacher to attend. In fact, you can get a reduced rate on the cost of registration if you're a volunteer or student!

This year's conference will be on Friday and Saturday, November 2 & 3, at the Rennaissance Denver Hotel and Conference Center, 3801 Quebec St., in the Stapleton area of Denver.

Click here for conference information, schedules, and registration forms.

Earlybird registration ends on October 14, but if you call Larry Fisher and ask nicely, you can probably get an extension.

See you there!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Sad news from the ESL Department

Some of you knew and had a chance to work with my colleague, Marlene Dallas. It is with great sadness that we say goodbye to Marlene, who passed away on September 29. Marlene died peacefully, in her sleep.

In 2000, Marlene took over my job as the volunteer coordinator for the classroom side of our program. She worked hard to provide support to both the teachers and the volunteers. She kept us staffed with the extra help we always needed in our classrooms. Marlene also coordinated the translated workshops for our refugee students, and she hired the guest speakers and translators for these sessions. She always took time out from her limited work hours to say hello to anyone who stopped by her desk.

She will be missed.

Refugee Admissions Numbers Announced

For the 2008 fiscal year (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008), the President has allotted 80,000 potential refugee admissions. The allocations have been divided this way:

  • Africa . . . . . . . . . . .16,000
  • East Asia . . . . . . . . . 20,000
  • Europe and Central Asia . . 3,000
  • Latin America/Caribbean . . 3,000
  • Near East/South Asia . . . .28,000
  • Unallocated Reserve . . . . 10,000

To read the entire Presidential Determination and see information about some specific countries affected by the determination, click on the link: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2007/10/20071002-2.html

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Refugees on screen

UNHCR, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, has a new feature on the UNHCR Website.

There is an ever-growing collection of short videos about current refugee issues. You can also watch the videos on YouTube. To see a list and descriptions of the videos, go to http://www.unhcr.org/static/home/webvideos_pre.htm and http://www.unhcr.org/static/home/webvideos.htm

Friday, September 21, 2007

We Are Inundated!!! Help!

Buried in Referrals!!
The latest update from Home Tutoring Central finds your volunteer coordinator buried under a teetering stack of new refugee referrals. Yikes! Thirty-something this month (so far) with more coming every day.

If you are currently between students or have taken a break from tutoring, please consider working with someone new. The bulk of the new arrivals live at 13th and Yosemite, S. Quebec at Yale, and in Glendale (Mississippi and Colorado). There are others randomly scattered throughout the metro area.

The new arrivals are coming mostly from Burma, as well as Somalia, Ethiopia, and Iran (Baha'i Faith). Iraqis are due to arrive soon. All levels of education/literacy and economic background are represented. There are also many referrals for clients who are senior citizens or who have a variety of physical disabilities from deafness and partial blindness to limited mobility. These refugees are perhaps the most isolated of all.

Let me know if you can take on another student (fingers crossed). Thank you!

Iraqi Refugees are Finally Arriving

In case you missed it, the local media heavily covered the arrival of the first Iraqi family of many scheduled to arrive in Denver. Click on the links to read the articles.
Denver Post: Click here
Channel 4: Click here
Rocky Mountain News: Click here
Channel 9: Click here
Photo © Denver Post/Brian Brainerd

I have one Iraqi student in my class at this time. She has told me again and again that the refugees who are coming here are very frightened and they worry that Americans will dislike anyone from Iraq. I asked what we should do to show that's not true, and she said, "Smile. Say hello. Be kind. Welcome." --SM

Friday, September 14, 2007

Brush up on your skills!!

The best inservice training ever!
Back to Basics: Techniques for Every Tutor
Saturday, September 29, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
EGOS 1250 Welton St., downtown Denver -- Room 146

You asked for it, and your requests have been heard! Join us for an in-service training and brush up on your teaching skills. Three top-notch ESL professionals are coming to share what they know. Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to learn from the pros! Everyone who attends will receive a canvas tote bag!

· Literacy fundamentals: Working with the low-level learner

Katie Collins, MA
Katie has taught ESL at all levels and currently works with literacy-level refugee students. She is also an instructional specialist in the Work Intensive Skills Program
·Speaking and listening activities with authentic applications
Kim Hosp, MA
Kim currently teaches an intermediate refugee ESL class and
is also a specialist in the Work Intensive Skills Camp Program at EGOS

·Integrating grammar into everyday lessons

Dana Harper, MA
Dana’s teaching background includes teaching ESL at the
university level. She currently teaches a number of advanced-level refugee and regular ESL classes at EGOS

The day will be broken up into two parts: The same three sessions will be presented twice so you'll be able to attend two classes in one day. Each class is 75 minutes long. We’ll start with a 15-minute introduction and there will be one 15-minute break between sessions.

ï Please RSVP before Thursday, September 27 ð

Monday, September 10, 2007

Movie night September 13!!

You are invited to a special screening of the award-winning PBS documentary:

Rain in a Dry Land
Thursday, September 13

Emily Griffith Opportunity School, R
oom 123
6:30 p.m. gather and introduction

6:45 p.m. Movie starts

For a refugee, the distance between an African village and an American city is measured in much more than miles. It is a journey of enormous cultural, physical, personal and emotional adjustment. Rain in a Dry Land chronicles two years of that journey for two Somali Bantu families.

Resettlement brings surprises and challenges as the newcomers confront racism, urban poverty, and major 21st-century culture shock. The film captures every step of this process as parents struggle to create a stable, safe haven for their war-torn families, and children struggle to navigate the social and academic challenges of school.

Each person’s unique experience provides an outstanding opportunity for Americans to learn about refugees in the U.S. and to see ourselves and our culture through new eyes. This film is compelling, emotionally moving, and very thought-provoking.

For more information about the film, visit http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2007/raininadryland/
EGOS is located at 1250 Welton St., Denver, CO 80204

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Check out our sister site!

Exciting things are happening! We recently embarked on a new adventure with the Saturday Ladies' Group at Grace Apartments. This project didn't take off, it blasted off!
Check out our little blog at http://refugeecrafts.blogspot.com

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Help Hajia, support peace

Come support PeaceJammers!

  • What: Barnes and Noble Book Fair benefiting the Omega Women's Conference PeaceJam Team
  • Where: Barnes and Noble at 960 S. Colorado Blvd. (Just north of Mississippi Ave.)
  • Time: 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Sept. 7-8-9.
Please come and show your support! Click this link to pull up a printable version of the PeaceJam Barnes and Noble Voucher: http://www.peacejam.org/mailing/BarnesandNobleVouchers.doc ,or stop by the PeaceJam table to pick one up. You must have a voucher for your purchase to count toward the fundraiser.

Why should you do this?
PeaceJam has an incredible opportunity to send student representatives to the Omega Women's Conference in New York! This conference features over 600 women leaders including all of the women who have won the Nobel Peace Prize!

Hajia Muya, a Somali Bantu refugee living in Denver, is among the 10 amazing young women who were awarded a scholarship to attend the conference. Entrance fees, meals and hotels are paid for through this scholarship, but funds are still needed for airfare.

If you need to buy books for school or fun, or perhaps a CD or a gift, buy it at the Barnes & Noble on S. Colorado Blvd. this weekend so that your purchase will benefit these young women!

Monday, September 3, 2007

We take it for granted

The next time you stand in your kitchen and turn on the faucet, think for a moment what it would be like if nothing came out. Access to clean water is one of the most serious crises facing people around the world. In Somalia, a reporter gives his account of a seemingly simple problem that is incredibly complicated to fix. This article from Slate is worth five minutes of your time--it's valuable food for thought.

Friday, August 31, 2007

August Hours are DUE!!!

It's time to report your tutoring hours for August.

Please don't forget.

Please report your hours no later than Friday, September 7. You can just send the information via email.

Also, don't forget to RSVP for the inservice trainings!!! Session descriptions are on the upper right side of this screen. So far, I'm the only one signed up. For both.

Have a fabulous Labor Day weekend! --SM

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Free clothes!

Safari Seconds Thrift Store is holding a clothing giveaway. It is open to the public and all are invited to come and shop for dresses, pants, shirts and much more. Everything outside the store will be free; items in the store are for sale.

When: Friday, Aug 31, 11:00am-1:00pm and the last Friday of every month!!
: Safari Seconds Thrift Store, 410 Broadway, Denver, CO, 80203

Safari Seconds Thrift Store is a program of the African Community Center, a refugee resettlement agency in Denver, Colorado. All proceeds from the store go to support the cause.
For more information call Emily, Thrift Store Manager, at 303-722-4500.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Artists build cultural bridges

Here is an interesting article about a group of musicians collaborating across countires, oceans, and the Internet. Very cool! http://www.usatoday.com/life/music/2007-08-11-musical-diplomacy_N.htm?csp=34&POE=click-refer

Evaluating the program

Last week, I met with someone from the State Refugee Office regarding, well, everything about this program. She asked me if the volunteers evaluated the program upon leaving their tutoring positions. I told her that we had never done that, as most people were pretty good about giving feedback as they went along. It looks like I'll have to put a more formal system in place, but I would like your input as I create the evaluation tool. Please consider:

Which areas do you think you would like to comment on? I figured you would want to say something about:
  • training
  • communication with the coordinator
  • technical support
  • inservice trainings (but maybe not this year--it was a bad year!)
  • student matching process
  • Why you volunteered and whether or not you got what you wanted from the program
  • What you wanted but didn't get within the program
  • suggestions

Now, I am not asking you to tell me your opinions at this time; I want to know if there is something else about the program that bears consideration but that I haven't thought of. Is there something I should add to the list that you, as a tutor, feel you would like to rate or comment on when you leave us?

Let me know your thoughts at sharon_mccreary@dpsk12.org. Thanks!

ESL Job Opportunities

I am just passing this along for those of you who are interested in a paid position:
Focus Points Family Resource Center is looking for qualified ESL Instructors!
Please email Jolene Goerend, Adult Education Director at joleneg@focuspoints.org, if interested.
The available classes are:

Ford Elementary
14500 Maxwell Place
Denver, CO 80239

Level 1
Mon/Wed 5 - 7:30 pm
5 hrs teaching, 8 hours paid weekly
starts Sept 10th

Oakland Elementary
4580 Dearborn Street
Denver, CO 80239

Mixed Level
Tues/Wed/Thurs 9 - 11 am
6 hrs teaching, 9 hours paid weekly
starts Sept 11th

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Culturally Connecting

Girl Power!
Last week, one of our volunteers, Anna Hebbert, bravely volunteered to take a group of Somali young ladies to a Rapids Soccer game. Honestly, it often seems like when it comes to refugee kids and sports, the boys usually get all of the attention and have all of the fun. Kudos to Anna for giving these girls some much-needed special attention and a very cool excursion!

Pre-game hanging out

The girls at the game

Save the Dates!

Next training for NEW tutors: Saturday, September 22.
Applications are available online at www.refugee-esl.org. These forms must be printed out and submitted via fax or U.S. mail.

In-Service Training
These dates are tentative and should be finalized by September 1.
  • Movie night: Rain in a Dry Land, Thursday, September 13, 6:30 p.m. This PBS documentary film follows the lives and resettlement progress of some of the first Somali Bantu families who came to the U.S. The film provides a compelling look at issues surroounding cultural adjustment and perceptions, and an insightful exploration of the resettlement process itself.

  • Class: Back to Basics: Techniques for Every Tutor, Saturday, September 29, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. A general refresher on some techniques you may have forgotten or just always wanted to try.

Because we will need to utilize staff other than myself for these inservice trainings (including a projectionist and additional teachers), please RSVP so I can gauge the level of interest and anticipated attendance. Thanks!

Friday, August 17, 2007

July news!

Hello, everyone!

It's the end of July, and you know what that means—it's time to report your tutoring hours for this past month. I know that there will be fewer hours than usual since many of you have been on vacation or busy doing summer things.

Please don't forget to include your student's name with the number of hours you spent together. Thanks!

My regular email address seems to be working OK now, so feel free to send your messages to sharon_mccreary@dpsk12.org.

My office closes for summer break beginning at 3:01 p.m. on Thursday, August 2. I will be out of the office for two weeks, returning on August 20. I'll be checking email until August 6, when I compile my monthly report, but not after that. In fact, I'll be out of town for a good portion of the break. I'm going to Phoenix (Scottsdale, actually). It may be unbelievably hot there in August, but the airfare was really cheap. Beats sitting in the wading pool in my backyard like I did last year. I hope.

So, what's going on this month? Plenty! This is going to be a very long post. I recommend that you print it out.

Facts and figures
It's easy to feel like you're alone and on your own in this program since you don't often have the opportunity to interact with other volunteers. The truth is, you're in very good company! At any given time, there are between 75-100 students in the program and an equal number of tutors.
Here's something else to think about: In the first three quarters of this fiscal year (October 06 through June 07), all of you together dedicated far in excess of 3,000 hours of time to this program. Way to go! The actual number is probably higher as not all of you (ahem) report your hours each month.

In July, 12 tutors started working with a student in our program, and a few others rejoined us after taking a break. Welcome and good luck!!

But, the need is never met!
I once again have a long list of students waiting for a tutor and the list is getting longer. This is the busiest time of year for refugee resettlement. We're getting inundated with refugees from Burma via the Thai camps that were closed down. If you've been taking a break from tutoring and you'd like to start again, just let me know!

Speaking of Burmese…If you are currently working with a Burmese student or you just recently started, let me give you a heads up. The Burmese Karen women are very eager to learn and they are really resourceful. You may have been assigned to work with one student, but it's entirely possible several women will want to join you. Some of the Burmese women actually meet with multiple tutors (just to confuse me!) throughout the week.

It is perfectly OK with me if you work with a group, as long as you're OK with it. There are a lot of things you can do with a group of students that aren't possible with just one. The only thing I request is that you let me know who all of the women are that you're working with.

Like teaching computers?
I have a student in the Stapleton redevelopment complex who needs a new tutor. She's Somali Bantu, she's very young and very sweet. Habiba has worked quite hard to learn the English she knows, but she wants to continue to learn more, including literacy. She has a computer and is very eager to master computer skills. Please let me know if you're interested in working with Habiba. She's lovely!

Upcoming Inservice Trainings
We are very behind in our inservice trainings for this fiscal year. There will be two coming up very close together in September. Exact dates haven't been set yet, but should be coming soon.
The first session will be a screening of the PBS documentary, Rain in a Dry Land. This film was featured on PBS close to World Refugee Day. The film documents the resettlement of Somali Bantu families and their subsequent adjustment to living in the United States.

The second session will be a workshop, tentatively titled: Back to Basics: Techniques for every tutor. This session will review some of the common activities and techniques that are effective for those who teach English in a one-to-one situation, especially in a home setting. I hope to include information about how to incorporate the use of textbooks in your teaching.

Looking for a job?
I have received a couple of ESL job postings recently for very part-time work—like five hours a week. Let me know if you would like to have these forwarded to you.

An excellent resource for you!
The Literacy Network of Washington (NOW) has been working on some cool stuff. They are working on a rewrite of the tutor handbook we use (they wrote the originals, as well, under the name Tacoma Community House). The organization also has a free handbook for home tutors who are working with students have a very low level of literacy. I can send it to you, or you can download Making It Real for free (.pdf document) from the NOW Website: http://www.literacynow.info/PDF/prelit.pdf
Literacy NOW also publishes the best, most amazing, incredibly helpful newsletters available for ESL tutors. Do yourself a big favor and read them! http://www.literacynow.info/resources/newsletter.html The most recent issue doesn't really start until page 7, and the topic is employment readiness. Don't stop there—scroll down to read (and print out) the other editions, as well. Each newsletter has teaching strategies, resources, and homework ideas. I only wish I could put together a newsletter that is even half as useful as those published by Literacy NOW.

More professional development!
The Center for Applied Linguistics has a sister organization, the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition. Their Website is packed with articles about teaching ESL, adult education, literacy, culture…and lots of things you haven't even realized you needed yet! There is also a list of books commonly used in adult ESL programs (I'm familiar with most of them, so if you have questions, please ask).http://www.cal.org/caela/esl_resources/ This is a very big Website, so you'll want to bookmark it for future reference.

Beds Needed!
With the overwhelming influx of refugees going on right now, at least one resettlement agency is running out of furnishings, particularly beds. Ecumenical Refugee & Immigration Services is in desperate need of beds and bedding (sheets, blankets, etc.) in all sizes. Ecumenical is looking for good condition mattress and box spring sets with frames. The agency will arrange to pick up the bed at your location. Saturday pickups are available. Bedding will most likely have to be dropped off at the ERIS office at 16th & Downing.

This is a tax deductible donation. Donations coordinator Joyce Hansen (303-860-0128 ext. 30) will be happy to mail you a receipt after pickup has been made.

ERIS, one of three resettlement agencies sending refugee students to EGOS, is only just starting their busy season and is expected to receive many more refugee families over the next few months. Please donate beds, bedding, towels, and any other "good condition" household items to this nonprofit refugee agency to help out a newly arrived family in need.

As a person who visits many refugee homes, I can tell you that some of the donated furniture in use is pretty sad. Also, there continues to be a significant shortage of lamps (and light bulbs!) and coffee tables. You know, I keep waiting to find all of my donated furniture and kitchen items when I walk into a refugee home one of these days!

Movie announcement!
Harvest of Hope and Newmarket films cordially invite you to a special screening of God Grew Tired of Us, a three-time winner at the Sundance Film Festival. http://www.godgrewtiredofus.com/

This film, produced by National Geographic, follows the story of three young men from Sudan, former "Lost Boys," as they work their way through the resettlement process and then use what they've learned to help others. As one of the filmmakers put it,
"I wanted to make sure that this was more than a `fish out of water' story... I knew there was much more to be said," says Quinn. "This story was about coming into a new world and, despite the fact the it was daunting and crazy and upside down, I was thinking that once they got their footing, they would turn their attentions back to helping their friends and family in Africa. Which is exactly what happened."
The screening benefits Harvest of Hope, partnering with Church World Service and Ecumenical Refugee Service.

Premier Screening: Thursday August 16, 2007 7:00 p.m. doors open – 7:45 p.m. show, Starz Theatre, 900 Auraria Parkway (Auraria campus). Hosted by Stephanie Riggs
Tickets: $10 per person

Additional Screenings:
Wednesday, August 22, at Park Hill United Methodist Church, 5209 Montview Blvd.
Thursday, August 23, at Temple Emanuel, 51 Grape St.
7:00 p.m. doors open – 7:45 p.m. show
Tickets: $10 per person

On a related note: John Bul Dau, one of the young men profiled in God Grew tired of Us, will be the keynote speaker at the 2007 Harvest of Hope Dinner at the Denver Performing Arts Center in October. To learn more about the event and Mr. Dau, visit here.

African Community Center will host an all-you-can-eat breakfast on Sunday, August 19, from 8:00 a.m. to noon.
Pablo's Coffee, 630 E. 6th Ave., Denver
Breakfast will include pancakes, sausage, juice, and coffee. There will also be entertainment, a prize drawing, and a jump castle for the kids.
Tickets are $5 presale, or $7 day of the event. Advance tickets are available at the Safari Seconds Thrift Store (410 Broadway), The Learning Center (1601 Downing St.), Pablo's Coffee, or through Kevin Mohatt at ACC: 303-399-4500.

Feeling in the mood for a little culture?
The First Annual Russian Festival
Saturday, August 25, 2007
10: a.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Creek Side Park
4400 E. Virginia Ave.
Glendale, CO 80246

Food, live music, dance performances, children's concert, face painting (with a Russian flair), arts and crafts, Russian history mini-museum, and more! ADMISSION AND PARKING ARE FREE!!!
http://www.russianfestivaldenver.com/ 303-699-1252

Speaking of Glendale…
Did you know that Swallow Hill Music Center presents a folk music concert in Glendale every Wednesday evening in the summer? Tickets are $10. It's not free, but it could be a fun splurge for you and your student. Shows are at the Four Mile House Historic Park and they begin at 6:30. Click here for more information.

Food for thought
If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples, then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.
--George Bernard Shaw

Whew. I think that's it. Don't forget I'll be out of the office for two weeks. Please report your hours as soon as possible—I really don't want to spend a minute here that I don't have to during my vacation.

As always, thanks for all you do! I never cease to be amazed by your dedication and creativity. You inspire me!

"I have learned much from my teachers, but more from my students." --Maimonides