Saturday, February 22, 2020

The Black Experience - Past and Present

Hello, students of the seniors' class!

This week we are studying the library while reserving the last school day of each week for reading the life of Josiah Henson.

You asked me to give examples of modern-day racism and discrimination in Canada. This news report on The Black Experience Project should help us understand better.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

History of Black Lives in Windsor-Essex Area

I am SO happy that you voted YES to read my abridged story of Josiah Henson, drawn from his autobiography. This week we examined outdated and preferred language for talking about slavery and those who held other people as property.

We thought about the invasion of Iraq. What language is used when the U.S. government describes this event? Liberated. Spread democracy. What language do many Iraqis use? Invaded. Destroyed a civilization.

We must consider whose perspective we are reading. How are attitudes embedded in language?

Here are some links you can use in the lab on Friday or from home.

Redeeming Uncle Tom is a movie we will watch together, but Nahlah asked to have it early.

Go to my website for other ESL teachers and check out the links there under African Canadian History.

For those wanting to practice common daily English phrases, check these links out! Don't forget that you can adjust the speed and turn on closed captioning (CC).

Friday, January 31, 2020

In the New Semester

This week we bid farewell and good luck to exiting students and new Canadian citizens Nabil and Raja. We hope they will meet us in public when we go on field trips! Meanwhile, as soon as she finishes her virus quarantine, another student recently returned from China will be re-joining our class after a very long absence. We are also getting a new student Monday.

Monday was Y Olympics, and my room became the quiet room for table games while the rest of the student body and teachers got boisterous in the gym with hilarious competitions like stacking beanbags on one's forehead.
SET! (rules went out the window)

Quarto won Mensa game of the year when it came out!

Saadallah said he has the same exact magnetic travel game as mine at his home.

Thursday you had your conferences with me, and everyone gave me useful feedback. Here are some suggestions and comments from you:

Another school promoted me too quickly from level one to three to five, skipping levels. I have never learned the common level two words. My goal is to learn level 2 vocabulary solidly.

I want common everyday spoken English so I can understand a group of native speakers chatting around the water cooler at break time where I volunteer.

Please give us short, interesting stories.

My reading and writing abilities are strong. I need more speaking and listening. I know my listening skills are poor. I want a conversation partner who talks a lot, not a quiet one.

If you drop the level of this class in February, please give me extra material to read. (Two students said this.) Teach the same topic to both groups, the advanced and lower groups, but use a more difficult, richer version for the advanced group.

We benefit from giving presentations and doing role plays and skits because it forces us to practice a lot until we remember the phrases in English. Making our brains work hard staves off dementia, you said.

It is hard for me to focus when so much is going on back home (violence, war).

All of you expressed appreciation for the CONTENT of our modules and said you really benefited from learning about Uber, air travel, hearing and hearing loss, falling and falls prevention, the LIHN, and the new dental health program for seniors in Ontario.

Okay! That was a lot of great feedback! Here are some answers I have to your feedback:

Yes, we are going to drop the level of the class to a high 2, low 3 in February. I will need a lot of help and support doing this in a multilevel class. I will do my best to give higher level students their own version of materials, but this is only possible with some resource packages that I have access to. Many times, I will simply ask those of you who want a challenge to do something extra with the same material. We'll see how that pans out!

I wish I could give you short, interesting stories, but I have spent hours and hours and hours searching for them. The only good sources I've found are five or six very old, tattered books in the teachers' library here at school. Those stories are so tired; we've read them again and again. The pig that called 911! The baby born on the subway platform! I'll see if I can find a newer edition of one that my manager can order us.

This past week we used the book Pronunciation Pairs, which has silly (not true) stories designed to make us practice a certain pair of consonant or vowel sounds in English. Let's start using that book more often. Saiying said it was useful.

As for the request for the basic vocabulary taught at the lower levels, I am going to give everyone a copy of the new General Service List of the first 2000 words needed to speak and understand everyday spoken English. We will highlight any that you don't already know well and use them in common phrases and in our chats.

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Happy Year of the Rat

Happy Chinese New Year! Perhaps Saiying will enjoy this little film about a two-stringed instrument. Is it the same one she and her husband know how to play?

This week we looked at evocative photos that elicited interesting language. One category of word or phrase that came up was interjections and exclamations. Here is a little lesson on some of them.

Here is a short tour of Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, the one Huarong visited with his family. It is fascinating!

Tour of Monument Valley is below. Turn on Closed Captioning / subtitles.

Click HERE to visit the Plan Your Trip page of ViaRail's website to see where they go and how much fares are. Explore destinations in Ontario and Quebec.

Enjoy your new year's celebrations, Chinese students.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Falls Prevention and Injury Minimization

Hello, students of the seniors' class!

Click HERE to practice sentences and spelling.

Just as we were getting into our unit on falls prevention and how to fall to minimize injury, one of you took a tumble and ended up with a broken nose. We are all so happy that our classmate is okay.

Here are some videos to help you practice the concepts and vocabulary around this topic. On the 15th, Amanda from the U of Windsor's kinesiology department will come talk to us about preventing falls and what to do if you have already tripped and know you are going down.

Here is another short but helpful video.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Considering Hearing Aids

Hello, class!

You didn't get to these links last week because of the school survey. They are still here!

Bonnie from Canadian Hearing Society came and gave us a one-hour presentation.

This week you told me you want more information about hearing aid brands, where each is manufactured, which are the best, and how long rechargeable batteries can last. Below please find some short, simple videos to help you understand more about these topics.

In January, Bonnie will return on two days for your screenings. We have prepared for her visit by learning to read the screening form and practicing following the verbal directions she will give you when she administers your screening.

We also now know how to read a hearing aid bill of sale or invoice and receipt.


ReSound is the manufacturer of my hearing aids. Here is their YouTube channel.

Miracle Ear is a hearing aid manufacturer. They have a lot of video ads that are cute.

What are "real ear measures?"

Pick the best hearing aid

Don't forget that you can make the video SLOWER. You can turn on Closed Captioning.

If you are not at school on Friday after break, have a good weekend.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan

This week we are viewing The Miracle Worker starring Anne Bancroft as Annie Sullivan and Patty Duke as young Helen Keller.

LOG IN to Spelling City to work with our new words and sentences. Put in your username and password--NO CAPITAL LETTERS, NO SPACES!!!

We listened to this summary of the story and did language exercises.

I'm glad we learned about fingerspelling before watching the movie.
Wikimedia Commons
We will really have a lot of schematic knowledge by the time Bonnie comes to speak to us!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Hearing and Hearing Loss

Hello, students!

Huarong reminded me that I had agreed to bring in a speaker to talk to you all about hearing aids. I'm sorry to say that my audiologist has never responded to my many messages. So I contacted the Canadian Hearing Society and was put in touch with Bonnie in their education and outreach department. She is happy to come out and give us a presentation on hearing, types of hearing loss, and hearing devices. She can even do a sort of screening, but it's not a hearing test. She is not permitted to administer an actual hearing test.

Meanwhile, let's begin learning about the ear and hearing, shall we?

And here is an instructional video on fingerspelling in American Sign Language.

And here is a little lesson on 25 basic ASL signs for beginners.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Taxi Alternatives

This week we are learning about the Uber app because you requested that. Lyft has not yet come to our city.

I got the information from WikiHow.

Here is a helpful video on how to talk to your driver.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Travelling Around

Hello, students of the seniors' class!

Most of you voted for us to study travel and transportation, especially the listening skills needed  in an airport and on a plane.

Use this website to practice some air travel vocabulary.

This video teaches air travel phrases and terms.

We cannot study ALL the announcements you may hear over the intercom while traveling through airports and while on board your flights. Our energy will be better spent learning how to ask the person next to us such questions as, "Excuse me, did they just announce the flight to Toronto?"

However, you can read through all of the most common air travel announcement scripts HERE.

Here is an in-flight announcement LISTENING text and quiz.

If you want to listen to some airport and in-flight announcements while reading them, click here.

Here's a great video to help you get ready for your summer airport experience.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Our Urban Foraging Expedition

Hello, students of the seniors' class.

We had a very successful urban foraging expedition, didn't we?

We learned a new word: ubiquitous. Plantain is ubiquitous.

Finally! Purslane!

Champion forager Saiying

Eyes to the ground
Back to class with our bounties

What we found

Catcher of big fish and big purslane

Here are some recipes for Burdock:

A Japanese Recipe for Burdock (video)

How to eat the stems and stalks (video)

More Burdock recipes (text)

Here you can learn about the benefits of dandelion tea.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Erie St. Clair LIHN

This week we are continuing to learn more about our Local Integrated Health Network and what it can do for us.

You can use this time to do your equipment shopping homework.

Read about Home and Community Care.

Click "I'm a Patient," and then "Getting Started" to learn how to get an assessment.

That's all for this week. You may wish to go back and watch some videos I posted in September. Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 27, 2019

Virtual Tours, LIHN, Equipment

Hello, students of the seniors' class!

Maria did a great job teaching us about long-term care homes and the residents' bill of rights. She said we can take virtual tours of Windsor's LTC homes. Here are some links for that.

First, here is a list of LTC homes in Windsor.

Huron Lodge 
Village of Aspen Lake
Banwell Gardens
Extendicare Southwood Lakes
Heron Terrace

We've decided to segue from long-term care homes to a module about our LIHN (Local Integrated Health Network). I wrote a book about this before. We can use it again if we remember to scratch out the term CCAC and replace it with the term LIHN.

We've just read the story of Olive Smith and have started a discussion. Next we will learn about equipment we can buy, borrow or rent. You can begin to look at Maxim Medical's aids to daily living and other products.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Care Home Residents' Bill of Rights

Hi, students!

Monday and Tuesday we are looking at the Bill of Rights for residents of care homes in Ontario. In this video, you can listen as someone reads the rights.

Here is a document where you can read about each right. I think Maria will give each of you a copy of this. The above are pretty dry, so this video may help make things clearer on Monday.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Victoria Ave Walking Tour

Do you remember reading about the six strategies for effective learning? One of them was "interleaving." That means studying one subject for a little while then switching to another thing for a little while and perhaps a third thing for a while before going back to the first. This is a better way to get information into long-term memory than studying in one big block of time and then moving on.

Thanks to the four seasons we have here in Ontario, we will be forced to do some interleaving this month. We want to get ready to study care homes with Maria, but now is the best time for the Victoria Avenue Walking Tour that you have suggested we repeat. We did that a few years ago and I am also keen to go again!

This website has a wealth of information about Ontario architecture.

Here is a good website for a quick view of many architectural styles we will see on our walk.

If you want to walk or cycle around Windsor and learn about houses that are on the heritage register, you can download and print that out from HERE.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Care Homes in Ontario

Hi, students!

Maria Giannotti of the Compassionate Community Project of Windsor-Essex Hospice will be with us on the 24th to give us information about care homes. We will begin acquiring some new vocabulary and concepts the weeks prior to her visit.

Friday in the computer lab, you can learn about a leader in creating a new model of care in long-term care homes in Ontario: Schlegel Villages. They have been pioneers in a culture shift from the medical model to a social model.

Here you can read the eight aspirations that guide them in growing and evolving toward what they want the experience to be for their staff and residents.

Schlegel Villages has a YouTube channel with a variety of short videos about life in their care homes, which they call "villages" because they are set up to resemble streets and neighbourhoods.


Update: I have finished tallying the votes from this week's NEEDS ASSESSMENT. The topics we will study this semester are:

  1. Health and Safety. Topics include safe urban foraging, how to fall, a fun line dance, the most common diseases, their symptoms and their diagnostic tools
  2. Fun and travel (transportation). Topics will include airport announcement listening strategies and two new app-based ride services: Lyft and Uber
  3. Canada. Topics will include our rights and responsibilities as good citizens in a local context, city government, our B.I.A.
  4. Community Services. Topic will be our Local Integrated Health Network (LIHN).
  5. Law. Topic you requested is traffic laws.
We decided to reserve the right to occasionally insert other short topics that may be seasonal or timely.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Who We Are

Welcome back, everyone! And welcome to the newest member of our seniors' class. I have a feeling this is going to be a great semester with lots of fun adventures and learning.

Today we filled out little templates to help us get better acquainted. Here are the intriguing results!

Excellent job, everyone! We rocked this!

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Practice English this Summer

Here are some links to materials you can study over the summer:

Health - beginning. Scroll down to see the PDFs and the audio files.

Health - intermediate. Scroll down to see the PDFs and the audio files.

About Canada. This book is divided into levels and topics.

For listening practice, I suggest you watch English with Jennifer.

Don't forget to chat with Canadians wherever you go. Remember our gambits? You can talk about the weather, compliment someone on a beautiful dog or beautiful child, or ask the fishermen and women at the riverfront if they can share their catch.

Enjoy your summer!

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Jackson Park in Lovely Weather

Hello, students!
Those who did not have appointments today came out to Jackson Park for a picnic and camaraderie. We saw flowers, Robins, dragonflies and park workers fixing everything up for the summer. Nahla was kind enough to bring enough kaleicha for everyone, while Manlin brought bananas. The statue of Rabbie Burns was hard to access due to construction, as were the washrooms. But we found some bleachers to sit on. Nahlah played badminton. She has a lot of energy.


Ostrich Fern and Colombine



Wild Geranium (?)

Reading the names of area pilots who perished

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Movie Choices

Our picnic is Tuesday, June 11. Some students will go on the city bus with Kelly just after 9:00, meeting at the corner of Park and Ouellette. Other students will meet us in Jackson Park by the Tecumseh Road entrance. See you!

You've asked me for a movie. My NFB choices have not gone over that well. Nabil suggested Some Like It Hot with Marilyn Monroe. It is 2 hours and a minute. We would have to start it right at 9:00 and give up a few minutes of our break or run a few minutes over at the end of class.

Singing in the Rain is only 1 hour and 43 minutes.

I've emailed my mom for more ideas. She suggested Gigi, but it's too long.

What about The King's Speech? It's just under two hours, very tight but do-able.