Category Archives: Students


In my words, July 29 – August 4

… If you were going to teach English to someone who didn’t speak it, what would be the first thing you’d teach? There is a game I sometimes play with beginners, a kind of bingo with a die and some beans for markers. Call it […]


In my words, July 8 – 14

……… It has just begun to rain, freshening the remains of the day. Cachito was glad to see me when I came home. I threw his toy mouse and he ran batting it down the hall, grabbing it in his jaws, bringing it back for […]

yellow snake

In my words, February 4 – 10

My friend Tony came home from work, unlocked his door and saw his cat sitting by the refrigerator, not paying any attention to him as it usually did meeowing its greeting when he came in, but like an Egyptian statue, the silent cat looked straight […]



How do you teach someone something they don’t Know? The first thing that comes to mind is by Example. Look a student in the eye Even if she’s blind; otherwise she won’t Understand you. The stone deaf will hear love When they are touched by […]

My class December 2011

Students & Sonnet 66: My Spanish-speaking students ask me where

December 21, 2011 On discussing the qualities of confidence the other day, a group of my students decided that the ability to be persuaded, to change your mind was a quality of confidence, because only those with confidence in their own abilities to make choices […]

the caretaker's mop

Homesickness by Min

… It is a flying bird without feet but never gets tired It is a strong tree without roots but never turns weak It keeps disturbing wonderful dreams Hence souls wander forever … Min was a student of mine during my Wuhan University stay in […]


On writing a sonnet this week

Last Monday morning I told myself that I was going to write a sonnet over the week completing three lines a day ending with two lines on Friday. Each morning I’d write and post them on Facebook with short videos of students of mine in […]

body parts apollo daphne

Body Parts (from NY Chronicles 2001)

… Sunday was semi-sunny in spots, Memorial Weekend, Loisaida Day on Avenue C, the day you’re proud to be a Puerto Rican. There were squeals of happy children on the endless ferris wheel and a really good salsa band was playing, gift from Councilwoman Margarita […]


China Journal

Saturday, July 8, 2006 I am in the stuffy dining car of the train heading toward Wuhan, China as the dawn presents the passing countryside: farmland, stone houses, electric poles and wires, and a distant mountain range. There’s a tall granary, a beautiful stone wall. […]

correction marks

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Four: Writing a Story and Using Correction Marks

… Introduction: If we want students to write well, it’s good to emphasize correction marks. When students use them, it helps them to focus on the writing and to think about punctuation and syntax. All correction marks are pretty similar. I’ve borrowed some of mine […]


ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Three: Practicing Syntax: Agreeing and Disagreeing (either, neither, and, but, so, and too)

… Introduction: The first four activities in this lesson are pre-reading ones, designed to get students used to working together writing, talking and thinking about language and syntax. In this activity, the teacher talk is about main verbs and helping verbs in compound sentences. The […]

Simple sentence

ESL Lesson: The Rabbit and the Turtle: Activity Two: Writing Simple Sentences

… Objective: Students will understand the simple structure of a sentence by writing four kinds of sentences using the completed Venn diagrams from Activity One as prompts: affirmative and negative sentences, and Yes/No and explanation questions. Students will write explanation questions of their own, ask […]