New Years Opportunities

January 29, 2020

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The first month of a historic new year is now winding down to an end.  In a few days we will be greeting February.  However, we cannot forget that January is the month of New Year’s Resolutions.

There are, of course, two types of resolutions: Those that are freshly made that we hope to accomplish, and those which were made a year ago and have changed our lives throughout the past year.

In speaking with my students, they listed many different goals for this year (or beyond) ranging from visiting family in another state or country, buying a house, buying a car, going to college, becoming a doctor, getting a GED, getting a better job, learning more English.

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Some of Last year’s New Year’s Resolutions were recently revisited by Teacher Mary in her advanced GED English class.  Here are a couple of their inspiring stories:

Last year one of my students made the resolution to stop smoking and drinking. After one year he is happy to report that he has been successful!  So this year his resolution is to read the Nepali Bible every day.   His success was so inspiring to his classmates that one has decided to make the same goal this year.

In speaking with another student, she said she made the resolution last year to save $50 a week.  Although she was mainly successful, she realized it was just too much, so this year she modified her goal to save $20 a week.  She puts the money immediately in the bank so she doesn’t spend it.

Many of our students like to travel, too, and often have to work through the steps to take time off of work, save money, and plan for traveling expenses.  This year I have one student planning a trip to Bangkok.

Of course all our students have the goal of “learning more English,” and as a school, we have been working with the students to identify the steps needed to grow and develop better English skills.  We have talked about the need to incorporate many skills into learning such as listening, speaking, reading, and writing.  We have also discussed the dedication and hard work the students put into learning a new language.  It is a motivating and inspiring thing to see their positive attitudes and their continued success.

Here’s to all of you that you may also be successful in this coming New Year!

 

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

 

 


What’s in a Name?

December 10, 2019

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It is a unique world that I teach in. On a typical day I have students from Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Congo, Burundi, China, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, Ukraine…and a handful of other countries. I find that even what appears to be the simplest name may actually be a tongue twister for my American English tongue.

 
And yet, I am told, and firmly believe, that names show respect to people and help to create community and camaraderie. More importantly, as a teacher, it shows that I care when I try to pronounce a name correctly, even if I fail miserably.

 
And just What’s In a Name?

 
My obsession with names began long ago. I would spend hours as a child going over my grandmother’s name book and carefully pick out the best names with the best meanings for my future children…or a character in my most recent attempt at novel writing.
When I became an English instructor at LSS, my obsession with names continued. I found it fascinating to hear all the different names and pronunciations. I also found it intriguing that all my Nepalese women seemed to have the same middle name…Maya…and my Nepali men a common middle name…Bahadur. In fact I was so intrigued that I finally asked why? After a lengthy explanation, my students told me that Maya means “love” and Bahadur means “bravery.” They also informed me that first names, too, had meanings, such as Santi means “peace,” Chhabi means “key,” and Phul means “flower.”

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Recently I was able to discuss names with some of my other students from around the globe. We discussed: Who chose their name? Does their name have a special meaning? What is common practice with naming children in their home countries? Students were more than eager to share with me (and often laugh with me as I tried very hard to get the names right).

 
One interesting thing I learned was that a student from Sudan was named according to the day of the week. If a child was born on a Tuesday, the girls were all one name and the boys another, and then of course the other days had their own corresponding names. He said though that things have changed over the years, and this is not necessarily followed any more.

 
Additionally, another Sudanese student shared that children receive their own name plus the name of their father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. Thus a child could be named Aziza Mohammed Ali Osman (child-father-grandfather-great-grandfather’s names respectively) and this goes for either a boy or a girl.

 
My own name was always kind of an embarrassment for me as a child, and even today I have students calling me “Hi There,” “He There,” and “Heater.” Coincidentally a gentleman from Ethiopia shared that he, too, was always embarrassed about his name as a child as it is not a common name. In fact it was at the suggestion of a family friend that he received his moniker. Then one day he heard his name (at the refugee camp no less) and there was another with his name. He said he was so relieved to meet someone else with his name.

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Finally, for today, a student from China explained that their name means “Red Sun.” For him, this was a good name, to be named for the beautiful red sun in the sky. Certainly this was a name that he was proud of, just as my other students are proud of their names and their heritage…just as I am proud of my name and my heritage, too.

 

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor
300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103
1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax


Technology in the Classroom at the Center for New Americans

September 18, 2019

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It’s not just English anymore.  Refugees and immigrants that come to the United States are no longer just bombarded with a new language.  They also have to quickly and successfully learn to navigate technology.

For instance, each morning I come to work.  I log into a computer and sign in for the day.  I check my email for any new messages.  I upload documents to share with my students.  I search electronic files and print papers.  At home I pay my bills, shop online, and communicate with family and friends all over the United States and beyond.

So it goes without saying that to live in America people need to be very fluent in technology. Students look forward to learning technology in our classrooms.  They know that technology is necessary for navigating this new country they are now living in.

At the Center for New Americans we help students learn about technology in the classroom.  In addition to computer specific classes, the Center for New Americans offers monthly technology days in all English classes and often includes technology in daily lesson plans.

Many of our students are dedicated to learning English and mastering computer technology.  They faithfully come to combined English and technology classes.  When asked why they are so dedicated and why technology is so important to them, this is what they answered:

One student, a hardworking young man from Sudan, says he came to the United States “because  it is a free country.” English is important to him, because it’s “the official language in the U.S.  I need to speak and write it,”  but he believes technology is equally important because, “I want to learn computer to apply for a job.”

Another student, a young mother from Ethiopia, came to America because, “I want to live in a free country.” She says that in addition to learning English, “Computer skills have become more and more important as companies have started to depend upon computerized technology to get almost every work done.”

I am so very proud of my students for recognizing the importance of technology and embracing it with such determination.  Kudos to you and here’s looking towards an amazing future!

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

 


Black Hills Federal Credit Union Donation

August 13, 2019
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Black Hills Credit Union presents the Center for New Americans with a check for $1800.00

 

Community support is vital to our success.  Recently the Black Hills Federal Credit Union chose to lend a helping hand and support our English program here at the Center for New Americans.  A donation of $1800.00 was given towards the purchase of much needed document readers in our classrooms, and with this donation, we were able to purchase a document reader for every classroom. In addition, their generous donation enabled us to purchase extra headphones, new power adapters for our laptops, and a replacement laptop for our mobile student computer lab.  Our instructors are so thrilled and very thankful for the new document cameras that enable them to project images of papers and other items on the whiteboards.  The Doc Cams were immediately put to use.

Students at the Center for New Americans range in age from 18 to 95. Some of the students come as far away as Bhutan or China or as close as Eritrea or Congo.  Some students are neighbors from El Salvador or Venezuela.  Some students come with minimal English whereas others may have a great foundation.  Regardless, all the students have one common goal:  Learn More English.

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New Document Cameras Waiting to be Installed in the Classrooms

All our students will benefit greatly from this generous gift as teachers use them in the classroom.

We want to thank the Black Hills Federal Credit Union for their dedication to the community and their wonderful support to our program.  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

https://www.bhfcu.com/

Students using one of the document cameras and headphones to learn how to use tablets in the classroom.

 

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LSS English Instructor Laura uses the document camera in the classroom

 

 

A document camera is used to project a workbook map during citizenship class.

Written by Heather Glidewell | LSS Center for New Americans | Adult ESL Instructor

300 East 6th Street, Suite 100 | Sioux Falls, SD 57103

605-731-2041 Teacher’s Office | 1-866-242-2447 toll free | 605-731-2059 fax

www.LssSD.org


Why English? From the Mouth of a Student

July 9, 2019

Refugees-around-the-world

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, a total of 22,491 refugees came to the United States in 2018, and the largest number of refugees came from the countries of Congo, Myanmar, Ukraine, Bhutan, and Eritrea.  It goes without saying that the main languages of these countries are not English but rather Congolese, French, Kayah, Ukrainian, Russian, Tigrinya, Kunama, and a handful of other tribal languages.  For these grateful refugees, it becomes a matter of extreme importance to learn English once they reach the United States.  To simply navigate a grocery store or secure employment or pay a bill, refugees must have a basic working knowledge of English.  That’s where the instructors at LSS step in, providing a hand up to help get over the mountain.  We are so very proud of our students’ accomplishments and dedication.

Recently one such enthusiastic student spoke about the importance of learning the English language.  Here is what he passionately told all the other students here at the Center for New Americans:

“So this is my first time talking in public.  I’m nervous.  I’m pretty sure I will have too many mistakes, but that’s okay because that is the reason we are here.

We are here for to learn.  We are hear for to learn speak, for to learn write, for to learn read, for to learn listen.  There are four skills.  Everybody we need learn that.

I know it’s no easy.  But nothing is easy in this life.  So I think if you work hard, if you work with discipline and consistency, you can get it.

So almost everybody here in this room, we have something in common.  We are here to this beautiful country, finding something.  Finding a best life.  But we have a problem because this beautiful country have [a lot of] opportunities, but almost everybody speak English here.  So that is the main reason because we need to learn this language, everybody.  We need to work hard for get it good.  I think so.  No we need to work hard just for living.  We need to work hard for make difference.  We need to make difference and help another people, every day.  So for that we need dreams.  We need dreams, but no just dreams, we need dreams with goals because dreams without goals are just dreams.  We need to say life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals, every day.  And we need work hard.  So I believe in everybody.  I believe in me.  I think so, you just, we need to keep going and get it.  So I think so, that’s it.”

 

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


Home Remedies from Around the World Part 2

June 4, 2019

Here are a few more tips I learned from my students over the past couple of months while discussing health care.

Home Stomachache Remedies

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Stomachaches plague both the young and old.  Perhaps we eat the wrong food or catch a nasty bug.  Maybe we are just stressed out.  Regardless, dealing with a stomachache can be quite the challenge.  My students had great suggestions on the best home practices.

 

Ethiopia ~ When I have a stomachache, I use lemon, sugar, and water, mix it together and I drink it.  I eat a little ginger.

Guatemala ~ When I have a stomachache, I drink lemon juice and tea for the pain.

Eritrea ~ When I have a stomachache, I drink lemon water and I change my food.  I make rice to eat.

Sudan ~ When I have a stomachache, I take a little walk.  I take a nap.  I drink tea from a tree root.

Ukraine ~ If we have a stomachache, we lie down and then do massage.

So I really did have to look up why lemon (a definitively acidic fruit) would help an upset stomach, and apparently a little lemon juice can go a long way in helping the stomach clear out any leftover irritants.  It gives the stomach the extra acidity to heal itself.

Home Headache Remedies

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Headaches, too, are ever present and affect us all.  A debilitating headache could potentially affect a person for several days.  There are often so many triggers too, from dehydration and hunger to lack of sleep or a sinus infection.  Here are the best ideas my students gave me.

 

Ukraine ~ When I have a headache, I try to relax and put a cloth with mint oil on my forehead.

El Salvador ~  When you have a headache, put a cloth on your forehead.  Drink chamomile tea.  Use lavender oil.  Drink ginger tea.

Sudan ~ When I have a headache, I take a shower with cool water and sleep.  I also eat onion, tomato, and red peppers.

 

herbs

Although my research could give me some insight into the herbal remedies my students suggested, I was not able to find as much information on the vegetable-based remedies as I had hoped.

Peppermint oil in fact helps stop migraines.  Ginger has been used for headache treatments for over 2000 years.  Chamomile relaxes the body and relieves stress, and there may also be benefits to lavender oil.

When it came to the vegetables, this is what I learned.  Veggies high in water content such as cucumbers and tomatoes can help with hydration and relieve headaches.

Hot peppers, on the other hand, can help with congestion as we sweat, cough, and cry while eating them (haha!).  Since some headaches can be caused by sinus congestion, this could be a useful remedy.

There was, however, no mention of onions.  I suppose they could also have high water content and if hot enough could help clear out congestion.

Overall I have found the suggestions of my students very intriguing and definitely worth trying. So bring on the spicy salads and lemon ginger tea!

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


Xcel Energy Foundation Empowers Sioux Falls Immigrants To Succeed in the Workforce

February 19, 2019
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Students from across the globe work together to learn more English and develop both job and academic skills.

A grant from the Xcel Energy Foundation provides intermediate (literacy level 3) and advanced (literacy level 4) English classes for our students. With this grant we have been able to teach literacy skills for our students as they also work on College and Career Readiness Skills. Students learn important vocabulary and skills to help them secure and maintain jobs, and, if they so choose, continue on with their education.

Xcel Energy is a major U.S. electricity and natural gas company operating in eight Western and Midwestern states. The company is committed to providing cost-effective, clean, responsible energy delivered with the highest standards for safety, reliability, and responsiveness. Xcel Energy supports communities in four important focus areas: STEM education, workforce development, environmental stewardship, and access to arts and culture. Xcel Energy has supported LSS since 2004 and the Center for New Americans since 2009.

One Burmese student says that for her, the most important thing about English class is that “my English is growing a little” every day.

College Readiness Skills help students work hard to develop the reading and writing skills needed for college. Students learn to make predictions, answer comprehension questions, cite evidence, read charts, edit, etc. Students often come from an interrupted education background and may or may not have written in their own language. Learning to write a coherent paragraph is an accomplishment that many students cherish. Many students have not had the chance to write entire paragraphs in English before and are very excited to go through the drafting process, learn to communicate with clear, organized thoughts, and express themselves.

Well over half of the literacy students have never had the opportunity to use a computer before coming to English class, and it is very important to them to learn how to use technology in American society. Students also master the use of online translators and learn to search the Internet for information.

 
Career-Readiness Skills are important for our students to become fully productive members of American society. Students learn to write resumes and cover letters, learn the in’s and out’s of job seeking and the interview process, and they also develop the career-readiness skills and vocabulary to succeed in their chosen fields. Some of the other skills include reading charts, work schedules, inventory lists, menus, and receipts. Students have learned to write messages to supervisors and co-workers, use computers to access email and navigate the Internet to search for information and find jobs.

Talking with my students, a student from Guatemala says that literacy classes “open opportunities” for new jobs and help him identify and “understand many safety problems,” that could occur at the work site. In addition he says that working with computers in the classroom has taught him to “navigate, because it has a lot of English and sometimes there are no options for translating.” He states that, “A good English class provides many options.” The Xcel Energy Foundation helps provide these options, empowering adult English learners to meet their goals by gaining practical college and career readiness skills to use the in the workplace and in their ongoing studies.

 
Thank you, Xcel Energy, for your financial generosity and partnership, which is helping refugees and immigrants at the LSS Center for New Americans.

 

Written by Heather Glidewell, ESL Instructor


The Heart-Shaped Holiday

February 6, 2019

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Everyone is seeing red. Valentine’s Day is here. The day for lovers, for family, for friends, for co-workers – the official day when we show the important people in our lives how much they mean to us. The day is celebrated with cards, flowers and chocolates – and lots of them. Many of us grew up with the annual tradition of Valentine’s Day, we remember our parents and grandparents reminiscing about it.
But how long has this special day actually been around? The answer is quite simple: Forever. The beginnings of this romantic day are anything but romantic – they are rather mysterious. Christian and Pagan rituals evolved into the way Valentine’s Day is celebrated today.
Many legends surround the saint named Valentine. One story tells about Valentine, a Roman priest, who secretly married young lovers until he was found out and thrown into prison. There, he fell in love with a young woman who visited him on a regular basis. Shortly before his death he penned her a letter and signed it ‘from your Valentine,’ a phrase that is still associated with this special day. All the tales that speak of the beginnings of this tradition center around a romantic hero named Valentine.
The British Library in London has the oldest Valentine’s card on display – written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was held in the Tower of London. Americans started designing their own hand-made cards, beautifully decorated with ribbons and lace, as far back as 1700. In 1840 these cards were replaced by the first printed, mass-produced cards. About 150 million Valentine’s Day cards exchange hands every year, only the number of Christmas cards is higher; 85% are bought by women.
Many countries around the world celebrate the day with their own traditions. Denmark sees the exchange of pressed, white flowers called snowdrops. France, with a reputation for romance, had a rather unusual tradition. On February 14, men and women would fill up houses on opposite sides of a street. Then they would call out to each other and pair off that way. The women who were left behind later gathered for a huge bonfire where they burned pictures of the men who stood them up and insulted them greatly. Over the years, this event got so out of hand that the French government banned it altogether. In China women prepare elaborate offerings of fruit to Zhinu, a heavenly king’s daughter, in hopes of attracting a worthy husband.

How are you celebrating Valentine’s Day?

 

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Written by Silke Hansen, ESL Instructor


Celebrating Student Achievements!

January 9, 2019

Happy Holidays!

December 24, 2018

Happy Holidays from all of us at the Center for New Americans. We recently had an end of the year party with our students.  Please enjoy!

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A Festive Rendition of This Land is Your Land sang by teachers and students.

 

Nepalese Students Share their cultural dance

 

 

Our Ukrainian and Nepalese students dance together

 

 

great pic of celina and dhaanto dancers

Students and Staff learn Dhaanto dance

Congolese student leads everyone in impromptu song.

 

Peace on Earth

and

Good Will to All!

Enjoy

Your

Holidays!


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