Quiz Yourself!

Check your knowledge of the English language by playing the game “Which is English?”  The questions increase in difficulty as you continue, so don’t assume the whole thing will be as easy as the first question.  http://www.whichisenglish.com/

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Parenting the Asian and American Ways

A new book called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is causing a lot of controversy.  It was written by a Chinese-American woman, a professor, who decided to raise her 2 American children the Chinese way.  Her traditional Asian focus on discipline, obedience, and perfection in music and school is very controversial because it is very different from the most common way of raising children in the U.S.  What do you think?  Click here to read or listen to the article.

Excellent NOVA Videos

Want to improve your listening and learn about the world at the same time?  Then check out this website.

    I am interested in history, nature, animals, and even science, so I love to browse the videos on the fantastic NOVA website.  NOVA is an educational TV show that airs weekly on PBS and explores the newest research and up-to-date information about all kinds of topics.  I was so surprised when I saw that the videos today include topics that we explored in my listening class this semester: travel to Mars, animal communication and intelligence, and living longer.

Asian-American Women and Depression

Click here for an interesting article from PBS.org about why Asian-American women suffer from depression more than other Americans, and yes, part of it IS cultural.

Christmas and This I Believe

When my husband took English 302 at Cosumnes River College, he was fortunate enough to be required to read and respond to numerous essays in a beautiful book called This I Believe. He shared it with me, we sometimes read them aloud in the car to each other, and I bought copies of the book for family for Christmas. Not every essay in that book is fantastic or inspirational to me, but as a whole I found them beautiful expressions of what’s important in life, things we all know but need to be reminded of.

It’s Christmastime again, and This I Believe has a new book on love. Love is maybe my favorite theme these days because of the addition of children to my life and the influence of love-minded friends.

In the spirit of Christmas and love, click here for a This I Believe essay with a lovely little message of peace.  You can read or listen, or listen and read at the same time. The listening is special because it’s read by the author of the essay.

Take a little time to check out the website, too– it’s full of essays on all kinds of topics, by both famous and ordinary people, and provides not only inspiration but also great reading and listening practice!

Reading Recommendations

Want to improve your English while learning new things about the world around you?  Try some non-fiction, but beware– the level of most of these books is pretty advanced!  These are a few books that have been highly recommended lately:

1.  How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization

Learn about economics, politics, and other global aspects through a discussion of the world’s favorite sport.

2.  Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies

This broad look at the history of the world was extremely popular when it came out, mostly because the author takes an unusual look at how some societies became successful while others continued to suffer.  It starts with the Ice Age and includes sections on all parts of the world, including Asia, which is the author’s expertise.

3.  This I Believe

One of my favorites– a collection of inspiring essays written by both famous and ordinary people (although a few of the older ones bored me).  There is also a This I Believe II and This I Believe On Love.  You can also listen to and read the essays on the website: thisibelieve.org

4.  Three Cups of Tea: One Man’s Mission to Promote Peace 

Inspiring true story that will make you really appreciate your educational opportunities.

Amazing Animals Discovered in 2010

The tube-nosed fruit bat, discovered in Papua New Guinea

Isn’t it funny-looking and cute?  Click here to see more information on this bat and other animals that have recently been discovered around the world.  This is on one of the best websites, NationalGeographic.com, which has beautiful photographs and interesting articles about wildlife, people, science, and the earth.

A Month of Writing

Through the recommendation of a friend, I am participating in a month-long online writing project for December 2010.  Keep reading if you’re interested: 

Reverb10: “Reflect and manifest…” a month-long writing project in which you get 1 writing prompt per day.  The purpose is to reflect on this year (2010) and think about what is to come in the next year.  Great for writing practice– you can do it on your computer or on paper.  If you click on Reverb10, you can go to “Prompts” to see what the prompts are for every day, or you can sign up to have them delivered to your email.  I will also post some of my writing on here as the month continues.

How to Thrive– An Interview about Happiness Around the World

I love the NPR (National Public Radio) website. You can find articles and interviews about everything, like news, art, books, & music. It changes every day!
Here’s a link to an interesting story about happiness. You can listen, read, or both (to do both, open “transcript” and listen at the same time). http://www.npr.org/2010/11/24/131571885/how-to-thrive-dan-buettner-s-secrets-of-happiness

Here are some questions if you want to test your listening: ListeningPrac Happiness

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