Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter eggs at Rockefeller Center

Easter may be over, but the eggs that were part of The Big Egg Hunt in New York are still on display at Rockefeller Center until this Friday, April 25.

The eggs, all 260 of them and all individually designed by artists, were placed throughout all five boroughs from April 1 to April 17. New Yorkers were welcome to participate in the citywide event and digitally collect the eggs through an app on their smartphones.

The eggs are now are being auctioned off online to help two charities: one to promote the visual arts in NYC schools, the other to help protect the endangered Asian elephant. The event is sponsored by Faberge, and bidding for the eggs is now in the thousands.

Which egg would you get for yourself or to give to someone?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

How do you celebrate Easter?

Happy Easter, everyone! You probably know that Easter is traditionally a Christian holiday that is now largely linked with Easter eggs and the Easter bunny. Even families who celebrate the religious significance of Easter in church have their kids participate in Easter egg hunts right after Catholic mass or Protestant service, sometimes right in the church yard!

While some people think that the egg and the bunny are recent additions to make the holiday more secular and profitable for businesses, they've actually been around for centuries and have their connections with pagan celebrations of spring, as the video above, "Bet You Didn't Know" from, mentions. This was long before candy and chocolate makers started capitalizing on this holiday.

Enjoy your Easter! We hope you have a good one, however you celebrate this holiday.

SECULAR - not spiritual or religious
PAGAN - ancient belief in many gods

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Why you SHOULD speak in COMPLETE SENTENCES in the classroom

Students are often encouraged to speak in complete sentences in NYLC classes. 

If you've been studying English for awhile, you've probably noticed that teachers usually prefer that students answer in complete sentences. Students, on the other hand, would rather give short answers and don't see the importance of speaking in complete sentences in the classroom. Some may think it's unnecessary or even unnatural to answer in full sentences. Don't native speakers simply give short answers in conversation?

If someone asks, "What did you have for dinner?" Isn't it enough to simply say, "pizza"? Isn't saying, "I had pizza for dinner" completely unnecessary? Similarly, if you were asked, "Where did you go after the party," it should be enough to simply say, "Times Square" and not have to say, "We went to Times Square after the party."

If you think simply answering "pizza" and "Times Square" is enough, you're absolutely right! It's unnecessary to give a complete answer in conversation. However, you have to keep in mind that you're in the classroom to learn English and to learn to speak it properly. To accomplish this, you need to learn how to speak in complete sentences. Here are the couple of reasons why.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Two birthday surprises in one week!

Greg with his surprise birthday cake with, uh, 21 candles on it.

We caught a couple of birthday surprises at school last week. Greg walked into his 9 a.m. class and was greeted with a yummy chocolate cake, some party hats and a "Happy Birthday" sign on the board. He said he had no idea the students had been planning it. Kudos to his class for catching him completely by surprise. Nice job, students!

A surprise for, uh, King Robert III on his birthday.

Earlier in the week, Robert III also got a surprise cake, a humongous card, some gifts, and a crown! Nice! :-)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Dasha's Diligence in Mastering English

Darya with the book she picked up at Strand Book Store.

Darya Banchugova is reading a book she recently bought at Strand, the storied bookstore in the Village which she visited at the suggestion of Mike Dunphy, one of her instructors at New York Language Center. The book is a collection of essays by New York writers about the city, and Darya is fascinated by their stories about life here. In many ways, she totally relates.

"I'm just like them," she confesses. "They are both inspired and frightened by New York; they are all searching for something here."

The writers are seeking fame and fortune, she explains. She, on the other hand, is not quite sure what she's searching for if, in fact, she is searching for anything.

This uncertainly, however, is not much of a problem as her goals have always been clear since the first day five months ago when she first arrived in New York and sat in her first class at NYLC--an academic course in Reading and Writing. She always knew she wanted to improve her English and build on the expertise she's gained studying Business English at her university and regular everyday English in high school. Her main goal in New York has always been to master the language and use it to make herself more marketable when she starts applying for jobs.

Monday, March 31, 2014

A quick exercise on using idioms with "CUT"

English has several idioms with the word "cut." The list below are some of the more common ones. Are you familiar with these idioms? Can you use them in conversation? Fill in the blanks below and see how well you know them.

If you need a quick refresher (review), head over to our NYLC English blog for a quick lesson.


  1. He did his best. Everyone makes mistakes. ________, will you?
  2. He finished quickly, but the work is so sloppy. He ________ again.
  3. You should be at the airport already. If you're just leaving now, you're ________.
  4. He decided to quit. He realized he's not ________ be a salesperson.
  5. ________! Mom, Billy's kicking me!
  6. ________. I want you to stop lying and start telling me the truth.
  7. A lot of people said she wasn't ________ the position, but five years later, she's still the president. 
  8. The professor said his project ________ and he had to do more research.
  9. Ted tried out for his school's basketball team, but a lot of excellent players were there, and Ted didn't ________.
  10. Sarah almost got fired, but his manager decided to ________ and give her another chance.
  11. Bill had always thought he wasn't ________ work with kids, but he realized that he was really good at it.
  12. He kept goofing off (acting silly) at the library until the librarian told him to ________.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Teaching, dancing, & decision-making with Adriane

Adriane teaching her academic class in reading & writing.

If you were asked to find similarities between TESOL and dance, what would you come up with? Anyone not working in either field would probably dismiss any commonality between the two unless, of course, you consider the possibility of teachers dancing in class, which as we know is not totally out of the question.

If you dance or teach for a living, you're probably more apt to point out connections--dancers convey messages to an audience, while teachers do do their share of entertaining. However, if you dance AND teach, then the similarities stand out more and the connections deepen.

Adriane Lee is all too familiar with these similarities and connections. As one of NYLC's senior ESL instructors, she's logged in countless hours lesson planning, teaching, and brainstorming for the ESL classroom--more than 6 years worth. Her background in dance, however, goes back further as a young girl of about 8 in Orange County, California, where dancing to MTV videos solely for fun led to ballet lessons as a teenager and later helped her decide to change her focus from physics to dance at the University of California at Berkeley.