Tag Archives: u.s. culture

Thanksgiving Quiz

Click on the image below to test your knowledge of Thanksgiving with this quiz from National Geographic:

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Learn About Memorial Day

We’ve assembled some good websites for you to learn more about Memorial Day, which is today. Just click on the links below:

ESL Civics for ESL Students

ESL Holiday Lessons

ESOL Courses

Jennifer ESL – English Mini Lesson (YouTube video)

VOA: Memorial Day at Arlington Cemetery

ESL Lab: Memorial Day

Memorial Day Quiz




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New Year’s Resolutions

Here’s an article from Voice of America about what Americans want to do in 2016. Before you read, make a prediction about what you’re going to read. What do you think Americans will say they want to do in 2016? Will it be something about money, something about health, or something else?

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From Voice of America:

Americans don’t just want to work out more in 2016, they also want to firm up their savings accounts.

A  Nerdwallet survey conducted in December found that “increasing savings” was the top priority for 49 percent of Americans, followed by “working out” (44 percent).

“There’s definitely a connection between the two in the sense that both are about quality of life,” said Nerdwallet’s Sreekar Jasthi. “Both are about health: physical health and fiscal health.”

New Year’s Day is a federal holiday in the United States, which means most Americans have the day off from work to attend gatherings, eat special foods meant to ensure good fortune for the new year, and make a list of resolutions for 2016.

“Increasing savings” was the most popular answer on Nerdwallet’s New Year’s resolution poll. The average American only saves about 5 percent of their income, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The other top priorities include losing weight (44 percent), spending more time with friends and family (37 percent), traveling more (35 percent) and getting organized (30 percent).

Paying off credit cards was most important to 29 percent of those surveyed. On average, Americans have about $15,000 in credit card debt.

“We actually thought that the percentage of the population polled that would mention credit card debt as a priority, would be higher,” said Jasthi. “This is a significant concern…a lot of people eventually have to file for bankruptcy because they can’t afford to pay it back. I think more education and more clarity around how to effectually manage use of your credit cards, and how to repay debt on your credit card, is something that’s absolutely needed.”

While 45 percent of Americans say they usually make New Year’s resolutions, only about 8 percent of those who make resolutions actually fulfill them. Making resolutions as specific as possible might help. For example, instead of just saying ‘increase savings’, determine an exact amount you’d like to save in 2016 and then set monthly milestones to help reach that goal.

“Solid, specific goals that you can actually visualize instead of just large umbrella terms always help,” Jasthi said. “Be realistic when you’re setting these resolutions or setting these milestones. Be as specific as possible but obviously be realistic about how you’re going to attain those goals.”

What about you? What do you want to do in 2016?


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A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving

Here’s a little Thanksgiving gift for you. Charlie Brown is a famous American cartoon character from the comic strip Peanuts, and here’s a TV special with him in it from 1973. Enjoy!:

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The New York Times in Chinese


The New York Times is considered to be one of the best newspapers in the United States. It has great stories about New York City, of course, but it also has excellent articles about world news. And now it has many of its stories in Chinese. If you’re studying English with us, you should of course first try reading the articles in English – but then if you need to you can check the Chinese versions. Click the picture above or click here to read the New York Times in Chinese.

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Babe the Blue Ox

The unofficial mascot of the University Settlement Adult Literacy Program is Babe the Blue Ox. You can see some pictures of him above. He is our (unofficial) mascot because of his strength and intelligence. And we really like the color blue. You can read more about him by clicking here.

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All About New Year’s Eve

Watch the video from Transparent English below, then take the quiz to test your understanding:


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