Michelle's independent resources for ESL Students at Vancouver Community College

This is a Canadian ESL blog for Intermediate and Advanced Students who want to learn and improve their English. Each PAGE above contains thousands of free English lessons, tutorials and practice exercises to help you learn and improve your English grammar, reading, listening, pronunciation, speaking, writing and editing. Some of the resources are Canadian. Others are from around the world.

The resources on this Canadian blog are all free, and I spend a lot of my time working on it, so please consider becoming a SUPPORTER. I appreciate all the support I get. It is the fuel that keeps me going.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

A Few Useful Links

I want to tell you about a few links that are already on the side. Sometimes it is useful to know just what they do and how they can be helpful.

Repeat After Me is a great website to help you work on the rythm (music) of the English sentence. When you practice repeating nursery rhymes, you have fun and learn how to sound more relaxed and fluent.

The Real Canadian Songbook  is a wonderful website developed by one of VCC's teachers. There are at least 60 Canadian songs you can listen to while you do a fill in the blanks exercise. I highly recommend trying  Four Strong Winds by Gordon Lighfoot, Home, by Michael Buble and any of the songs by Anne Murray. They are all very clear and easy to sing-along with. Of course, there are also a few Celine Dion songs.  This is a good place to practice English and have fun at the same time.

Homework for January 28th weekend

Hi guys,

I'm sorry that I didn't post this yesterday. But, better later than never.

Grammar:     Practice Continuous from the handout I gave you. We will discuss present vs present continuous on Monday.  We will also discuss and practice verbs that can't be used in the present continuous.

Reading:  1) Do the exercises in your reading textbook in the vocabulary section  and Comprehension (finding the topic).
2)   Read the article on the hero that I gave you on Thursday. Answer all the questions. 

Vocabulary: Try the vocabulary exercises  I  gave you on Thursday. We can discuss if they were too difficult.

Listening: 1) Do the next 5 listening exercises on Randall's Listening Lab. The link is on the side. Doing these exercises regularly will  help you pass you listening test at the end of the term.
2) I am going to try to read my own version of the ESL news. Right now, there doesn't seem top be a link to the college. Only do story #1, story #3 and story #4. 

Speaking:  Try speaking English for 30 minutes each day, with your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-worker etc.   I will have a few tips on speaking in one of the my next posts.

New Links
I am posting several more links for you to try out. These will include grammar, reading, dictation, and vocabulary. I have tried to limit the links to ones that are at the lower lefel - beginmner pre-intermediate so that they are not too difficult. Take advantage of some of them to study on line.


In your opinion, what is a hero? What are the most important qualities a hero must have?  Can anybody or everybody become a hero at one time in their life? Are there only certain people who have the necessarity qualities to become heroes?   Give your opinion in the comments box.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Getting Ready for the Lunar New Year

26 Jan 2011 - In a bit more than a week we will welcome the Year of the Rabbit, and Chinese and other folks are getting ready to welcome the festive season. Flowers have special significance during the Lunar New Year. It is believed that healthy, blooming plans signify success, wealth and abundance. The Chinese have a saying "hua kai fu gui", which means "When flowers bloom , prosperity comes". Therefore it is lucky to have auspicious plants in bloom during the first 15 days of the New Year. It is even better if the plants wear lots of golden fruit, such as lime and kumquat. Good flowers to welcome the new year are pussy willow, as these symbolise the arrival of prosperity, plum blossom as they symbolize resilience and perseverance, and peony, because they are emblems of love, beauty and affection. But simple azaleas, hyacinths or narcissus will also do!

I'll be writing more more about the Lunar New Year and the Year of the Rabbit as it approaches.   

Friday, January 21, 2011

HomeworK for the Weekend

Hi guys,

I'm still working on this blog, I am "getting the hang of it" improving my abililty to do it .
In case you have forgotten your homework, I will list it again and add one or two things.

Do  all the handouts I gave you. They all relate to the verb "to be", WH questions and possessive adjectives, pronouns and nouns.

1)   Basic skills Reading:: Do three more pages of thinking skills at the back of the book.
                                      Read the story on page 35-36(Try to break it up into phrases. 
                                      Do exercises 2,3,4 from the 100 word section.pages 82-85

 2.  Reread the story on Terry Fox out loud using the method of grouping words in phrases that I taught you.
      Answer the questions.
      Special Note: The city of Vancouver is planning to put up a memorial series of statues to Terry Fox

      in several cities, including in front of the B.C. Pavillion. The memorial includes 4 statues of Terry running.
      To see what it will look like, go to 

          Terry Fox is one of Canada's heroes and there are very people in this country who have not been
           inspired by his courage and his willingness to suffer constant pain as he pursued his dream.
          Terry never gave up. Her wasn't as quitter. The only thing that forced him to give up his running
          was a  return of his cancer.

          If  you want to understand why Canadians consider Terry to be one of the country's greatest
          heroes, go the following links:


1) You can listen to the Jan 17th ESL News  and read the script. Circle new words you do not know  and          shadow read after the speaker. He is not speaking too fast.
2)  Listen to the first 5 listenings in Randall's ESL Lab ( the link is on the side) Do not move on to               another dialogue until you have a 100 % score.

Let me know if you have any comments or questions.

You can also sign in to become an actual member of the blog. 



Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Interesting Things to Know and Do

I am sending you a link to the ESL news. Just click on the blue link you see. You will see both the CBC and the ESL News. Make sure you choose the January 17th News.  I will also be posting your weekend homework and anything else that I think you might find interesting.

You will note that there is a comment section below. You can post comments, questions  that you may have or even photos or graphics that you think the class might be interested in.