Monday, September 29, 2008
By John Woolfolk Mercury News, 09/27/2008
...For years, scholars, historians and policy makers have mocked the inane questions on the naturalization examination that immigrants must pass to gain U.S. citizenship, arguing that it tested trivia and minted new Americans who lacked meaningful knowledge about their adopted country's history and governance. But that's set to change Wednesday, when U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rolls out a redesigned naturalization exam...
Sunday, September 28, 2008
For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:61-70. Direct download: 61-70x.mp3
Saturday, September 27, 2008
For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:51-60. Direct download: 51-60x.mp3
The Citizenship Alphabet: Mai Anh holds up N for National Anthem.
Friday, September 26, 2008
For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:41-50. Direct download: 41-50x.mp3
There is a huge disconnect between the bureaucracy of our immigration laws and our desire to honor and reward those who serve our country. This fact was driven home at a recent naturalization interview held in Philadelphia...
Ciudadana estadounidense y servicio militar: No olvide presentar el Formulario G-325B, by Wendy Hess, Filadelfia Ponte al Dia
Existe una enorme desconexión entre la burocracia de nuestras leyes de inmigración y nuestro deseo d...
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Published: September 23, 2008
A week before the American government plans to start a redesigned civics test as part of the naturalization process, a senior immigration official sought on Tuesday to calm nervous immigrants and critics who say the new exam will be more challenging than the current one...
Are You Ready to Be a Citizen?
Five questions from the new test.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Today we begin a new series. For the next ten days, we will present 10 of the 96 questions plus two dictation sentences and handout. Today's questions are 96:01-10. Direct download: 01-10x.mp3
At the end of the series, we will present a series of of interviews based on parts of the N-400.
After the N-400 series, we will re-present the USCIS 96 in a "mixed" series, example:
96 "Ones": USCIS 01, 11, 21, 31, 41, 51, 61, 71, 81, 91
96 "Twos": USCIS 02, 12, 22, 32, 42, 52, 62, 72, 82, 9, etc
We will take a short break to prepare for the electgion, then we will present the new USCIS 100 in ten question sets, followed by a "mixed" 100 Question series. Finally we will present a dual question series: five questions from both the 96 and 100 questions.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment on the blog at http://www.uscitizenpod.com/. Thanks!
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
New Citizens: San Cuc Bac and her husband are Chinese-Vietnamese. They stopped by on Constitution Day to tell their class about how they became US Citizens. They signed the Constitution and then went to their afternoon Citizenship Oath Ceremony. Their classmates and I are so proud of them!
Friday, September 19, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
It's Constitution Day!
The students line up to sign The Constitution.
A student proudly display his constitution worksheet.
New Citizens: San Cuc Bac and her husband stopped by to sign The Constitution before going to their afternoon Citizenship Oath Ceremony. They are standing in front of the USCIS 96 hall cards.
More photos tomorrow!
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Today we will
- Study the Constitution.
- Ask the new citizens to talk about studying for citizenship and what has happened after they became citizens.
- Assign classmates to help people sign the Constitution and give each student a copy.
- Sign the Constitution.
- Eat cake!
Here are some Constitution Day Resources from us @ US Citizenship Podcast.
- 96:17-19 M638 Explanations pdf mp3 17. What is the Constitution?
18. What do we call changes to the Constitution?
19. How many changes, or amendments, are there to the Constitution?
- 96:34-35 M638 Explanations pdf mp3
34. What is the supreme law of the United States?
35. What is the Bill of Rights?
- Summary of the US Constitution.
- Direct download: const-summary.pdf
- The Preamble Puzzle
- US Constitution Slide Show
- USCIS 96/100 Quiz: The Constitution
Monday, September 15, 2008
- We printed out each of the USCIS 100 questions on separate white sheets of 8.5x11" paper.
- We printed out all the USCIS 100 answers on separate white sheets of 8.5x11" paper.
- We used a paper cutter to cut the questions and answers down to 8.5x5.5" rectangles.
- We folded a 9x11" pieces of Federal Blue construction paper in half.
- We used a glue stick to glue the corners of the questions on the outside of the hall card.
- We used a glue stick to glue the corners of the answers on the inside of the hall card.
Today we will:
- Put four loops of blue sticky-tape on the back of the hall cards and hung them up in four rows of twenty-five cards.
- Make hall cards for the USCIS 96. We will use red construction paper.
- Un-roll the big Constitution and parchment paper.
- Sharpen the quills and test the ink.
- Set up tables in the hallway.
Tomorrow we will
- Study the Constitution.
- Ask the new citizens to talk about studying for citizenship and what has happened after they became citizens.
- We will assign classmates to help people sign the Constitution and give each student a copy.
- Each class will come and sign the Constitution.
- Eat cake!
Here are more resources for Constitution Day!
The National Constitution Center held the first “America Reads the Constitution” on September 17, 2004. A diverse group of people read the Constitution from start to finish, from “We the People” to the final words of the 27th Amendment. The NCC has developed a downloadable toolkit for the public reading of the Constitution. The NCChas divided the Constitution into 100 reading sections, so that the Constitution can reflect thediversity of the community.
Listen to the Constitution: Debra Jean Dean reads The Constitution of the United States (Including all amendments)
>>Download the entire audio file.(62 megs, 68 minutes, high-quality MP3).
Download the Bill of Rights (first ten amendments of the Constitution)
Need a copy of the Constitution for your class, but it too late to order? Go here and download #3 Constitution for the United States — Formatted to print on two sides of one letter-size sheet of paper. (click the black square for a Word.doc)
Don't have parchment or a quill pen? The American Bar Association invites everyone to Sign the Constitution online.
Crossword, Word Search, & Treasure Hunt Puzzles from Constitution Facts
Choose one of the following puzzles to print out.
- Basic 1 Basic 1 Answers
- Basic 2 Basic 2 Answers
- Intermediate 1 Intermediate 1 Answers
- Intermediate 2 Intermediate 2 Answers
- Advanced 1 Advanced 1 Answers
- Advanced 2 Advanced 2 Answers
- Expert 1 Expert 1 Answers
- Expert 2 Expert 2 Answers
- Word Find 1 Word Find 1 Answers
- Word Find 2 Word Find 2 Answers
- Word Find 3: Questions With Definitions Word Find 3 Answers
- Word Find 4: Questions With Definitions Word Find 4 Answers
- Word Find 5: Questions With Definitions Word Find 5 Answers
- Treasure Hunt 1: The U.S. Constitution Treasure Hunt 1 Answers
- Treasure Hunt 2: The Supreme Court Treasure Hunt 2 Answers
- Treasure Hunt 3: The Articles of Confederation Treasure Hunt 3 Answers
- Treasure Hunt 4: The Founding Fathers Treasure Hunt 4 Answers
- Treasure Hunt 5: The Declaration of Independence Treasure Hunt 5 Answers
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Here is class handout of a Summary of the US Constitution.
Direct download: const-summary.pdf
Saturday, September 13, 2008
27th Amendment: Congress must limit when and how much its members are paid. 1992.
On January 9, 2008, many elected federal employess got a 2.5% COLA (cost of living) increase. Their last raise was in January 2006.
Congress members annual salaries were raised from $165,200 to $169,300.
Associate Supreme Court Justices annual salaries were raised from $203,000 to $208,100.
Chief Justice John Robert's annual salary was raised from $212,100 to $217,400.
Vice-President Dick Cheney's annual salary was raised from $215,700 to $221,100.
President George W. Bush did not get a raise. The president's annual salary $400,000.
The Fair Labor Standards Act sets the federal minimum wage. The federal minimum wage will be raised from $6.55/hr (05/27/07) to $7.25/hr (07/24/09).
Some cities and states passed laws to make their local businesses pay their employees a higher local minimum wage to match the living expenses in their area. For example:
- Workers in California are paid a minimum of $8.00/hr.
- Workers in San Francisco are paid a minimum of $9.36/hr.
- A single adult need to make $12.10/hr to live in San Francisco. The amount needed rapidly rises with the inclusion of dependents.
ESLPodcast 106 - High School Jobs
I started the day after my 16th birthday, qualifying me for a slightly higher minimum wage.
VOANews: On the Job, at Minimum Wage
About three percent of American workers who are paid by the hour earn the lowest rate permitted by law.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Rock the Vote @ Sundance, 2008
26th Amendment: US citizens who are 18 years old or older have the right to vote. 1971.
VOANews: Nixon Promises to 'Bring the American People Together' After '68 Win
Richard Nixon lost the 1960 election to John Kennedy, but he was known for his ability to fight, to lose, and to keep trying. Those skills would soon be tested. Transcript
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Today's Topic: The 25th Amendment
VOANew: Making of a Nation: The Presidency of John Kennedy Begins With Great Energy, but Ends in Tragedy
He stood strong against the Soviet Union during the Cuban missile crisis, and proposed a law to guarantee equal treatment of blacks. Then came the gunshots in Dallas in November 22, 1963.
VOANEWS: Making of a Nation: Johnson Takes Over Presidency After Kennedy's Murder
Lyndon Johnson had a lot of political experience. He had been President Kennedy's vice president, and had served for many years in the Senate and House of Representatives.
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
The 24th Amendment
24th Amendment made it illegal to make a citizen pay a voting fee. It is illegal to make a citizen take a reading test to vote. The 24th Amendment (1964) and the Civil Rights Movement led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. crushed Jim Crow laws which discriminated against African Americans.
Library of Congress: Poll Tax Abolished I
Library of Congress: Poll Tax Abolished II
Breaking News English - Rosa Parks (Oct 26, 2005)
Oct 26, 2005 ... He said she was a symbol of the civil rights movement. He also said: “Just by a simple act of sitting down she stood up for so many people.” ...
VOANEWS: Civil Rights Movement: In the '60s, a Struggle for Equality in US: Activists marched, held sit-in protests and led "freedom rides" to demand better treatment of black Americans. Martin Luther King Junior lived by the idea of nonviolence, but his murder led to riots in more than 100 cities.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
23rd Amendment gave US Citizens in the District of Columbia have the right to vote for President. 1961.
EL Civics: Washington DC Tour
EL Civics: Washington, D.C. Crossword Puzzle Answer Key
EL Civics: Washington, D.C. Quiz
Monday, September 8, 2008
You can also buy the new flash cards:
Civics Flash Cards for the New Naturalization Test, 2008 (1 box of flash cards) $13.00
Civics Flash Cards for the New Naturalization Test, 2008 (Package of 10 Boxes of Flash Cards) Price: $91.00
Today's Topic: The 20th & 22nd Amendments
20th Amendment: The President used to be inaugurated in March. The inauguration was moved up to January, to stop "lame duck" government. FDR was the last president to be inaugurated in March. The 20th Amendment was added in 1933.
- 96:83. In what month is the new President inaugurated?
- 96:44. How many full terms can a President serve?
- 100:26. We elect a President for how many years?
- 100:80. Who was President during the Great Depression and World War II?
VOANews: 'Happy Days Are Here Again': FDR, One of America's Greatest PresidentsFranklin Delano Roosevelt served longer than any other U.S. president. With his New Deal, he led the nation through its worst economic crisis. And, until his death, he led America through World War Two.
English Test: Idioms--Cats, Dogs, and Ducks
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Today's Topic: The Nineteenth Amendment.
The Nineteenth Amendment gave suffrage (the right to vote) to women.
VOANews: Susan B. Anthony, 1820-1906: She Led the Fight to Gain Equal Rights for Women, Including the Right to Vote
The nineteenth amendment to the U.S. Constitution won final approval in 1920 but she did not live to see it. Transcript of radio broadcast: 14 June 2008
The life story of the woman who helped start the National Organization for Women. Her 1963 work "The Feminine Mystique" has been called one of the most influential books of the twentieth century.
Other Interesting Websites
Saturday, September 6, 2008
The 18th Amendment was passed to protect the health and safety of the American people. Instead of preventing alcoholism, Prohibition contributed to the rise of organized crime. The 21st Amendment made the alcohol legal and controlled by many federal, state, and local laws.
Although a US citizen can vote at the age of 18 years, the legal drinking age can be older. In the State of California, a person must be 21 years old to drink alcohol.
On the N-400, and during the Citizenship interview, you will be asked:
- Part 10 D 22a: Have you ever been a habitual drunkard or alcoholic?
- Follow-up question: What is a habitual drunkard or alcoholic?
The USCIS is not asking: Have you ever been drunk?
- The USCIS is concerned that alcohol abuse prevents citizens from freely exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.
- Example: if a person is drunk when they vote, they cannot make a good decision.
- Alcohol abuse can also lead to crimes such as drunk driving or maintaining a safe work place.
- Alcoholics Anonymous: is an informal meeting for recovering and recovered alcoholics.
- Al-Anon/Alateen: Al-Anon is an informal meeting for friends and family members of alcoholics. Alateen is an informal for young adullts (12-24).
- MADD Mothers Against Drunk Driving: is a group that works to stop drunk driving, supports those affected by drunk driving, and prevents underage drinking.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Questions from the current USCIS History and Government test:
- 96:22. What makes up Congress?
- 96:25. How many Senators are there in Congress?
- 96:26. For how long do we elect each Senator?
- 96:27. Name two Senators from your state.
- 96:47. Why are there 100 Senators in the United States Senate?
- 96:84. How many times may a Senator or Congressman be re-elected?
- 100:16. Who makes federal laws?
- 100:17. What are the two parts of the U.S. Congress?*
- 100:18. How many U.S. Senators are there?
- 100:19. We elect a U.S. Senator for how many years?
- 100:20. Who is one of your state’s U.S. Senators?*
- 100:24. Who does a U.S. Senator represent?
- 100:55. What are two ways that Americans can participate in their democracy?
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Today's Topic: The 16th Amendment
16th amendment says that Congress can tax income. The IRS (Internal Revenue Service) is the government that collects taxes. Every year on April 15th, millions of citizens and non-citizens fill-out the 1040 Federal Income Tax form and send it to the IRS on April 15th. People must send in 540 State Tax forms, too.
Compare the IRS 1040 to the USCIS N400. Both forms ask similar questions: name, address, marital status, etc. Furthermore, the N400 not only asks about job history (Part 6B), but also asks about income tax:
- Part 10 A 5. Do you owe any Federal, state or local taxes that are overdue?
- Part 10 C 13. Have you ever called yourself a ''nonresident'' on a Federal, state or local tax return?
- Part 10 C 14. Have you ever failed to file a Federal, state or local tax return because you considered yourself to be a "nonresident"?
Did you know that the most important use of a social security number is to identity a tax payer? The SSN not only identifies you as a taxpayer on the 1040 & 540, the SSN appears on your other financial papers: W-2, W-4 form, paychecks, and bank statements.
It is very, very important to keep your SSN safe and guard against identity theft. It is very very, very important to pay taxes evey year to support your local, state, and federal government.
- Breaking English News: Ex-Thai PM’s wife guilty of tax evasion
The wife of former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been sentenced to three years in jail for tax evasion.
- ESL Discussions.com: Conversation Questions on Taxes Ex: Do you think paying tax is a good or bad thing?
- ESL Podcast 364 – Filing Taxes
This is the first year I haven’t been exempt or filed an EZ tax return. Ricky: No problem. ... I’d like to get a tax refund, rather than have to pay. ...
- VOANews: Tax Time in America Americans must send their tax documents to the government by April seventeenth. But most will not have to pay anything. In fact, most Americans get money back from the I.R.S. 14 April 2006
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
After the Civil War, the 15th Amendment gave the right to vote to all male US Citizens.
However, some communities refused to allow certain minorities to vote.
Women could not vote until the 19th Amendment (1920).
The Chinese Exclusion Act which took away the right to vote from US native-born citizens of Asian ancestry was repealed in 1943.
Jim Crow laws in the Southern United States which strongly discouraged African-Americans to vote was repealed by the 24th Amendment, 1964 & the Voting Rights Act 1965.Here is a pdf of Voting Rights.
Here is a pdf of Voting Cloze Essay.
To read, listen, and watch more about the presidential election, go to VOANews USA Votes 2008.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
New 100 Questions--Spanish! Preguntas de cívismo (historia y sistema de gobierno) para el Examen de Naturalización rediseñado
- N400 Intro
- N400 Part 1: Name
- N400 Part 2 & 3: Eligibility and Personal Info
- N400 Part 4 & 5: Address and Criminal Record Info
- N400 Part 6: Residence and Employment History
- N400 Part 6: Employment History (only)
- N400 Part 7: Travel
- N400 Part 8: Marital History
- N400 Part 9: Children
- N400 Part 10A: General Questions
- N400 Part 10BC: Affiliations
- N400 Part 10D: Moral Character
- N400 Part 10EFG: Deportation and Military Service
- N400 Part 10H: Oath Requirements
Check out the National Constitution Center for more ideas about how to celebrate Constitution Day and Citizenship Day.
Monday, September 1, 2008
Labor Day Special
The US Citizenship Podcast Labor Day Special (MP3) features a story (PDF) about a retired couple, Mr & Mrs Hsun, exerpt of the work & travel sections of Mrs Hsun's interview, and a quick connection between the 13th Amendment and Labor Day.
Five Labor Leaders Who Improved Conditions for American Workers
In Honor of Labor Day, September 1, we tell about Samuel Gompers, John L. Lewis, Walter Reuther, A. Philip Randolph and Cesar Chavez. Transcript of radio broadcast: 31 August 2008
MP3 - Download (MP3)
MP3 - Listen to (MP3)
RealAudio - Download