Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Citizenship Now, 3rd Edition with DVD and CD

Wow! Look what DHL delivered today:
Citizenship Now, 3rd edition with DVD, CD, and a Teacher's Manual!

I am thrilled to announce the publication of the third edition of Citizenship Now. This edition has not only been updated for the new 100 questions, it also includes a DVD of practice interviews and audio CD of the 100 questions is included with each student edition.

Also available, a Teacher's Manual with lesson plans, handouts, and activities that addresses multiple leaning modalities and fluency levels.

Citizenship Now: A Guide to Naturalization - Student Book with Pass the Interview DVD and Audio CD by Karen Hilgeman, Winifred Ho Roderman, Kristin D. Sherman, Jennifer Wilson Cooper, ISBN 0077202651 / 9780077202651

Citizenship Now: A Guide to Naturalization - Teacher's Edition by Kristin Sherman, ISBN 0077194624 / 9780077194628

Why am I so happy with Citizenship Now? McGraw-Hill gathered a "team of experts"--citizen-students and classroom teachers (me included)--to help improve their textbook. McGraw-Hill listened to us and actually incorporated many of our suggestions.

Thanks to the writers and "experts"--we constantly learned new things about this "old material."

Special thanks to the citizen-students for sharing their poweful stories that inspire their fellow students as well as their teachers.

Kudos to McGraw-Hill, especially Mary P. Sutton the editor, for delivering a fine, fine product: Citizenship Now is a "textbook example" of WE THE PEOPLE.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Shaping the Man: Anh 'Joseph' Quang Cao

A majority of the US Citizenship students
at Milpitas Adult School are from Viet Nam
and are very, very, very proud of their brother
Congressman-elect, Joseph Cao!

Shaping the Man Washington Post
The story of Anh 'Joseph' Quang Cao, the newly elected Republican congressman for Louisiana's second district, is the definition of the American dream Slide Show

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The American Red Cross

If the law requires it are you willing to do work of national importance under civilian direction?

One of the last questions of the N-400 section of the USCIS Naturalization Interview asks if the new citizen will help during an emergency. The American Red Cross (and the Red Crescent), provide direct relief to victims of disaster.

American Red Cross disaster preparedness materials that are available in a variety languages to support the needs of the culturally diverse communities it serves. Available material and languages are shown below, along with related materials from other agencies.

Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the American Red Cross to support all their good works.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

NYTimes: Leaning on Jail, City of Immigrants Fills Cells With Its Own

A woman and her son prepare to visit her husband, an immigration detainee
at the Detention Facility in Central Falls, R.I. More photos.

Leaning on Jail, City of Immigrants Fills Cells With Its Own By NINA BERNSTEIN, NYTimes
In Central Falls, R.I., a mostly Latino city, few realized that a jail held hundreds of people caught in the nation’s crackdown on illegal immigration. Photos

A Growing Detention Network
People picked up on suspicion of immigration violations are held in a patchwork of detention centers. Most of the largest are privately run. Interactive Map

An Immigrant Jail in an Immigrant Town
As a detention center tries to cash in, a community lives in fear. Video

NYTimes Topics: Immigration Detention In-Custody Deaths

Friday, December 26, 2008

SJ Mercury News: Soldier's visit home is best gift of all

Soldier's visit home is best gift of all
Serviceman comes home from Iraq and surprises his San Jose family at their Christmas Eve gathering. "People ask me what I want for Christmas and I tell them, 'I'm home. That's good enough for me,' " he says.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day, 1776

Click the picture to make the image larger.

A Brief History of
Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware River, Christmas Night 1776

George Washington led his army across the icy Delaware River and surprise attacked the Hessians at Trenton, New Jersey on Christmas Day, 1776. The Continental Army had little to celebrate that Christmas and seemed beaten by hunger and cold until their victory over the Hessians and English armies. This battle was followed by the Second Battle of Trenton on January 2, 1777, and the Battle of Princeton a day later. The victories bolstered sagging morale, changing the course of the American Revolution.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

A Christmas Card from the President!!!

Mr Wu is in my Senior ESL class and worked as a tri-lingual poll worker during the recent general election. He was thrilled to receive a Christmas Card from President George W. Bush and the First Lady Laura Bush.

Look Carefully: What monument is on the front of this year's Presidential Christmas Card?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

USPS Holiday Stamps

USPS stamps reflect the religious and cultural diversity of the United States of America. Here are the 2008 USPS Holiday Stamps.

Eid al-Adha (2008), the Muslim Festival of Sacrifice, is on Monday, the 8th of December.

Chanukah (2008), the Jewish Festival of Lights, will start on Monday, the 22nd of December and will continue for 8 days until Monday, the 29th of December.

Christmas is celebrated on December 25 by Roman Catholics, Protestants, and many non-Christians. Orthodox Christians celebrate Christmas on January 6.

This season's secular stamps are the tin soldiers from the holiday ballet, The Nutcracker.

Kwanza is celebrated between December 26 and January 1 in US African-American communities.

Lunar New Year (2009) will start on January 26 and will continue for 15 days, ending with the Lantern Festival. Asian communities all over the world will be celebrating the Year of the Ox.

For a good, quick reference for holiday dates, visit When-Is, which also includes What Is? a simple description of each holiday.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Capitol Menorah Lighting Ceremony

Gov. Schwarzenegger Celebrates Chanukah Season at Capitol Menorah Lighting Ceremony
Gov Schwarzenegger & local leaders of the Jewish community joined Chabad of California to celebrate Chanukah at the 15th annual Capitol Menorah Lighting Ceremony. This year’s celebration honored Project PRIDE, the Chabad-sponsored anti-drug program & also dedicated to the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Mumbai, India.
Speech Photos Video

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Former citizenship coordinator in San Jose charged with theft and impersonating a lawyer

Former citizenship coordinator in San Jose charged with theft and impersonating a lawyer
By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News Article Launched: 12/18/2008 05:54:05 PM PST

(exerpt from the article)
"A former employee of a San Jose nonprofit has been charged with stealing from Spanish-speaking clients whom he was supposed to assist in filling out citizenship and immigration documents.

Jose Mario Campos, 66, of San Jose, also faces charges that he told some clients who came to Sacred Heart Community Service that he was a lawyer, embellishing on his actual position as a part-time citizenship coordinator. Sacred Heart, an interfaith agency, fired Campos in September after three years at the agency. . .

Those who think they have been victims in this matter should call Gary Medlin at the district attorney's office at (408) 792-2917."

**If you EVER have questions or concerns about the legal services that you have received, contact your local District Attorney.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

American Wonder...

The Statue of Liberty, the Lincoln Memorial, and Midnight Lightning at Yosemite. Three amazing subjects seen best in rich three-dimensional spaces, stitched together to create a 360 degree view!

National Geographic is partnering with Nikon to present American Wonder...three iconic locations at your fingertips with Microsoft's Photosynth application.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

VOANews: Presidential Electors Confirm Obama as Next President

VOANews: Presidential Electors Confirm Obama as Next President By Jim Malone Washington15 December 2008
Presidential electors met in state capitals around the United States on Monday to confirm last month's presidential election results that will make Barack Obama the 44th U.S. president on January 20.
Malone report - Download (MP3)

Malone report - Listen (MP3)

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Red, White, and Blue Christmas at the White House

California Congressman Mike Honda selected artist Isako Wasano to decorate the 15th District's (San Jose/Milpitas) ornament for the 2008 White House Christmas Tree. White House Photo by Joyce N. Boghosian

Each US Congressional District contributed a specially-designed ornament to the White House's Red, White, and Blue Christmas Tree. Click here, to see the ornament from your congressional district.

ESL Podcast 226 – Holiday Decorating
We buy a Christmas tree and the kids decorate it with ornaments that we’ve bought and made over the years, and with silver and gold tinsel. ...Download Podcast

Friday, December 12, 2008

Thursday, December 11, 2008

NYTimes: Waiting for Asylum

America represents liberty and wealth --the one place where everybody can go and feel at home... Njoya Hilary Tikum, Cameroon

Waiting for Asylum: Thousands request political asylum each year. For Njoya, the process meant 2 long years of waiting. Video

Monday, December 8, 2008

1st Vietnamese-American elected to US Congress

Anh 'Joseph' Cao (R) was born in Saigon, VN and came to the US when he was 8 years old.

Cao defeated Rep. Jefferson, for the 2nd District in Louisiana. Cao is the 1st Vietnamese-American elected to the US Congress!

Chúc mừng Congressman-elect Cao!

For more info, visit:

Joseph Cao for Congress

Sunday, December 7, 2008

VOANews: Strike Up the Band

The U.S. Army's Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps is one of the most visible military units in the world. Sporting their revolutionary war inspired uniforms and playing adaptations of traditional military signal instruments, the Old Guard has performed for millions of people around the world. VOA's Liu Enming has more on this busy group that performs nearly 500 performances every year.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

AP: Test for Vietnam government: free-speech bloggers

Test for Vietnam government: free-speech bloggers
By BEN STOCKING Associated Press Writer
Posted: 12/06/2008 11:45:06 AM PST

"We fought two wars to free ourselves from the shackles of imperialism and colonialism, all in the hope of having basic human rights," wrote Vo Thi Hao, a novelist and painter, on her self-titled blog. "Even the French colonial government allowed private media, opposition parties and free expression."

Friday, December 5, 2008

ESLPod Blog's US Geography Lesson

New Citizen: Varinder Singh!

Kudos to ESLPod (and Wikipedia) for another excellent post applicable to the USCIS 100.

ESLPod Blog: Where exactly is the United States of America?
On Cafe #163, I said that the area known as the Florida Keys (which includes the city of Key West) was the “southernmost” point in the United States (that is, the place that is farthest to the south). Wolfgang, a listener from Germany, pointed out to me that this is not completely correct. The Florida Keys are southernmost in the continental United States...

Wikipedia: Extreme points of the United States
This is a list of the extreme points of the United States, the points that are farther north, south, east, or west than any other location in the country. Also included are extreme points in elevation.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

VOANews: Nicknames: America's 50 States

USCIS 100:89-95 asks questions about geography. Student can practice their geography and listening skills while learning fun facts about different states:

Nicknames: America's 50 States (First of Four Parts) Alabama is known as the Heart of Dixie. Alaska is called the Last Frontier. More states...

Nicknames: America's 50 States (Second of Four Parts) Kentucky is the Bluegrass State and Louisiana is the Bayou State. More states...

Nicknames: America's 50 States (Third of Four Parts) The mid-Atlantic state of Maryland is called the Free State. The western desert state of Nevada is called the Silver State. More states...

Nicknames: America's 50 States (Fourth of Four Parts) Ohio in the midwest is called The Buckeye States. Rhode Island's nickname is Little Rhody. More States...

Monday, December 1, 2008

WLWT: Is New U.S. Citizenship Test Too Hard?

WLWT Cincinatti News 5 conducted a very informal, unscientific sampling of people on the street to see if they could answer all of the questions on the new test correctly. No one did