Free Lessons

A New U.S. Citizenship Test Is Coming.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has a goal of instating a new citizenship test by the end of 2024. The current test hasn’t been updated since 2008. USCIS wants the new test to match current educational standards. The new test has been designed, but USCIS is not using it yet. There are 3 parts to the citizenship test; reading, writing, and speaking. Let’s look at the test sections and what will change. Current Test New Test Reading Section: Each applicant has to read sentences to the examiner.   No changes Writing Section: The examiner asks each applicant to write up to 3 sentences. Applicants study a list of vocabulary words from USCIS.   No changes Speaking Section: The examiner asks the applicant questions from the information on the N-400 form. New Speaking Section: The examiner will show the applicant a picture of the weather, food, shopping, school, or other daily items. Then the examiner will ask what is happening in the pictures. The applicant must describe at least 1 thing in the picture to pass. U.S. Government & History Section: People taking the test must show knowledge of the U.S. government and history. Applicants are given a list of 100 possible questions. They will be asked 10 questions and must get 6 correct.     New U.S. Government & History Section: The U.S. history and government section will be multiple choice and the test will be on the computer. The test will continue to be 10 questions from the list of 100 questions. Applicants are still required to get at least 6 out of the 10 questions correct.   This information talks about USCIS’s proposed new test. The new test is not yet ready. USCIS could still make changes. This information is only here to inform you of…

It’s an Election Year

This year is an “election year”, meaning that there will be ordinary (regular) elections for local government. I’m sure many of you have started seeing things in the news after the election and candidates. From January until the first Tuesday of November (Election Day) the news outlets will be discussing something about the presidential election. In every presidential election, the Democrats and Republicans have one candidate that represents their party. Many people want to become president, but each party selects one candidate. Candidates are Selected Through Primaries and Caucuses People who want to become president announce their interest in becoming president. These people campaign by doing speeches and rallies in preparation for the primary election or caucus in each state. A primary election is when the party members vote for the best candidate to represent them in the general (presidential) election. In a caucus, political party members select the best candidate through a sequence of discussions and votes. Depending on the state where they live, citizens can vote in a primary or a caucus. You have to be a registered Democrat or Republican to vote in a caucus or primary.   Preparing for the General Election After the primaries and caucuses, the Democrats and Republicans will each have one presidential candidate. Next, the presidential candidate needs to select a “running mate,” the person who will run (compete) with them for the vice president position. The presidential and vice-presidential candidates run together.   The General Election (The Presidential Election) Citizens do not directly vote for the president. In the U.S., there is a system called the Electoral College. In the Electoral College, each state gets a number of electors based on its representation in Congress. Each elector casts one vote (their vote for the presidential candidate). The presidential candidate that gets…

The Y (YMCA)

Have you ever heard the song YMCA by the Village People? Ask your parents and grandparents. The song and dance moves to the YMCA song are very famous in the U.S. The song is about an organization in the U.S. called the YMCA. The YMCA has been long for a very long time and many communities have a YMCA. Currently, like always, the YMCA is a place where people pay a membership and get to enjoy services like a gym, pool, swim lessons, classes, and summer camps for children. The YMCA offers things for everyone. People call the YMCA, “The Y”. Example: He takes swimming classes at The Y two days a week. Please listen to the song and also check out the YMCA website. Visit and click Find Your Y

Christmas Break for Students in Grades K-12th

In the U.S. students have a Christmas break/vacation. Most commonly, students have half a day of school on December 23rd. The next day; December 24th (Christmas Eve) there is NO SCHOOL. December 25th is Christmas and there is NO SCHOOL and most places are closed. Schools remain closed, for students and teachers, between Christmas and New Year’s Day (January 26th-January 1st). Students usually return to school on January 2nd.

Thanksgiving Idioms:

I’m stuffed When a person says, “I’m stuffed” it means they are full and don’t want to eat anymore. Examples: After eating a big Thanksgiving dinner, everyone is stuffed. So, we wait for 1-2 hours to have dessert. After eating Thanksgiving dinner, everyone is stuffed. So, we go window shopping to walk around and feel less stuffed.   Extra info.: A teddy bear is a stuffed animal. She is stuffing everything into her suitcase.   Eat like a bird When a person eats like a bird, they eat very little. Examples: Mike is a big guy, but he eats like a bird. Often, elderly people eat like a bird.   To go cold turkey When a person goes cold turkey, that means they quit a bad habit and suffer from the beginning. This is often used to talk about people who stop smoking cigarettes or using drugs. Examples: He tried to quit smoking cold turkey, but he couldn’t do it. She successfully quit smoking by going cold turkey but it was very tough. Some people try to stop vaping by going cold turkey.   Count your blessings To count your blessings means to be grateful for the good things in your life. Examples: This Thanksgiving we should count our blessings. Count your blessings because there are many people that don’t have what we have.  


Before we talk about Thanksgiving, let’s look at the history of the first people in the U.S. and this will lead to understanding Thanksgiving. The First People in the U.S. The first people to inhabit (live in) the land that is now the United States of America were American Indians/Native Americans/First Peoples. The Native American Indians first came to the land of the U.S. thousands of years ago. In 1492, Christopher Columbus accidentally sailed to the Americas. Columbus was an Italian explorer. He was trying to find the western route or direction from Spain to India. Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean and reached the Americas. In 1560, a Spanish colony (group of people who lived in a new place) was founded (established) in Florida; people from Spain settled (lived) in Florida. In 1607, an English colony was founded in Jamestown, Virginia. In 1620, a group of about 100 people from England, landed in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The group of people was called the Pilgrims, and their boat was called the Mayflower. They were planning to go to Virginia but landed in Massachusetts. The Pilgrims were fleeing (escaping) religious persecution. Thanksgiving Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday that celebrates and remembers the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. The Pilgrims were a group of about 100 people that left England because of religious persecution. The Pilgrims sailed to the New World (United States of America) in their boat called the Mayflower. They planned to go to Virginia, but they went off course and landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The Pilgrims were starving and did not know how to grow food in the new land. A group of Native American Indians called the Wampanoag Indians taught the Pilgrims how to grow food. In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims held (had) a three-day feast…

A Freshman, Sophomore, Junior and Senior

The words/terms freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior are words that tell you what grade in high school and/or year in college a student is in. There is a name for high school students for each grade they are in. When a student is in the 9th grade, they are called a freshman.  Example: You can say, “I’m in 9th grade.” Or “I’m a freshman” When a student is in the 10th grade, they are called a sophomore. When a student is in the 11th grade, they are called a junior. When a student is in the 12th grade, they are called a senior. There is a name for college students for each year they are in. A student in their first year of college is called a freshman. A student in their second year of college is called a sophomore. A student in their third year of college is called a junior. A student in their fourth year of college is called a senior.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is any type of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can be verbal or nonverbal. Both the victim and the harasser can be a man or woman. SEXUAL HARASSMENT IS ILLEGAL. It should not be accepted or tolerated anywhere. Some examples of sexual harassment: Actual or attempted rape or sexual assault Unwanted pressure for sexual favors Unwanted deliberate touching, leaning over, cornering, or pinching Unwanted sexual looks or gestures Unwanted phone calls, emails, texts, messages, etc. of a sexual nature Unwanted pressure for date Unwatched touching of body, hair, and/or clothing Unwanted hugging, kissing, touching Blowing kisses, winking, licking lips, etc. Standing to close or against someone Touching or rubbing oneself in front of or near someone else Staring someone up and down Blocking someone’s path Referring to someone as a girl, doll, babe, or honey Whistling at someone Cat calls Telling sexual stories Asking about sexual history, sexual preferences, etc. Telling lies and/or spreading rumors about someone’s sexual life or history.   What to do if you experience sexual harassment: SAY NO. Tell the harasser his/her advances are unwanted. Some people think a “no” is really a “yes”. If you say no, your response should be accepted, understood, and respected. KEEP a RECORD. If the harassment continues, keep track of the times, places, statements, and actions of the harasser. This information can be used as proof of the harassment. REPORT IT. Go directly to your supervisor, the HR (Human Resource) Department, owner, President, or CEO of the company. If none of these are an option, consider going to the police. Most importantly, NEVER ACCEPT sexual harassment or be silent about it. Employers are responsible and obligated to protect their employees from sexual harassment. If a…

Sex Offender

**This blog post is ONLY to teach English learners what a sex offender is and provide them with information about how they can find out if a sex offender lives in their neighborhood. A sex offender is a person that has committed a sexual crime. Examples of Sexual Offenses: Sexual misconduct with a minor (someone under 18 years old) Rape Sexual assault of a spouse Molestation of a child Continuous sexual abuse of a child Indecent exposure Public sexual indecency Taking a child for the purpose of prostitution Sexual exploitation of a minor Selling or buying of children Material that sexually exploits a minor. Having child pornography Sharing child pornography Lascivious Acts (sexual behavior that is considered crude and offensive.) Lewd Acts (unlawful behavior that is of sexual nature, performed with the intention of sexually arousing a perpetrator or to who the conduct is directed at.) Transporting people so they can engage in prostitution or illegal sexual activity. Using the interstate to transport information about an individual under the age of 16. Kidnapping, aggravated assault, murder, unlawful imprisonment, and burglary where there is evidence of sexual motivation Sexual acts where force was used on the victim or the victim was under duress. Sexual acts where the victim was unable to consent due to mental impairment or disability. Many sexual offenses are in the jurisdiction of state and federal law. A sexual offender can be a person that is over the age of 18 that has sex with a person under the age 18. In other countries, it might be legal for a person over 18 to have sex with a person under the age 18. But, in the U.S. (in most states) it is NOT. The offender can be arrested and go to jail, then be required to register as…


Have you ever heard your phone make a really loud noise and the screen says AMBER Alert? An AMBER Alert is an emergency response system about a missing person (usually a child). AMBER Alerts go to cell phones, are shown on the TV, and/or electronic road signs. Typically, AMBER Alerts will say the city and/or state and give a LIC (license plate number) of a car the person might be in. Just because the car is in another state, doesn’t mean the car is not in your area. When you see an AMBER Alert, please “be on the lookout” for the vehicle it is describing. You could save a life.   If you see the car that is on the AMBER Alert, call 911 immediately. Don’t think other people will call 911. For more information, visit