Thursday, January 30, 2014

February 2nd is Groundhog Day!

I know you’re all hoping for an end to this weather!  Well, on Sunday, we’ll find out if Spring is going to come early or if we’re going to have six more weeks of winter.  How can we possibly know this?  The answer comes in the form of a groundhog named Phil:
Punxsutawney Phil (picture from

Phil lives in a small town in western Pennsylvania called Punxsutawney (IPA pronunciation: ˈpʌŋksəˌtɔni).  Every year on February 2nd, he comes out of the ground with a crowd of people watching to see whether or not he sees his shadow.  If he sees his shadow (i.e. if it’s sunny) and goes back below the ground, there will be 6 more weeks of winter.  If he doesn’t see his shadow (i.e. if it’s cloudy), spring will come early.  This tradition has been going on there since 1886 [1]Are these predictions usually accurate?  Maybe not, but it’s still fun to pretend!  And some people actually do consider this tradition very serious:  there is even a secret society that cares for the groundhog(s).

Another cultural note:  The movie “Groundhog Day” (1993) with Bill Murray, made this celebration in Punxsutawney even more famous, and this movie has become an American classic.

[1] Yoder, Don (2003). Groundhog Day. Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania: Stackpole Books.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

You may be wondering why you don’t have classes next Monday.  The reason for this day off is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.  But who is Martin Luther King Jr.?  Those of you who have taken the 1960’s class may already be familiar with the Civil Rights Movement.  Martin Luther King Jr. was a major leader of this movement.  The goal of the Civil Rights Movement was to end racial discrimination and segregation in the United States.  While slavery had ended a century before, African-Americans continued to be treated differently and unequally from white Americans.

While there were also many other important figures in the Civil Rights movement, Martin Luther King Jr. is perhaps the most well-known, because of his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.  In this speech, he expressed his dreams for the future of the United States, with respect to equal rights and treatment of everyone, regardless of skin color.  As one of the leaders of the movement, he encouraged non-violence in achieving the movement’s goals.

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in 1968 because of his controversial political actions.  Every year, we honor him on the 3rd Monday of January (close to his birthday) because of his bravery and the changes that he helped make in this country.


Discrimination: Unfair treatment of a person or a group of people differently from other people.

Segregation:  Keeping people of different races, religions, or other groups separate from each other 
(e.g. separate schools for African-Americans and whites)

Assassination:  Surprise murder of an important person, often for political reasons

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Black Friday Shopping Trip

ELI has a few trips coming up, including the Black Friday Shopping Trip.  Check out this information to find out if you want to come or not.

Who: All ELI students are welcome.  Just buy a ticket ($25) at the cashier's window at 189 W. Main St.

What: Trip to the outlets for great tax-free shopping.  Outlets are stores where the best brands sell directly to you, the customer.  They do not have to go through a "middle man" such as a department store, so the prices are lower than pretty much anywhere else.

When: Friday, November 29th
            Leaving 318 S. College at 7am
            Leaving outlets at 7pm
This day is Black Friday, the biggest sales day of the year.  This days begins the Holiday shopping season and helps stores boost their sales figures.  Many stores have sales and specials on this day, so look out for ways to save even more!

Where: The Tanger outlets we're going to on this trip are located in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.  The location is between 1.5 and 2 hours away.  Added bonus: because these outlets are in Delaware, you don't need to pay sales tax.

Why: A trip to the outlets is an excellent chance for you to make purchases for you, your friends, and your family.  The Tanger Outlet mall has stores from many major brands such as Coach, White House Black Market, Calvin Klein, Guess, Lacoste, Michael Kors, Nautica, and many more.  For a complete list of stores, visit the Tanger Outlets website.  Remember, these stores sell things at a lower price than most places you can get these brands.

How:  Buy a ticket ($25) at the cashier's window at 189 W. Main St. as soon as possible.  Tickets have been on sale since October 28th, so hurry before they're all gone.

For other activities this session, please visit the ELI website.

Are you coming on the Black Friday Shopping Trip?  What store are you most excited to visit?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

International Education Week

This week is International Education Week!

UD is holding International Education Week from yesterday (Monday, 11/18) to Friday (11/22).  It's a celebration of international cultures and the awesome international student presence we have at UD.

Below is a list of just a few of the events that will be held for International Education Week from today on.

  • Campus Chatter Showcase - Discussion of writing a musical
    5-6pm, Bayard Sharp Hall (on the corner of South Main (Elkton) and Delaware Avenue)
  • Quizzo - Trivia game
    7pm, Scrounge in Perkins Student Center
  • Faculty Connection Series - Faculty/Student discussion
    8pm, several dormitories
  • Going Global: Panel of Experts - Panel discussion on the positive impact of international study
    2:30-3:30pm, Gallery in Perkins Student Center
  • Food & Game Night - Tasting international food and playing international games
    7:30pm, Warner Hall Lounge
  • RSO Spotlight - Presentations from culture-based student organizations
    8pm, several dormitories
  • Festival of Nations - Talent show, fashion show, culture fair
    5-9pm, Trabant Multipurpose Rooms
The Festival of Nations on Friday will be a big, fun event.  You will see many of your friends, classmates, and even teachers on the stage, so come out and support International Education Week.

For more information and a list of all of the events this week, please visit the International Education Week website!

Monday, November 18, 2013


As you probably already know, we have a holiday coming up at the end of November.  Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving Now

Thanksgiving takes place every year on the 4th Thursday in November.  This year, it will be on November 28th.  It is typically celebrated by getting together with family and eating a large holiday meal.  People talk about what things they are thankful for.  They eat turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, yams, and vegetables for dinner and pumpkin pie for dessert.

Thanksgiving is also a time when college students come home to visit their families.  Universities usually end classes early on the Wednesday before thanksgiving and students go home for a long weekend.

Sometimes families do volunteer work or invite other people over for the holiday meal.  This is because Thanksgiving is also a time for sharing the good things you have.

How Thanksgiving Started

Thanksgiving is a celebration of plenty.  It's a celebration of the good things we have, including food, family, friends, and good fortune.

Throughout history, many people have had celebrations of harvest.  This means when the crops are ready to eat, and before winter weather makes it too cold to grow things, we should celebrate the rewards of the hard work we've done to grow the plants.

In America, the first Thanksgiving celebration took place around the year 1621.  It was a celebration of a successful harvest.  The people who came were Pilgrims and American Indians.

Pilgrims are people who came to America from England.  They wanted to come to a new country because they were not free to practice their religion where they lived.

American Indians are the people who lived in America before people from Europe arrived.  They knew what plants they could grow and eat and what animals lived in the area.  Without their help, the pilgrims would not have survived.

What "Thanksgiving" Means

The word "Thanksgiving" comes from the idea of giving thanks, or saying "thank you".  This is about being thankful for the good things you have.  The Pilgrims were very religious, so they gave thanks to God for their harvest, their luck, and the good things they had.

Today, Thanksgiving is a religious and secular (not religious) holiday.  Some people thank God for the good things they have, and other people thank each other or just focus on being grateful and celebrating what they have.


thankful for (st.)  - adj
give thanks for (st.)    - v i.
grateful for (st.)   - adj.

Thanksgiving at the ELI

For us at the ELI, Thanksgiving means we have a few days off!  Classes and tutoring will end at 3:30pm on Wednesday.  We have no classes on Thanksgiving day or the Friday after.  We will take a trip to the Lancaster shopping outlets on Friday (Black Friday Shopping Trip).  Happy Thanksgiving!

Tell us: What are you planning to do during Thanksgiving break?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

It snowed yesterday...

As I'm sure you noticed, it snowed yesterday.


As the weeks go on, this may happen more often.  During winter (which officially starts December 21st), you will see snow, but you will also see other kinds of precipitation.

Precipitation is any moisture that comes from the clouds and falls to the earth.  In Delaware during the winter time, it can come in many forms.  Here are the most common ones you'll need to know.

Rain, of course, will be pretty common this winter.  I personally hope it will snow more than rain, but that's just me.  If it's just raining a little, it's drizzling, sprinkling, or spitting, and if it's raining a lot, it's pouring, or raining buckets.

When the weather gets cold, it can do some other interesting things.

Sleet is very small balls of ice.  It is clear and it bounces when it hits the ground.  It is formed when rain freezes before it hits the ground.  When a pile of sleet accumulates, it can look like snow.

Freezing rain is very cold rain that freezes when it touches the ground or another surface. It can be dangerous because the ice is clear and heavy.  If freezing rain falls on a road, it will become very slippery.  If it falls on power lines or tree branches, the weight of the ice may bring the branch or power line down.

Snow, of course, is the white fluffy stuff.  In Delaware, it usually comes in small amounts, like one or two inches at a time.  It's also usually wet and heavy.  Sometimes, however, it can fall in larger amounts.  A few years ago, we got two snow storms in a row, and we had feet of snow.

Light (dry) snow falls when the temperature is very low.  It can be dangerous because it drifts (blows in the wind) across roads or against buildings.  It's also the best kind of snow for skiing.

The Snowman

Heavy (wet) snow falls when the temperature is at or right below freezing (32 degrees F or 0 degrees C).  It can be dangerous because its weight can bring down tree branches or damage roofs of buildings.  It's also the more fun kind of snow if you like building snowmen or snow forts or having snowball fights.

Whatever the weather does this winter, remember to have fun and be safe!

Do you have snow in your home country?  Do you like winter weather?  Are you excited to see snow this winter?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Practicing Linking: The Mairzy Doats Song

Listening to native speakers using English can be difficult.  Sometimes it's because of vocabulary, idioms, or speed, but often, it's because of two things: linking and reductions.

Linking happens when two words or syllables are connected by a consonant.  Sometimes, this makes the two words sound like one.

Reduction is when a native speaker reduces (make smaller/shorter/simpler) words, especially when they are not emphasized (ex. structure words like "be" or "I").

Mairzy Doats

This game is based on a song that my mother used to sing to me when I was a child.  The linking in this song is so intense, I thought 6 words in the song were just one word.  Can you figure out what the words are in this song?

Watch this video.  Can you hear the words?  What are the lyrics to this song?

Now review the following vocabulary and listen to the song again.

female horse

a grain

female deer

baby sheep


baby goat

Can you guess the lyrics of the song now?
Check your work below..

Mares eat oats and does eat oats

And little lambs eat ivy.
A kid'll eat ivy too, wouldn't you?

(For more listening practice, visit or

How did you do?  Could you understand the words?  Leave a comment and let us know!