New Vocabulary, Real Life

This week’s vocabulary list was a good one.

Vocabulary Words:

  • Disappoint
  • Discipline
  • Dismissal
  • Earnest
  • Embarrassment
  • Engage
  • Excessive
  • Excuse

The students seemed to enjoy using their imagination to complete the somewhat challenging assignment (use the assigned vocabulary to write a story). Below are a few that made me smile:

I once met someone who always felt like he had to make up excuses. He was an embarrassment to have around family. He would disappoint me from time to time. We went to the same school and were in our last class together. I couldn’t wait for dismissal. We had plans to go to the movies later on that evening. But of course we didn’t make it. He was earnest about making it up to me.

      I wasn’t going for that anymore, so I decided to discipline him by not answering any of his phone calls. After a couple of hours he finally came over so we could talk. I explained to him that I was tired of his excessive lying. He listened to me and said he was sorry. The next week we were engaged!


When I become disappointed in a person, I’d rather not use an act of discipline. It will not solve anything. It might just make matters worse. It would just encourage an early dismissal from the problem by the both of us. I believe that would be the best solution because at that time I may be in an earnest mood. To avoid any embarrassment we may face by an altercation, we should talk it out like adults. In this case, I think excessive talking would be a good thing. I think this because we will come to a better understanding if everything is put on the table. I also think that an excuse in not necessary. We should take up for our actions.

My students continue to impress me!


Big Daddy

One of my passions is writing. I love to write and get excited when I see my students put effort into their writing assignments.

Below I highlight one of my students and an essay he wrote. Greg writes about his favorite movie using scenes from the movie and relating it to his personal experiences.

My favorite movie is Big Daddy with Adam Sandler. It is about a guy who gets stuck with this kid (who is really his best friend’s son). He struggles to take care of him because he is a kid himself. He ends up becoming emotionally attached to his “new” kid.

Throughout the movie the kid puts him through a hard time, but becomes a part of Sunny’s (Adam Sandler’s character) life. He uses the kid to get girls and the kid uses him to get what he wants. I think that for the most part, Sunny cared and never wanted to see anything happen to the young boy. Sunny takes him to school every day and they do everything together. In the end, Sunny had to give the kid back to his real father and it was really sad.

This was my favorite movie because I want to be a father or a good influenece on a younger loved one. There are a lot of children who are abandoned because parents are too worried about their own lives.



What’s In Your Stocking?

Since I teach a much younger GED class, I try to keep the discussions and assignments current. Each lesson that is taught is brought around full circle so that the students can personally relate.

The purpose of the following activity is to teach the students how to interpret and analyze pictures with hidden messages. I found this editorial cartoon in the August 4, 2009 issue of the Plain Dealer. I asked the students to tell me what message cartoonist Jeff Darcy was trying to portray in this political cartoon.

Roid Sox


Here are a few responses:

The Boston Red Sox players are good only because they are juiced up on steroids.

The Red Sox players have used or are using steroids to enhance their performace on the field. What does that say about players today compared to the all-time greats such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig? I think they are turning in their graves.

This reminds me of the “settlers” who brought drugs and diseases to countries to hurt the inhabitants. Now when people like David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez take steroids, it’s a problem. What about the people who push dope in our communities?


Early death concern for dropouts

Anecdoctal research in England shows that one in six teenagers out of work or education for a long period could be dead within 10 years.

The research looked back at the so-called ‘Neets’ (not in education, employment or training) of 10 years ago, and discovered that 15% of those studied had already died.

Although this is only representative of Northern England, it is a wake up call for everyone.

Read the complete article here.

New Vocabulary, Real Life

In each GED class taught at Project Learn, the instructors put an emphasis on expanding the students’ vocabulary. This is important because misunderstanding a word could cause them to miss a question on the GED test.

In my Generation Y GED class, I take it one step further by requiring that the students write a story using all of the vocabulary words for that week. At first, the students complained that the assignment was too hard. However, when I read some of their stories, I was quite impressed. Here’s a few that caught my attention:

Vocabulary Words:

  • Absenteeism
  • Absolute
  • Accuse
  • Alteration
  • Attractive
  • Authorization
  • Betrayal
  • Bleak

“Lynne was feeling her friend’s betrayal. Lynne’s friend went so far as to accuse her of not getting the proper authorization before making an alteration to a client’s portfolio. The client’s chronic absenteeism was not acquiring any attractive offers. Lynne knew with absolute certainty that because of her friend’s betrayal, her future at the company was very bleak indeed.”

 Vocabulary Words:

  • Chance
  • Common
  • Conviction
  • Cozy
  • Decorate
  • Defined
  • Detrimental

“My brother is 31 years old. He has been given plenty of chances throughout his whole life. When he was a young man, it was very common for him to be in trouble. He was convicted for many crimes. He told me that the hardest thing to adapt to in prison is missing that cozy feeling when he was at home with family. I would always send him pictures of the family so he could decorate his cell. When we visited him in jail, there were defined rules and regulations that we had to follow. Being away from your loved ones for a long period of time can be detrimental for you because it hurts to miss people you love.”


I’ll continue to share their stories as new vocabulary words are introduced.


Generation Y and Harlem Nights

A few months ago, I started teaching the Generation Y GED class in addition to my duties as community relations manager. The class is for students who are 16 to 24 years old, hence the name Generation Y. At first, I didn’t know what to expect and wondered how my students would respond to me as their teacher. I was nervous, yet excited.

One student told me,

 “Sometimes I’m so wrapped up in what’s going on in my life that I don’t realize other events that are happening and may affect me.”

After hearing this, I created lesson plans and developed activities that would increase their awareness of what is happening in the world. One of the activities is something they must do every class session. The students analyze an article in the newspaper or news website and share their story with the class, explaining their personal ties with the article’s outcome. They love it.

In another assignment, a student wrote an essay about his favorite movie, Harlem Nights. I was very impressed with how he explained why this was his favorite movie, citing various movie scenes and how it related to him. Compared to his first essay, it showed his growth as a writer.

Check out his work:

“My favorite movie of all times would have to be Harlem Nights. The reason I selected this movie as my favorite is because it demonstrated how the Black community in those times had power, togetherness and loyalty.

The movie’s writer show how in the early 1900s, the Black community had respect, honor, loyalty and Blacks were a unit. There were famous Black actors and actresses who came together and paid respect to a generation.

I loved Harlem Nights because it showed how Black people did what they wanted to do and had money for whatever came their way. It was a scene where one of the characters lost trust with another one, and did like I would do by handling their business like adults.

What I learned from Harlem Nights is that it’s not always who or what you know, it’s more of how you tend to use that situation and make the best of what is in your surroundings.”

I’d like to share other assignments, class experiences and student responses. It lets you to take a glimpse into what we do at Project Learn, while allowing the students to see their work publicly highlighted.

– Alexia

Time to Break Cycle of No Skills, No Jobs

The Detroit Free Press reported that low level of literacy adds fuel to employment crisis. Very true.

In Summit County, Ohio, there are 45,000 adults who don’t read well enough to earn a living wage. There is also 52,000 adults over the age of 25 who lack a high school diploma. This is a problem for people who need to be able to read and possess a high school diploma to work a job that pays well enough to support their families.

Although Project Learn serves adults in Summit and Portage county who are in need of literacy skills, we recognize that low literacy is a national problem. 

Detroit (Michigan) has about 365,000 residents age 16 and older who read below sixth-grade level. That’s more than a third of a city that is losing residents every year.

Read more about Detroit’s problem here.