Thursday, October 3, 2013

Verb Tenses

Verb tenses are tools that English speakers use to express time in their language. You may find that many English tenses do not have direct translations in your language. That is not a problem. English Page has tutorials and exercises to help you learn how verb tenses are used in English. 

English Page reviews and offers practice for the following verb tenses:

Simple Present

Present Continuous
Simple Past 
Past Continuous
Present Perfect
Present Perfect Continuous
Past Perfect
Past Perfect Continuous
Be Going to
Simple Future
Future Continuous
Future Perfect
Future Perfect Continuous

Careers & Majors

Visit San Diego Miramar College's Career Resources webpage for useful links that will help you find the perfect job for you. JobConnect posts part-time, full-time, and internship positions for students of City, Miramar, and Mesa College. offers free career tests, personality assessments, job advice, and other resources.

The SDSU Career Services websites offers free assessments that can help you choose the right major and career for you.

O*Net Interest Profiler is a survey developed by the U.S. Department of Labor that asks questions about your interests and generates a report of occupations that match your interests.

This section connects majors to careers, which can help you choose the right major for you. For each major that interests you, click the Information link to find information about common career areas, typical employers, and strategies to maximize your career opportunities. Click Links to find a list of useful websites about the given major and related careers.

Learning Styles

Take the Learning Styles Inventory! Once you determine what kind of learner you are, explore the site to find out more about your learning style including learning strategies, traits, activity suggestions, and learning strengths. Identifying what kind of learner you are can help you decide how to learn class material and how to study.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Flash Cards

Head Magnet "Headmagnet is a learning tool that helps you to memorize new facts quickly and maintain what you have learned. Headmagnet helps you to predict when you will forget things, so that you can review only what you need to." Based upon memory and cognition research - helps you learn what you need to learn. Take the tour here.

Quizlet - "largest flash cards and study games website" - create your own study cards or search the public decks. You will need to download Siverlight to use the site online (the link is available at the site). Syncs with Flashcards Pro app (free) for the iPodTouch, iPhone or iPad which allows you to study anytime.

CueCard - an electronic flashcard program download with multiple features including ability to import audio and graphics. Keeps track of correct responses and can be printed out.

Study Stack - create interactive web-based flashcards or use ones that are already created; if you use stacks that are already created, check them first as there are errors in several of the created stacks.

Flash Card Machine - allows the user to create interactive web-based study flash cards.

Flash Card Exchange - large online library of flashcards. Create your own, study online or offline. Can be downloaded to Word, & Excel

Recall Plus - Students can organize their notes, create flashcards, make use of 3D tools and more in this great mind mapping tool. It is downloadable.

WordStash - Half flashcard, half dictionary, and full awesome! Teachers can create class accounts and word lists for students.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

How to Write a Resume and Cover Letter


This site is intended for children, but the simple language allows you to focus on the main goal: to write a great resume! You can fill out a resume template to save or print or just check out the tips for a great break-down of each section of a resume.

Workshops on resume writing have been held in the Lab. Check out Kristin's and Marie's power points for some tips on resume writing.

Here are some other resources for resume writing:
Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL)
University of California, San Diego
UCSD You Tube Video

The Career Center at Miramar College offers free resume critiques on a walk-in basis. Just bring a draft of your resume!

Cover Letters
A teacher from Columbia University has put together the DOs and DONTs of cover letter writing. The handout focuses on applying to educational jobs, but the main ideas presented are useful when applying to any job. The site provides sample letters as well as explanations of each component you should include in your cover letter.

Purdue OWL also offers useful information on how to write job application letters, thank you and follow up letters, as well as effective acceptance and rejection letters

Letter Templates
Download Microsoft's free templates. There are templates for any kind of letter you could think to write including medical letters, personal letters, academic letters, employment letters, and much more!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Financial Literacy

IGrad is the most comprehensive site on the web dealing with financial literacy. The iGrad staff (including a good friend of mine) has designed this website for college students and recent graduates to improve your financial literacy with interactive tools and expert resources.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paragraph Writing

Paragraph Structure

This resource from the University of Illinois in Urbana guides you through the elements of an effective paragraph and gives lots of examples.

The Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL) gives advice on how to write effective paragraphs.

Topic Sentences

This article provides information about how to write an effective topic sentence that has both a topic and a controlling idea. It also gives a basic idea about what the differences are between topic sentence for a paragraph and a thesis statement for an essay.


Parts of Speech


Basic Nouns and Pronouns

The Spring Cove School District website offers some great resources and Powerpoints for help with nouns and pronouns.

Noun Clauses

Creating the perfect noun clause can be tricky--try these links to quiz yourself! 1.  Check the differences between noun clauses and adverb clauses here 3. Try this link to test your noun, adverb, and adjective clauses!

1. A phrasal verb is a verb plus a preposition or adverb which creates a meaning different from the original verb. "Broke up" would be an example of a phrasal verb. In English, there are both transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs. The transitive phrasal verbs are separable while other are inseparable. EnglishPage and EnglishClub both give great overviews of phrasal verbs and can help you understand which transitive verbs are separable, which are not separable, and what that means.

2. This source, from St. Cloud University in Minnesota, provides an overview of the English verb tenses. This could be a useful hand-out to complement an online grammar quiz or activity.


Having trouble remembering where to put your adverbs? Click here for a simplified guide to help you out!


1. Brainstorming can help you organize the material for your essay better and can thus lead to higher grades. This article provides some information about brainstorming strategies such as listing, freewriting, clustering, outlining, and creating a timeline. 

One of our superior IAs, Tami, created this excellent presentation about Brainstorming.
Check it out if you need help with techniques on getting ideas from your head to paper!



1. WordDynamo is a website that will help you build your vocabulary. You can take quizzes, play games, make study guides, and much more. It will help you organize your new vocabulary and watch your progress. You can even choose specific vocabulary words that relate to your interests (computers, engineering, culinary arts, law enforcement, biotechnology, history, art, etc). Have fun!

Do you keep using the same word over and over again in your essay? Can't think of the right word to express your feelings? Use a thesaurus to learn synonyms or find a word that you just can't remember. However, don't forget to use your thesaurus wisely. Make sure you understand the meaning of your new word and how it's supposed to be used in a sentence. It can be helpful to first use a thesaurus, and then check the meaning and use of your new word in a dictionary. See the list of links below for some helpful online resources: a. Microsoft Word. If you're typing a paper in Microsoft Word, use the program's built-in thesaurus. Highlight the word you would like to find synonyms for, right click, and mouse over "synonyms." b. c. Free Thesaurus d. MSN Encarta Thesaurus

3. Verbalearn is a vocabulary-building website when where students can create a studylist, and then learn the words in that study list by using various formats such as MP3, flashcards, and crossword puzzles. Visit the website to sign up for a free account.

4. This website offers a spaced repetition program called is a spaced repetition program that can be used to learn any vocabulary. What is spaced repetition? Spaced Repetition takes the science of how our brains remember things, and uses it to help us learn! By signing up for this website you can enroll in pre-made programs, or create your own. The system will then tell you when and how many words to study. It's fun, interactive, and effective. has many prexisting programs in several languages, and you can even use it to learn important test items for your other classes. The best part is, it's free!

5. The fun vocabulary builder at has a unique twist: for every answer you get correct, the program donates grains of rice to areas of the world that are affected by starvation. The more you play, the more you help!

6. Please check out the video Academic Discourse if you want more ideas on phrases you can use!

7. Check out to see words in context and to translate if necessary!


Sometimes we just can't carry around a heavy dictionary with us all the time. Fortunately, there are several good online dictionaries available, many of which are made especially for English learners. Another advantage is sound; many of the dictionaries will provide a sound file with the correct pronunciation. Here is a list of some of the dictionaries available online:

1.  The Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary (This dictionary has very simple definitions and good example sentences.)

2. The Longman English Dictionary of Contemporary English (The Longman Dictionary provides more example sentences and detailed definitions.)

3. Heinle's Newbury House Dictionary of American English (This dictionary has the shortest definitions, and is very good for beginning ESL students.)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Common Grammar Topics

Asking and Answering Yes/No Questions
In English, we use the auxiliary verbs "do," "be," and "have" as well as modals (can, could, should, will, would, may, might) to ask yes/no questions. These articles give a good overview of how to do this. The first article looks at all types of yes/no questions and the second looks at yes/no questions with "do" and "be" in the present tense.

This article explains the purpose of the simple present tense and the present continuous tense so that students can understand how to correctly use each one.

Having trouble remembering where to put your adverbs? Click here for a simplified guide to help you out!

Check out this YouTube video that I created to help ESOL students use articles!
Article Information
Professor Manasse

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Inspired Thinking

Edutopia is the non-profit organization that was created by filmmaker George Lucas (Star Wars, etc). Edutopia's vision is "a new world of learning, a place where students and parents, teachers and administrators, policy makers and the people they serve are all empowered to change education for the better; where schools provide rigorous project-based learning, social-emotional learning, and access to new technologies; where innovation is the rule, not the exception; and where students become lifelong learners and develop 21st-century skills, especially in information literacy."

"TED Talks" is a small non-profit agency. They "believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world" and the site is dedicated to "ideas worth spreading." Their site offers "free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Succeed in an Online Class

It's important to think carefully before signing up for an online class. Although they can be enticing because you are able to work from home, they provide less structured support than a traditional face-to-face class. If you do sign up for any online classes, here are some important tips for online classes.

Strategies for Timed Writing

This article is designed for teachers who give timed writings, but it can be very helpful for students as well. Understanding the intentions that your teacher has and the purpose of timed writings will make you more confident and successful during timed exams.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time Management and Organization

Evernote is a program that can help you organize...everything! By using Evernote note you can save websites, pictures, grammar points, vocabulary words, homework assignments, etc, and it will organize it all for you. You can use Evernote from any computer or smart phone. Start using Evernote and organize your life!

Time Tracker and Bubble Timer are simple tools that keep track of time you spend on any task.Rescue time is a web-based time tracking software to promote focus and productivity. The software offers graphs and visual support. If you're serious about increasing productivity and decreasing distractions, then you need to check this out. Best part is, the Lite version is free!

Track Class
helps you get your school work organized. From reminders to notes to assignments and grades, you'll be on top of your studies!

Shoshiku is a tool specifically designed to help you keep track of your school assignments.

Don't just track your assignments, track your goals as well!
43 Things is a unique website where you list your goals and other users cheer you on until you have reached them.
Ta Da List
and are simple online tools that allow you to create to-do lists.

With the use of an online "whiteboard,"
Squareleaf is a system for creating and managing online sticky notes.

Create an online task list using
Remember the Milk
and then sync that list with Android phones, iPhone, iPod Touch, etc.Diigo is a tool you can use to highlight important information you find on websites and organize your information into study notes.The PocketMod is a small book with guides on each page. These guides or templates, combined with a unique folding style, enable a normal piece of paper to become the ultimate note card.

Use this
Text Compactor to summarize any piece of text you want! Summarize chapters of your textbook to help you study for tests! Be careful not to use this tool for summary assignments since it is not your original work.

The College Board provides a great resource for approaching timed writing. It gives step-by-step instructions for preparation, writing, and editing.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Useful ESL Websites

Here are some useful ESL websites that can help you with everything from grammar and writing to listening and speaking.

1. The University of Illinois Intensive English Institute.
Use this website to link to many other websites for just about everything: grammar, listening, speaking, reading, writing, vocabulary, pronunciation, test preparation, and online dictionaries.

2. Grammar Bytes
This site has interactive grammar exercises that are fun and helpful!

3. ESL Gold
ESL Gold is another website that has multiple helpful sections for different English skills. You can also search for help using your proficiency level and your native language.

4. English Club
English Club allows you to search for topics such as Business English, Idioms, English Games, Jokes, and other subjects.

5. English Page
English Page has many grammar tutorials and several online dictionaries.

6. A4ESL
This site has grammar and vocabulary quizzes organized by level. There are also bilingual quizzes available in many languages.

7. English Central
English Central is a great way to practice listening to real English! There are a variety of videos to watch, and the site will help teach you important vocabulary, test your understanding, and then allow you to practice speaking!

8. Purdue OWL
The University of Purdue's Online Writing Lab is a great resource for academic writing. Use this site to help with grammar, writing skills, and correct academic citations for your papers.

9. Dave's ESL Cafe
Dave's ESL Cafe is a site where ESL teachers post information and activities for students. Click the "Stuff for Students" tab at the top of the page to find helpful worksheets.

10. Fun Easy English
For practice in a variety of areas, including grammar, reading, and listening, try these activities for kids as well as adults.

11. English with Jennifer
Jennifer Lebedev is an English instructor who has compiled a website and YouTube channel to help students learn English. She makes her own videos and activities, which are easy to understand and cover a wide range of topics. She discusses basic grammar, advanced grammar, vocabulary, slang, pronunciation, and much more!

12. English Test
Includes interactive exercises for every level. Practice synonyms, business language, common errors, idiomatic expressions and much more!

13. English Daily
Learn by examples of conversations, idioms, slang, and common errors. This is also a great site to learn new vocabulary as well as find explanations to grammar rules.

14. ESL Discussions
Check out some of these conversation starters and practice with a friend! The range of topics covers almost anything you can think of!

15. Learn English with Trace
Learn English by interacting and solving puzzles in "a virtual world filled with diverse English-speaking characters." Take "a dynamic journey through the United States, traveling to cultural locations like Kansas, New Orleans, the Grand Canyon, New York City, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C."

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Having problems with typing? Learning to touchtype is one of the most important skills to learn for the academic and vocational worlds. If you are still typing with two fingers, it can delay your progress in school or even keep you from getting a job. Here are some free websites that you can use to either learn or improve your touchtyping.

*Note: If you see a message that says "This plugin is vulnerable and should be updated," click on the line that says "Click here to activate the Adobe Flash plugin."

1. BBC Dance Mat Typing
This website is a little silly, but it is fun!

Does not require registration

3.Good typing
Requires registration, but gives more personalized lessons.

4. TypingWeb
Here's a neat website that doesn't require any registration to get started. It's easy to navigate and good for any level of typing proficiency, from those just getting started to the most accomplished typist. They even offer certifications and specialty lessons!

If you are able to download an actual software program, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing is a classic program that works well and has taught thousands of people how to type.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Microsoft Word and PowerPoint Tutorials

Whether you are just learning to type and use Microsoft Word 2007, or if you have a specific skill that you are trying to acquire, the Microsoft Word Training from the Baycon Group is a great resource to check out!

Do you need a visual for your class presentation? Surprise your classmates and your teacher after taking this PowerPoint Tutorial. Learn how to create slides, add images, sound and video to your presentation, and even how to save your file so that you won’t have any problems showing it in class.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Listening Practice Websites

Below you will find some great websites that will help you improve your listening skills.

Some Tips:
~ When listening to audio, don’t worry if you don’t understand everything. Listen to it once and then try again. Each time, you will understand more and more.
~ Explore the website. Click on different links to see what else that site has to offer.
~ You can also practice your pronunciation/speaking skills by listening and repeating the vocabulary.

1. Many Things has exercises that test your listening skills with minimal pairs, such as, "lake" and "rake".

2. For listening and comprehension check, go to ESL Lab, LearnEnglishFeelGood, and Ello. Each site has listening quizzes on different topics and all levels.

3. VOA News is a wonderful website that has current American news articles with both text and sound! This is a great because it is filled with academic vocabulary that will help you prepare for listening to lectures in your classes! You can double click on any unknown word in the article to read the definition!

4. Rhinospike allows you to submit any piece of writing for a native speaker to record. If you want to have audio of your writing, you must make an account (It's free). But, you can look at the lists of recordings already made by other users without signing up. Click here to choose a language and see recordings that are available.

5. Livemocha is a great website for learning and practicing English and other languages. This site is really convenient because it allows you to make "language buddies" that will give you advice on how to improve your speaking and writing. You have the opportunity to submit voice recordings to be reviewed, and you can help out other learners by creating critiques in your native language. In addition to this feature, it has several short free language classes to go through, which resemble the format of the Rosetta Stone software. Give it a try! When you participate in the community, you earn "mocha points" that can sometimes be redeemed for more free language classes.

6. Subscribe to LearnOutLoud if you want to use Podcasts to refresh your language skills, enhance your vocabulary, and even learn languages other than English.

7. Visit the English and Culture Tutoring Services blog for listening practice that uses real world examples.

8. Randall's ESL Cyber Listening Lab allows you to listen to every day conversations with adult and children's voices.

Pronunciation Practice Websites

These websites can help you practice mouth positions in order to be able to make certain sounds in English. They can also teach you rules in English pronunciation.

Special Tip: Don’t know where to start? Speak with a tutor in the ESOL lab about your pronunciation skills. A tutor can help you specify which sounds you might want to practice or learn more about.

1. Sounds of English is a good place to go to find descriptions of mouth positions for each English sound. The University of Iowa also provides an animated library of all the sounds in English that can help students with pronunciation.

2. Rachel's English has instructional videos on how to pronounce each consonant and vowel sound. It also has pronunciation exercises.

3. There are a few channels on YouTube I found that could be helpful. The first is English Meeting with Dave Sconda. He explains how to make certain sounds in great detail, such as, how to make the 'th' sound. Rachel's English also has a channel on YouTube.

4. Another great channel is the RebeccaLinguists Channel. Her videos are about improving your accent. They help your speech sound more clear to native speakers. This channel is great because it has videos for specific language users, such as, American Accent Training for Vietnamese Speakers. These videos talk about the specific pronunciation issues that these language users experience when trying to improve their English pronunciation skills.

5. Audacity is a free software application you can use to record and then visually analyze the frequency of your voice. This can be very useful when practicing pronunciation or listening to the pronunciation of others. Thanks goes to Aly Gorokhova for providing this wonderful information!

6. Also, try Pronunciation Power. This site has free demos, but some services you will have to pay for.

7. This website, HowJSay, will say words for you so that you know how to pronounce them correctly. The speaker has a British accent, but he is still very clear.

8. Do you ever get "r" & "l" or "p" and "b" confused? provides English pronunciation practice for commonly confused sounds, which are called minimal pairs. The website also offers other types of pronunciation practice, such as Listen & Repeat.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Writing in the Digital World

Lang-8 is a very large online community for language exchange. On this website you can submit writing or grammar questions for review, and you usually receive a very quick response from the community. Become an active member of the website and you will have the opportunity to improve your writing skills, and help other people trying to learn your native language. is an online community of writers at every level. After you sign up for your FREE account, you can read others' submissions, enter writing contests, and get feedback on your writing.

At the Orange Education Center, the students have posted their paragraphs for others to see! The site also offers grammar exercises and writing topics that you can use for extra practice outside of class. You can review other students' paragraphs before you begin to write, which can help you with developing your ideas. You can also think about areas where these students might be able to improve and use that to help your own writing too! Check out Orange Education Center's Student Blog for a chance to see other students' writing, and leave them a comment about what you think!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Grammar Games

Thanks to David Garrett, who supplied these games. Keep in mind: these sites require that you have a Flash plug-in:

To review parts of speech: Grammar Ninja

To review verb forms: Verb Viper

To review count and non-count nouns: Count shootout

Conversation Group Opportunities

Gavel Club

An ESL teacher and a group of international students have formed a Gavel Club (related to Toastmasters International). This group will meet once per week to socialize and improve speaking, listening and thinking.

Membership is open to those to non-native speakers of English. There is one restriction: those who are working full-time are not eligible (because of a Gavel CLub rule). But, if you are a student and are working part-time, you are eligible.

There are no membership fees to join. Only enthusiasm is required! For more information, email Tasha:

San Diego International/English as a Second Language Meetup

According to their website, the SD International/English as a Second Language Meetup group includes "both ESL and native English speakers (who are and are interested in meeting others culturally-minded people). We get together often to share fun, music, delicious food, culture, dancing, and language."

San Diego Writers

This is a local nonprofit organization that oversees reading and writing groups that meet in many places around the San Diego area. You can meet other writers, get feedback on your work, have discussions with published authors or just find a quiet and comfortable place to write with other writers. The organization also offers classes and workshops on writing. Some services are free and some services you will have to pay for.