October 2018
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Dear Tutors,

Now that the summer has come to an end, it's time to welcome in Autumn and anticipate the pumpkin carving and ghost carving Halloween has in store for us this month. In addition, October is National Popcorn Poppin' Month, so please enjoy some fun activities that focus around this fluffy and crispy event that you can share with your learners. You make us pop with appreciation!

Also, we look forward to seeing you all at our Annual Recognition Luncheon on October 13th! Bring your appetites and enjoy a day where we recognize you and all that you do!

Carol & Camille

Did you know:
October is the official National Popcorn Poppin' Month and it is also the official snack food for the state of Illinois!

Americans love popcorn. Plain, salty or sweet, we consume 13 billion quarts each year of this wholesome, whole grain treat, and we devote an entire month to honoring it. October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, a time to celebrate one of America’s oldest and most unique snack foods. 

Long before techno gizmos and gadgets, people were fascinated with popcorn’s ability to transform from seed to snack. In recent years, popcorn was heralded for its convenience and affordability. Consumers today appreciate popcorn’s farm-to-table simplicity and healthy halo. Popcorn has always been non-GMO, gluten-free, naturally low in fat and calories, sugar-free, and contains no artificial additives or preservatives. 

And, of course, there’s the irresistible smell and taste and the fact that we eat popcorn with friends and families, forever connecting popcorn to good times. 
Join the celebration all month long. It’s easy to create small batches of interesting flavors, like the warm pumpkin pie spices of this recipe from the Popcorn Board. This indulgent snack captures the true taste of autumn.

White Chocolate & Pumpkin Pie Spice Popcorn Bites


  • 12 cups unsalted, unbuttered popped popcorn
  • 3 cups chopped white chocolate or white chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice 
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits 
  • 1 tsp flaked sea salt, crushed


1. Line large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Place popcorn in large mixing bowl.

2. In microwave-safe bowl, combine chocolate, olive oil and pumpkin pie spice; microwave on Medium for 2 to 3 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring after each minute.

3. Pour melted chocolate mixture over popcorn; add toffee bits and toss to combine. Immediately transfer to prepared baking sheet, spreading to edges of pan; sprinkle sea salt over top.

4. Let cool; refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours or until set. Break into chunks for serving.

Tip: Homemade pumpkin pie spice can be made by combining 3 parts ground cinnamon with 1 part each ground nutmeg and ginger, and a dash of allspice and ground cloves.
Mentor's Tutor Tip from Trainer Karen Fuist

This month we talked about refugees. The first worksheet is a story about refugees from Bosnia and Herzegovina. This can be read by you to your learner, or your learner can read it. If the learner is a level 1, and can not read, refugees can be explained by using pictures from the Internet. ( Worksheet 1 )

Continuing with the ideas from the story, it would be good to check your learner’s comprehension. For the lower levels, yes/no questions can be used. For example, “Do refugees leave their country because of war?” For the higher levels, the Who, What, When, Where and Why questions can be used. ( Worksheet 2)

The idea of emotions might come up with this discussion. It is good to discuss emotion words with your learner. The picture worksheet is good for all levels. The definitions worksheet should only be used at the higher levels-5 and 6. (Worksheets 3, 4 , 5 , 6)

All immigrants have hard lives. There are things they must do and things they want to do.  ( Worksheet 7 )

Finally, it is good to know how to ask for help. At levels 1 and 2 our learners will use the words “Can you…” to ask for help. At the higher levels the “Could you…Would you…Will you…” can be introduced.
Choose words from the first and second columns to make sentences.
Your learner can make sentences and you can answer with words from column 3. Then do it in reverse, you make questions and your learner answers. ( Worksheet 8 )

Ideas for levels 1-3
Marti bought some money flashcards in the dollar bins at Target. She used them to have her learner make change.
Joyce is using Randall’s ESL Cyber Listening Lab (esl-lab.com) to practice easy listening skills. She has her learner try to predict what the story will be about.
Greg made a 911 emergency card for his learner to keep next to their phone. He practices name/address/phone/etc. with his learner.
Maureen likes the website LearningChocolate.com for her learner.
She is also reading easy books with her learner.
Shilpee found some great flashcards at S.C.A.R.E.

For the higher levels 4, 5, 6
Chad used the story pictures from the Health Workshop to have his learner make up stories. 
Neysa also found the story pictures helpful. She writes sentences with errors using the story pictures. She has her learner correct the errors. 
Barbara has used the 500 Common Words in English in sentences for dictation.
Jeremy has a meet and greet conversation each week. He has his learner tell him everything they did in the past week. He immediately corrects the errors.
Steve has his learner talk about workplace situations. They also use “News for You.”
Thanks to everyone for such great ideas!!!
Easy Reading:

Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is celebrated on October 31st in Canada and the United States. It is a day to think about scary, supernatural things, like ghosts, witches and vampires.

Children wear costumes and go from house to house. They ring doorbells and say, "Trick or treat!" At most houses, people give them candy or other treats. Some adults celebrate Halloween with costume parties for their friends. Jack-o-lanterns are another part of Halloween. To make a jack-o-lantern, cut the top off a pumpkin. Take out the soft part inside. Draw a face on the pumpkin with a marker. Use a sharp knife to cut the face out. Put a flashlight inside the pumpkin.

How did Halloween get started? Thousands of years ago, in Europe, some tribes started their new year at this time. They believed that, just before the new year, spirits wandered the earth. When the people became Christians, they began to celebrate All Saints' Day on November 1st. It was a time to think about people who had died. In Britain, poor people went from house to house. They asked for food, in return, they promised to pray for dead members of the family. Over time, this turned into a game for children -- trick or treating. 

Reprinted with permission: Each Week for a Year: Readings for ESL Students on Everyday Life in the USA  by Jane Wangersky.


general election  will be held in the  U.S. state  of  Illinois  on November 6, 2018. All of Illinois' executive officers will be up for election as well as all of Illinois' eighteen seats in the  United States House of Representatives  and all of 118 seats of  Illinois House of Representatives .

The resource in the following link was developed for the 2016 election. We’ve included it here because it contains easy to read information for intermediate and above learners and does not included election specific details. 

Conversation Starter: "Getting to Know Each Other"

Some of the conversation  starters this month include  questions, such as . . .

→ Do people celebrate Halloween in your country? How?

→ Do you like watching horror movies or reading horror novels?

→ What's the scariest movie you've seen?

You can access the full  conversation starter activity  by clicking here .
Health Literacy Awareness:
Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 In observance of Health Awareness for October, click on the links below to view helpful resources on important topics:

National Depression Screening Day (October 10)

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