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Newsletter March 2017

Language Systems Newsletter

Sports and intro to Basketball Tournament
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          What do you think is the most popular sport around the world?  Which sport is played by more people around the world?  The answer is probably soccer.  In Spanish, and in most languages,soccer is called “football.” Now if that’s not confusing enough, the most popular sport in America is actually football, and by that we mean American football where the players hardly ever use their feet to kick the ball.  Still confused?  Well, the second most popular sport in America is basketball.  I think everyone knows what basketball is.  In China it’s becoming more and more popular, probably due to the amazing career and life story of Yao Ming.  Basketball is also very popular in Europe.  If you look at America’s NBA league, there are many players from Europe, and some of them are very famous, like Vlade Divac (born in Serbia).  Every year students from Language Systems – Orange County make a couple of trips up to Los Angeles to see the Clippers or Lakers play.  Language Systems also has its own basketball tournament every March.  At this tournament all four school compete against each other for a trophy.  It’s a lot of fun.  This year it falls on Friday, March 10.  We hope to see you there!

Language Systems Life Style 

Valentine’s Day Party
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently all over the world.  American kids grow up in school learning certain traditions like writing Valentine’s Day messages to their classmates and sharing candy and chocolate with their friends.  At Language Systems, we have students from all over the world, and when they are here on Valentine’s Day, it is an opportunity for them to participate in American customs.  At some Language Systems campuses, students are given material to write messages to their teachers and classmates.  At all campuses there is always enough candy and chocolate to go around.  One campus, downtown Los Angeles (DTLA), there is even a chocolate fountain into which students can dip things like strawberries and pretzels.  At the Orange County campus, students play the dating game, where they get to practice asking and answering silly questions like, “If we were feeling sick, what would you bring me to make me feel better?” The winners of this dating game were awarded free movie tickets.  Valentine’s Day at Language Systems is always a lot of fun! 

Discover LA(OC)
The Observatory
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

          If you enjoy going to concerts, you should check out the Observatory in Orange County.  This is a venue that is well-known among locals, and if you like getting up-close and intimate with the bands on stage, you really need to give this place a try.  There are actually two “rooms” for concerts: the Observatory, and the Constellation room.   Both places are super intimate, and you can basically just walk up to the stage; you’re that close!  There is a wide range of bands and singers too.  Last year students from our Language Systems Orange County campus attended a Simpkin Project concert (reggae music) there because one of our teachers is a member of the band.  It was really cool.  Ticket prices depend on who you go to see.  Well-known bands charge more than the lesser-known artists.  If you love live music, go to their website and take a look at all the options for enjoying a concert in Orange County.

Free in LA (OC)
Cherry Blossom Festival
By Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

        If you find yourself in Orange County in March, you should visit the Cherry Blossom Festival in Huntington Beach, CA.  Cherry blossoms are famous in Japan, where they are called “Sakura,” and Huntington Beach is fortunate to have a sister city in Japan, Anjo (Aichi Prefecture).  This city in Japan donated dozens of cherry trees to the city of Huntington Beach, and every March there is a festival to celebrate the blossoming of the cherry trees.  At this festival, you can enjoy Japanese food, music, and art.  It is free to attend the festival, and it is located in Huntington Beach’s central park.  It is a great place to have a picnic with friends as they do traditionally in Japan.  This custom is called “ohanami.”  It is a very special time of the year.
Language Systems Faces 
Interview with teachers (OC)
By Interview conducted by Ty Mussack, Program Coordinator at OC

Meet teacher Shane. 
Q: How long have you been working at Language Systems and what do you mostly teach?
A:I’ve been working at Language Systems – Orange County for over 10 years now. I mostly teach grammar in the mornings, and then in the afternoon I teach the conversation program.

Q: Do you like teaching grammar? If so, why?
A: Yeah, I like teaching grammar. I want to help students avoid making mistakes. I don’t want my students to be misunderstood when they speak English with Americans.

Q: Some students think grammar is boring, how do you make your classes interesting, or is it “interested?”
A: Or course the correct word is “interesting.” I try to relate the grammar we are studying to their real life. I try to make it practical and show them how they can use grammar in everyday life. I also like to tell stories and joke around with my students. It helps keep the class fun for them.

Q: What aspects of English grammar do a lot of students have trouble with?
A: Well, they have a hard time using articles like “a/an” and “the.” Personal pronouns are also hard for them. They mix up “he/she” and “his/her.” Even though I teach grammar, I still try to help them improve their pronunciation because English pronunciation is pretty difficult too.

Q: When you are not at work, say on Saturday night hanging out with your family or friends, do you think about English grammar?
A: No, not at all… not at all! Actually, when I’m off work I talk like a caveman. My students would have to cover their ears too, because I tend to use a four-letter word every now and then.

Student Articles

Student Article 1 
By Tony

I am a student at Language Systems – Orange County, and this year I went to an NBA basketball game for the first time in my life.  I was very excited.  We had to drive to Los Angeles, and the program coordinator Ty had me and three other students in his car.  Traffic was bad.  It took us more than one hour from Orange County to Los Angeles.  Parking was easy, and there were many fans of the Clippers basketball team.  When we entered the Staples Center, we got free hats.  That was very cool! The Staples Center is very nice, and the game was exciting.  The Clippers won the game.  We saw players slam dunk and make many 3-point shots.  We also saw the cheerleaders do special dances and routines.  It was a good experience for me.  I could feel American culture.  I think a lot of American people are crazy about basketball. 
Student Article 2 
By Richard

I think the greatest basketball player in America is Lebron James.  He plays on the Cleveland Cavaliers.  He is big and strong, and it is sometimes impossible to stop him.  He can shoot, he can slam dunk, and he can even play well on defense.  Usually big players like him cannot play defense.  He is famous in America.  He is from Ohio, and played for Cleveland before.  But then he joined the Miami Heat.  Many people in Cleveland were angry when he left them.  In Miami Lebron James won his first NBA championship.  Now he is back in Cleveland, his “hometown.”  Now the people love him again.  When he came back to Cleveland, he promised that he would win a championship for that city.  Last year he kept his promise, and the Cavaliers won the NBA championship.  I think he is the best player in American basketball.

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