Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Everything You Need to Know about the TOEFL Test (Test of English as a Foreign Language) 

Welcome our new blog! A current student at Glendale Community College, Zainab, wanted to learn more  about the TOEFL test.  She had heard about it, but wasn't sure what it was or why she might need to take it.  She herself has a BA in Accounting from an accredited university in Iraq.  She has lots of questions about what to do to get an Accounting degree from a university in the US. 

What is the TOEFL, why do I need it, where do I take it, and how can I prepare for it

Here are the topics of the videos in the TOEFL playlist

  1. What is the TOEFL
  2. Interview with Stephanie Da Costa Mello about why you might need to take the TOEFL, where to take it, and other issues related to enrolling into a 4 year school. 
  3. Where is the GCC Library?
  4. Where are the TOEFL and other exam prep resources? 
  5. How do I check out these resources? 

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Music, Your Child and You 

Many GCC students have children.  Young or old, elementary school or high school, your child may be interested in studying music or studying an instrument.  Unfortunately, many public schools in Arizona have reduced or eliminated their musical programs, leaving parents with fewer resources for providing musical education for their children.  

GCC Student Raiza wanted to find out about resources available to help support her 12 year old son Kevin's musical abilities.  He already plays drums - percussion - and expressed interest in learning to play the guitar.  Raiza bought him a starter guitar but didn't know how to find lessons for him.  So, we met with GCC's Faculty member Chuck Hulihan to see what resources might be available for Kevin. 

Music Instruction Resources in the Community 

Here are three organizations that provide music instruction, group and individual.  These are community run organizations, and are either very reasonably priced, or have very generous scholarship programs.  Each of these programs are in fact run by former GCC Students! Chuck Hulihan was their teacher! Feel free to contact them to learn more about their programs and if they might be a good fit for your child. 

Rosie's House Most affordable option
Rosie's house provides high-quality music education programs that are accessible to children living in economically disadvantaged communities. They are committed to creating the next generation of life-long learners and lovers of music that are creative, innovative, and productive members of society.

Morbyusmusic Most convenient location
Morbyus Music provides individual or group instruction  at your home, school, or community center for any age, any instrument. This option might be helpful for people who need to find options within their local community. 

PCM Rocks Located at Metrocenter
The Phoenix Conservatory of Music provides high quality music education to nearly 2,000 students every year.  Their programs include after school programs for groups, and advanced private lessons.  This organization is located in downtown Phoenix. 

Music at GCC

Instruction and Lessons 
If you are interested in studying music, know that GCC has an excellent music program. You can study different instruments such as piano, guitar, or drums, or even singing in a choir. You can take group lessons or individual lessons.  You can also study different types of music such as classical or jazz.  Click here to learn more about GCC's music program. 

Performing Arts Center at GCC 
GCC has a beautiful performing arts center!  Click here to see where it is.

Free concerts at GCC 
GCC has many musical concerts and events, featuring professional musiscans, students and GCC faculty musicians.  These concerts and events are free, and are wonderful way to share and experience music with your family.  

Interview with Chuck Hulihan, GCC Music Faculty Member 

Here is our interview with Professor Chuck Hulihan.  In this interview, he plays the guitar for us, he explains to Kevin how to set up his first guitar, and he describes different resources available in the community to help provide music lessons - group and individual - for your child. 

The TOEFL Test

Many international students have questions about the TOEFL test!  The focus on this blog post is the TOEFL test - what it is, why you might need to take it, and how to prepare for it. 

What is the TOEFL Test?

The TOEFL test is a standardized test of the English language.  It is administered worldwide, and is recognized worldwide as being a valid test of one's English language proficiency. 

Why might I have to take it?

The most common reason to take the test is if you want to attend a university or college in the US.  Many universities in the US require that international students prove that they have the English language proficiency required to perform well in an American university.  

Are there any substitutes for TOEFL test?

Yes, many universities outline other options for establishing proof that you have the English language proficiency needed to succeed in your studies.  

Interview with GCC Student Zainab

Here is my interview with Zainab, with her questions and concerns about the TOEFL test. Click here to access the PPT that I am sharing with Zainab. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Activities to help improve your child's reading skills

Activities to help improve your child's reading skills

Sherry Wangen met with four GCC students and their children to demonstrate different activities they can do to help with their child's reading development.  These four students came from Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Korea - all the children had really different language backgrounds. 

Sherri worked with all of them helping them with letter recognition, how to put the letters in order and how to match the sounds with the letters.  All of these activities were really fun!! 

Below you can see all the videos in the playlist, or you can select the video that corresponds with the reading skill you want to focus on.

Elements of Reading and Corresponding Activities

1. Phonemic Awareness: 

Listeners are able to hear, identify and manipulate phonemes, the smallest units of sound that can differentiate meaning. Separating the spoken word "cat" into three distinct phonemes, /k/, /æ/, and /t/

2. Phonics: 

involves the relationship between sounds and written symbols

3. Fluency: 

the ability to read a text accurately, quickly, and with expression

4. Vocabulary: 

the knowledge of words and word meanings

5. Comprehension: 

the understanding and interpreting what is read

6. Moms ask Sherry questions

Friday, January 20, 2017

Understanding how to help improve your child's reading skills

How Help Improve your Child's Reading Skills

Want to help your child improve their reading skills?  Meet our guest and reading specialist is Sherry Wangen, the Assistant Department Chair for the Reading/Development Education department at GCC.

(Click here to access the document that lists all of the resources that Sherry has gathered for you.)

Our other guest is current GCC student Nada Aljuboori. Nada has an 8 year old boy who is in the third grade and she wants to know more about how she can help him improve his reading. His first language is Arabic, and he is able to read and write in Arabic, but is having some challenges in developing these skills in English. 

Video 1: Five elements of reading

In the first video, Sherri explains what the five elements of reading are: Phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.

Video 2: Signs your child may need help improving reading skill

In the second video Sherri and Nada talk about Nada's son's reading and what might be signs that he needs help improving his reading.

Video 3: Language testing and resources

In this last video, Sherri explains what are the different language and language skills tests that are administered in the public schools and what resources are available.