Susan Kuhn

Mt. Hood Community College

Winter Term 2007


The Class: 

ESL 88B Intermediate Level Listening/Speaking meets 3 hours/week.  Oregon Skill Levels/CASAS SPLs 4-6.


CA Objective

CA Objective – 22 / Access leisure-time, cultural, and/or recreational resources.

4.   Interact with other patrons, organizers, and artists/performers at the event or facility.

7.      Read maps, schedules, floor plans, and/or computer screen information.

9.   Identify, explore and discuss different art forms and cultural activities.


CASAS Competencies:

0.1.1 Identify or use appropriate non-verbal behavior in a variety of situations (e.g., handshaking)
0.1.2 Identify or use appropriate language for informational purposes (e.g., to identify, describe, ask for

         information, state needs, command, agree or disagree, ask permission)
0.1.4 Identify or use appropriate language in general social situations (e.g., to greet, introduce, thank,

         apologize, compliment, express pleasure or regret)
0.1.6 Clarify or request clarification

5.2.1 Interpret information about U.S. history
5.2.2 Identify or interpret U.S. historical documents
5.2.4 Interpret information about U.S. states, cities, geographical features, and points of interest

5.5.8 Identify local, state and federal government leaders


Field Trip:

This term I used a field trip to meet and achieve the CA Objective we had chosen at MHCC.  On March 7, ABS Day, several instructors and I took our students to view the Oregon State Capitol.  On the field trip were students from the Intermediate Level Listening/Speaking classes, as well as students from other classes such as the Integrated, Workplace English, Beginning Level Listening/Speaking, and GED classes.  In total there were 67 students and 7 instructors from 2 campuses that went on the trip.


In order to generate interest in the trip, I created a flyer and classroom material for the students.  The flyer was appropriate for all levels of speakers, and the classroom material was created for 2 levels of English students; High-Beginning and Intermediate.  These were made available to all instructors within the program.


During February, I planned the trip (with the assistance of Amy Widger), created materials, and worked with the ever growing list of names of people signed up for the trip.  Finally, on March 7, we climbed into 2 school buses and left Portland for Salem.   Students received small notebooks and pencils, and they were given activities (puzzles and word mazes) to help pass the time on the bus.  At the capitol, the students and instructors met their tour guides and received an hour long historical tour of the capitol.  During this time, they were able to ask questions of their guides, mingle with other students from MHCC and other people touring the capitol.  After that, they had a short time to eat, visit the gift shop and take pictures.  


Student responses:

The response to the field trip was overwhelming.  When Amy Widger and I initially came up with the idea of a field trip to the capitol, we assumed that we could integrate various classes from both sites because we thought that only 20-30 students would be interested or able to go on the trip.  The numbers of interested students kept growing as word spread and we decided to open it up to GED and Workplace English as well as students in our ESL program.  It was great to have such a mix of students of varied programs, levels and ethnicities.  There was a lot of bonding that occurred as students not only shared the experience, but also shared their photos, their food, and time on the buses when they could chat or help each other with the puzzles.


Several of the instructors had students write about their experiences or share them with other students when they returned.  Amy Widger also had her students write thank you cards to me for organizing the trip which was an excellent social and writing skill for the students to learn.  Finally, I created a grammar review exercise that I used in an Integrated class to let students know what students in other classes were doing.  They really enjoyed reading about the trip and seeing photos of the trip. 


As a follow-up, Patricia Phelps is creating a story board about the trip with her Workplace English students and we will be integrating that into a bulletin board which will be on display during ESL Awareness Week.  It will include photos from the trip and writings from the students about the trip. 


The only negative comment I’ve heard is that the trip was too short.  Most of the students wanted to spend more time at the capitol and if we do a future trip, that is something we will consider.  It will mean that a smaller number of students will be able to go due to schedule restraints, but those who do go will be able to enjoy a richer experience.


Resources Used:  


Supplementary Materials Used:

The teacher-developed flyer and pre- and post-activities included the following:  

High Beginning Level Materials – a reading, a follow-up activity to the reading and a puzzle

Intermediate Level Materials – a reading, a follow-up activity to the reading, an activity to learn about state officials, and a map reading

Additional Materials – a word maze and puzzle

Intermediate Level Grammar Review– a contextualized fill-in-the-blank grammar review activity