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Posted by on January 18th, 2012 | Comments off
Categories: General Information |


What exactly is an idiom? It is an expression that means something different than the individual words themselves. There are lots of idioms in English!  Here are a few of some of the more commonly used idioms. Have you heard someone use these idioms? What other idioms do you know?

Raining cats and dogs:  A really loud, heavy rain storm.

It was raining cats and dogs yesterday, so we had to stay inside.

On The Fence:  Undecided.

I am really on the fence about getting a new cell phone. My old one works fine, but there are so many good deals right now, that I just might get one.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words:  What one does is more important than what one says.

He says he can speak Chinese, however, when he is with his Chinese friends he never says a word.

Drink like a fish:  To drink(alcohol) very heavily.  When Jerry is at a party he drinks like a fish.

Wine and Dine:  To be treated to an expensive meal.

I have a new boyfriend, and he wines and dines me every weekend. We go to a new five star restaurant every Friday night.

Sick As A Dog:  To be very sick (with the flu or a cold).

I missed five days of work because I was sick as a dog with the flu.

Don’t give up the day job: To not be very good at something and definitely not able to do it professionally.

Although Mary likes painting pictures, she shouldn’t give up her day job for a career as an artist.

Speak of the devil! This expression is used when the person you have just been talking about arrives.

“Well, speak of the devil!” “Hi Mary, how are you?” (said as Mary walks in…. and you had just been talking about her!)

Steal someone’s thunder:  To take the credit for something someone else did.

I cooked all the food for the party but my friend told everyone that she did all the cooking! She is always stealing my thunder!

Take with a grain of salt: To NOT take what someone says too seriously.

Barry says he is going to buy your house, but I would take it with a grain of salt. Don’t believe it until you have a signed contract in your hand.

For more idiom practice, check out this youtube.com video!

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Posted by on April 13th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Idioms, Uncategorized |

Tax day is coming soon—April 15th!!

Are you ready? Have you prepared your taxes yet? If not, there are several places in the area that offer tax assistance. If you earn a certain amount of money it is required by law that you file a yearly income tax with the government.  Taxes are usually due on April 15th. Some years the due date changes because the 15th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, but they are due in mid-April every year.  Here are some places that can assist you with filing your taxes (filling out the forms, submitting them to the government).  Many of the places do not require an appointment, but check first before you go.

The deadline for filing your taxes is very near. You may sometimes file an extension, which gives you extra time to complete your taxes.

Click on this link for a long list of assistance centers:


http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258     Scroll down to the bottom of the pages, and click on “Find Tax Site Nearest You”

And, here’s a funny song by American legend Johnny Cash singing about paying taxes!  How do you think he feels?

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What are taxes used for, and how much should we pay? There is a lot of debate about this question. It is a fact of life that we must pay taxes, but the amount that we pay is under constant discussion and argument, and will probably continue to be for a long, long time. The way our tax dollars are used is listed in categories here.  If you want to “dig deep”, you can click on this link:   http://www.cbpp.org/cms/?fa=view&id=1258

  1. National defense
  2. Social security
  3. Medicare and Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program
  4. Safety net programs
  5. Interest on the national debt
  6. Remaining program areas:
  • Benefits for federal retirees and veterans
  • Transportation
  • Education
  • Science and medical research
  • Non-security
  • All others


Posted by on April 13th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Current Events, for all levels, Websites |

Cesar Chavez

YouTube Preview ImageThis weekend a movie opens about Cesar Chavez, a farm worker, human rights activist, and labor organizer.  He dedicated his life to improving the working conditions and rights of America’s farm workers.  He was committed to nonviolent means to bring attention to the plight of farm workers.  He led marches, boycotts, and went of several hunger strikes. He formed the National Farmworkers Association which ultimately became the United Farmworker Union, which is still active today.  One of the things Chavez was most famous for was the national boycott of  California table grape growers in 1968. Chavez’s battle with the grape growers for improved compensation and labor conditions lasted for many years. Chavez and his union won several victories for the workers. The growers signed contracts with the union.

Cesar Chavez was married, and had seven children. He died in 1993. It is believed that his many hunger strikes contributed to his death.  There are some areas of the country that honor his memory by erecting statues in his honor, and/or celebrating a holiday in his name.

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Posted by on April 5th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Culture, Current Events, for all levels |

Fiesta de la Familia at NC Museum of Art

NC Museum of Art has a great event coming up next weekend! It’s the Fiesta de la Familia, and it’s to celebrate the opening of Estampas de la raza, an exhibit chronicling the Mexican American and Latino experience in the United States.

When:  Saturday, April 12

Cost:    Free!

Time:  1:00 – 4:00 PM

Who:  It’s for the whole family! There will be art activities, music, and free admission to the exhibit!

Where:  North Carolina Museum of Art  2110 Blue Ridge Road | Raleigh, NC | (919) 839-NCMA




Posted by on April 5th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Culture |

April Fools’ Day

Did you celebrate April Fools Day this year? Did you play any pranks or jokes on anyone? And, what IS April Fools Day, and where did it come from?

April Fools’ Day is on April first. It’s not a holiday, but just a day when people tell more jokes, or play tricks or pranks on people.  It’s meant to be fun and silly.

After one of my friends played a prank on me, it got me wondering about the origin of this crazy day!  It seems there is not a very clear answer to the question about its origin. There are quite a few different ideas about it. Some think April Fools’ Day began as an issue about the calendar. Others think it has religious references. Despite its unclear origin, there is no doubt that in many places around the world people mark the day by playing tricks and telling jokes! Click on the links if you want to read more about its origins. And watch the video for a funny prank! Do YOU play pranks on people? Tell us about them in the comments.






Posted by on April 5th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Holidays |

Full Frame Film Festival in Durham

Every year in the spring, Durham hosts an international film festival called “Full Frame Documentary Film Festival.” It’s a four day event, with over 100 films, panel discussions, and workshops. Want to practice your English? Go see a film! Or, better yet, you can volunteer for the festival and interact with native English speakers and enjoy some interesting films too!  It begins April 3rd.

Here’s the link:


Posted by on March 30th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Community, Culture |

The Four Freedoms

The Four Freedoms is a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum. The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected.[2][3] The theme was incorporated into the Atlantic Charter,[4][5] and became part of the charter of the United Nations.[6] The paintings were reproduced in the Saturday Evening Post over four consecutive weeks in 1943, alongside essays by prominent thinkers of the day. They became the highlight of a touring exhibition sponsored by The Post and the U.S. Department of the Treasury. The exhibition and accompanying sales drives of war bonds raised over $132 million.[7]

This series has been the cornerstone of retrospective art exhibits presenting the career of Rockwell,[8][9] who was the most widely known and popular commercial artist of the mid 20th century, but failed to achieve critical acclaim.[2][10] These are his best-known works,[3] and by some accounts became the most widely distributed paintings.[11] At one time they were commonly displayed in post offices, schools, clubs, railroad stations, and a variety of public and semi-public buildings.[11](directly from www.wikipedia.com   click on the links in the above paragraphs to learn more.)

 The Level 6 PM students read about the history of Rockwell’s “The Four Freedoms” and then they made posters updating the freedoms for today.  They wrote sentences with “can” and “can’t” to discuss why it was important then and is now.    Click on this link to read more about The Four Freedoms, and to see the paintings:
photos by Jess
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Posted by on March 30th, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: What are students are doing... |

Congratulations students!

Level 2 PM students celebrated the end of the semester on March 27th.  Congratulations students on your dedication and persistence in studying English. Hard work pays off in many ways! We are very proud of you, and happy to celebrate your success!

cake congratulations

Level 2 2014Certificates Level 2

Posted by on March 30th, 2014 | 2 comments
Categories: What are students are doing... |

March Madness

Have you heard this expression before? Does it mean everyone gets angry during the month of March? Why does this happen every year? Believe it or not, it is a basketball tournament that happens every year. Because the results are unpredictable, and there are often surprise winners and losers, they call it March Madness. Every year in mid-March the NCAA (National College Athletic Association) holds a big basketball tournament. Here in North Carolina we are known for our strong tradition of basketball success, especially at UNC, NCSU and Duke. As a result, the basketball fans are very loyal and closely follow their teams.  The tournament lasts several weeks.  At the end of it, the national champion is named, and there are lots of bragging rights associated with being the winner. The major television stations broadcast games and there is a lot of discussion about the games among the fans!

March Madness:  annual national basketball tournament for American colleges and universities

bragging rights:  the right to brag about something

brag:  to talk about something that one is particularly good at, or has accomplished; to boast about something

underdog: the person or team who is not expected to win in a competition


If you watch this video, you’ll see lots of examples of the madness that happens during March!!

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Posted by on March 23rd, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: Community, for all levels, General Information |

What season is it?

The weather has been so unusual lately, that it’s hard to believe that spring is finally here!

The official first day of spring was March 20th!  Spring is from March 20th until June 20th.  Spring brings blooming flowers, growing grass, rain showers, wind, more sunlight, and people enjoying being outside.

What does spring mean to you? What do you do in the spring time? Can you name the other seasons?

Here a video of some beautiful spring images, and some relaxing music!

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Posted by on March 23rd, 2014 | Be the first to comment!
Categories: General Information, Vocabulary |
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