Daylight Savings Time Begins

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

photo by WTCC instructor ecparent

Daylight Savings Time begins in the spring and ends in the fall. When it begins, we change the time on our clocks one hour ahead. If the clock says 10:00, we change it to 11:00. The time officially changes at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, March 8, 2015. However, most of us are asleep at 2:00 a.m., so we change our clocks before we go to sleep on Saturday night.

Your cell (mobile) phone will probably change automatically, but you should change the other clocks in your house and car.

It is very important that you change the time on your clocks. If you don’t, then you might be an hour late for class on Monday!

Shelley Lake Park

Spring is almost here, and after the cold winter weather, more people will want to spend time outside. Where can you go in the Raleigh area to enjoy a nice day outdoors? This week, I’ll tell you about one place – Shelley Lake.

Where is Shelley Lake?

Shelley Lake is located at 1400 West Millbrook Rd. in Raleigh. It is in the northern part of midtown Raleigh, between Creedmoor Rd. and Six Forks Rd. Click on the map below to get directions.

Google Map of Shelley Lake Park

Screen shot of Google Map

What can I do at Shelley Lake Park?

There are many things for your whole family to do at the park.

  • You can exercise. The park has a 2-mile path where you can walk, run, or bicycle.
  • Your children can play. Shelley Lake Park has playgrounds for children ages 2-12.
  • You can play basketball. There are basketball courts open to the public.
  • You can take an art class. Sertoma Arts Center is located at Shelley Lake Park. The arts center offers classes in painting, drawing, photography, and more! Click here for more information about Sertoma Arts Center.

Your Turn

Do you prefer to go to the park alone or with your friends and family? What do you like to do at the park? Write one sentence in the comments to tell us.

Wake County Public Libraries

Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Screenshot of Map of Wake County Public Libraries

Did you know that there is probably a library near your house? It’s true. Wake County has 20 libraries! Click the map to find the one closest to you.

The library is not just for books.

Yes, the library has LOTS of books for you and your family, but it has so much more too! Wake County Public Libraries have computers with internet access and FREE events for adults, kids, and teenagers. You can take a music class, join a discussion group, hear stories, learn job skills, work on your resumé, and more! You can also volunteer at the library. Just fill out the application, and take it to your nearest library.

How can I get a library card?

You must have a library card to use some of the library’s services. To get a library card, go to the nearest library with one of these:

  • a photo ID with a Wake County address on it (driver’s license or permit)
  • a photo ID (passport) and something to show that you live in Wake County (probably a bill – phone bill, electricity bill, water bill, etc. – or apartment lease)

Tell the librarian (person who works in the library) that you would like a library card. The librarian will ask you for your ID and proof of residency (something to show that you live) in Wake County. If you live in Wake County, your library card will be free. If you live in another county, you can get a Wake County library card for $25 per year.

For more information, visit the library’s website.

Your Turn

Do you have a library card? How often do you go to the library? Find one event that you would like to attend at the library. Ask your classmates to go with you!

Morehead Planetarium

Morehead Planetarium

photo credit: bunkosquad via photopin cc

Did you know that our whole solar system is only 30 minutes away? You can explore space, the sun and the moon, and you can learn what it’s like to be an astronaut all in one place – Chapel Hill. The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is located at 250 East Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514, just 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh.

What is a planetarium?

A planetarium is a special theater with a dome-shaped (round) ceiling where you can see entertaining and educational shows about the sky, stars, and space. At the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill, you can see shows about all those things and more! They also have a show about the human body called “Grossology and You.” Click here for a complete list of the shows you can see right now.

What else can I do at the planetarium?

The theater is only one part of the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. You can also go there to learn about earthquakes, chemistry, physics, and the human body on the Science Stage. They have programs for kids, adults, teenagers, and families, so everyone can enjoy learning something new!

How do I get there?

By car (from Raleigh), take I-40 west to Exit 270 (US 15-501). Turn left off the exit and cross over I-40 onto US 15-501 south. Travel 1.5 miles. When the road forks (divides), take the right fork (side) to Franklin Street. Follow Franklin Street west for 2.5 miles and look for Morehead on the left. Click here to get directions from your house.

You can also take a Triangle Transit bus on the Chapel Hill-Raleigh Express (CRX) route from downtown Raleigh to Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. Click here for the map and schedule.

Your Turn

What would you like to do at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center? Ask your classmates to go with you, and be sure to take your family!


Black Friday Vocabulary

Your English classes will be closed for part of this week because of Thanksgiving. What are you going to do during the short break? Will you celebrate like Americans? What will you do on Friday? Many Americans will go shopping on the day after Thanksgiving. Will you go too?

What is Black Friday?

Right now, you are probably seeing and hearing advertisements everywhere for Black Friday sales events. Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and it is the busiest, craziest day of the year for shopping in the United States.

Black Friday is the day when many people start shopping for Christmas presents. They do this for two reasons:

  1. Most people do not have to work on Black Friday, so everyone has time to go shopping that day.
  2. All the stores want people to shop there, so they have special prices and deals (low prices).

I hear the commercials, but I don’t understand! Help!

In the TV and radio commercials, you have probably heard some words that explain these deals, but you might not know what they mean. Here are some of the words you might hear or see in a Black Friday ad (advertisement/commercial).


screen shot of Target ad

BOGO – Buy one, get one. Sometimes, if you buy one thing, you can get another one for free. If an ad says BOGO 50% off, that means that if you buy one, you can get a second one at half price. The ad to the right is for a BOGO 30% off deal. On Black Friday at Target, if you buy one iTunes gift card, you can save 30% on a second iTunes gift card.

Cyber Monday – the Monday after Thanksgiving. When the weekend is finished and people go back to work, stores want to continue making money, so they sell things on their websites. Cyber Monday is the biggest online shopping day of the year. It’s the day when people spend the most money shopping online.

cyber sale – low prices only available online. You must buy things from a store’s website to get cyber sale prices. The prices are higher in the stores.


screen shot of Target ad

doorbuster deal/doorbuster savings/early bird specials – low prices for people who shop early. If a store opens at 8:00 a.m., the store might have extra-low prices until 9:00 a.m. These low prices early in the morning are doorbuster deals. Listen to commercials closely to find out the hours when you can get these low prices. In the ad to the left, the doorbuster deal does not end at a specific time. It ends when there are no more of these toys.

exclusions – things that do NOT have a lower price while other things do. Some ads say things like, “40-60% off everything in the store!! Some exclusions apply.” This means that some things are not on sale even though everything else in the store is.

lay-away – the process of paying for something little by little while the store keeps it. If you buy something with credit, you take it home immediately and pay for it later. If you put something on lay-away, the store keeps it until you pay for it completely. When you have paid 100% of the price, you take it home. Not all stores do lay-away. You should ask if you want to buy something expensive.

limited quantities – not enough for everybody. The new PlayStation 4 came out on Friday, and they were all gone from every store before the day was done because quantities were limited. Sometimes stores will give you a free gift when you spend a certain amount of money, but they don’t have enough gifts for everyone, so when all the gifts are gone, you can’t get one no matter how much money you spend.

night owl deals/specials – low prices for people who shop late. Stores want to have shoppers shopping all the time, but they know that people are tired after work and just want to go home. They have night owl deals so that people have a good reason to go shopping late at night when they’re tired and just want to go to bed. Listen to commercials closely to find out the hours when you can get these low prices. Some stores begin their Black Friday sales ON THANKSGIVING, so after you eat your turkey, you can start shopping!

price match – Stores will sell something to you at a lower price if you can prove that another store is selling it for the lower price. If you see a toy at Wal-Mart for $50, but you get an ad in the mail from Target that says the same toy is $45, you can take the ad to Wal-Mart, and they will sell you that toy for $45. They are matching Target’s price.

rain check – buying something at a lower price after the sale has ended. Let’s say you want to buy a toy for your son. You see an ad that says the toy is on sale. Normally, it costs $50, but this week only, it costs $35. You are excited. You go to the store, but they don’t have the toy because other people have already bought them all. They had limited quantities of the toy, and now they are sold out, and the store won’t have any more of that toy until next week (after the sale is over). Ask if you can have a rain check. A rain check is a note from the store’s manager that gives you permission to buy something at the sale price after the sale is over. You can go back to the store next week and buy the toy for $35. Many stores, especially during Black Friday sales, will not give you a rain check.

red dot clearance – low prices on items with a red circle. Sometimes, a store needs to sell all of an item to make room for something new. They will sell these items at a very low price because they want people to buy all of them. This is a clearance sale. They might put a colored sticker on the clearance items so you know which ones they are. Usually this sticker is red, but sometimes a store will have different colored stickers for different discounts. Maybe a blue sticker means 30% off. Maybe a green sticker means 40% off. Maybe a red sticker means 75% off. Each store is different, but there are usually signs that explain the different colors.

sold out – The store has sold all of something. There are no more.

steal – a very good deal (a very low price). Normally, “steal” is a verb that means to take something that is not yours. In this case, a steal is a deal that is so good, a price that is so low, that it feels like you are stealing it (but you aren’t). If you buy a new, 40-inch, flat-screen TV that works perfectly for $75, that is a steal.

while quantities last/while supplies lastuntil there are no more. When a store has limited quantities of something, you can only pay the low price for it while the store has them. When there are no more, you cannot buy it. They might receive more next week, but the price will be higher (regular price).

Your Turn

How many of these Black Friday words can you find in this K-Mart Black Friday ad?

K-Mart Black Friday Ad

screen shot of K-Mart ad

Daylight Savings Time Ends

On Saturday night, November 1, before you go to bed, you should change the time on your clocks. Move the time BACK one hour. The time changes in the middle of the night, but if you change your clocks before you go to sleep, then they will be correct when you wake up.

Here is an example:

time change clocks fall

image by instructor ecparent

If you go to bed at 11:00 p.m., you should change your clocks to 10:00 p.m.

Your cell (mobile) phone will probably change by itself. You will not need to change it. However, you will need to change all of your other clocks. Don’t forget the clock in your car!

Halloween Safety

Halloween is coming THIS Friday, October 31!! This is a fun holiday for children, but getting hurt is not fun at all, so here are some tips (suggestions/ideas) for staying safe and enjoying Halloween.

Costume Safety

reflective tape

These cones have reflective tape, so you can see them in the dark.
photo credit: giveawayboy via photopin cc

  • Make sure your child’s costume fits. If it is too long, or if the shoes are too big, your child might trip and fall down.
  • Make sure your child can see. If your child’s costume has a mask, check that the holes are big enough and that the mask fits the child’s face correctly. If your child’s costume has a hat, make sure the hat is not too big. You don’t want it to fall down and cover your child’s eyes.
  • Make sure other people can see your child. If your child goes trick-or-treating (going to different houses, asking for candy) in the dark, he/she needs to have bright clothes or reflective strips so that drivers can see him/her.
  • Make sure all face paint is safe for skin. Look for “Non-Toxic” on the package to be sure it is safe to put on your body.
  • Make sure everything is flame resistant. “Flame resistant” means it will not catch fire easily. Jack-o-Lanterns are very common at Halloween, and most Jack-o-Lanters have a candle burning inside of them. If part of your child’s costume falls into a Jack-o-Lantern, you don’t want the costume to catch on fire. Flame resistant costumes and make-up will help to keep your child safe from fire.

Trick-or-Treat Safety

  • Most children go trick-or-treating between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. After 9:00, it will be darker and more dangerous.
  • An adult should always go with young children.
  • Older children should have an approved route (path/way/trail) and a time to come home. Make a map of your neighborhood. Mark the direction your children will go and the houses they will visit. Decide what time they should come home, and give them a mobile (cell) phone in case of emergency.
  • All children should know how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency. Talk to your children about different kinds of problems and when to call 9-1-1. For example, if a young child falls and hurts his knee, don’t call 9-1-1, but call a parent. If someone breaks a bone, call 9-1-1 AND a parent.
  • Only visit houses that have their porch lights on. If a house does not have its porch lights on, then the people are not home, or they do not want children to trick-or-treat there.
  • Never go into the house of a person you don’t know very well. Children should use the toilet at home before they go trick-or-treating. If they need to go while they are out, they should ask to use the toilet at the house of a friend.
  • Stay with a group. Children should never go trick-or-treating alone, and they should stay with a group at all times, especially when crossing the street.
  • Do not walk through yards. Stay on sidewalks and walkways. People might have garden hoses, sticks, or other things in their yards that children can trip on. Also, some people don’t like it when someone walks on their grass.
  • Do not eat any candy before you get home. Parent should look at all candy to make sure it is not open or rotten.

Halloween Health

  • Think about buying treats that are not candy. Pencils, stickers, small toys, or coloring books are great treats, but they don’t have all the sugar and calories of candy.
  • Check your child’s treats before they start eating. Make sure the candy has not been opened. Make sure it looks fresh. Make sure it doesn’t look strange in any way.
  • Save some candy for later. Your children might receive a lot of candy, and they will want to eat all of it immediately. However, think about allowing them to eat some now, but save the rest for later. It is healthier to eat 1 piece of candy every day than to eat 30 pieces at one time.
  • Give kids a healthy meal before they go trick-or-treating. This will help them not to eat all of their candy right away.

Indoor Trick-or-Treating

If you don’t think your neighborhood is safe for trick-or-treating, or if the weather is bad, you can take your children (ages 10 and under) to the mall closest to you, and they can trick-or-treat in the stores!

  • Cary Towne Center – 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
  • Crabtree Valley Mall – 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
  • Triangle Town Center – NO TRICK-OR-TREATING
Happy Halloween

image by instructor ecparent

NC State Farmers Market

market veggies

photo by instructor ecparent

Where do you shop for food? Do you go to Food Lion? Harris Teeter? Wal-Mart? What about the NC State Farmers Market?

Where is the Farmers Market?

The Farmers Market is located near the corner of Lake Wheeler Road and Centennial Parkway in Raleigh. Click here to get directions.

What can I buy there?

At the market, you will find a large, covered area, where local farmers sell fruits, vegetables, and plants. The market also has other buildings where you can buy meat, cheese, wine, bread, candy, gifts, soap, and lotion all made in North Carolina.

When can I go?

The market is open Monday through Saturday 5:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

What else can I do there?

If you get hungry while you’re there, you can eat in one of three restaurants. Market Grill is open for breakfast and lunch (7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.) Monday through Saturday. The Seafood Restaurant is open Monday through Saturday 11:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. and Sunday 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. And the State Farmers Market Restaurant is open Monday – Saturday 6:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. and Sunday 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

If you want to meet American farmers, buy NC products, or try authentic North Carolinian food, visit the NC State Farmers Market. To find out what’s in season (which fruits/vegetables are ready to eat now), look at this chart. You might be able to buy everything you need at the Farmers Market to make one of these delicious salads!

Your Turn

Discuss with your classmates, or write a comment to answer these questions:

  1. What are your favorite fruits and vegetables? How do you like to prepare them?
  2. Where do you buy produce (fruits and vegetables)?
  3. How is shopping for food in the United States similar to shopping for food in your country? How is it different?
  4. Do you buy what’s in season, or do you buy what’s in the supermarket?
  5. Why is it important to buy food from local farmers?

Food Safety


photo credit: NIAID via photopin cc

Every country has its own special foods, and food is prepared differently in different countries. Before your food comes into your house, someone prepares it – someone kills the chicken, someone picks the vegetables, someone puts the food in a package, someone drives it to the supermarket. You never know what your food has touched before you buy it. That is why it’s very important that you clean and cook everything very well. If you don’t, you might get sick.

Salmonella is a bacteria that often lives on meat (chicken, pork, beef, fish, eggs) and some pets, like turtles and lizards. If you eat food with salmonella on it, you might have stomach pain, diarrhea, and a fever. This is called “food poisoning.” It usually ends after a few days, but it is dangerous for babies, young children and elderly (old) people.

Here are a few things that you can do to prevent (not get) food poisoning from salmonella:

  1. Wash – Wash your hands after you touch raw (not cooked) meat. Wash your knife after you cut raw meat. Clean the place where you cut the meat (your counter or cutting board). Wash everything with antibacterial soap and warm water. If you have salmonella on your hands, you will put it on anything that you touch.
  2. Separate – Do not let raw meat touch foods that you will not cook. If juice from your chicken gets into your salad, then your salad might have salmonella in it. That’s why it’s important to wash your cutting board with soap and water after you use it for cutting meat.
  3. Cook – Heat can kill bacteria, so cooking your food will make it safe to eat. Do not eat raw meat.
  4. Refrigerate – Keep food in the refrigerator if it is perishable (able to go bad or become rotten). Bacteria grows in warm, moist (a little wet or humid) places. The refrigerator is cold and dry, so bacteria does not grow quickly there.

Welcome to the Civics, Culture, and Community Blog!

Welcome to Wake Tech’s Civics, Culture, and Community blog for ESL students! Come here to learn about American history, citizenship, American culture, holidays, and community events. If you want information about American holidays, click “Holidays” at the top of the page. If you are looking for something fun to do, click “Wake County Events” or “Around Raleigh.” And if you want to know about something specific, let me know! Just click “Leave a reply” below and tell me what you want to learn.