A Book for the Future American Citizen

Maria del Carmen AmadoReview by Maria del Carmen Amado
Manager/Editor, Westchester Hispano General

Immigrants who live in the U.S. often want to obtain American citizenship so they can be part of their new country. To do so, they must prepare for the U.S. citizenship test, and familiarize themselves with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) interview process.

To assist immigrants with this process, three experienced professionals from Pearson have developed a program called Future U.S. Citizens. This book/DVD program is specially designed to help immigrants who decide to apply for U.S. citizenship to pass the test.  The program combines lessons with interactive practice and is aligned with the current process required by the USCIS. Continue reading

The New N-400 Citizenship Application and Our Students

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABill Bliss

As of May 5, 2014, the new N-400 form is required for all applications for U.S. citizenship.  The form is longer than the previous one, it adds to the personal information required about marital status and children, it asks several more questions to comply with recent federal legislation related to terrorism and child soldiers, and it therefore has some important implications for the instruction we offer our students who are preparing for their naturalization interview and citizenship exam.  Since a USCIS officer evaluates an applicant’s English speaking ability during the course of the interview, and since the interview focuses on verifying information on the N-400 form, it’s important for our students to be prepared to explain the information they have provided.

(An important note:  Eligibility requirements for citizenship have not changed, and the requirements to demonstrate knowledge of U.S. history, government, and civics have not changed.  Only the application form itself has changed, which therefore has implications for the language our students may need to talk about their application during the interview.)  READ MORE

Tax Time!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABill Bliss

Here are three quotes appropriate for the month of April:

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

“Why did the colonists fight the British?  Because of high taxes – taxation without representation.”

“When is the last day you can send in federal income tax forms?  April 15.”

The first was penned by Benjamin Franklin in 1789.  The second and third are among the 100 official questions and answers on the US citizenship exam. READ MORE

Mandela and King:
A Lesson for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABill Bliss

Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr. never met and they lived at opposite ends of the world, but their paths of struggle for civil rights in South Africa and the United States intersect as two of the twentieth century’s most important achievements in advancing human rights and freedom.  As the holiday commemorating Dr. King approaches, it is a compelling time to consider the contributions of both of these extraordinary leaders.

A WebQuest

Here is an online research activity students can do to explore the lives and accomplishments of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nelson Mandela.  Students can work on their own or with a partner or small group to find the answers to these questions and then share as a class.  Through this activity, they will discover some of the ways in which these two leaders had similar views and shared similar experiences during their remarkable lifetimes.  READ MORE

Virtual Field Trips for Civics & Citizenship with Voices of Freedom

Bill Bliss Bill Bliss

Virtual Field Trips for Civics & Citizenship with Voices of Freedom

My favorite days in public school were the field trips. From the moment our teachers handed us the permission slips to bring back with our parents’ signatures, I’d look forward to the chance to play hooky with classmates by boarding a bus for a visit to a local museum, the planetarium, an old historic site, city hall, or some other destination. Field trips offered experiences that couldn’t happen in the classroom, they sparked our curiosity and exploration, and they were fun.

So with the help of the Internet rather than school buses, one of my goals for the
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