Labor Day Lesson Plans

What does Labor Day mean to you? End of summer? Pools closing? School Starting? A day off work? After growing up in the Midwest, the last day the pool was open was a big one for me (pool weather year-round was a major decision factor for moving to sunny Florida). And while I’m no longer on a school calendar, it does bring bittersweet feelings of an end to summer fun.

So what can this mean for adult education and ESOL practitioners who have been practicing all year? A chance to mix up your curriculum. Here are three things you can do to celebrate Labor Day and diversify learning with your student.

Learn about the history of Labor Day

  • The History Channel has great resources and video clips explaining the origins of Labor Day, the history of the assembly line, child labor in the United States, and brief biographies on the industrial moguls in the US. Watch these videos with your students and then pose comprehension questions to your students.
  • The US Department of Labor also has a brief History of Labor Day on their website. You can print out these sections and practice reading them aloud, silently, and together. Many of the events addressed in this page are also in the videos from the History Channel. Try combining the two to engage different learning styles.

Integrate College and Career Pathways in your curriculum!

  • Even if you have been slowly incorporating career pathways and workforce readiness, make your next lesson special by having it as a main focus. You can practice writing a cover letter and resume, explore Florida CHOICES with your student, practice interviewing, or help your student create an action plan to reach their career goals.

Learn about Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Worker Movement

  • Since the origins of Labor Day may seem distant, take the opportunity to include more recent labor and human rights struggles. Cesar Chavez started the National Farm Workers Association, later to become UFW, in 1962 and used nonviolent tactics to gain better working conditions for grape farmers and the opportunity to unionize.
  • You can find a book on Chavez in your local library to read with your student. You can hand out a vocabulary sheet to go over new words addressed in the book, or in a section of the book  you are going to read, and highlight words that include phonemic elements that you are currently working with. Suggestions for books are Cesar Chavez and La Causa by Naurice Roberts and Cesar Chavez by Ruth Franchere. Finish by asking topic questions
      • How did Chavez help migrant farm workers?
      • What were the reasons he had for helping the farm workers?
      • How has Cesar Chavez affected farm workers today?

Finding Your Place in Today’s Economy: Four Steps to the Career You Want

By: Gloria Mwase, Jobs for the Future

Even in today’s slow growth economy, many employers continue to note that they can not find the skilled workers they seek. Here are some steps adult learners can take to access this economic opportunity as they seek to establish a career.

1. Know your interests.
Many of us have never stopped to think about the kind of work we would love to do. However, there are many resources available to help you identify your skills and interests, and the types of careers related to them. For example, check out the DOL’s MyNextMove career tool or visit Florida’s Career Choices.

2. Choose your “best bet” career.
Once you have identified your skills, interests, and potential careers, narrow down to the one you want to pursue. Consider whether this selected occupation has current job openings in your region, the certificates or degrees needed to get the job, and wages or salaries offered to those who hold this position. Your local One Stop Career Center is a good source for this information. Get real time information (through job shadowing or interviewing someone doing the job) before you make your final selection.

3. Get the skills valued by the employers in your region.
After you’ve made your career choice, your One Stop Career Center can help you identify some training options.

Be sure to do your homework! Some training programs don’t have a good track record of helping participants complete their programs, get the certificates or degrees that employers want, and enter into a career. Other programs differ in their costs and in the length of time it takes to complete.

Keep in mind that some training programs offer more help than others. You might need to get a GED or  be in need academic support, financial aid, child care, or transportation assistance. You might need skills to help you prepare for the world of work (resume writing, interviewing, time management, teamwork, communication, problem-solving, using a computer, etc.) Seek programs that provide access to these services and resources for eligible students or partner with organizations that do.

4. Find your place in a new career.
Once you are equipped with the skills and credentials that employers value, you will be ready to go out there and apply for a good job. Get assistance with job placement through your One Stop Career Center or other programs that have trusted relationships with employers. You can also help to increase your marketable skills by seeking work experience (e.g. paid or unpaid internships) in your related career wherever you can find it.

The length of this process will, of course, depend on a number of factors, including your skill levels, the amount of time you have to apply to training, and the resources you have to contribute to this effort. But if you stay the course, you’ll reach your goal. You’ll find not only the job you want, but a career you’ll love.

– – –

Gloria Cross Mwase is a program director at Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit that aligns education with today’s high-demand careers. With its partners, JFF develops policy solutions and new pathways leading from college readiness to career advancement for struggling and low-income populations in America. Learn more at

Top Stories in Literacy: June 18

Top Stories in LiteracyFlorida’s First Lady kicks off 2012 Summer Literacy Adventure
The Literacy Adventure challenges children to read as many books as possible over summer vacation. Mrs. Scott encouraged the children to make it fun and share their reading with friends and family.

Adult Spelling Bee raises funds for Marion County Literacy Council
The Eighth, and final, annual Adult Spelling for Marion County Literacy Coalition had 125 attendees and raised over $10,000 for the Literacy Coalition.

Leave No Young Adult Behind
The Associated Press recently reported that half of those under 25 years of age with a bachelor’s degree — or 1.5 million people — are jobless or underemployed. But things are even worse for the 6.7 million young people who neither have a college degree nor a job — so-called “disconnected youth.”

Florida State College- Jacksonville Students Forced to Repay Pell Grants After Audit
Students at Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. may be forced to repay Pell Grants after the institution erroneously doled out at $2.8 million in financial aid, college administrators announced Tuesday during a news conference.

Vicki Price: Spelling is Still Impotent

Vicki Price

Ha! That title totally makes my point! When I was asked to write a spelling blog, my first thought was that I have never written a blog before; my second thought was that I really don’t teach spelling, so why am I writing a blog on spelling?  As a college professor teaching in the technology areas, I would assign a writing project on a technical topic and inevitably would reduce the students’ grade if it was riddled with spelling errors.  As I would explain to the complaining student, technically, the paper was sound, but the credibility of the student would be compromised due to all of the spelling errors.  With texting, emailing and yes, blogging, our communication methods have changed significantly.  Is spelling still important?  I say yes, and I will give a few examples why.

First, it may be needed in the case of an emergency as illustrated by the following example:   As you can tell from this, without spelling skills, someone could be in serious trouble!

Secondly, one area where spelling is also very important is in our life skills ability to get a job.  Step one, put together a resume.  Spelling errors on resumes are a huge reason why an application may not get considered. Following are a few examples of spelling errors that have been found on resumes:

  •  “Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”
  • “I’m intrested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer”
  • Objective: “career on the Information Supper Highway”
  • “Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”
  • “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.”
  • “Instrumental in ruining entire operation for a Midwest chain store.”
  • Languages: “Speak English and Spinach.”
  • Strengths: “Ability to meet deadlines while maintaining composer.”
  • Cover letter: “Experienced in all faucets of accounting.”
  • “I have a known track record and excellent experience with accurancy and fixing erors
  • “Demonstrated ability in multi-tasting.”
  • “Dear Sir or Madman,”
  •  “I am anxious to use my exiting skills”
  •  “I attended collage courses for minor public relations
  •  “Hope to hear from you, shorty.”

Recently, while visiting my brother he told me about a spelling error on a resume and that his hiring team eliminated the person due to the lack of attention to detail.  Spelling is still important and many of the errors are due to the incorrect use of homonyms.  According to, a homonym is a word pronounced the same as another but differing in meaning, whether spelled the same way or not. Knowing which word to use or how to write a phrase correctly can make a big difference in your writing. It is easier for readers to take a piece of writing more seriously when the grammar is correct.  A dictionary can be your best friend to make sure that the word being used in correct.  The first step to teaching spelling is convincing the student that correct spelling is important.

Top Stories in Literacy : June 11

Top Stories in Literacy

Lilli Leight, 15, wins National Book Foundation for Literacy Award for donating books to homeless kids
While volunteering at a Miami homeless shelter, Leight, 15, noticed that the kids would turn on the television after finishing their homework, because they didn’t have access to books, Your Olive Branch reports. That is when the Coral Gables, Fla., resident was inspired to start a library for homeless kids at the Chapman Partnership’s Homeless Assistance Center in Miami.

Smart Horizons Career Online Education launches first online high school education in US for Florida Department of Corrections Inmates
On May 14th, 2012, Smart Horizons Career Online Education went live at Florida’s Madison Correctional Institution. This marked SHCOE’s first step as an official provider of online education and career training for the Florida Department of Corrections. The Madison program is the first online secondary education program at any correctional facility in the United States.

Why Businesses need to close the “skills gap”
In the end those who get hired are often overqualified—college graduates being brought on to perform tasks that really require only a high school degree. At the same time, many others are shut out of work—even though they possess the attitude and general aptitude to be successful—for one reason: They lack prior experience.

Collier library reading rewards now go to adults as well as kids
For years, adults have missed out on all the summer fun. The folks at the library hear your pain. Which is why, this year — for the first time — the Collier County Library system will have a summer reading program for adults.

Top Stories in Literacy: June 4

Top Stories in LiteracyJourney pays off for adults seeking education
About 40 graduates were recognized at the ceremony, held at the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology auditorium, while 150 qualified for graduation, and more will qualify after General Educational Development (GED) testing is completed June 23.

Many job applicants lack basic literacy and office skills
The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 93 million U.S. adults have basic and below basic literacy skills, well below the skill level necessary to perform many jobs. Recent studies revealed that 4 out of 10 working age adults don’t have functional literacy skills.

Grad rate debated as standards get higher
Looking at Flagler’s and Volusia’s federal graduation rates, it is estimated that “well over 20 percent” of Flagler students could be considered dropouts, while “over 30 percent” of Volusia students could be dropouts, or someone who is unlikely to earn a diploma or GED within the next few years.

Why Steve Jobs would have loved digital learning
In the wake of Steve Jobs’ passing, many wrote about the statements he made throughout his adult life about how to improve the U.S. education system. Some noted that for much of Jobs’s life, he had, ironically perhaps, been skeptical of the positive impact technology could make on education.

Florida TechNet to Stream Live from the Florida Literacy Conference!

Florida TechNet is proud to announce live streaming from this year’s Florida Literacy Conference. The five session presenters listed below have agreed to stream their presentation for those who are unable to attend the conference.

Please refer to the list below for dates and times. Streaming will be done through an Elluminate Webinar session.  The link will be the same for all sessions.

Florida TechNet to stream sessions at the Florida Literacy Conference

Join us at:

Session 1
Wednesday, May 9; 3:45 PM – 5:00 PM
Building A Local Database to Enhance Adult Career Pathways
Judy Johnson, Withlacoochee Technical Institute

Session 2
Thursday, May 10; 9:00 AM – 10:15 AM
The Top Ten Components of Building an Adult Education Career Pathways Program
Libby Livings-Eassa, June Rall and Luci Mello, Indian River State College

Session 3
Thursday, May 10; 10:30 AM – 11:45 AM
When Words Count: Fostering Story Writing in Adult Learners
Betsy Stoutmorrill, Adult Literacy Consultant

Session 4
Thursday, May 10; 1:30 PM – 2:45 PM
From Literacy to Post Secondary: Keeping Students on their Career Paths
June Rall and Luci Mello, Indian River State College

Session 5
Thursday, May 10; 3:45 PM – 4:45 PM
VALF Literacy Technology Petting Zoo
Sandy Newell, Volunteers for Adult Literacy

Top Stories in Literacy: April 30

Top Stories in LiteracyTo Address the Digital Divide, We Must Go Beyond the Headlines
Working for ZeroDivide, a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization with a history of helping low income, minority, and other underserved communities leverage technology for social good, I think there’s a big piece missing from the studies about the digital divide.

Debt Management Credit Counseling Provides Payday Loan Assistance to Consumers
Debt Management Credit Counseling Corp, a nonprofit charitable organization (DMCC), announces new program to assist consumers struggling to repay payday loans. Program provides repayment plans with affordable monthly payments and suspension of collection calls. DMCC also approved by state to provide Florida residents a 60-day deferment of their loan payments.

Rep. Alan Williams visits Adult Community Education Center
Florida Representative Alan Williams made a visit to the Adult Community Education campus Thursday morning to speak to students. Williams, a member of the Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, helps make decisions about the funding for Adult Education in Florida.

Progress Energy Invests in Future Generations
The Progress Energy Foundation is putting half a million dollar investment in the Florida school system. The money will fund energy education classroom projects as well as workforce development at high school career academies throughout the state. The funds will support public-education foundations, science centers and career academies.

Top Stories in Literacy: April 9

Top Stories in LiteracyMore adults earning college credit for “life experience”
Getting credit for life experience such as working in jobs, starting businesses, serving in the military and volunteering time is attractive to adults who want to go back to school but feel overwhelmed by what it entails.

Jobs are there, for the right skills
One of the populations that holds the greatest promise is adults who started college but never finished. Many of these are people who are unemployed or underemployed and require new skills and training. According to the Stronger Nation report, there are now 2,136,681 adults across Florida that have completed some college but never earned a degree.

The Financial Literacy Movement
Some have blamed economic policy makers on Capitol Hill, while others like the Occupy Wall Street protesters have channeled their anger toward large corporate executives. However, a growing number of people point to the education system, in particular the lack of financial literacy education in the United States for our economic crisis.

Information Superhighway ‘Bypassing Adult Learners’
This British report concludes that although the internet has helped generations of young adults, adults continue to be disengaged from this learning opportunity.

The cost of high turnover in fundraising jobs
The average amount of time a fundraiser stays at his or her job: 16 months. The direct and indirect costs of finding a replacement: $127,650.

Top Stories in Literacy: April 2

Top Stories in LiteracyProgram teaches computer literacy to older generation
Seniors gather at the Hallmark, their assisted-living facility in Lower Manhattan, for computer classes. They wanted to begin the task of catching up with a technical world whose rapid-fire evolution has left much of America’s oldest generation isolated from its children, grandchildren and tech-savvy friends.

Teen’s Hip-Hop Song Wins Financial Ed Themed Contest
The contest was designed to tap the talent and creativity of teens across the U.S. to raise awareness of the importance of being smart about money, and to spread the word about the financial education program Money Matters: Make It CountSM available through all 2,900 Boys & Girls Clubs that serve teens.

AT&T Aspire: $250 million national job readiness program already given $800k locally
In its new $250 million initiative program called AT&T Aspire, the company aims to help young and driven students to graduate from high school with the technological tools and skills they need to advance into a successful career. Find out how to apply!

Digital Divide Impacts Technological “Haves,” Too
The failure to find tech-savvy talent is preventing U.S. companies from innovating their way out of their current financial doldrums. A survey by Moritz’s firm found that 57 percent of U.S. CEOs said that creating and fostering a skilled workforce should be a top government priority.