Happy Halloween

Every year on October 31st, Americans celebrate Halloween. Halloween is a celebration of autumn, and many believe it began as a harvest festival and a festival to honor the dead. On Halloween, children wear costumes and go trick-or-treating. Adults and teenagers like Halloween, too. They like to wear costumes to work and attend costume parties. Typical Halloween activities include trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving pumpkins, visiting haunted houses, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

Trick or Treat!

Trick-or-treating is a Halloween tradition. On Halloween night, children dress up in costumes and travel from house to house collecting candy or small toys. The children knock on the door or ring the doorbell, and when the homeowner comes to the door, the children yell, “Trick or treat!” The “trick” is a joking threat to perform mischief on the home if no “treat” is given. Many people decorate their houses and hand out treats to trick-or-treating children.
** HALLOWEEN TIP: If you want to hand out candy, make sure the light is on outside of your house. Children will skip your house if the house is dark.**

Costume Parties

While children often trick-or-treat on Halloween, adults and teenagers often attend Halloween costume parties. Most costume parties require that attendees dress up. Popular costumes include famous people or characters, and they can be interesting, funny, cute, or scary. Usually, the location for the party is decorated in black and orange, the traditional colors of Halloween, and with several scary or fun symbols of Halloween. The hosts often offer Halloween themed food and drinks, and usually, Halloween-themed music is played.


**HALLOWEEN TIP: Join the your classmates and teachers at the ESL Costume Contest on Wednesday, October 31st at lunch time! Wear your best cute, funny, or scary costume!**


During Halloween, many people carve pumpkins to make Jack-o’-lanterns. To make a Jack-o’-lantern, you cut off the top of the pumpkin, scoop the insides out, and cut holes into the pumpkin. Usually, the holes make a face, which may either be cheerful, scary, or funny. More complex carvings, such as famous people or symbols, are becoming popular, too. The final step to create a Jack-o’-lantern is putting a light inside.
**HALLOWEEN TIP: Do you want to carve a Jack-o’-Lantern? The ESL Office is hosting a Pumpkin Carving event on Tuesday, October 30th, from 2:45pm to 5:00pm Join us and show off your creative side!**


Halloween Activities

Next week will be full of exciting Halloween activities.  If you want to know more about Halloween click here – What is Halloween?

Halloween Activities Schedule:

Monday, Oct. 29

CAB Halloween Carnival for Kids

      • 5 – 7 p.m., Taylor Center 230
      • For the children of AUM faculty, staff and students


Tuesday, Oct. 30

ESL Pumpkin Carving Contest

      • 2:45 – 5:00 p.m., ESL Room #1, 7th Floor Library Tower

Haunted Library

      • 12:30 – 1:30 p.m., Library lobby (Sponsored by the AUM Library)

Zombie Fest 2012

      • 5 – 7:30 p.m., Goodwyn Hall
      • Experience the fright from a scholar’s perspective


Wednesday, Oct. 31

ESL Costume Contest

      • 11:45 a.m. – 1 p.m., ESL Room #2, 7th Floor Library Tower

Haunted House and Halloween Party

      • Warhawk Alley/Taylor Center 230
      • 7 – 9 p.m. Haunted House
      • 7 – 11 p.m. Party

Relative Clause Tips

espresso english image

Here are some tips for all of you out there studying relative clauses:

  • A relative clause is a dependent clause that must be joined to an independent clause, which creates a complex sentence.
  • Relative clauses are also known as adjective clauses.
  • A relative clause should follow the noun that it modifies (describes).
  • Relative clauses begin with adjective clause markers (relative pronouns and relative adverbs).

espresso english image

  • The relative pronouns are who, whom, whose, that, or which.
  • The relative adverbs are when, where, or why.
  • Remember, in order for it to be a clause, it must have a subject and a verb (the adjective clause marker is sometimes the subject of the relative clause).

In higher level writing, readers expect to see complex structures to show true proficiency of English language skills. Hopefully this short video will give you some other good insight into relative clauses.



Toby, Level 4 Grammar/Writing Instructor

How can reading help you?

When discussing the syllabus and course expectations this week in Advanced Reading, students were asked what they thought the benefits of reading were. No one could really answer the question though, so I began searching for some reasons and I found a website with a list of 8 benefits of reading—all of which I can say I have found to be true for my own reading experiences. As always, ENJOY!!!

8 Benefits of Reading (or Ways Reading Makes You Better at Life)

1. Enhances Smarts

  • It turns out that reading helps in almost every area of smarts. Those that read have higher GPA’s, higher intelligence, and general knowledge than those that don’t.

2. Reduces stress

  • When you read a book, your mind shifts gears. Where you might have had a stressful day, a book can easily distract you. Fiction is fantastic for this.

3. Increases tranquility

  • Reading can soothe like no other. Reading can force you to sit and be still. This daily act of making yourself be quiet and still can be nothing short of miraculous for anxiety.

4. Improves analytical thinking

  • Readers improve their general knowledge, and more importantly are able to spot patterns quicker. If you can spot patterns quicker, your analytical skills receive a boost.

5. Increases your vocabulary

  • Reading forces you to look at words that you might not have seen or heard recently.

6. Improves memory

  • There is no scientific data to prove this, but most readers would agree that the more they read, the more their memory is enhanced.

7. Improves writing skills

  • The more you read, the better writer you’ll become

8. Helps prioritize goals

  • Activities like reading can show you things you didn’t know about yourself.

If you would like to read the entire article it can be found on the following webpage: http://lifedev.net/2009/06/reading-makes-you-better/

Obie, Level 5 Reading Instructor


An Unusual Culture? The American Haunted Hayride

As we begin a new term, AUM’s IEP level 2 listening class will be learning all about unusual jobs: ice cream tasters, video game testers, lion tamers . . . quite an interesting topic!

In fact, it is the topic of the first chapter in our book. For this chapter we will talk about a lot of unusual things: jobs, people, holidays, even animals.

But culture can be unusual, too. For example, you may know about the American holiday of Halloween, but do you know what a haunted hayride is? It is a very fun, but somewhat unusual, tradition in the month of October.

So what is a “haunted hayride”?

For a haunted hayride, people get into a trailer for a short, scary ride. Trailers are usually used to carry hay (food for horses). However, in October these trailers take people into the woods at night, where lots of scary things happen! Ghosts, monsters, strange noises . . . anything can happen on a haunted hayride. Use Google to find hayrides in Alabama—but only if you are very, very brave.

Do you have haunted attractions in your country?  Americans love to be scared, especially in October.

If you are interested in learning more about haunted attractions for this special holiday, you can read this article: Haunted Attractions Article. It tells about some history, as well as many spooky kinds of haunted attractions.

Watch the video below for an example of how scary haunted hayrides (not to mention any haunted attraction) can be!

Robin, Level 2 Listening & Speaking Instructor

Fall-2 Conversation Partners Program

Conversation Partners is a fun program open to all students enrolled in the ESL Program at AUM. The program is designed to give ESL students opportunities to practice their English conversation skills with native English language speakers. ESL students can build communicative competence and fluency and enjoy making new friends and learning about American culture.

Fall-2 Conversation Partners Schedule is listed below:

October 23

October 30

November 6

November 13

November 27

Obie, Conversation Partners Sponsor

Fall-2 Book Club

Auburn University Montgomery’s ESL Program is proud to host ESL BOOK CLUB! This club is open to all ESL students currently enrolled in the Intensive English Program at levels 3, 4, and 5. We will be meeting every Monday from 2:45pm to 4:15pm.

This term’s theme is “flash fiction,” so we will be reading short stories from the highly acclaimed anthology, Flash Fiction Forward:

Image: BetterWorldBooks.com

After publication of the first Flash Fiction anthology over a decade ago, “flash” became part of the creative writing lexicon for readers, writers, students, and teachers. In this follow-up collection, the editors once again tackle the question: “How short can a story be and truly be a story?” Determined to find the best flashes from America in the twenty-first century, James Thomas and Robert Shapard searched everywhere for stories that were not merely good but memorable. Moving, and certainly unforgettable, this collection includes stories from the best and most popular fiction writers of our time, including Ron Carlson, Robert Coover, Steve Almond, Amy Hempel, A. M. Homes, Grace Paley, and Paul Theroux. In addition, Rick Moody properly defines armoire, Lydia Davis delves into a world of cats, and Dave Eggers explores narrow escapes. Over and over, these stories prove that often less is more.

Book Club Sponsor

Welcome Fall-2 Students

I would like to welcome you to the English as a Second Language Program and thank you for considering the English program at Auburn University-Montgomery.  Our teachers and staff strive to provide you with quality English language training to help you succeed in your academic, professional, and personal goals.

In the second-half of the fall semester, we will have a variety of fun activities for our students. Pumpkin Carving Contest, Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens, and Christmas Party are some of these events. Additionally, we have some elective English programs you can take advantage of. Conversation Partners, English Book Club, and the TOEFL Prep are the elective English programs you can participate in and improve your English in a stress-free environment. I would like to encourage everyone to take advantage of the extracurricular activities and the elective English programs.


At this time, I invite you to explore our website for further information about the Intensive English Program (IEP), Communicative English Courses, Application Process, and IELTS Testing Center. You will find important information about our curriculum and policy and procedures in the IEP Handbook, which is also available at www.aum.edu/esl . The handbook will help you understand our expectations of you and the services available to you at AUM.

I hope your time as a student at Auburn University at Montgomery will be a great experience.

On behalf of our ESL instructors and staff, I welcome you and look forward to seeing you on our campus.

Gokhan, Program Manager