Marshall Adult Education




  Sharing the power of learning

  through education, community building, and advocacy


January/February 2008


Minnesota Literacy Council E-News

Contact: Cathy Grady, Adult Program Director, 651-645-2277 ext. 208, 

In this Issue

Journeys Deadline February 15

Recognize, motivate and inspire your learners by helping them submit their original writing and art work to the 2008 edition of Journeys: Stories and Poems to Open Your Mind.  Submissions are due by 4:30 p.m. Friday, February 15, 2008 (late submissions will not be accepted).

Journeys is a collection of writing and art work by learners in Minnesota adult literacy programs. This publication serves a variety of purposes including: 

  • recognizing learners for their accomplishments in writing;
  • motivating learners to continue to improve their literacy skills and achieve their academic goals;
  • providing a teaching resource to volunteers and teachers to use in Adult Basic Education (ABE) instruction; and
  • increasing awareness of adult literacy needs in Minnesota.

 We welcome submissions from learners of all levels, and we try to print all submissions.

 Although state funding to produce this publication was cut two years ago, we are thrilled to be able to produce the book with help from three talented interns, Katie McMillen, Elissa Cottle, Christopher Pommier, who are donating hundreds of hours to the cause this year. Book sales will cover the printing costs. Each book is $5; programs ordering ten or more copies will receive a 20% discount.

 To submit student writing, please go to: to or call Cathy Grady.

Got Three Hours?

If you are a new literacy volunteer coordinator or an experienced coordinator who has ever wondered what happened to the Metro Coordinator Meetings, we’ve got three, 3-hour trainings coming up that are designed especially for you! 

All of the following training sessions are FREE and will be held in the MLC training room from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Trainings can be taken individually or as a series.

 Training One: Management Essentials for Volunteer Coordinators

Wednesday, February 27, 2008 

This training will provide an overview of the fundamental components of a quality volunteer literacy program, including dealing with difficult volunteers and strategies for recruiting both volunteers and learners. There will also be time for networking and information-sharing, a hands-on overview of online resources for you and your program, and a tutorial on completing the MLC annual volunteer report.

  Training Two: Everything You Need to Know about ESL Curriculum and Instruction

Thursday, March 13, 2008 

Often literacy volunteer coordinators find themselves choosing ESL curriculum and guiding the work of volunteer teachers. This training will provide you with information and resources to help you run an effective ESL program using volunteers.

 Training Three: Helping You Serve the “Hard to Serve”

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

 Come to this training for information and resources to help you better serve learners with special barriers to success, such as learning disabilities, physical disabilities, post-traumatic stress disorder, and life-skills issues. 

Sharing the Power Conference to be Held at Best Buy Corporate HQ


We are pleased to announce that the MLC’s annual Sharing the Power Conference and Awards Luncheon will be held at the deluxe Best Buy Corporate Conference Center in Richfield this year. The event is scheduled for Saturday, April 12, 2008, and will include two blocks of breakout training sessions followed by the awards luncheon.

Training sessions are targeted primarily to volunteers, teachers, and adult learners, but all adult literacy practitioners are welcome. The fee is $25 (award winners attend free).

This conference is a terrific opportunity to gain new skills, network with colleagues, and celebrate the work and accomplishments of your volunteers and learners. We hope to see you there!

 For more information and to register, please visit our Web site at

Award Nominations Due March 14

Outstanding volunteers, learners and community partners make a world of difference. Honor these special people by nominating them for one of several awards: Outstanding Learner, Outstanding Volunteer, Community Partnership, Volunteer Service, or the Essi Wiseheart Ledyard Award for Senior Volunteers. Nomination forms can be found at (or just call Cathy Grady at the number above). The top Outstanding Learner Award winners will receive $250 Burke Scholarships to be used for educational purposes.

Nomination forms are due March 14 and awards will be presented at the Sharing the Power Conference April 12 (see above).  Award winners will be invited to attend free of charge.

Resource Review: GED Essay Help



Reading Levels 5 – 8

Terrific for GED students who think they can’t write, this workbook provides a user-friendly process for moving from writing quick, informal paragraphs to writing organized, edited, GED-style essays. The author suggests a variety of methods for getting started and planning what to write. Students are encouraged to elicit constructive editing assistance from others, and revision is stressed. The Teacher’s Guide contains suggestions for effective use, and includes photocopy masters. (Student Workbooks are 64 pages; 32-page Teacher’s Guide)


 By Rob Podlasek

The prospect of writing the essay can be one of the most fear-inducing thoughts for GED candidates. Easing into Essays: Getting Ready to Write the GED Test Essay, written by Nan Phifer and published by New Readers Press, provides a variety of activities to make the task less daunting.

 While the title of this student workbook indicates a focus on the GED, the book is really at the pre-GED level and deals with essay writing in general. It would be a good choice for instructors working with intermediate-level writers. The book begins with some general writing warm-ups to help students get started writing and deal with their anxieties. These warm-ups are essentially sentence completion activities.

 The book then shifts over to essay-specific topics such as writing opinion (thesis) statements and generating ideas to support these statements. These activities directly relate to the key writing tasks the students will be doing on the GED essay. 

Several lessons deal with creating paragraphs and with writing the five-paragraph essay with an introduction and conclusion.

 Following a discussion of the essay and lessons covering editing, revising and proofreading essays, the book summarizes the steps for writing an essay.  

Throughout the book, there are many activities to give students a chance to practice the skills being taught. Instructors working with the text could easily create additional activities to give students more practice with each key skill.

Tech Tip: New Web Sites for 2008

By Jason Brazier

 Use Your Computer to Help Save the Planet

 LocalCooling is a software program that works with Windows XP to monitor and allow you to change power settings to help conserve electricity.  The easy-to-navigate tabs let you check to see how much power you are using and make adjustments that suit your needs. To help put things in perspective, your energy saving is tracked in trees, gallons of oil, and kilowatts. If you register your computer, you can also compare your energy savings to others’.

From the Web site: “In January 2007, a blog post titled Black Google Would Save 750 Megawatt-hours a Year proposed the theory that a black version of the Google search engine would save a fair bit of energy due to the popularity of the search engine. Since then there has been skepticism about the significance of the energy savings that can be achieved and the cost in terms of readability of black web pages.

We believe that there is value in the concept because even if the energy savings are small, they all add up. Secondly we feel that seeing Blackle every time we load our web browser reminds us that we need to keep taking small steps to save energy.”

Check it out at:

 Stick a Virtual Post-It on a Virtual Space

 This easy to use toolbar allows you to post sticky notes and highlight text on a webpage and then share the information with others.

 Multi-media Mega Searching

This search engine uses Microsoft’s Silverlight environment to allow you to do a search for Web sites, news, images, books, and RSS* feeds all at the same time. Enter in your topic and five icons will appear allowing you to choose the type of results you want to see. Drag your results onto a shelf on the right hand side of you screen to save them in “stacks.” You can give your stacks names, email a stack, or post it to your Windows Live Space Blog. The current view has a Halo background, but you can choose the original card catalog background if you prefer.

 *RSS makes it possible for people to keep up with their favorite web sites in an automated manner that's easier than checking them manually. RSS works well for web sites that are updated constantly, such as blogs, news headlines, or podcasts. - Wikipedia

 Reviewed sites were suggested by PC World Magazine.



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