Not the Same Old Song and Dance: ESL students add flair to the annual karaoke party!

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It’s always fun to see our students show off their many varied talents, and one of the best opportunities for them to do so is our annual karaoke party! This year was especially fun, as we had students perform songs in English, Arabic, Spanish, and Turkish. We had several group performances from students AND teachers, including a moving rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina.” Even more entertaining than the singing was the dancing! Students learned some of the typical American line dances like the cupid shuffle and the cha cha slide, but by far the best dancing happened when the song “Footloose” came on. A couple of students kind of danced…but one student hopped out of her chair and started MOVING. She kicked her feet and waved her arms just like they did in the original movie and had everyone clapping and cheering for her. It was the most energetic and fun dancing we have ever seen at our karaoke party, and we can’t wait to do it again next year!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Rice ESL Students Do the Zoo!

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Although the first day of fall in Texas isn’t quite cool enough for sweaters, Thursday was sunny and breezy, PERFECT weather for a trip to the Houston Zoo. ESL students spent the day wandering around Houston’s 55 acre zoo, thoroughly enjoying the antics of the monkeys, the graceful sea lions, and one very attention-hungry brown bear, who put on quite a show for us! All of the animals (with the exception of the big cats, who are, after all, cats) were active, and students had fun watching them and searching out animals from their own countries.

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Ice Breakers and Snacks at the Fall Meet and Greet

dsc_0018_bHere at the Rice University Intensive English Program we’ve started a brand new session, and almost half of our currently enrolled students are new to the program, so we hosted one of our new session Meet and Greets! Both new and returning students enjoyed light snacks and made friends from different levels. We played an ice breaker name game, and our students turned out to have fantastic memories! Some students were able to go around their table and name all eleven other students, along with what country each of them were from, although all of our students did a really great job learning their classmates’ names. We are looking forward to another great session with the best group of ESL students!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Movie Night with Friends, Popcorn…and Dinosaurs!

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We’ve had a few rainy afternoons this week in Houston, and one of the best things to do when it’s raining is settle into the couch and watch a movie…so that’s what our ESL students did on Wednesday. We stayed cozy and dry in front of the big screen in the dean’s commons watching one of the best rainy day movies: Jurassic World! Part thriller, part sci-fi, part adventure, it had something for all of our students to enjoy, plus, who doesn’t love a good dinosaur movie? Students snacked on popcorn and candy and had fun watching the movie (and their friends’ reactions to the movie!), while the rain slowed outside, stopping just as the credits rolled and it was time to go home, a happy ending both on screen and off!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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ESL Students Savor the Flavor of Summer in Houston

DSC_0055_BLast week, our hard working Intensive English students earned themselves a special treat…an ice cream social! This is one of our favorite events of the year, as both our morning and afternoon students have the opportunity to mingle with students from different levels and make new friends. We also really love ice cream here in Houston. Everyone was able to try several different types of ice cream treats (because there is no such thing as too much ice cream!), and the overwhelming favorites were the classic ice cream sandwiches, and the minion pops!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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ESL Students Have an XTREMEly Good Time at the Circus!

DSC_0013We love taking our Intensive English students to the circus when it comes to town every summer! This year, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey outdid themselves with their exciting “CIRCUS XTREME” show. Students especially enjoyed watching dancers perform on the backs of camels and heart-stopping aerial acrobatics, including a four-person tower…on a tightrope 35 feet in the air! We also got to see all of the circus classics: the big cats, goofy clowns, a live band, and a strong-man act. However, our absolute favorite performer was the human cannonball… the youngest female cannonball in Ringling Bros. history shot herself across the entire arena, did a flip in the air, and landed with a smile on her face! Some of our students captured really great videos of her performance on Snapchat to send to their friends back home. We hope our students had a wonderful time at this classic American show!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Bingo and Hot Dogs to Celebrate Independence Day

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America’s biggest party of the year is Independence Day, when we commemorate becoming an independent country back in 1776, so we decided to celebrate with our ESL students! We invited Intensive English students to “party like it’s 1776” by participating in a few of our 4th of July traditions, including eating hot dogs and hamburgers and playing bingo. This was our first student activity of the summer session, and we enjoyed sharing a little bit of American culture and giving students an opportunity to meet their new classmates!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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Gorgeous day for a picnic and games

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There is a saying that goes, “April showers bring May flowers”, but the weather in Houston was nothing but sunshine and warm breezes on Tuesday…absolutely PERFECT for an Intensive English Program picnic! It was a gorgeous day for all the classic picnic activities. ESL students ate a lunch of fresh sandwiches and chips, then some spent the rest of the afternoon lounging in the sun on blankets, chatting with friends. Other students spread out on the grass outside our Anderson-Clarke Center and played lawn games with their classmates, like badminton, catch, frisbee, and soccer. As our picnic drew to a close, students (and teachers!) had a hard time going back inside for afternoon classes after all the fun. We’re all hoping for many more beautiful days this spring!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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ESL Students Learn to Boot Scoot for the Rodeo!

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Visitors to Rice University who drove past the lawn in front of the Anderson-Clarke Center last Friday enjoyed quite a show! In preparation for our trip to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that evening, four rodeo volunteers visited us at Rice to teach our Intensive English students how to line dance. The event kicked off with yummy chili and cold iced tea, traditional Texan fare, and then students formed up in lines for their line dancing lesson. First we learned the four corners line dance, used to dance to “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” and then we circled up for the dance hall favorite “Cotton-Eyed Joe.” Our ESL students had so much fun learning to country dance, and those who weren’t quite brave enough to line up with their peers enjoyed tapping their feet to the music and cheering on their friends. The dance instruction ended with a song our students easily recognized… “Cupid Shuffle.” It’s always nice to dance to a song that tells you all the steps!

At the end of the day students hopped on the bus and headed out to the rodeo to put their new dance moves to good use. Even the rain wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of our students at the rodeo, many of whom had never seen bronco riding or steer wrestling before. Our students (and chaperones) were very impressed by the bull riding, but by far the favorite event was the mutton-bustin’…nothing compares to how cute little kids look riding sheep. Just as the rodeo wrapped up the skies cleared and students got to enjoy all the best parts of the carnival, including the infamous deep fried oreos. We love taking our ESL students to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and can’t wait to go again next year!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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ESL Students LOVE to Party!

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For Valentine’s Day, what do you give to the ESL student who has everything? A big Valentine’s Party, of course! On February 11, we threw our first annual Valentine’s Party, complete with chocolate, conversation hearts, valentine-themed coloring sheets, and, everyone’s greatest love, pizza. Lots of pizza. We decorated with enough pink and red to make Cupid blush, and students loved the heart-themed photo booth. It was a great day of food and friendship. We hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine’s Day spent with friends and loved ones!

Author: Savannah Burch, Enrollment Coordinator

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