Grammar & Essay
Recorded Grammar & Writing Course
This is a highly intensive grammar and essay course. Many important grammar skills are covered in this course. In addition, students are expected to write an essay outline per week.
Homework: Students are expected to complete 1-1.5 hours of homework per week in order to successfully complete the course.
Lesson Instruction: students will log into ivyGoal’s Zoom online classroom and study with us by following ivyGoal’s rigorous program.
Grammar Skills Covered
Parts of Speech:
Part of speech introduction- nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, conjunctions, determiner, and prepositions.
4 types of nouns - Common Noun, Pronoun, Verb+ing Noun, and Noun Phrase/Sentences.
4 types of adjectives - Common Adjective, Verb+ing Adjective, Verb+ed Adjective, and Phrase/Sentence Adjective.
Determiners - the, a, an, this, that, these, those, its, their, much, many...
Prepositions - on, in, before, after, within, until, despite, throughout, concerning, beyond...
5 types of adverbs - How, Time, Degree, Where, and Conjunction.
3 types of conjunctions - Coordinating, Correlative, and Subordinating.
Countable vs Uncountable Nouns.
Singular vs Plural Nouns relate to Subject & Verb Agreement.
4 types of present tenses - Present Simple, Present Continuous, Present Perfect, and Present Perfect Continuous.
2 types of future tenses - Future Simple and Future Continuous.
7 types of past tenses - Past Continuous, Past Habitual, Past Intensive, Past Future, Past Perfect, and Past Perfect Continuous.
Sentence structure introduction - Subject and Predicate.
Subject and verb agreement.
Active and passive voices.
Identify the subject of a composite sentence.
Identify the verb of a composite sentence.
4 basic rules of capitalization and 3 exceptions.
Essay Outline Skills
Identify keywords in the prompt.
Please write a title.
Please write a hook.
Please write an outline: introduction, 1-3 body paragraphs topic sentences, and conclusion.
- Prompt: If there was one talent you wish you had, what would it be and why?
- Keywords Example: talent and why.
- Title Sample: I wish I could fly
- Hook Sample: Do you want to travel with ultimate freedom?
- Introduction: Amidst the uncertainty of the Coronavirus epidemic, I wish I could fly to my desired destinations, not taking a risk of catching the virus and without paying any money for transportation.
- Body 1 Sample: I planned to visit New York this month and participate in a ballet competition, but now I am locked down at home.
- Body 2 Sample: The virus is very dangerous and so many people are catching it through close social contacts. If I could fly, then no one would be close enough to pass the virus to me.
- Body 3 Sample: Travelling costs a lot of money. Once my father told me that he spends about $400 / month on gas.
- Conclusion Sample: Wouldn't it be great to go to places anytime you like and pay nothing? I wish I had the talent to fly so that I could be free and save my father’s travel and money. More importantly, Coronavirus cannot catch me in the sky.
English Square Program
Based on Common Core, the English Square program integrates vocabulary, grammar, reading, and writing into one comprehensive course; it promotes interactive English teaching, which greatly improves learning efficiency. As a result, the English Square program can ensure that students will improve at least one grade level after 40 hours of tutoring in this course.
Course Details & Sample Lesson Plan
Students will be learning the following skills in this two weeks camp:
- 100 - 150 vocabulary words in two weeks.
- 14 reading passages with questions.
- Fix 5-10 short passages.
- Write 5 stories.
Vocabulary sample list:
ballad, caravan, exotic, flourish, lure, sensation, monarch, reign, acquaintance, inherit, microorganism, decay, inundate, encompass, enigma, arid, Vandalism, Detract, Accommodate.
Reading passage sample:
An Introduction to Caves
Caves are found in nearly every region around the world. Caves are full of geological wonder and interesting life forms. Spelunkers are individuals who explore and study caves and larger caves, known as caverns, as a hobby. Many caves are subterranean, meaning that they are underneath the ground, while others are above ground and inside of mountains.
The inside of a cave can be very dark, but also very interesting. Hanging from the ceiling of a cave are often stalactites. These are pointed pieces of rock that hang down from a roof of a cave. They are formed by dripping water, which contains dissolved minerals. Stalagmites are similar. They are pointed pieces of rock that stick up from the floor of a cave, while formed by dripping water which contains dissolved minerals. Caves are also known to have large quantities of calcite which is a natural chemical consisting of calcium.
The walls of the cave are often home to different animals, such as snakes and bats. These animals can make homes in the crystallized formations on the wall. Caves are safe places for bats to sleep in because most of their predators cannot reach them while they’re hanging upside down. Often these walls and floors of the caves are made of pure limestone, which is a common material for building. Many of the famous buildings in America are built with limestone. This material can be slippery when sufficient water has evaporated from the cave.
Plotting to Overtake the Castle
The town of Ozwaldo was ruled by an evil monarch, King Peter who reigned with absolute power over the land for 25 years. The taxes and severe punishments that he instituted irritated the people of the town greatly. The King’s reputation for violence and unfair laws caused a tremendous disturbance in the town. The townspeople were constantly living in fear. Any little wrong thing they do could ruin the rest of their lives and the lives of their family. One day King Peter was in town and a carpenter did not greet the King with enthusiasm, so he was sentenced a year in prison. People were outraged; the King hasn’t done anything worthy of mention in the past 25 years to deserve any type of respect or fanaticism from his citizens.
As the town’s people became increasingly angry at King Peter, they decided to begin secretly meeting to plot against the King. They elected a leader, George Adams, who had military training and experience leading an army. George Adams began to plan an invasion of King Peter’s castle but warned that he would be greatly endangering the town’s people that volunteered to join him. King Peter has a small army to defend him but with all of the angry and frustrated people of Ozwaldo, the town should have the numbers on its side. Adam’s plan was to invade the castle under the cover of a dense fog, just as King Peter did 25 years prior. The biggest challenge now was to not arouse suspicion among the monarch or his staff.
Fix Sentences and Passages Sample:
Please fix the following sentences & paragraphs
1. Make sure that proper tense is applied.
2. Make sure the comma is used in the right place.
3. Be careful with the subject and verb agreement.
4. Please change or add any sentences to improve the whole paragraph.
1. My mom really like to listening to some ballad music and is almost her birthday so I want to get her a ballad CD for her. I found a agency for old cd’s and they told me they don’t sell ballad cd anymore, so I went to another store bought her a luxury perfume.
2. I went skydiving last Friday It was really fun. It was at Santa Cruz. We drove 40mins to get there and I was kinda tired, but whenever I think about skydiving, I get really enthusiastic and it turned out to be really fun. I would for sure go again.
3. Last summer I went to Japan with my family, I had a lot of fun and saw so many cool things. It was mid-July, my family decide to go on a vacation for a week, and I said let's go to Japan, they agreed. I went home to pack up my clothes but I didn't know what was the temperature in Japan, so I put all kinds of clothes in to my bag and I was ready to go to Japan!
4. The first day we got there we were all tired so we did not go anywhere, we all stayed in the hotel. Soon I start feeling hungry, I really want some food and I found a Ramen shop that smells really nice. I went in asked the owner what should I get since I new, and he recommend the pork miso ramen to me. I had no idea what it was at the time but I told myself try it out and maybe I would like it.
5. The ramen turn out amazing; the noodles was so chewy; and the soup was so delicious too. That was the first day of the trip after we went hiking and did a lot of fun stuff. I really enjoyed the time I was in Japan I would definitely visit again.
Essay Writing Sample:
Imagine we did not need to sleep anymore. What would you do with the extra time? Why?
1. Please use at least three words from the list:
hibernate, accurate, expand, inundate, process, fatality, flee, encourage, prevent, determine
2. Try to use participle clauses in your essay.
Sample sentence: Given the extreme temperatures of their habitat, an accurate number of the polar bear population is difficult to calculate.
3. The essay should be comprised of 3-4 paragraphs and around 260 words.
4. If examples are used, please specify numbers or details.
ESL / ELD - English As a Second Language Learning
ESL English As a Second Language Challenges in America
According to US government statistics, new immigrant students need 3-7 years to jump out of the second language class. But 90% of ivyGoal students advance out of the second language class within a year. Why is there such a big difference?
Because ivyGoal's non-Latin English is the first English course in the world dedicated to Chinese immigrant children. Hear what parents say about us!
Recorded English As a Second Language Learning
Julie from Foster City
"My son came to the US 3 years ago with limited English skills. Nick designed an ELL program for him. My son was able to catch up with his school classmates in about 1 year. Today he is the school newspaper editor at San Mateo High. Also, he was accepted by his dream colleges - NYU and USC. We have referred many friends to Nick's service."
Catherine Z. from Foster City
"My son has been to IvyGoal tutoring for about 2 months. I signed him for two classes each week to improve his reading comprehension and vocabulary skills. Nick's approach and education philosophy really impressed me, the most important is that my son really likes it! He's motivated to do the assignments and I can see that reading comprehension accuracy improved a lot! I would recommend IvyGoal to any parents who want their kids to excel in school."
Nick frequently answers college admission-related questions on Quora and some of his answers have close to 20,000 views. Below are some of the popular questions and answers.
How do I improve my English skills in a very short period of time?
As the founder and inventor of non-Latin based ESL English as second language education, I have seen many answers for this question and felt compelled to make some clarifications.
For example, below is the answer with nearly 100 upvotes and over 1 million views from Enes Karaboga at English Ninjas. There are some good points, but some of his suggestions are not applicable to non-Latin students.
- Enes: Over time, 10 minutes here and there can and do make a significant difference, especially if you use them deliberately and wisely.
- Nick’s reply: this is only partially true. It depends on your learning goal and native language background. If your first language is French, yes, it will work. If your mother language is Japanese, the learning goal is to be at a native speaker level in terms of reading within 12 months, no, it won’t work. You will be wasting a lot of time here and there.
- Enes: Practice makes perfect — expose yourself to native speakers.
- Nick’s reply: this is partially true. If your native language is Chinese, it would be a terrible idea of trying to learn English from native speakers. I was a victim of this method 30 years ago. The reason is quite simple: if you don’t understand much English and a native speaker teaches you, you wouldn't understand. This is THE BIGGEST mistakes in ESL Education for non-Latin based students.
- Enes: Consume English content on topics that interest you (with subtitles). Something I found particularly useful in my quest to improve my English was to expose myself to as much content in that language as possible.
- Nick’s reply: I was the victim of this method. 30 years ago, when I first came to America, I watched many TV and videos with subtitles. My English improved didn’t improve much! The reason is that you cannot read that fast if your English level is too low. You will be wasting a lot of time by “expose myself to as much content in that language as possible.”
- Enes: Pick a topic you’re passionate about like politics, travel, or technology (among many others), and watch TED talks or documentaries on Youtube and Netflix — this last one is my personal favourite as I devoured documentaries with subtitles when I started improving my English. Alternatively, you can also read articles about that topic so you can learn a more relevant aspect of the language for your work.
- Nick’s reply: I love watching TED talks or documentaries. However, probably only highly educated and advanced English learners can understand TED materials. Recommending to ESL learners? It won’t work unless your English skills are already highly advanced.
- Enes: For example if you’re into current affairs, BBC and The Guardian have plenty of articles for you to sink your teeth into. Because they’re built around particular topics and specific questions, forums like Reddit or Quora are excellent places to find interesting discussions in English, so you can gain a better understanding of the issues that matter to you — all while you practice and improve!
- Nick’s reply: I watched a lot of BBC, CNN 30 years ago…this method is poor unless you are already an advanced English learner.
Enes’s ESL education recommendations are traditional; however, these recommendations have been detrimental for non-Latin based learners.
ESL English Learning History
As an immigration country, the United States has a long history of teaching ESL to new immigrants. The majority of the immigrants have been from Europe, North and South America. As a result, the ESL educational systems are mostly designed for immigrants from countries in these regions. There are many similarities among European, North and South American languages and English. For example, the English word “difficult” is “difficile” in French and “dificil” in Spanish. Due to the similarity, ESL learning is fairly easy for European, North and South Americans.
However, the number of immigrants from countries where native languages are very different from English has seen a significant increase for the past twenty years. For the convenience of the writing, I will name these people as “Asian”. Asian languages do not have much in common with English. For example, the English word “difficult” is “困难“ in Chinese, “어려운” in Korean and “難い” in Japanese. It is much more difficult for an Asian to learn English compared to European or North and South Americans.
The existing ESL educational systems do not work well for Asian students because the existing systems are mostly designed for students from Europe, North and South American countries. An invention for ESL education, for Asians whose native languages have little in common with English, is needed.
In today’s ESL education field, there are teaching materials to teach vocabulary, reading comprehension, speaking, listening comprehension, and writing. However, the existing teaching methods and systems cannot help Asian ESL students improving English effectively for the following reasons:
- Not vocabulary development central. Not all the teaching materials including reading, writing, conversation, listening comprehension, and speaking developed around vocabulary development. It is often taught separately as individual skills or around reading comprehension.
- Lack of tiered vocabulary development programs. Existing programs are often “Scene” or “Story” driven. For example, a scene at the airport is typical, and reading materials, stories, writing, and vocabulary are developed based on this scene. The vocabulary list could be “Airline, airport, arrival, departure, terminal, boarding pass, carry on, check-in, custom, delayed, liquids, oversized baggage, building, numbers, time, country names…” This vocabulary list is not a good design for Asians because of the difficulty levels of the words spread over many grade levels. It is much more effective if words can be taught by meaningful difficulty levels. Scenes and stories are built around tiered grouped words, not vice versa.
- Lack of repeated sentence and story writings around these tired and grouped words. Students are often only required to write sentences using a new word once or twice. This is inefficient. Students need to write three times or more using new words over a period of time.
- Lack of high number and high-frequency repetition of the vocabulary over a period of time. Current vocabulary teaching books often have each word repeated around 5-7 times. This type of repetition may be sufficient for Spanish speaking learners, but not enough for Asian students.
- Lack of structured looping system. Each word learning does not systematically get repeated over a period of time.
- Lack of a structured, looped, repeated, and complete vocabulary expansion program based on existing words. Expanded words mean words learned by students based on the words they are learning or already learned previously. There are two common ways of teaching expanded words.
- Teachers explain to students the word “Airline” is a composite word, made of “Air” and “Line”. Now students are just exposed to two new expanded words. However, there is a lack of teaching materials consistently and structurally break composite words into parts and teach students. In addition, there is a lack of additional reading, writing, listening...materials built around expanded words to help students achieve mastery.
- Another approach is to teach prefixes and suffixes, and expect students to quickly expand their vocabulary. For example, they learn a new word “Happy”, and learn prefix “Un” and learn a new expanded word “Unhappy” in turn. This seems effective, but not really because there is a lack of additional reading, writing, listening...materials built around expanded new words so that students can master the new expanded words.
- Lack of dual language teaching. ESL teaching often is taught in English only. Students have to use dictionaries to translate because they often cannot understand the English definitions. Make the situation worse, there is a ton of errors on Google vocabulary translation.
- Lack of a quick and simplified way to teach Phonics. Phonics is like a bridge that ties word spelling, meaning, and sounding rules together. For example, if a student knows how to sound out “oo”, then he/she will likely know how to sound out “book”. Students in the US already know the meaning of the word “book”, but they do not know how “book” is spelled. If they learn the phonic rules, then they can quickly “link” the sounding, spelling, and meaning together. However, this method of teaching phonics does not work well for Asian ESL students because they do not know the meaning of the word “book”. They can learn the sounding rule of “oo”, but they have nothing to link to. Therefore, a new way of teaching phonics is needed for Asian ESL students.
- Inaccurate ESL assessment and placement based on the assessment results. Today, students’ assessment is based on a combination of vocabulary, reading comprehension, grammar, and writing.
- This assessment method is inaccurate for Asian students because Asian students’ vocabulary levels are often much lower than their reading comprehension and grammar skills.
- For example, a 7th-grade Asian student’s vocabulary is 1st-grade level, but his/her reading comprehension skills can be in 3rd or 4th grade because he/she has 7th grade level of intelligence and can guess and reason many questions correctly without knowing means of many words. If this student gets placed into a level close to 3rd or 4th grade English, he/she will be wrongly placed.
- This happens frequently based on the existing ESL educational system. A vocabulary central assessment system is needed to accurately assess Asian ESL students.
Over the years, we have written over 30 ESL English learning books and helped thousands of ESL students quickly improve their English skills with non-Latin based ESL English learning method.
In summary, there are at least two distinct ESL English learning methods needed: one for Latin based students and the other for non-Latin based. Unfortunately, billions of non-Latin based English learners have led down to the wrong path - Latin based learning.
It is time for the entire ESL English industry to recognize the ESL learning history, the mistakes in the traditional methods when applied to non-Latin based learners, and time for the change, non-Latin based English education.