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Teacher Resources/Foreign Language
Overview
Connect With English
 

A video instructional series in English as a second language for college and high school classrooms and adult learners; 50 fifteen-minute video programs and coordinated books

Now on DVD

Through the story of Rebecca, an aspiring singer on a journey across America, Connect With English touches on life's important issues: leaving home, parenting, education, work, love, success, and loss. All of the characters use meaningful, natural language that students can put to work immediately in their own lives. Each episode features dialogue that is slightly slowed down and subtly simplified. Key lines are repeated, idioms paraphrased, and important events retold. There are constant visual clues to meaning, such as written signs, notes, and documents. Facial expressions, gestures, and body language also reveal meaning for students. Closed captioning can be used as a teaching and literacy resource. For levels from high beginning through low and high intermediate.

Produced by WGBH Boston with books from the McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 1998.

Closed Caption     flagged    ISBN: 1-57680-002-4

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A Biography of America
 
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Individual Program Descriptions

VODIntroduction

Introduction: An overview of the course and an introduction to the main characters in the drama.

VODRebecca's Dream
Rebecca's Dream: The story begins as we meet Rebecca Casey, a 28-year-old Boston working woman, who dreams of becoming a singer. We also meet her boyfriend Matt who doesn't think much of her dream, and her 17-year-old brother, Kevin, who doesn't think much about the future at all. Rebecca considers applying for music school and pursuing her career full-time, rather than holding down a factory job and doing her music on the side. We also meet real-life immigrants and students who discuss the similarities between Rebecca's experiences and their own.

VODDifferences

Differences: Rebecca starts to apply to music schools. Her father, a widowed, disabled firefighter, worries that she is choosing a chancy career, and that Kevin is not studying hard enough to graduate. Rebecca's best friend at the factory where she works is Sandy, who admires Rebecca, but in her own life, just wants to settle down and raise a family. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODA Visit To The Doctor
A Visit To The Doctor: Rebecca's father has a worrisome checkup from his doctor. He has to eat better and exercise, or face a possible heart attack—advice he ignores. At a Memorial Day barbecue, Rebecca talks to Sandy about Sandy's boyfriend Jack, who shows up drunk and belligerent. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODCelebrations

Celebrations: Kevin graduates from high school, and Rebecca, after several rejections, is accepted into the San Francisco College of Music. She hopes to live free in San Francisco with her godmother. After telling Sandy the good news, she plans to confront her father. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODBreaking The News
Breaking The News: Rebecca's father tells Rebecca that he is against the San Francisco plan, but Kevin supports her. Sandy will move in with her difficult boyfriend, Jack. Rebecca and Kevin go shopping for a used car that she can drive across the country to San Francisco, but have no luck. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODSaying Goodbye

Saying Goodbye: Rebecca gives her final music lesson, while her father secretly goes shopping for a car to give her. After her last softball game, the team gives Rebecca a farewell present and Rebecca and Matt break up. After the segment, Matt reflects on the storyline.

VODLeaving Home
Leaving Home: Rebecca's father surprises her with the car and gives her a necklace that belonged to her mother. Kevin gives Rebecca a four-leaf clover key ring and Sandy gives her a diary. Driving out of Boston, Rebecca stops at her mother's grave. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Stranger

The Stranger: When Rebecca reaches the Southwest in her cross-country drive, the car starts leaking oil and finally breaks down on a deserted road. Rebecca gets worried when a stranger approaches on foot out of the desert. He turns out to be a photographer, Alberto, who can't get her car running, but does take her in his own car for help. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Motel
The Motel: Rebecca and Alberto reach a phone, but can only leave a message on a garage's answering machine because it's already so late. They drive to a motel, where Rebecca gets the only room left. Alberto must sleep in the car. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODNegotiations

Negotiations: While Rebecca and Alberto have breakfast, the garage tows the car and starts to work on it. But the repairs will cost $800, so Rebecca sells the car to the garage for $550, and plans to take the bus all the way to San Francisco, after turning down Alberto's offer to take her along with him. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODPhotos and Farewells
Photos and Farewells: On their way to the bus station, Alberto and Rebecca stop in a beautiful canyon, where Alberto takes some photographs of her. They say goodbye at the bus, and both realize that they're interested in each other, but Rebecca doesn't want a boyfriend at this point in her life. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODA New Home

Rebecca arrives in San Francisco, and is surprised to discover that her godmother Nancy keeps other boarders too, and that she will have to pay rent as well.

VODJob Hunting

Job Hunting: Rebecca has a difficult time getting used to life with other boarders at Nancy's house. At school, Rebecca learns that her work-study program has been canceled so she goes on a job search and meets some interesting prospects. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODA Bad Day
A Bad Day: Rebecca finds the job search frustrating and shares her disappointments with another boarder. Alberto shows up, and says her wants to tour her around San Francisco — and that he has surprise for her. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODA Night Out

A Night Out: Rebecca and Alberto see the city and Rebecca meets Alberto's family — the Mendozas — who are now close to retiring from their family restaurant, the Casa Mendoza. Alberto has a divorced brother, Ramon, with a 10-year-old-son, Alex. Ramon suggests Rebecca take a job with his son's after-school program. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODFirst Day of Class
First Day of Class: Rebecca finds her first day of classes at the San Francisco College of Music intimidating and expensive. She likes the after-school program a lot, and meets Alex and his best friend, Vincent Wang. Meanwhile, Alberto is working on a deal with some investors who want to buy his parents' restaurant. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODCasey at Bat

Casey at Bat: Rebecca is a hit teaching softball and gets a full-time job at Alex's after-school program. Alberto sends flowers and asks her to a gallery opening Saturday evening. But his brother, Ramon, is starting to appreciate Rebecca, too. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Art Gallery
The Art Gallery: Ramon is worried that his ex-wife may take Alex to Los Angeles with her. On her date with Alberto, Rebecca discovers that a photograph he took of her in the canyon is on display at the gallery. The Mendoza family talks about the possibility of selling the restaurant, but Ramon is very against the idea and the parents need more time to consider the idea. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Picnic

The Picnic: Ramon and Rebecca have a nice chat at a picnic for the after-school program, but are interrupted when some racist kids taunt Vincent Wang for being Chinese. Alex tries to defend him, but some of the other children in the program don't take the incident seriously. Vincent's father is so upset he pulls Vincent out of the program. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODPrejudice
Prejudice: Rebecca and the staff of the after-school program explain to the kids why racist names should not be used, and a guest police officer talks about hate crimes. All the kids in the program write cards to Vincent to encourage him to come back to the program. The episode includes reflections on the story by Emma Washington, the woman who runs the after-school program.

VODA Difficult Decision

A Difficult Decision: The children in the after-school program all send cards to Vincent, but his parents stand firm in their decision not to let Vincent return to the program. Rebecca wants to give shared guitar lessons to Vincent and Alex, so the two friends can still see each other. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODGuitar Lessons
Guitar Lessons: The Wangs agree to the guitar lessons. Alex tells his father that he should date Rebecca, but at the same time, he hopes his parents reconcile. Ramon tells Rebecca that he may have to go to court to prevent his ex-wife from taking Alex to Los Angeles. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Retirement Party

The Retirement Party: Alex reacts badly to the news that he may have to go to Los Angeles, but Ramon calms him down. Alberto brings Rebecca to the retirement party for the Mendozas, and Mrs. Mendoza gossips about which of her sons Rebecca should marry. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Phone Call
The Phone Call: Mr. Mendoza announces that they won't sell the restaurant. Rebecca's godmother arrives with the message that Rebecca's father has been taken to the hospital in Boston. Rebecca leaves the party, planning to fly back to Boston. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODReview

Review: Rebecca flies home to Boston. She thinks about her new life in San Francisco and about her family and friends in Boston. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Emergency
The Emergency: Kevin meets Rebecca at the Boston airport and tells her their father's heart attack was very serious. At the hospital, the doctor is not optimistic. Kevin and Rebecca return home, and Rebecca finds the house a mess and without food. She questions Kevin about it but soon another call takes them back to the hospital. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODBad News

Bad News: Rebecca calls her uncle, Brendan Casey. Sandy comes to the hospital to see Rebecca. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODBrothers
Brothers: Brendan Casey arrives and reconciles with his brother just before he dies. Funeral arrangements are made, and friends and relatives are contacted. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODGrief

Grief: Many people speak about Patrick Casey at his wake and at the cemetery. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODLife Goes On
Life Goes On: The family reads the condolence cards and friends drop by with food. Uncle Brendan and his wife Anne offer to help Rebecca and Kevin any way they can. Rebecca tells Kevin they need to decide what they are going to do. They argue and Kevin tells her he can take care of himself. As they go through financial papers, they discover family mementos. The episode is followed by reflections on the story by Frank Wells, Patrick Casey's longtime friend.

VODA Box of Memories

A Box of Memories: Rebecca and Kevin find some important things that belonged to their father. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Missing Car
The Missing Car: The Casey family goes out for an oyster dinner and Rebecca and Kevin give their grandmother's ring to Brendan. After dinner Kevin takes Uncle Brendan's rental car to go see an old girlfriend. Rebecca questions why she ever went to San Francisco in the first place. Brendan and Anne suggest that Rebecca and Kevin come stay with them on their Illinois farm for a while. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Breakdown

The Breakdown: Kevin talks to Rebecca about his feelings. They agree to make some plans for the future. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODA Call For Help
A Call For Help: Kevin apologizes for taking the car. In the morning, Brendan again invites Rebecca and Kevin to come to the farm. The conversation is interrupted by a call from Sandy who says that Jack has hit her again and she's leaving him. Rebecca and Kevin go to her apartment to help her. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODChanges

Changes: At Sandy's apartment, there is some trouble with Jack. A few days later Rebecca and Kevin leave Boston. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Farm
The Farm: Rebecca and Kevin enjoy a tour of Brendan and Anne's farm. Kevin decides that he will stay and help Brendan on the farm and Rebecca decides to return to San Francisco. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThanksgiving

Thanksgiving: The Caseys celebrate Thanksgiving on the farm. Rebecca learns a family secret.

VODStarting Over
Starting Over: Rebecca returns to San Francisco and learns that she has lost her job in the after-school program. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Pressure's On

The Pressure's On: Rebecca talks to Professor Thomas at the college. She makes an important decision about her classes. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODSharing Feelings
Sharing Feelings: Rebecca studies for her exams with her schoolmate Bill, who invites her to come to an audition for a rock group. She cancels her opera date with Alberto, who feels sorry for himself and complains about it to Ramon. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODUnexpected Offers

Unexpected Offers: Mr. and Mrs. Wang receive an important letter from Taiwan. Rebecca is surprised by an invitation from Ramón. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Audition
The Audition: Rebecca studies hard for her exams, and tells Nancy that her education is more important than dating. After an exam, Rebecca goes to the audition with her friend Bill. Bill's audition doesn't interest the studio manager, but he invites Rebecca to sing—she performs "Dreamcatcher." The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODDreamcatcher

Dreamcatcher: Alberto has something important to tell Rebecca. Bill talks about Rebecca and the music business. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODGifts
Gifts: Alberto visits Rebecca at the studio to tell her that he thinks it's better if they remain just friends. After, he stays and listens to the song his gift inspired her to write. Rebecca and Ramon celebrate Christmas together at a community center for the needy. During a phone call, Alex tells his father that he's glad Ramon and Rebecca are spending Christmas together. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODTrue Love

True Love: Rebecca and Ramon exchange Christmas presents. Kevin calls Rebecca with some exciting news. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODFriendship
Friendship: Kevin arrives in San Francisco just as Rebecca is finishing the new recording of her song. Alex and Vincent conspire to spend New Year's Eve together before Vincent moves to Taiwan. Bill tells Rebecca he is moving to Los Angeles to pursue his music career and won't be returning to school next semester. The episode includes a review and a brief discussion.

VODThe Lost Boys

The Lost Boys: Alex and Vincent go ice skating on New Year's Eve. They don't tell their parents where they are.

VODA Very Good Year
A Very Good Year: The Wangs pick up the boys at the hospital and reprimand them for running off. Alex and Vincent explain that they wanted to spend one final New Year's together before the Wangs move to Taiwan and Alex to Los Angeles. Mrs. Wang tells Vincent the two of them will stay in the U.S. for at least a year. Not yet knowing where Alex is, Ramon questions his abilities as a father. Rebecca reassures him. Finally, the Wangs deliver Alex home safely. Everyone celebrates New Year's Eve together at the restaurant and Rebecca and Ramon see that a very good year lies ahead of them.

 

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