Fun Easy English Classroom July 3
 
 
 
 

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Learn American
English idioms
letter K
Idioms Letter K

Today in the classroom you are going to learn some idioms beginning with the letter K.
Hey if you cannot understand something on this page,
then use the Fun Easy English dictionary (opens in a new window)
 
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Idioms: American English Idioms - Letter K

Today learn idioms beginning with the letter K.
BLUE UPPER CASE LETTERS = video and detailed written definition and usage
blue lower case letters = video definition and usage
BLACK UPPER CASE LETTERS = detailed written definition and usage
black lower case letters = brief written definition and usage
Idiom Definition Usage
KANGAROO COURT a court set up outside the regular legal system; staged trial where the outcome is set from the beginning 1. The rancher and his friends tried and convicted the horse thieves in a kangaroo court rather than let the sheriff take them to jail for a trial according to the law.

2. The political protesters had been tried and found guilty in a court of law, and when the verdict was read, they claimed that the jury and judge had not been impartial, and that they had been tried in a kangaroo court.
keel over faint and fall over He thought that he was going to keel over because of the heat.
keel over tip over The boat looked like it was going to keel over.
keep a secret not tell others You should keep a secret about your new job.
keep a stiff upper lip face the situation with pride The team could keep a stiff upper lip even though they were defeated.
keep after keep reminding You should keep after her to do her homework.
keep an eye on Watch Keep an eye on my bicycle while I order some coffee.
keep at continue He has decided to keep at his studies at the university.
keep body and soul together survive It was very cold during the winter but somehow she was able to keep body and soul together.
keep books keep records of money gained and spent She used to keep books for a small company.
keep down control The students were told to keep down the noise.
keep from refrain from I could not keep from eating all that cake.
keep good time accurately report the time My watch does not been keep good time lately.
keep house look after household She likes to keep house more than working for a company.
keep in touch stay in contact I have always tried to keep in touch with my friends.
keep on continue She will keep on making the same mistakes.
keep one's chin up continue and not quit Try and keep your chin up.
KEEP (ONE’S) COOL to stay calm under stress; not to become angry

Synonym: hold/lose (one’s) temper

Antonym: lose (one’s) cool, hot under the collar; see red
1. I know you’re angry, but you’ve got to try to control yourself. Keep your cool and don’t lose your temper.

2. It’s particularly important to keep your cool in a traffic jam. It’s so easy to get angry and have an accident.
keep one's eye on the ball be watchful and ready You should keep your eye on the ball or you will make a mistake.
KEEP (ONE’S) EYES PEELED

to be alert and watchful; to look very carefully for something or someone

The expression suggests that one’s eyelids are pulled back in order to not miss seeing anything.
1. I’m looking for a special edition of a book, and I haven’t found it anywhere. When you’re in the bookstore, please keep your eyes peeled for it, will you?

2. They planned to meet Joe on a crowded corner at lunchtime. He hadn’t arrived yet, but as people walked toward the corner, they kept their eyes peeled for him.
KEEP (ONE’S) FINGERS CROSSED to hope for something; to wish for luck

The expression probably originates from a superstition that bad luck can be prevented by crossing one’s fingers. The expression refers to crossing one’s middle finger over the knuckle of the index finger.
1. Jane wasn’t sure that she had passed the test, but she was keeping her fingers crossed.

2. They are keeping their fingers crossed that the rain holds off and doesn’t spoil the picnic they have planned.
keep one's head stay calm when there is trouble or danger He is a very good leader and is always able to keep his head.
KEEP (ONE’S) HEAD ABOVE WATER to just barely manage to stay ahead, financially (sentence 1) or with one’s work or responsibilities (sentence 2)

Antonym: in over (one’s) head

Compare to: make ends meet; get by

Keep one’s head above water and make ends meet mean having just enough money but no extra, although the former conveys a greater feeling of desperation. Keep one’s head above water can mean survival in a financial or other sense, whereas make ends meet always refers to a financial situation.
1. Mrs. Robinson has three children to support and she doesn’t make very much money at her job. She is barely keeping her head above water.

2. Peter is having a difficult time at the university because he wasn’t very well prepared academically, but he is somehow managing to keep his head above water.
keep one's mouth shut be quiet She was very angry and told him to keep his mouth shut.
keep one's nose clean stay out of trouble He has been managing to keep his nose clean since he moved to the new town.
KEEP (ONE’S) NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE to work hard without rest

The expression usually refers to monotonous work.
1. You will succeed if you keep working hard, but you have to keep your nose to the grindstone.

2. Kim is studying constantly now because she has final exams next week. She’s in her room keeping her nose to the grindstone.
keep one's own counsel keep ideas and plans to himself He always seems to keep his own counsel.
KEEP (ONE’S) SHIRT ON to stay calm or be patient when someone wants to hurry

Synonym: hold (one’s) horses

Antonyms: shake a leg; step on it

The expression is generally used in the imperative. It is used by an adult to children, a superior to a subordinate, or between two equals on friendly or intimate terms.
1. Will you keep your shirt on, Bob? You won’t get there any faster if you drive too fast and cause a car accident.

2. I know you’re hungry, but dinner won’t be ready for another ten minutes. Just keep your shirt on!
KEEP (ONE’S) WITS ABOUT (ONE) to pay attention and be ready to react

Compare to: at (one’s) wits’ end, scared out of (one’s) wits
1. If she wants to do well in her job interview, she can’t daydream—she’ll have to keep her wits about her.

2. When I travel, I’m always careful to keep my things with me in crowded places. I keep my wits about me.
keep one's word fulfill her promise She never can keep her word.
keep pace with go as fast as It was difficult to keep pace with the other students.
keep quiet remain silent Please keep quiet and listen to the instructor.
KEEP (SOMEONE) AT ARM’S LENGTH to keep someone at a distance emotionally 1. You can’t expect people to be very friendly to you when you always keep them at arm’s length.

2. Craig thinks that if he keeps everyone at arm’s length, he won’t fall in love and get hurt.
KEEP (SOMETHING) UNDER (ONE’S) HAT to keep something secret

Antonyms: spill the beans; let the cat out of the bag

This phrase originates from the 1800s, when many men and women wore hats. The idea is to keep a secret in your head, underneath a hat.
1. Don’t tell Richard anything you don’t want everyone else to know. It’s impossible for him to keep anything under his hat.

2. I’m not telling anyone yet, but Tom and I are getting married. Keep it under your hat, okay?
KEEP THE BALL ROLLING to maintain momentum; to keep some process going 1. The principal has done so much and worked so hard to improve this school. Who’s going to keep the ball rolling when she retires?

2. Mr. Preston had managed to motivate his employees to higher production levels, and he wanted to keep them going. He wondered how he could keep the ball rolling.
keep the books keep records of money gained and spent The head of the accounting department will keep the books this year.
keep track of record The company will keep track of the money spent on paper this month.
KEEP UP WITH THE JONESES to have the same standard of living as one’s friends and neighbors do

The expression implies that one strains one’s financial resources when one tries to match or exceed the purchases or actions made by a neighbor. Jones is a common family name.
1. My wife seems to think that we should buy our children cars of their own just because most of our friends do. She seems to think we have to keep up with the Joneses.

2. Keeping up with the Joneses can be very expensive. Every time your neighbor improves his home or buys a new car, you feel you have to, too.
keep you on your toes  
keep your chin up  
keep your eye on the ball  
KEYED UP full of nervous anticipation; anxious; tense 1. Stop pacing the floor. Relax. Why are you so keyed up?

2. Charles was so keyed up waiting for the wedding to begin that when it finally did, he dropped the wedding ring.
kick out of enjoyment from I get a kick out of watching him paint.
KICK THE BUCKET to die

The expression can be either disparaging or light-hearted when used about oneself or one’s relatives (sentences 1 and 2), or disrespectful and impolite when used about someone else (sentence 3).
1. I plan on spending all my money before I kick the bucket. I’m not going to leave a penny of it to my relatives.

2. Your father hasn’t yet made a will. He doesn’t plan on kicking the bucket anytime soon.

3. The old woman was a person everyone in the neighborhood disliked. There were not too many mourners when she kicked the bucket.
kick the can down the road  
KICK UP (ONE’S) HEELS to have a lively and fun time, usually at a party or dance.

The expression is commonly used to describe someone who is ordinarily quiet and reserved and for whom having a lively time is unusual.
1. Mr. and Mrs. Taylor are certainly having a good time at the party. They haven’t kicked up their heels like this for years

2. Put down your work, get out of the house, and come to the dance. Why don’t you kick up your heels for a change?
KILL TWO BIRDS WITH ONE STONE to accomplish two objectives with one action 1. I have to go to New York on business this Friday, and I’ve needed to get some new suits for some time. Maybe I can kill two birds with one stone: I’ll attend to my business in New York on Friday and Monday and do some shopping over the weekend.

2. I need to get rid of all the old baby clothes I had for my children when they were small. Since you are about to have your first baby, why don’t I give the clothes to you? We’ll kill two birds with one stone.
KNEE-HIGH TO A GRASSHOPPER very young

The expression suggests that the person is only as tall as a grasshopper’s knee and is therefore very young. It is often used with a facedown, open hand to indicate the young person’s height at the time.
1. I was just knee-high to a grasshopper when I first went fishing with my father. I couldn’t have been more than five years old.

2. Look how small these pants are! I must have been knee-high to a grasshopper the last time I wore them.
KNOCK/THROW (SOMEONE) FOR A LOOP [KNOCKED/THROWN FOR A LOOP] to shock, surprise, or astound someone

Compare to: pull the rug out from under (someone); spring something on (someone)
1. The teacher threw me for a loop when she told me I had failed the exam. I thought I had done so well.

2. Alan was knocked for a loop when he found out he had won $5,000 in the lottery.
knocked up pregnant My dog gets knocked up once a year.
knock your socks off  
KNOW BEANS ABOUT SOMETHING, NOT to know very little about something; to speak without authority on some topic

Similar to: talk through one’s hat
1. Rita’s interpretation of that artist is completely wrong. Don’t listen to her. She doesn’t know beans about it.

2. Sometimes you go on and on as though you’re an expert. I bet you don’t know beans about half the things you think you do.
KNOW IF (ONE) IS COMING OR GOING, NOT to be confused and disoriented.

Antonyms: on the ball; get/have (one’s) act together Compare to: out to lunch
1. Nancy thought yesterday was Wednesday and now she thinks today is Sunday. She doesn’t know if she’s coming or going

2. First I packed all the wrong clothes, then left the bag behind, and waited for the taxi until I realized I had forgotten to call one. When it came, I couldn’t remember where I wanted to go. I don’t know if I’m coming or going.
KNOW (SOMEONE) FROM ADAM, NOT to be unable to recognize someone because the person is a stranger 1. Who is that speaking at the podium? Is it the chairman? I don’t know him from Adam.

2. A strange woman approached us at the train station. I assumed that she was Mrs. Smith, whom we were supposed to meet, but it was hard to tell since we didn’t know Mrs. Smith from Adam.
KNOW THE INS AND OUTS to be familiar with the details and hidden meanings of an activity or situation

Compare to: know the ropes

Know the ropes is more frequently used to describe knowing the procedures to follow in a situation (knowing how to do something), whereas know the ins and outs more often describes the complex and hidden details of a situation.
1. When you travel to a foreign country, it is wise to hire a guide if you don’t know the ins and outs of the place.

2. American businesses often hire host country nationals to help them do business in foreign countries because the host country nationals know the ins and outs of doing business with their own countrymen.
  to be familiar with a task or situationAntonym: wet behind the ears

Compare to: learn the ropes; know the ins and outs

Know the ropes is more frequently used to describe knowing the procedures to follow in a given situation (how to do something), whereas ins and outs more often describes the complex and hidden details of a situation.
1. Let Marilyn help you get the manuscript published the first time. She knows the ropes and she’ll save you a lot of time and effort.

2. You have to know the ropes if you want to get hired in this city. Employers are looking for people with connections and know-how, not untried youngsters fresh out of college.
KNOW THE ROPES  
KNUCKLE DOWN to do one’s work seriously; to apply oneself fully; to get busy 1. The young man hadn’t been studying very much and now he was failing his courses. The student advisor told him he would have to knuckle down if he wanted to avoid being expelled.

2. Mary frequently complains that she doesn’t have enough time to finish her work. But if she would spend less time chatting and just knuckle down, she would get it done.
KNUCKLE UNDER to submit or give in to pressure

Antonyms: stand (one’s) ground; stick to (one’s) guns
1. Don’t let society beat you down or make you be the way everyone else is. Don’t knuckle under.

2. The mob leader promised that they would never make him reveal his partners in crime, no matter how badly they treated him. He swore he would never knuckle under.
More Idioms
From YOUR Teacher: Keep a Secret

This idiom is used often in English conversation. For example:

Howie: Can you keep a secret?
Sandy: Yes
Howie: We are planning to move back to Japan.
 
Additional Lessons
About These Lessons

The following classroom lessons are great for students who want additional listening and reading practice. Please post a comment at the bottom of this page in the Facebook Comments window with your thoughts about these lessons.
  • Travel America - Beginner Level. Do you love America and American English? Learn before you travel. Facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. Great English reading practice.
Travel America - California
(Beginner - Reading)

Learn some interesting facts and read interesting stories about California.
California

Nicknamed the "Golden State," California is the third largest state in area after Alaska and Texas. The discovery of gold and the immigration in 1849 of thousands of "forty-niners" in search of the precious metal helped California's admission into the Union in 1850. Today, California, land of the giant redwoods, has the highest population of any state in the nation and is America's principal agricultural state. It is also the home of Hollywood, the center of America's movie and television industry. Its capital is Sacramento and the state flower is the golden poppy.
Flag of CaliforniaCalifornia State Flag


Designed by William Todd (nephew of Mary Todd Lincoln, wife of Abraham Lincoln), the historic bear flag was raised at Sonoma, California in 1846 by American settlers in revolt against Mexican rule (officially adopted as the state flag of California in 1911).

Symbols on California's Flag

The once common California grizzly bear (also the official state animal) portrays strength; the star represents sovereignty; the red color signifies courage; and the white background stands for purity.

The Bear Flag Revolt

On June 14, 1846, a small band of settlers marched on the Mexican garrison at Sonoma and took the commandant prisoner. They issued a proclamation which declared California to be a Republic independent of Mexico. This uprising became known as the Bear Flag Revolt (after the hastily-designed flag depicting a grizzly bear and a five pointed star over a red bar and the words "California Republic."

The grizzly bear was a symbol of great strength while the star made reference to the Lone Star of Texas. The flag only flew until July 9, 1846 when it was learned that Mexico and the United States were already at war. Soon after, the Bear Flag was replaced with the American flag. It was adopted as the State Flag by the State Legislature in 1911.
Source: State Symbols USA
 
The great seal of the state of CaliforniaCalifornia State Facts

Picture: state seal of California
State Capital Sacramento
Nickname The Golden State
Motto Eureka (I have found it)
Statehood September 9, 1850 (31st)
Origin of Name Named by the Spanish after Califia, a mythical paradise in a Spanish romance written by Montalvo in 1510.
Largest Cities Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Long Beach
Border States Arizona, Nevada, Oregon
Area 155,973 sq. mi.; 3rd largest
State Bird California Valley Quail
State Flower Golden Poppy (eschscholtzia californica)
State Tree California redwood (sequoia sempervirens)
State Song I Love You, California
Map showing the location of CaliforniaTravel and tourism site for California - The official travel site for the state of California.
California Stories
 
Old Spanish Days in Santa Barbara

Have you ever been to a real, authentic fiesta? Every year in August, the city of Santa Barbara celebrates its Mexican roots with the Old Spanish Days Fiesta. This community festival, first held in 1924, celebrates the Rancho Period (1830-1865) of Santa Barbara's history. This period spanned the time when Santa Barbara was under both Mexican (1822-1848) and American rule (1848+). At the time, Santa Barbara was a remote rural area under the influence of Spanish, Mexican, and local Chumash Indian cultures.

The name "rancho" refers to the cattle ranches (ranchos) that were established when the Mexican governor distributed large areas of California land to people of influence. The rancheros (ranch owners) might hire as many as 100 workers to work on the ranchos. Usually the workers were Chumash Indians who had been trained at the Catholic missions. The Indians worked as vaqueros, usually with a foreman called a mayordomo (pronounced my-or-DOE-moe). Others worked as harness makers, tanners and carpenters.

Santa Barbara celebrates the traditions of the California Rancho Period at the Old Spanish Days Fiesta with music and dancing, open-air marketplaces with traditional California-Mexican foods, flower girls who hand out hundreds of flowers, and four days of rodeo events.
 
Solano Avenue Stroll

Solano Avenue is a bustling neighborhood of shops and restaurants. The town holds an annual celebration hosting the largest and oldest free street fair in the San Francisco East Bay area. The Solano Avenue Stroll takes place on the second Sunday in September every year on the tree-lined boulevard spanning two cities -- Albany and Berkeley.

Before Solano was a busy shopping district, it was a place that provided passenger service for the railway trains. In 1893, the Southern Pacific Railway brought trains in to connect Thousand Oaks in Berkeley with Oakland and the ferry depots. In 1903, the Key System ran trolley tracks the length of Solano Avenue.

The Solano Avenue Stroll starts with a pancake breakfast outdoors in Veteran's Memorial Park in Albany hosted by the Lion's Club. Then a parade, which has become a highlight of the year for the community, consisting of floats, horses, scouts, samba bands, art cars and more, marches from the top to the bottom of Solano Avenue. Later, with the street closed to traffic, a block party consisting of game and information booths hosted by more than 150 organizations and nearly 100 kinds of cross-cultural restaurants and food booths, provides neighbors, old friends, and families with a fun way to enjoy an afternoon in the sun.
 
California Strawberry Festival

Have you ever tried a strawberry pizza? If you went to Oxnard, the "Strawberry Capital of California," in May, you could!

Oxnard is in Southern California and this part of the state takes its strawberries very seriously. At the two-day California Strawberry Festival you can sample strawberries prepared in all sorts of ways. In addition to traditional treats such as strawberry shortcake, strawberry jam, strawberry tarts and strawberries dipped in chocolate, there is strawberry pizza! This dessert pizza is topped with strawberries, sour cream, cream cheese and whipped cream on a sweet bread baked like a pizza. Strawberry kabobs dipped in powdered sugar are another delicacy. And drinks such as a strawberry smoothie can wash it all down.

Strawberries are big business in Oxnard. The annual strawberry revenues are $100 million from Oxnard's bountiful 6,600 berry acres. Twenty-four companies harvest and cool nearly 16 million trays of berries, which are shipped throughout North America as well as to Germany and Japan. The festival, which attracts more than 85,000 visitors, features three stages with musical entertainment, 335 arts and crafts exhibits, strolling musicians, clowns, artists, face-painting, contests, and a "Strawberryland" for children with puppets, magicians, musicians, and a petting zoo.
 
Voices of the Valley

Have you ever asked your grandparents or an older person what the world was like when they were younger? Students from Anderson Valley Junior and Senior High School in northern California asked a number of elderly folks from the valley questions about their lives and created a book titled Voices of the Valley: Stories of Anderson Valley Elders Collected by Anderson Valley Youth.

The students selected elders with stories to tell about life in their rural community. They set up interviews and recorded them. The result of this process is called an oral history project. During the project, the students became historians and gained a greater understanding of the senior citizens in their community and of their own local heritage.

Why not try your own oral history project? You could start with your parents or grandparents. Try to find out how their lives were different from yours. You just might be surprised with what you find.
 
Timber and Forests

Can you think of an issue in your community where people feel so strongly that they take sides and protest? In northern California, there is a big timber industry, and the people who work in that industry often conflict with the people who want to keep the trees from being cut down -- the environmentalists.

In order to learn about both sides of the conflict, 90 high school students from Humboldt County interviewed loggers, a small landowner, timber company executives, a biologist, and environmental activists. Their project documents the logging boom and the environmental movement of the California north coast, how this conflict affects the local community, and what the future holds for timber and forests.

The timber industry has had a great influence on the economy and ecology of the northern California coast, so this was a good project for these students to study. They learned firsthand about the timber and logging industry and how the federal government manages the national forests. They also learned how environmental activism changed the way national forests are managed and the events that led to the preservation of the Headwaters Forest in 1999.
 
People of the 38th District of California

Can you imagine celebrating New Year's Day in April? You would if you were Cambodian, even if you lived in California.

In the 38th District of California there is a diverse community of peoples from many different ethnic groups, including two groups from Southeast Asia -- Cambodians and Hmongs. Each of these groups celebrates New Year's Day at different times. Many Cambodians fled persecution and mass killing by a brutal government known as the Khmer Rouge during the 1970s. Some of them came to this area of California. The Cambodian New Year is based on the lunar calendar, and is celebrated in mid-April, which is the first month of the year in Cambodia. An astrologer determines the exact date on which the celebration will be held. The Cambodian celebration features native food, religious events, and traditional Cambodian dances.

The Hmong people come from Laos, China, Vietnam, and Thailand, and many of these people came to the 38th District after the tragedy of the war in Vietnam. The Hmong New Year is celebrated in December in the 38th District, but it is celebrated at different times in other places. The Hmong celebrate the New Year by performing rituals to honor the dead and the spirits of nature.
 
1906 San Francisco Earthquake

On April 18, 1906, one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in North America struck San Francisco, California. The shaking of the earth was felt all the way from southern Oregon to Los Angeles and as far east as central Nevada. The quake formed a crack in the earth's surface around 290 miles long. The earthquake and the great fire that followed destroyed much of the city of San Francisco. An estimated 28,000 buildings were lost, about half the city's population was left homeless, and more than 3,000 people perished. There was not another huge earthquake in San Francisco until October 17, 1989. Have you heard about that one? The damage in 1989 was not as severe, because the 1906 quake caused engineers to learn more about making buildings "earthquake-proof."
Source: Library of Congress
National Forests, Parks, and Monuments of California

The following is a description of national forests, parks, and monuments in the state of California. If you plan to visit or live in California for awhile then you should definitely plan to visit some of these fantastic places.
 
National Forests
Angeles

Located in the San Gabriel Mountains at the edge of the Los Angeles metro area, this National Forest includes five wilderness areas. While much of the forest is dense chaparral, elevations in the forest range from 1,200 feet (370 m) to 10,064 feet (3,068 m) at the summit of Mount San Antonio.
Cleveland

In southern California, Cleveland National Forest has a Mediterranean climate and four wilderness areas. There are 22 endangered plant and animal species found in the forest. With its highest point at 6,271 ft (1,911 m) on Monument Peak, elevations are not as high here as in most of California's other National Forests.
Eldorado

In the Sierra Nevada, Eldorado National Forest has 611 mi (983 km) of fishable streams and 297 lakes and reservoirs. There are 349 mi (562 km) of trails and 2,367 mi (3,809 km) of roads in the forest. The forest's Desolation Wilderness is the most visited wilderness area per acre in the country.
Humboldt-Toiyabe

As the largest National Forest outside of Alaska, Humboldt-Toiyabe occupies many of the mountains of Nevada's Basin and Range Province. Spring Mountains National Recreation Area is located near Las Vegas and is part of the forest. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Nevada.
Inyo

Located in the Sierra Nevada, Inyo includes Mono Lake, bristlecone pines, the Long Valley Caldera, nine wilderness areas, and Mount Whitney, which at 14,505 ft (4,421 m) is the highest point in the United States outside of Alaska. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Nevada.
Klamath

Straddling the California-Oregon border, this forest has part of five wilderness areas, 152 mi (245 km) of wild and scenic rivers, and 200 mi (320 km) of rivers for rafting, including on the Klamath River.The Siskiyou mariposa lily is endemic to the forest, being found nowhere else in the world. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Oregon.
Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit

The Forest Service lands surrounding Lake Tahoe are managed by the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, which was created in April 1973 in order to protect the lake's unique ecological and recreational values. This management unit is also partially located in the state of Nevada.
Lassen

Surrounding Lassen Volcanic National Park, this forest has three wilderness areas and 92,000 acres (37,000 ha) of old-growth Sierra Nevada mixed conifer forests. Subway Cave is a lava tube that is 0.3 mi (0.48 km) long and open to the public.
Los Padres

Encompassing portions of the California Coast and Transverse ranges of central California, Los Padres has ten wilderness areas covering about 48% of the forest. There are 1,257 mi (2,023 km) of trails and part of the Jacinto Reyes National Scenic Byway.
Mendocino

Mendocino is the only National Forest in California not crossed by a paved highway. The forest's Genetic Resource and Conservation Center produces plants for reforestation, watershed restoration, wildlife recovery, and other projects.
Modoc

Modoc National Forest contains the Medicine Lake Volcano, which has an elevation of 7,921 ft (2,414 m) and is the largest shield volcano in North America. There are 43,400 acres (17,600 ha) of old-growth forest here along with Mill Creek Falls in the South Warner Wilderness.
Plumas

There are 127,000 acres (51,000 ha) of old-growth forest in Plumas National Forest.[99] The Little Grass Valley Recreation Area surrounds Little Grass Valley Reservoir and includes a campground and boat launch, among other facilities and services.
Rogue River-Siskiyou

This forest ranges from the Cascade Range to the Siskiyou Mountains, and the Rogue River drains over 75% of the forest's area. There are parts of eight wilderness areas in the forest as well as what may be the world's tallest pine tree, a ponderosa pine that is 268.35 ft (81.79 m) tall. This national forest is also partially located in the state of Oregon.
San Bernardino

San Bernardino National Forest includes part of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument. The forest surrounds Lake Arrowhead and other reservoirs.
Sequoia

Sequoia National Forest includes Giant Sequoia National Monument, both named for the giant sequoia, the largest tree species in the world. There are 2,500 mi (4,000 km) of maintained and abandoned roads and 850 mi (1,370 km) of trails in the forest, including the Pacific Crest Trail.
Shasta-Trinity

There are 6,278 mi (10,103 km) of streams in the forest, and elevations range from 1,000 ft (300 m) to 14,179 ft (4,322 m) on Mount Shasta. Five wilderness areas and 460 mi (740 km) of trails can be found in the forest.
Sierra

Sierra National Forest is located on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada and elevations reach 13,986 ft (4,263 m). There are 1,800 mi (2,900 km) of streams, 480 lakes, 11 reservoirs, and 63 campgrounds in the forest.
Six Rivers

Six Rivers National Forest was named for the Smith, Klamath, Trinity, Mad, Van Duzen, and Eel rivers. The forest includes the Salmon River system, all of which has been designated a National Wild and Scenic River.
Stanislaus

Stanislaus National Forest has over 800 mi (1,300 km) of streams and four wilderness areas, including the Carson-Iceberg Wilderness. The Emigrant Wilderness borders the northwest corner of Yosemite National Park.
Tahoe

Tahoe National Forest is in the Sierra Nevada northwest of Lake Tahoe. Part of the Granite Chief Wilderness is within the forest. The Middle Fork of the American, Yuba, and North Yuba rivers cross or border the forest.
 
National Parks
Channel Islands

Five of the eight Channel Islands are protected, and half of the park's area is underwater. The islands have a unique Mediterranean ecosystem originally settled by the Chumash people. They are home to over 2,000 species of land plants and animals, and 145 are unique to them, including the island fox. Ferry services offer transportation to the islands from the mainland.
Death Valley

Death Valley is the hottest, lowest, and driest place in the United States, with daytime temperatures that have exceeded 130 °F (54 °C). The park protects Badwater Basin and its vast salt flats located at the lowest elevation in North America, −282 ft (−86 m).[34] The park also protects canyons, badlands, sand dunes, mountain ranges, historic mines, springs, and more than 1000 species of plants which grow in this geologic graben.
Joshua Tree

Covering large areas of the Colorado and Mojave Deserts and the Little San Bernardino Mountains, this desert landscape is populated by vast stands of Joshua trees. Large changes in elevation reveal various contrasting environments including bleached sand dunes, dry lakes, rugged mountains, and maze-like clusters of monzogranite monoliths.
Kings Canyon

Home to several giant sequoia groves and the General Grant Tree, the world's second largest measured tree, this park also features part of the Kings River, sculptor of the dramatic granite canyon that is its namesake, and the San Joaquin River, as well as Boyden Cave.[73] Although Kings Canyon National Park was designated as such in 1940, it subsumed General Grant National Park, which had been established on October 1, 1890 as the United States' fourth national park.
Lassen Volcanic

Lassen Peak, the largest lava dome volcano in the world, is joined by all three other types of volcanoes in this park: shield, cinder cone, and composite. Though Lassen itself last erupted in 1915, most of the rest of the park is continuously active. Numerous hydrothermal features, including fumaroles, boiling pools, and bubbling mud pots, are heated by molten rock from beneath the peak.
Pinnacles

Named for the eroded leftovers of a portion of an extinct volcano, the park's massive black and gold monoliths of andesite and rhyolite are a popular destination for rock climbers. Hikers have access to trails crossing the Coast Range wilderness. The park is home to the endangered California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) and one of the few locations in the world where these extremely rare birds can be seen in the wild. Pinnacles also supports a dense population of prairie falcons, and more than 13 species of bat which populate its talus caves.
Redwood

This park and the co-managed state parks protect almost half of all remaining coastal redwoods, the tallest trees on earth. There are three large river systems in this very seismically active area, and 37 miles (60 km) of protected coastline reveal tide pools and seastacks. The prairie, estuary, coast, river, and forest ecosystems contain a wide variety of animal and plant species.
Sequoia

This park protects the Giant Forest, which boasts some of the world's largest trees, the General Sherman being the largest measured tree in the park. Other features include over 240 caves, a long segment of the Sierra Nevada including the tallest mountain in the contiguous United States, and Moro Rock, a large granite dome.
Yosemite

Yosemite features sheer granite cliffs, exceptionally tall waterfalls, and old-growth forests at a unique intersection of geology and hydrology. Half Dome and El Capitan rise from the park's centerpiece, the glacier-carved Yosemite Valley, and from its vertical walls drop Yosemite Falls, one of North America's tallest waterfalls at 2,425 feet (739 m) high. Three giant sequoia groves, along with a pristine wilderness in the heart of the Sierra Nevada, are home to a wide variety of rare plant and animal species.
 
National Monuments
Berryessa Snow Mountain

Fewer than 100 miles (160 km) from the San Francisco Bay Area, Berryessa Snow Mountain protects part of the California Coast Range, one of the most biodiverse regions in the state, home to elk, osprey, river otters, half the state’s dragonfly species, and California’s second-largest population of wintering bald eagles.
Cabrillo

This monument commemorates the landing of Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo at San Diego Bay on September 28, 1542, which was the first European expedition on what later became the west coast of the U.S. The monument includes a statue of Cabrillo and 20th-century coastal artillery batteries built to protect the harbor of San Diego from enemy warships.
California Coastal

This monument ensures the protection of all islets, reefs and rock outcroppings from the coast of California to a distance of 12 nautical miles (22 km), along the entire 840-mile (1,350 km) long California coastline.
Carrizo Plain

Carrizo Plain is the largest single native grassland remaining in California. It contains part of the San Andreas Fault and is surrounded by the Temblor Range and the Caliente Range. At the center of the plain is Soda Lake, which is near Painted Rock.
Cascade–Siskiyou

One of the most diverse ecosystems found in the Cascade Range, it has more than 100 dwelling and root-gathering sites belonging to the Modoc, Klamath, and Shasta tribes. This national monument is also partially located in the state of California.
Castle Mountains

Castle Mountains represents some of the most unique elements of the Mojave Desert. Nestled between the Nevada state line and Mojave National Preserve, the nearly 21,000 acres of Castle Mountains boasts Joshua tree forests, unbroken natural landscapes, rare desert grasslands, and rich human history.
César E. Chávez

This monument commemorates the life and work of labor leader and civil right activist Cesar Chavez. Called La Paz, the site was Chavez's home for about 20 years, and his gravesite is on the premises. It is also the location of the headquarters of United Farm Workers, which was founded by Chavez.
Devils Postpile

Once part of Yosemite National Park, this monument is a dark cliff of columnar basalt created by a lava flow at least 100,000 years ago. It also has the 101-foot (31 m)-high Rainbow Falls.
Fort Ord

Fort Ord was an Army post from 1917 to 1994. It now has recreational trails and various wildlife.
Giant Sequoia

The monument includes 38 of the 39 giant sequoia groves in the Sequoia National Forest, amounting to about half of the sequoia groves currently in existence. This includes one of the ten largest giant sequoias, the Boole Tree. Its two parts are around Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks.
Lava Beds

This is the site of the largest concentration of lava tube caves in North America. It also includes Petroglyph Point, one of the largest panels of Native American rock art. The monument lies on the northeast flank of the Medicine Lake Volcano, the largest volcano in the Cascade Range.
Mojave Trails

Spanning 1.6 million acres, more than 350,000 acres of previously congressionally-designated Wilderness, the Mojave Trails National Monument comprises a stunning mosaic of rugged mountain ranges, ancient lava flows, and spectacular sand dunes. The monument will protect irreplaceable historic resources including ancient Native American trading routes, World War II-era training camps, and the longest remaining undeveloped stretch of Route 66.
Muir Woods

Part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, it protects one of the last old growth Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) groves in the San Francisco Bay Area as well as one of the most easily accessed.
Sand to Snow

The 154,000-acre monument extends from Bureau of Land Management lands on the Sonoran desert floor up to over 10,000 feet in the San Gorgonio Wilderness on the San Bernardino National Forest.
San Gabriel Mountains

Covering 346,177 acres of the San Gabriel mountains in northern Los Angeles County and western San Bernardino County, California, with peaks as high as 10,068 ft (3,069 m), the San Gabriel Mountains provide one of the few open-space recreation opportunities close to residents of Los Angeles County and is also an important watershed for the Los Angeles area.
Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains

This monument preserves large portions of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto ranges, the northernmost of the Peninsular Ranges. Parts are within San Bernardino National Forest and the California Desert Conservation Area.
World War II Valor in the Pacific

Valor in the Pacific encompasses nine sites in three states associated with World War II: The Attack on Pearl Harbor, including the USS Arizona, Utah, and Oklahoma memorials in Hawaii; the Aleutian Islands Campaign on Attu Island, Kiska Island, and Atka Island in Alaska; and the Japanese American internment at Tule Lake War Relocation Center in California. This national monument is also partially located in the state of Alaska and Hawaii.
Travel America
Death Valley National Park
(Beginner - Listening, reading)

A video lesson which shows you an interesting place in America.
The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed.
Great English listening and reading practice.
This video is all about Death Valley National Park.
Travel America

Do you love America and American English? Learn before you travel. Facts and other cool stuff about your favorite U.S. state. Visit the Fun Easy English Travel America pages. Read about the beautiful National Forests, Parks, and Monuments. Great English reading practice.
Drive America

Planning to drive in America? Learn the rules and regulations. Great English reading practice.
Additional Information
Study Tips
(Beginner - Listening)

Avoid Ineffective Study Methods. An audio lesson to help you study English more effectively. The English is spoken at 75% of normal speed. Great English study tips.
Click here to visit the lesson page with the written script for this audio program.
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