“The Doctor Will See Your Iguana Now”

“For the duck with egg problems and the iguana with a troubled snout, Dr. Anthony Pilny is a ray of hope. He treats exotic pets at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. He has a tattoo of a crane on one arm, a finch on the other, and a puffin on the back of his leg… He is particularly fond of birds; he has 15 of them. He saves brightly colored feathers from his patients in a desk drawer in the hospital office and periodically sends them to an organization called Feathers for Native Americans. They are for American Indians who require naturally molted plumage for their headdresses.” A. Newman, The New York Times

Spot’s owner kisses her after her surgery.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: When a Manhattan Iguana Needs a Doctor, By Andy Newman, The New York Times

Dr. Anthony Pilny started the day short-handed: A colleague at the Center for Avian and Exotic Medicine was bitten by an iguana while making her morning rounds. An iguana’s mouth contains around 100 tiny serrated teeth. The other vet went off to the urgent care clinic to get stitches, leaving Dr. Pilny to do an enormously messy piece of gynecological surgery on a duck without an assisting doctor. The duck was out cold on the table in a basement operating room, a breathing tube stuck down her bill. Dr. Pilny sliced open her abdominal cavity and rooted around.‘What is this?’ he asked. ‘I’m seeing some sort of fluid-filled saclike structures. I see free egg yolk in her body.’

Dino the Duck. photo: NYT

There was little time to ponder the situation. On this Thursday morning not long ago, patients were stacked up in their cages: a guinea pig with hair loss, a rabbit unable to move its bowels, and the irascible iguana, now relaxing behind a sign that said ‘Use Caution Lunges.’ Others waited in recovery: a hedgehog newly minus one eyeball, and a chinchilla who sacrificed a leg to the bars of her cage.

Vicente Vergara, a technician in the office, demonstrated how to give medication to a hedgehog who had just had an eyeball removed. Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

 

Little Neko the guinea pig received a catheter during her surgery for ovarian cysts.Credit Karsten Moran for The New York Times

 

The center, on Columbus Avenue on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, is the city’s only exclusively exotic animal hospital. ‘Exotic’ in the veterinary trade simply means all pets except cats and dogs.  The center treats anything else that comes in the door and weighs under 50 pounds.

Flowerhorn cichlid fish. Photograph- Meetthepet.com

A Prairie Dog (in the middle) with two ducklings. Photo-ViralNova

Most of the patients are rabbits, rodents, lizards or birds, but they can get pretty exotic: kinkajous, alligators, flower horn fish and prairie dogs. So can their problems. ‘I’ve been an avian and exotic vet since 2004,’ Dr. Pilny said, ‘and every day I say, ‘What the hell is this?’

A Kinkajous, Watertown Zoo. Photograph- Joel Sartore, National Geographic.

Many of the center’s patients are not legal in New York City, sometimes for good reason. ‘I’m not a big fan of people keeping a lot of the animals that come in here,’ Dr. Pilny said. But the center asks no questions and passes no judgments. It is not the pet police. ‘We don’t report anybody,’ Dr. Pilny said. ‘We just provide medical care.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a good Pre-reading organizer  by Scholastic for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. There was little time to ponder the situation.
  2. One sign said to use Caution.
  3. This is the city’s only exclusively exotic animal hospital.
  4. Dr. Pilny has been an avian and exotic vet since 2004.
  5. Many of the center’s patients are not legal in New York City.
  6. Dr. Pilny removed most of her reproductive organs.
  7. Her egg problems led to calcium deficiency.
  8. There was a very extensive amount of broken eggs.
  9. The doctor had to  try something risky and just hoped it worked.
  10. There was a  cheery vibe in the reception area.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Ms. Tibbetts ___up a taped-shut___box and___it on the table. She___ the X-ray to Mr. St. John,___out the ___chunk of bone: “And these are her___, which found their way into Dr. Grodio’s___today.”

WORD LIST: finger, showed, brought, missing, teeth, pointing,  brought, set,

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

.

I

  1. The technician held Spot tightly wrapped in an towel.
  2. He expected to hit bone.
  3. Ms. Tibbetts came over to inspect.

II

  1. Her tail is amputated a while ago.
  2. She was 9 and had a history of lesions.
  3. Now she had a crusty lesion on the top of her head.

III

  1. Dr. Pilny went up to the office to make more calls.
  2. They  was discussing iguana temperaments.
  3. There’s no such thing as a nice iguana.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Animals

Let’s Make America Safe Again: Save PBS

“Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice.This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.”  S.  McChrystal, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Sesame Street. image: wow.tribunnews

Excerpt: Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer By Stanley McChrystal, The New York Times

“Public broadcasting plays a special role with young children. According to the Pew Research Center, rising numbers of American children live with one parent or with two parents who both work.

My son and daughter-in-law are a two-income family with two children, and day care is a part of their lives. Many other parents must get by without day care services. These parents are busy in the morning and busy at night.

They want to protect their children from over-commercialized content. And they strive to prepare their children for school and lifelong learning. Having thoughtful television, games and other media that is not commercially driven is essential to good parenting.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than half of all kids in our country do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool program. I’ve also seen research that PBS local stations reach more children ages 2 to 5 than any other children’s network, and the new dedicated PBS Kids channel is the only free national programming for children that is available anywhere and anytime.

I’ve seen articles that say PBS and its member stations are ranked first in public trust among nationally known institutions. Why then would we degrade or destroy an institution that binds us together?

We need a strong civil society where the connection between different people and groups is firm and vibrant, not brittle and divided.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the title of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. I like to say that leadership is a choice.
  2. Parents want to protect their children from over-commercialized content.
  3. Many children do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool program.
  4. Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social skills.
  5. Stereotyping and prejudice have become substitutes for knowing and understanding one another as individuals.
  6. Why then would we degrade an institution that binds us together?
  7. We need public media that acts as our largest classroom.
  8. We need broadcasting that treats us as citizens.
  9. We are not just consumers but  also citizens of this great country.
  10. We need to defend against weaknesses within.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Public television/telephones works hardy/hard to engage /engagement young learners/leaners and build the schools/skills needed for a jump-start on life. We need our youngest to be curious/curiosity, resilient and telepathic/empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future.

 Grammar Focus: Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Prepositions:  in, for, of, with, by,  on, at, to, as, into, across, around, over,  through, from, during, up, off,

Many parents are busy___ the morning and busy___night. They want___protect their children___ commercialized content. The federal appropriation___the Corporation___Public Broadcasting — supports more ___a thousand television and radio stations___ a cost___ about $1.35 per citizen.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social-emotional skills like persistence and self-control. It pushes people by elevating them and their sights. It brings them into more thinking and understanding, and it brings us together.
  2. We need to defend against weaknesses within and enemies without, using the tools of civil society and hard power. We don’t have to pick one over the other.
  3. Explain why you are for or against public television.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues

Robots, Not Immigrants, Are Taking American Jobs

“The robots are coming! The robots are coming! They are coming and they will completely alter our economic reality. However, instead of planning for this revolutionary change, America’s politicians — from …Bernie Sanders on down — continue to cling to the illusion that, with the right tinkering, there can be enough jobs enough for everyone, just like in the good old days. Well, the good old days are gone, and a story on the Futurism website demonstrates why.”  D. Horsey, LA Times 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Cartoon by David Horsey. LA Timestiff

Excerpt: Robots, not immigrants, are taking American jobs David Horsey, LA Times

“Changying Precision Technology Co.’s cellphone factory in China recently replaced 90% of its workers with machines and saw productivity increase by 250% while the number of product defects fell by 80%. This is great news for the company, not so great news for the now-unemployed workers. Because free-market capitalism moves relentlessly toward innovation and efficiency, this is a phenomenon that will be repeated in small steps and big leaps in every industrialized society.

Future Technology of Robots and self-driving cars

A White House report released in December says 83% of U.S. jobs in which people make less than $20 per hour are now, or soon will be, subject to automation. Additionally, thanks to the new marvel of driverless vehicles, all the underemployed folks who have found a slot driving for Uber and Lyft may soon find themselves redundant.

Andrew Yang, founder and chief executive of Venture for America, published an article this month that cites the White House report and warns Americans to get ready for an era of 60% unemployment. Having surveyed the thinking of top innovators in Silicon Valley, Yang says, ‘Literally the smartest people in the world think an unprecedented wave of job destruction is coming with the development of artificial intelligence, robotics, software and automation.’

Rethink Robotics Baxter. business Insider

And he quotes perhaps the brainiest guy in the world, scientist Stephen Hawking, as saying the ‘rise of artificial intelligence is likely to extend job destruction deep into the middle classes, with only the most caring, creative or supervisory roles remaining.’

The Other Robopocalypse Starting at McDonalds – Movie TV Tech Geeks News

Right now, it is tough for anyone with a high school education to find a job that pays enough money to live on.  In just a few years, millions of jobs at the low end of the economic spectrum will be taken over by machines and the undereducated will be completely out of luck. 

10 jobs robots already do better than humans. MarketWatch

It will not just be hamburger flippers in trouble, though — or truckers or factory workers. Numerous middle-class office workers will be displaced by robots, as well.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Many people marvel at the new driverless vehicles.
  2. All underemployed folks will not have fancy cars.
  3. Uber and Lyft  drivers may soon find themselves redundant.
  4. Americans need to get ready for an era of 60% unemployment.
  5. There is something bigger than retraining and education to be considered.
  6. The government needs to guarantee a minimum income for everyone.
  7. We need to start thinking about these and other thorny questions now.
  8. A great dislocation is not far away.
  9. Will those without jobs be looked upon as freeloaders?
  10. The US is a country built on self-reliance.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Right now, it is ___for anyone with a high school ___to find a ___that pays enough___ to live on. In just a few years, ___of jobs at the low end of the ___spectrum will be taken over by machines and the ___will be ___out of luck.

WORD LIST: completely, money,  job, tough, undereducated, economic, education, millions,

 Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

There will be plenty/please  of wreath/wealth to go around/awry, but not that much work. Unless/Unlike we want millennium/ millions to starve/stave  or go homeless or rot/riot in the streets, our society will need to guarantee/grant a minimum income for everyone by letting all citizens/cities share in the vast/vault wealth created by rob/ robot labor.

III. Post Reading Activities

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following questions from the article. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. These are Are there rewarding tasks to be done by the underemployed whose value is not measured by money?
  2. Can we find it in ourselves to respect people who do those tasks or will we dismiss them as freeloaders? (Being more liberal-minded ought to be easier since a majority of us may lack traditional employment.)
  3. In a country built on self-reliance, the Protestant work ethic and meritocracy, can we adjust to a very different idea about how we spend our lives?

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology

Ancient Horse DNA Reveals How the Fierce Scythian Warriors Survived

“Horses sacrificed by fierce nomads living in Central Asia more than 2,000 years ago have provided new insights into how people tamed the wild animals and bred them to their needs. The Scythians roamed over a vast swath of this region, from Siberia to the Black Sea, for about 800 years…They were known for their equestrian battle skills, including the ability to shoot arrows while riding, and for the brutal treatment of those they defeated…the Scythians blinded their slaves, and the warriors drank the blood of the first enemy they killed in battle.” K. Chang, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Beautiful Mongolian horse

Excerpt:  Ancient Horse DNA Shows Scythian Warriors Were Adept Domesticators, By Kenneth Chang, The New York Times

“In a study published Thursday by the journal Science, an international team of researchers deployed the latest genetic tools with 13 stallions that were buried in a mound in what is now Kazakhstan, well-preserved in the permafrost. (The Scythians appear to have only sacrificed male horses.) The decoded DNA not only provides insights into the ancient horses, but also suggests the Scythians were more than warriors.

‘Here we see them as breeders,’ said Ludovic Orlando, a professor of molecular archaeology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, who led the research. ‘We reveal part of their management strategy and part of their knowledge 2,300 years ago.’

The findings also fit an emerging theory of how domestication in general changes animals as they become intertwined with humans.

Mongol horse archer

‘It’s great stuff,’ commented Greger Larson, director of the paleogenomics and bioarchaeology research network at the University of Oxford in England, who was not involved in the research. ‘It demonstrates the power of ancient whole genomes to understand the pattern and the process of domestication.’ Among the farm animals whose lives have become entwined with people, horses were a late addition.

Dogs were the first animal friends of humans — wolves that scavenged for food among garbage piles and turned docile about 15,000 years ago, or possibly much earlier. Cattle, chickens and pigs were domesticated by people in different parts of the world between 8,000 and 11,000 years ago.

A Mongolian horse breeder catching horses.Credit NYT

It was only about 5,500 years ago that people in Central Asia started catching and keeping wild horses for meat and milk. Riding horses came later.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. Nomads living in Central Asia were fierce warriors.
  2. Researchers deployed the latest genetic tools.
  3. The decoded DNA provides insights into the ancient horses.
  4. They found 13 stallions buried in a mound well-preserved in the permafrost.
  5. The genetic changes may slightly reduce the number of neural crest cells.
  6. The Scythian horses’ DNA showed no signs of inbreeding.
  7. Researchers  found two stallions from a royal Scythian tomb  and one mare.
  8. Evidence shows  earlier people, figured out how to use horses to pull two-wheeled chariots.
  9. The findings also fit an emerging theory of how domestication in general changes animals.
  10. Here we see them as breeders.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Among the___ animals whose lives have become___with people, horses were a late addition.

Dogs were the first___ friends of humans — wolves that ___for food among garbage piles and turned docile about 15,000 years ago, or possibly much earlier. Cattle, chickens and pigs were___by people in different parts of the world between 8,000 and 11,000 years ago.

It was only about 5,500 years ago that people in Central Asia started ____and keeping wild ____for meat and milk. Riding horses came later.

WORD LIST: horses, domesticated, animal, scavenged, entwined, catching, farm, 

 Grammar Focus

Grammar: Identifying Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct English articles (THE, A, AN) from those provided to fill in the blanks.

___genetic changes may slightly reduce___number of neural crest cells. This begins to support___sort of grand theory. In modern horses,___Y chromosomes in stallions are almost identical. ___Y chromosome tells ___ genetic story of males of ___ species.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Directions: Place students in groups Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

Extra: Web Search

Directions: In groups/partners have students search the web for additional information about the topic. Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the subject.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Science | Tags:

When A Female is a ‘Tomboy’ and Not Transgender

“I just wanted to check, the teacher said. ‘Your child wants to be called a boy, right? Or is she a boy that wants to be called a girl? Which is it again?’ I cocked my head. I am used to correcting strangers, who mistake my 7-year-old daughter for a boy 100 percent of the time…’She’s a girl,’ I said. The woman looked unconvinced. ‘Really. She’s a girl, and you can refer to her as a girl.” L. Selin Davis, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Tomboys

Excerpt: My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy. By LISA S. DAVIS, The New York Times

“In fact, I love correcting them, making them reconsider their perceptions of what a girl looks like. But my daughter had been attending the after-school program where this woman taught for six months. Later, when I relayed this conversation to my daughter, she said, ‘More girls should look like this so it’s more popular so grown-ups won’t be so confused.’

My daughter wears track pants and T-shirts. She has shaggy short hair (the look she requested from the hairdresser was Luke Skywalker in Episode IV). Most, but not all, of her friends are boys. She is sporty and strong, incredibly sweet, and a girl.

And yet she is asked by the pediatrician, by her teachers, by people who have known her for many years, if she feels like, or wants to be called, or wants to be, a boy.

In many ways, this is wonderful: It shows a much-needed sensitivity to gender nonconformity and transgender issues. It is considerate of adults to ask her — in the beginning. But when they continue to question her gender identity — and are skeptical of her response — the message they send is that a girl cannot look and act like her and still be a girl.

Scout a tomboy in the film To Kill A Mockingbird

Left alone, would boys really never wear pink? (That’s rhetorical — pink was for decades considered a masculine color.) Would girls naturally reject Matchbox cars? Of course not, but if they show preferences for these things, we label them. Somehow, as we have broadened our awareness of and support for gender nonconformity, we’ve narrowed what we think a boy or a girl can look like and do.

The kids get it. But the grown-ups do not. While celebrating the diversity of sexual and gender identities, we also need to celebrate tomboys and other girls who fall outside the narrow confines of gender roles. Don’t tell them that they’re not girls.

Film star Katherine Hepburn usually dressed up tomboy style.

My daughter is happy with her body and comfortable with the way she looks, thousands of times happier and more comfortable than I am or ever have been. She is my hero. Or rather, my heroine.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


Language Skills: Reading, writing, and speaking. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students  create  two KWL charts  to list the information they already know about  about the terms Tomboy and Transgender. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

K-W-L Chart from Creately.com

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Map  for assistance.

  1. She relayed this conversation to  her daughter.
  2. Many grown-ups can be  confused by her appearance.
  3. This shows a much-needed sensitivity to gender nonconformity.
  4. People are skeptical of her response.
  5. Adults  have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles.
  6. Her look evolved with age.
  7. I want trans kids to feel free and safe.
  8. You are an awesome girl.
  9. She identifies as a tomboy.
  10. invariably people agree with her choice.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Let’s be clear: If my___does begin to feel that the___ in her mind and the sex of her ___don’t match, I will be supportive. I will ___puberty blockers and___ (more than I already have). I will listen to her and make ___accordingly, just as I did when she turned 3 and asked for a tie and a button-down shirt. Then she saw her father wear a(for once).

WORD LIST: blazer decisions, hormones, research, daughter, gender, body,

Grammar: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.  Using Adjectives  ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. “She is not gender nonconforming. She is gender role nonconforming. She does not fit into the mold that we adults — who have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles ourselves, as women work outside the home and men participate in the domestic sphere — still impose upon our children.”
  2. “The message I want to send my daughter is this: You are an awesome girl for not giving in to pressure to be and look a certain way. I want her to be proud to be a girl.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues