Did ‘Hobbits’ Actually Exist?

“A reader asks: Scientists seem to be calling members of a 3-foot-tall species whose fossils were recently found in Indonesia ‘hobbits’ conversationally. When did this term come into existence? Before or after Tolkien? And how might the real hobbits have been similar to or different from the ones Tolkien created?Carl Zimmer, who writes the Matter column for The Times’s Science section, considers the question. The term came into scientific parlance very much after Tolkien.” C. Zimmer, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Archeological excavations at Liang Bua.

Archeological excavations at Liang Bua.

 

Excerpt: Are Hobbits Real? By Carl Zimmer, NYT

“In 2003, the archaeologist Michael Morwood and his colleagues discovered a skull and other bones of an ancient human relative — otherwise known as a hominin — in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores. The Flores hominins were very small, standing about 3 feet tall, and had very small brains. And yet Dr. Morwood and his colleagues also found stone tools alongside the fossils, suggesting that they still had substantial mental firepower…The hobbits of Flores and the hobbits of Middle Earth had only a few things in common. Tolkien wrote that his hobbits were related to men, while Homo floresiensis probably shared a common ancestor with us that lived about 1.8 million years ago. And they were both short. Beyond that, the two hobbits part ways.

Thomas Sutikna holds the skull of LB1, the type specimen of the ‘Hobbit’, Homo floresiensis. Photo courtesy of the Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology.

Thomas Sutikna holds the skull of LB1, the type specimen of the ‘Hobbit’, Homo floresiensis. Photo courtesy of the Indonesian National Centre for Archaeology.

Tolkien portrayed Frodo and his comrades as diminutive people who lived in a kind of preindustrial paradise, like the village where Tolkien himself grew up in the late 1800s. A well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favorite haunt, he wrote in The Fellowship of the Ring. The hobbits of Flores show no signs of agriculture. The fossil record indicates that their ancestors arrived with stone tools on Flores about a million years ago.

JRR Tolkien’s Hobbits- Telegraph.

JRR Tolkien’s Hobbits- Telegraph.

Judging from charcoal and cracked bones researchers have found, it looks as if Homo floresiensis used stone tools to hunt dwarf elephants, and then cooked their meat over fires in caves.

Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today, Tolkien wrote. It is fun to imagine a few Homo floresiensis still surviving today in the remote jungles of an Indonesian island. Sadly, that’s probably just as fantastic as anything in Tolkien’s novels.”

RELATED COVERAGE: New Fossils Strengthen Case for ‘Hobbit’ Species Carl Zimmer NYT

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

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. In 2003, archaeologists discovered a skull and other bones.
  2. His colleagues also found stone tools alongside the fossils.
  3. The tools suggest that they still had substantial mental firepower.
  4. Our own species had already emerged.
  5. They knew very well that Homo floresiensis is a mouthful.
  6. They nicknamed the hominins of Flores hobbits.
  7. Peter Brown was one of Dr. Morwood’s collaborators.
  8. Homo floresiensis probably shared a common ancestor with us.
  9. Tolkien portrayed Frodo and his comrades as diminutive people.
  10. A well-farmed countryside was their favorite haunt.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. In 2003, the biologist  Michael Morwood  and his colleagues discovered a skull and other bones.
  2. The hobbits of Flores and the hobbits of Middle Earth had  many things in common.
  3. Tolkien wrote that his hobbits were related to men.
  4. The Flores hominins were very small, standing about 3 feet tall.
  5. Tolkien might have actually seen a hobbit.
  6. They nicknamed  the hominins of Flores Frodo.
  7. Tolkien portrayed Frodo and his comrades as big people who lived in a village.
  8. The hobbits of Flores show no signs of agriculture.
  9. Homo floresiensis used stone tools to hunt dwarf tigers.
  10. The hobbits of Flores probably weren’t capable of language.

Grammar: Identifying Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct articles from those provided to fill in the blanks.

English Articles: A, An, The

___fossil record indicates that their ancestors arrived with stone tools on Flores about___million years ago.

For almost ___million years, they lived ___unchanging life, making no improvements on ___stone tools on which their lives depended.

___youngest bones of Homo floresiensis date back to about___ time when our own species arrived in Southeast Asia and Australia. Hobbits are___unobtrusive but very ancient people.

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/Writing Activities

Ask/Answer  Questions

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to pursue in relation to the focus of  the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

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

Trying to Make Sense of Terrorist Attacks

“After a terrorist attack like the one in Florida on Sunday, one of the first questions people always ask is: Why? Why would someone take the lives of innocent civilians who are total strangers? That is a question to which I have long sought an answer. But my search has led me instead to another question: Is an answer even possible?” P. Bergen, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer KeyPhoto beforeitsnews.com

Why Do Terrorists Commit Terrorism? By Peter Bergen

“To try to figure out why terrorists do what they do, researchers at the think tank New America and I reviewed court records in more than 300 cases of people charged with jihadist terrorism in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, ranging from relatively trivial cases, like sending small sums of money to a foreign terrorist organization, to very serious ones, like murder. I have also spoken to terrorists’ families and friends and even, in some cases, to the terrorists themselves.

AK-47 Banned in Canada

AK-47 Banned in Canada

The easy explanation — that jihadist terrorists in the United States are mad or bad — proved simply wrong…I found that the perpetrators were generally motivated by a mix of factors, including militant Islamist ideology; dislike of American foreign policy in the Muslim world; a need to attach themselves to an ideology or organization that gave them a sense of purpose; and a cognitive opening to militant Islam that often was precipitated by personal disappointment, like the death of a parent.

But in each case, the proportion of the motivations varied. For instance, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers who carried out the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, was a nonpracticing Muslim who became an Islamist militant once his dreams of becoming an Olympic boxer faded.  On the other hand, his younger brother, Dzhokhar, never seemed to embrace militant Islam…David C. Headley of Chicago, who did much of the planning for the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, in which more than 160 people were killed, was not an observant Muslim. He was motivated more by a passionate hatred of India… Given this, how should law enforcement respond?

Omar Mateen, the Orlando gunman, had been investigated by the F.B.I. twice. But at the time he didn’t appear to be far down the pathway to violence… Relatives say he expressed homophobic views. Co-workers say he also praised Al Qaeda and Hezbollah.  There have also been suggestions that he might have been gay.

No doubt we will learn more in coming days. But it’s unlikely that anything will ever really explain why he did what he did. Perhaps that says something about the nature of evil, — that it is ultimately not fully explicable.”

Orlando Attacks 2016

Related Articles:

Grace Restaurant in Portland Maine. Boston.com

Grace Restaurant in Portland Maine. Boston.com

“Anne Verrill, who owns Grace in Portland, named one of America’s 10 Most Beautiful Restaurants, and Foreside Tavern in Falmouth, told potential patrons if they support assault rifles, they are not welcome at her businesses.”

 

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

 

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 has been more than 300 cases of terrorism in the United States.
  2. The easy explanation is that that  terrorists in the US are mad.
  3. Around one in 10 had mental health problems.
  4. Nor were they typical career criminals.
  5. The perpetrators were generally motivated by Islamist ideology.
  6. In each case, the proportion of the motivations varied.
  7. Some were Muslim fundamentalists.
  8. He had his own half-baked opposition to American foreign policy.
  9. The massacre at Fort Hood was also motivated by Hasan’s personal problems.
  10. David C. Headley was not an observant Muslim.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

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.

Nidal Hasan, the Army/Amy major/minor who killed 13 people at Fort Hood, Tex., in 2009, seemed to be a more /classical/classic jihadist. He was a highly observant/observe Muslim who objected to American foreign policy. But according to Nader Hasan, a first cousin who had grew/grown up with him, the massacre at Fort Hood was also motivated by Nidal Hasan’s personal/personnel  problems. He was unmarried, both his parents were dead, he had no real friends and a dreaded deployment/employment to Afghanistan loomed. He went postal/post, Nader Hasan told me, and he called it Islam.

 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. These stories underlines how hard it is to answer the question.
  2. It’s a useful reminder to journalists and politicians alike.
  3. F.B.I. behavioral analysts use a smart framework.

II

  1. He was hanging out with Bollywood stars.
  2. This approach  are agnostic.
  3. We are learning bits and pieces about his possible motivations.

III

  1. No doubt we will learn more on coming days.
  2. When does the the pathway to violence begin?
  3. Of course, nothing  is  perfect.

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/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statement taken 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 following  topics.

  1. “I found that the perpetrators were generally motivated by a mix of factors, including militant Islamist ideology; dislike of American foreign policy in the Muslim world; a need to attach themselves to an ideology or organization that gave them a sense of purpose…For many, joining a jihadist group or carrying out an attack allowed them to become heroes of their own story.”

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 | Tags:

Hillary’s Win Is A Win for The United States!

“So Hillary Clinton has secured the Democratic nomination for president and could well become the nation’s first female head of state. Given the fact that more than 50 countries have had a woman at the helm, is that really such a big deal? Yes, experts say.” S. Milligan, USNews

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer key

Hillary Clinton embraced her place in history Tuesday. Photo- whotv.comtiff

Hillary Clinton embraced her place in history Tuesday. Photo- whotv.com

Excerpt: … Hillary Clinton’s Feat Is Still a Big Deal- By Susan Milligan, USNews

“For while countries around the world have preceded the U.S. in hitting the gender equality milestone, the arduous process of becoming the country’s president is conspicuous in world politics, demanding both a high public profile – often from having held lower-level office – and the personal approval of millions of voters in dozens of primary elections and an often politically brutal general contest.

Hillary greets supporters Tuesday. Photo-japantimes

Hillary greets supporters Tuesday. Photo-japantimes

There is a path to the presidency – and it isn’t easy, especially for a woman, says Michele Swers, an American government professor at Georgetown University. It requires a great deal of preparation even before the pricey and exhausting task of actually campaigning for the post…Angela Merkel, named by Forbes as the world’s most powerful woman, became German chancellor in 2005 because the German Bundestag elected her to the post. By that standard, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., achieved a similar distinction in 2007.

Hillary supporters celebrate with her.

Hillary supporters celebrate with her.

Any sort of winner-take-all system, as opposed to a parliamentary system, is much harder to win, particularly for a woman who might not have the political connections a man has, says Judith Warner, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress.”

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

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. Hillary Clinton’s feat is a big deal.
  2. Other countries have preceded the U.S. in hitting the gender equality.
  3. It is an arduous process of becoming the country’s president.
  4. Becoming the country’s president is conspicuous in world politics.
  5. It is a politically brutal contest.
  6. Campaigning requires a great deal of preparation.
  7. Women are vastly underrepresented.
  8. The pool of plausible female presidential candidates is small.
  9. The list makes room for monarchs – notably, Queen Elizabeth II of the UK.
  10. A woman might not have the political connections.

Word Map Education Oasis

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

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

Today, 23___ are___leaders in their respective___, according to the Worldwide Guide to Women in Leadership website. But the___makes room for monarchs – notably, Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark – as ___as those who may have ___to the ___through parliamentary ___that put the___party’s leader in charge without direct ___by voters.

Word List: well, women, countries, winning, elections, top, list, risen, systems,  position,

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

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

There is a path/pass to the presidency – and it isn’t easy, special/especially for a women/woman, says  Michele Swers, an American government professors/professor at Georgetown University. It requires/requite a great deal of preparation/prepare even before the pricey/price and exhausting task/tusk of actually campaigning for the post.

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/Writing Activities

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 the topics.

  1. “…you don’t wake up one day and decide you’re going to run for political office.  Running for the highest office in the land generally requires previous political experience, and at almost every level [of elected office], women are vastly underrepresented.,  making the pool of plausible female presidential candidates even smaller.”
  2. Have each group compose a letter to Hillary Clinton either telling her their thoughts on her success. They night also include any questions for her.

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: Political Issues | Tags:

The Harry Potter Saga Continues…To Everyone’s Delight!

J. K. Rowling always said that the seventh Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be the last in the series, and so far she has kept to her word… And now comes Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play in two full-length parts that begins previews in London on Tuesday, June 7, opens July 30 and is being advertised as the official ‘eighth’ story in the Harry Potter canon.”  S. Lyall, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- hypable.com

image- hypable.com

Excerpt: J.K. Rowling Just Can’t Let Harry Potter Go, By Sarah Lyall The New York Times

“ Set 19 years after the events of Deathly Hallows, the play imagines Harry as an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and focuses on his middle child, Albus Severus, and his struggle to come to terms with his family’s legacy.

The last scene from Deathly Hallows with original cast.

The last scene from Deathly Hallows with original cast.

The new cast: Harry Potter (Jamie Parker), Albus Potter (Sam Clemmett) and Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller).Credit- Charlie Graytiff

The new cast: Harry Potter (Jamie Parker), Albus Potter (Sam Clemmett) and Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller).Credit- Charlie Graytiff

Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley), Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni), Rose Granger-Weasley (Cherrelle Skeete). Credit- Charlie Gray.

Ron Weasley (Paul Thornley), Hermione Granger (Noma Dumezweni), Rose Granger-Weasley (Cherrelle Skeete). Credit- Charlie Gray.

No one who remembers the frenzy surrounding the publication of each of the Potter books would be surprised to learn there is now a frenzy surrounding this play and all the details around it, like the disclosure that a black actress, Noma Dumezweni, is portraying Hermione.
The news has been released slowly — Ms. Rowling is a master of controlled publicity — and on Tuesday cast photos of a grown-up Harry (Jamie Parker) and Ginny Potter (Poppy Miller), along with Albus (Sam Clemmett), were unveiled on the Pottermore website.

The cast with John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and JK Rowling. Crdeit- Pottermore

The cast with John Tiffany, Jack Thorne and JK Rowling. Crdeit- Pottermore

Performances, at least for the first of the two parts, are sold out through May 2017. Secondary-market tickets to the first preview are selling for as much as 4,000 pounds (nearly $5,800). And the play’s script — by Ms. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, who is also the director — is No. 1 on the Amazon best-seller list, despite the fact that it won’t be published until July 31, Harry Potter’s birthday.

If that wasn’t enough, next fall comes Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a movie that is both a spinoff and a kind of prequel. Written by Ms. Rowling (who did not write the screenplays for the eight Potter movies), it is very loosely based on her book of the same name. That volume was a fictional wizarding-school textbook; the film takes its supposed author, Newt Scamander, sends him back many years to when he was a young man, and transports him to America.

view the trailer:

The movie, starring Eddie Redmayne, is expected to be the first of a trilogy.
Indeed, all this new material is proving very exciting to very many Potter fans. They can’t get enough. The “Dumbledore is gay” revelation, in 2007, became a major world news event. And now, even the smallest snippet of information about the play — the introduction of hand-carved sconces for each of the Hogwarts houses and of new wand designs, for instance — sends the internet into ecstasy. Clearly Ms. Rowling has not wanted to put Harry Potter behind her.”

MUHAMMAD ALI

IN MEMORY OF THE GREATEST

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see.”  ~Muhammad Ali~flowers 3

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. Ms. Rowling continues her immersion in Potter-world.
  2. She has regularly interjected new elements into the old stories.
  3. She also regularly produces fresh ancillary material.
  4. There is now a frenzy surrounding this play.
  5. Ms. Rowling is a master of controlled publicity.
  6. Fantastic Beasts is both a spinoff and a kind of prequel.
  7. The movie is expected to be the first of a trilogy.
  8. The film transports Newt Scamander  back many years to America.
  9. It’s an interesting dilemma for an author.
  10. She created an elaborate world over many volumes.

vocab Freeology

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.

Both Philip Pullman, author/Arthur of the “Dark Materials” series, and Stephenie Meyer, author of the “Twilight” cereals/series, have spoken/speaking about farther/further books to come, years after those stories were apparently/apparent put to rest. On the other extreme/extremes, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle grew so weary/worry of Sherlock Holmes that he killed/kilt him off, only to reassure/resurrect him years later in response to widespread public unhappiness.

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

What’s an author ___do when she once seemed ___be done?

Performances, ___least ___the first___ the two parts are sold out.

Author___ the “Shiver” and “Raven” series, spoke___ the temptation ___revisit characters she thought she had finished___.

Characters ___unfinished business inveigle themselves___his head, he said___ a telephone interview.

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/Writing Activities

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 following  topics.

  1. “With a new set of movies on the horizon, some fans worry that Ms. Rowling will make the same mistake that George Lucas did after the three original Star Wars films, producing inferior work that detracts from the brilliance of the original.”
  2. 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

‘Love You Forever’ A Sweet-Sad Story…for Children?

“When Love You Forever was published in 1986, parents across the country sang its sweet refrain to their children at bedtime…But before Love You Forever was a nursery staple, it was a simple, four-line poem that children’s book author Robert Munsch would sing silently to himself after his wife gave birth to a stillborn baby. It was the second stillbirth the couple had to mourn.” C. Herreria, Huffington Post

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Pictures from I'll Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

Pictures from I’ll Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch

Excerpt: The Heartbreaking Story Behind Iconic Children’s Book…Carla Herreria, Huffington Post

“Munsch says the song was too painful to sing out loud. For a long time, he couldn’t even share it with his wife.

[The song] was my way of crying, Munsch told The Huffington Post.

I’ll love you forever,

I’ll like you for always,

As long as I’m living

my baby you’ll be.

After the second stillbirth, doctors told the couple that they would never be able to conceive — news that devastated Munsch, who had worked in orphanages, received a master’s degree in Child Studies, and dedicated his life to writing children’s books…The couple went on to adopt three children, but Munsch used his song as a way to grieve their two previous losses. He would sing it to himself like a silent lullaby, never writing it down or saying it out loud. 

Munsch, in 2003, at a literacy event. Photo- Peter Powers via Getty Images

Munsch, in 2003, at a literacy event. Photo- Peter Powers via Getty Images

Unlike his past work, which could take years of performing to flesh out, this one came out whole. Munsch told his audience about a mother who would sing her son the same lullaby at night throughout every phase of his life — even sneaking into his room to sing it when he’s fully grown. 

Author Robert Munsch

Author Robert Munsch

When Munsch brought the story to his publisher to be produced as a book, they turned it down, saying it was too dark for the children’s genre. His distributer decided to publish the book instead…Munsch believes the story resonates with readers because it affects both parents and children. For someone who picks up the book, it’s their story, not mine, Munsch said.”

Guest  Elementary Lesson Plan for this book

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. After the second stillbirth, the couple cried.
  2. They felt that they would never be able to conceive.
  3. The news devastated Munsch.
  4. It felt like  someone gave him  a punch in the solar plexus.
  5. He made up a story to accompany the song on the spot.
  6. It was the first time anyone heard the now iconic song.
  7. The story was about a mother who would sing her son the same lullaby at night. 
  8. Some publishers thought the story was too dark for the children’s genre.
  9. Some readers were moved by  the mother’s unconditional love.
  10. Munsch retired from storytelling after he suffered a stroke in 2008. Word Chart By Education Oasis

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

He ___from ___after he suffered a stroke in 2008 and says he now___ himself ___to the mother in Love You Forever when she’s old and ___at the end of the st story ory.

He’s still ___of the book, not only because it’s his most___, but because he___ it offers ___for others just as it did for him. For ___who picks up the book, it’s their___, not mine.

Word List: relating, someone, retired, storytelling, finds, successful, solace, proud,  sick, hopes.

Grammar: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

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/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to Robert Munsch asking him something they  would like to know  about the  topic.

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

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