Treatment for PTSD: More Nightmares

January 24th, 2015  |  Published in Health Issues

“Going in for therapy at a Veterans Affairs hospital is a lot like arriving at a large airport in a foreign country. You pass through a maze of confusing signage… There are long lines you must stand in and a series of bureaucratic rituals that must be endured before anything resembling a human encounter occurs. Little did I know that the delay in treatment would be less agonizing than the treatment itself.” By D. J. Morris NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo credit utahsbestterapy

Photo credit utahsbestterapy

Excerpt: After PTSD, More Trauma By David J. Morris NYT

“My first session began with my therapist, a graduate student finishing up his doctorate in clinical psychology, offering a kind of apology. Now, I’m probably going to make some mistakes and say some stupid things,” he said. Are you going to be O.K. with that?

I understood. Two decades before, as a newly minted infantry lieutenant in the Marine Corps, I’d been charged with the welfare of a platoon of 30 young Marines. Too often my best wasn’t good enough, and I made a number of errors in judgment while in command, errors that bother me to this day. Offering my therapist some grace seemed like my only option.

I’d come to the V.A. for a number of reasons…Occasionally I had weird dreams about the war that mixed people and places from my time in the Marines with my time in Iraq. But what really concerned me was something that happened a few years later. I was sitting in a movie theater with my girlfriend when the world suddenly went black. When I regained consciousness, I was pacing the lobby of the theater, looking at people’s hands to make sure they weren’t carrying weapons.

A year or so after the episode at the movie theater, with my symptoms not improving, I went to the V.A. for help.

There are two widely used treatments for PTSD at the V.A. One is called cognitive processing therapy. The other is prolonged exposure therapy, the effectiveness of which the V.A. heavily promotes. After explaining my symptoms to the intake coordinator, I was told that prolonged exposure was the best therapy for me. 

But after a month of therapy, I began to have problems. When I think back on that time, the word that comes to mind is nausea.I felt sick inside, the blood hot in my veins.

My own disappointment is that after waiting three months, after completing endless forms, I was offered an overhyped therapy built on the premise that the best way to escape the aftereffects of hell was to go through hell again.

A month after dropping out of prolonged exposure therapy, I began a treatment of cognitive processing therapy at the V.A. Here, our group was asked to examine our thoughts and feelings about our war experiences without revisiting specific traumas. This has helped.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  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.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

II. While Reading Tasks:Word -Recognition

Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article. This exercise reinforces students’ attention on words that have been introduced in the reading. Have them skim the article to check  their responses. Students should also find the meanings for all unknown words.

My first session/season began with my therapist, a graduating/graduate student finishing up his doctorate/doctor in clinic/clinical psychology, offering a kind of /apologetic/apology.

I understood. Two decades/decode before, as a newly mind/minted infantry lieutenant in the Marine Corps, I’d been charged with the welfare of a pluto/platoon of 30 young Marines. Too often my best wasn’t good enough, and I made a number of errors in judges/judgment while in command, errors that bother/brother me to this day. Offering my therapist some grace seemed like my only option.

Vocabulary: 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. My first session began with my therapist.
  2. I’d been charged with the welfare of a platoon of 30 young Marines.
  3. I made a number of errors in judgment.
  4. I’d come to the V.A. for a number of reasons.
  5. I had weird dreams about the war.
  6. Post-traumatic stress disorder has stalked me for most of my adult life.
  7. You may not have PTSD, but most of your fellow citizens assume you do.
  8. Prolonged exposure therapy was developed in the 1980s.
  9. Some survivors find that the only way to feel safe is to restrict their daily routine.
  10. It was a difficult, emotionally draining scene to revisit.

 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. After being discharged  I working as a reporter.
  2. I was nearly killed by an improvised explosive device.
  3. Occasionally I had strange dreams about the war.

II

  1. There are two widely used treatments for PTSD.
  2. One is prolonged exposure therapy.
  3. The treatment worked for about 85 percent of people.

III

  1. I had collected a number of near-death experiences.
  2. I ride in a helicopter that was nearly shot down.
  3. Within a few weeks, my body returned to normal.

III. Post Reading Tasks

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.Main idea chart By Write Design

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

1. The following  three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“There are two widely used treatments for PTSD at the V.A. One is called cognitive processing therapy. The other is prolonged exposure therapy…The promise of prolonged exposure is that your response to your trauma can be unlearned by telling the story of it over and over again. The patient is asked to close his eyes, put himself back in the moment of maximum terror and recount the details of what happened. According to the theory, the more often the story is told in the safety of the therapy room, the more the memory of the event will be detoxified, stripped of its traumatic charge and transformed into something resembling a normal memory.”

“Prolonged exposure has worked for many people. It has arguably the best empirical support of any PTSD therapy currently in use by the V.A.One recent study found that among veterans who completed at least eight sessions of treatment, prolonged exposure therapy decreased the proportion who screened positive for PTSD by about 40 percentage points. But the treatment may not be as effective as the V.A. would have you believe: About a quarter of the veterans in that study dropped out of the treatment prematurely, much as I had.”

“After my experience with prolonged exposure, I did some research and found that some red flags had been raised about it. In 1991, for example,Roger K. Pitman, a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, conducted a study of exposure therapy on Vietnam veterans and observed some troubling complications: One subject developed suicidal thoughts, and others became severely depressed or suffered panic attacks.”

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the treatment  for PTSD 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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Who Are The “Good” Teachers?

January 17th, 2015  |  Published in Education

“The majority of parents want ‘qualified teachers’ to teach their children, but there’s more to being a good teacher than classroom skills.”  B. Lenon,  The Telegraph, UK

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image-Ignportfolio

Image-Ignportfolio

Excerpt: What really makes a good teacher?  B. Lenon, Telegraph, UK

“A NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) poll last week found that the majority of parents wanted ‘qualified teachers’ to teach their children. Unsurprising really, until you consider what that word ‘qualified’ really means.

In independent schools, recognised as being among the best in the world, we are free to choose our own teachers. In 2013, pupils in independent schools achieved 32 per cent of all A* grades at A-level.Our success lies in the quality and expertise of our teachers, yet some may not have a teaching qualification.

So what makes a good teacher? They have four characteristics.

Photo- teachthought

Photo- teachthought

First, they love their subject and have excellent subject knowledge (the two go together). Last year Professor Rob Coe and the Sutton Trust published research into the qualities of the best teachers and this came top of the list.

Secondly, they need to have the right personality. Teaching is partly acting, and acting ability helps greatly. Above all you need to be able to control a class, because without good discipline nothing worthwhile can be achieved.

Photo- Slate magazine

Photo- Slate magazine

But the best teachers are not disciplinarians. They are a velvet hand in an iron glove. Pupils come to know, over time, that they are warm and generous. But they are not to be messed with. Discipline has to come first.

Thirdly, they need to have certain classroom skills. This is why all ‘unqualified’ teachers need some training, both before they start and throughout their first year of teaching.

Photo- Slate magazine

Photo- Slate magazine

Finally, they need to have high expectations of their pupils. This is a characteristic of all the best teachers. They are determined that every pupil will master their subject. This attitude sets the scene for everything which follows.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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) 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:  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. Have students use the pre-reading organizer to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading. 

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic.

II. While Reading Tasks

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. Consider what the word qualified really means.
  2. Pupils in independent schools achieved all A grades.
  3. Our success lies in the expertise of our teachers.
  4. They have four characteristics.
  5. Some schools are happy to appoint an excellent graduate.
  6. They are classified as unqualified without experience.
  7. Without good discipline nothing can be achieved.
  8. Pupils know the teacher will notice if they are misbehaving.
  9. There are other personality traits that matter too.
  10. Teachers need to have high expectations of their pupils.Word Map Education Oasis

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. According to the poll the majority of parents wanted nice teachers to teach their children.
  2. Independent schools cannot choose  their own teachers.
  3. Students who attend Independent schools always succeed.
  4. The article lists five characteristics of a good teacher.
  5. Teachers should love their subject and have excellent subject knowledge.
  6. All teachers have teaching qualifications.
  7. Teachers need to have the right personality.
  8. The article states that teaching is partly acting.
  9. The best teachers can be found in the U.S.
  10. In addition to the ones mentioned, there are other personality traits that also matter.

 Grammar Focus: Preposition Practice

Directions: The following  paragraph is from the article. Choose the correct prepositions from the choices presented. Note that some prepositions listed are not in the paragraph.

Prepositions: to, in, as, at,  into, with, of, during,

Last year Professor Rob Coe and the Sutton Trust published research___ the qualities___the best teachers and this came top ___the list. It is the reason that some schools are happy___appoint an excellent graduate___ a subject like physics even if they don’t have a teaching qualification. don’t have a teaching qualification. They are classified___‘unqualified’, even though they possess the most important quality of all.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

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?

For more advanced students:

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

1. The following  three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“Good subject knowledge matters not only because at the top of the ability range you need to be able to stretch pupils but also because teachers with good knowledge tend to make lessons for younger children more interesting. They have more substance to be interesting about.”

“Teaching is partly acting, and acting ability helps greatly. Above all you need to be able to control a class, because without good discipline nothing worthwhile can be achieved.”

“Finally, they need to have high expectations of their pupils. This is a characteristic of all the best teachers. They are determined that every pupil will master their subject. This attitude sets the scene for everything which follows. Pupils who produce unsatisfactory work must be made to redo it until they achieve a good level.”

2. Think about the teachers from your past.  Did they possess any of the qualities mentioned in the article? How would you describe them?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about teaching 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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Recipe for a Small Planet

January 10th, 2015  |  Published in Science

“Astronomers announced on Tuesday that they had found eight new planets orbiting their stars at distances compatible with liquid water, bringing the total number of potentially habitable planets in the just-right Goldilocks zone to a dozen or two, depending on how the habitable zone of a star is defined.” D. Overbye New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo credit NYT

Photo credit NYT

Excerpt: So Many Earth-Like Planets...By D. Overbye, NYT

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, now in its fifth year of seeking out the shadows of planets circling other stars, has spotted hundreds, and more and more of these other worlds look a lot like Earth — rocky balls only slightly larger than our own home, that with the right doses of starlight and water could turn out to be veritable gardens of microbial Eden.

As the ranks of these planets grow, astronomers are planning the next step in the quest to end cosmic loneliness: gauging which hold the greatest promise for life and what tools will be needed to learn about them.

The planets unveiled on Tuesday were detected by a group led by Guillermo Torres of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

On Monday, another group of astronomers said they had managed to weigh precisely a set of small planets and found that their densities and compositions almost exactly matched those of Earth.

Photo credit- NASA

Photo credit- NASA

Both studies are expected to be completed in the next few months, and could affect plans for a former spy telescope bequeathed to NASA three years ago. Astronomers hope to launch it in the early 2020s to study dark energy, and they plan to include a coronagraph to search for exoplanets, according to Paul Schechter of M.I.T., chairman of a design team.

All of this will be grist for the mill at the end of the decade when a panel of the National Academy of Sciences produces its wish list for astronomy in the 2020s.

For all of Kepler’s bounty, a planet like Earth, of the same size orbiting the same type of star, has not yet been confirmed. The most terrestrial of the new worlds announced Tuesday are a pair known as Kepler 438b and Kepler 442b, both orbiting stars slightly smaller, cooler and redder than our sun. Kepler 438b is only 12 percent larger than Earth in diameter and has a 35-day year; Kepler 442 is a third larger than Earth and has a 112-day year.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (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

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.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

II. While Reading Tasks

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. Doses of starlight and water could turn out to be veritable gardens of microbial Eden.
  2. As the ranks of these planets grow, astronomers are planning the next step.
  3. The quest is  to end cosmic loneliness.
  4. The planets unveiled on Tuesday were detected.
  5. And yet we still do not have a clue that we are not alone.
  6. So far, Kepler has discovered 4,175 potential planets.
  7. Most planets are too far away for detailed study.
  8. Dr. Seager is investigating the concept of a starshade.
  9. All these are small and potentially habitable.
  10. The work complements and tightens studies done last year.
Word Map Education Oasis.

Word Map Education Oasis.

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. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, is in its tenth year of seeking out the planets circling other stars.
  2. Scientists found a set of small planets with densities and compositions almost exactly like those of Earth.
  3. Alien life was discovered on one small planet.
  4. The job of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will be to find alien life forms closer to home.
  5. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will be launched in 2017.
  6. Scientist Karl Stapelfeldt heads a group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
  7. One of the main goals of these studies is to have any chance of seeing signs of life on terrestrial planets.
  8. For all of Kepler’s bounty, a planet like Earth, of the same size orbiting the same type of star, has not yet been confirmed.
  9. By the year 2020 scientists will definitely know that there is life on other planets.
  10. An Italian telescope in the Canary Islands is used to measure planets’ masses to determine their densities.

 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. As the ranks of these planets grow, astronomers  is planning the next step.
  2. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft,  is now in its fifth year of seeking out the shadows of planets.
  3. The planets were unveiled on Tuesday.

II

  1. On Monday, another group of astronomers managed to weigh a set of small planets.
  2. Both groups announced their findings at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle.
  3. And yet we still do not had a clue that we are not alone.

III

  1. We can count as many as we like.
  2. Finding Goldilocks planets closer to home will be the job of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite.
  3. Both studies are expected to be completed on the next few months.

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

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 Exercise

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

1. The following  three statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“We can count as many as we like…but until we can observe the atmospheres and assess their greenhouse gas power, we don’t really know what the surface temperatures are like.”

“For all of Kepler’s bounty, a planet like Earth, of the same size orbiting the same type of star, has not yet been confirmed. The most terrestrial of the new worlds announced Tuesday are a pair known as Kepler 438b and Kepler 442b, both orbiting stars slightly smaller, cooler and redder than our sun.

“All these are small, all are potentially habitable… Most of these planets have a good chance of being rocky, like Earth.”

2. With the members of your group discuss the possibilities of life on other planets. Decide what “alien” life forms  might look like.

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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2015: Tips That Guarantee You’ll Get the Job

January 3rd, 2015  |  Published in Business

If you’ll be searching for a job in 2015, don’t just apply the same old tired job search advice about expanding your network, improving your social media presence and cleaning up your résumé. Those things matter, of course, but they’re hardly revolutionary. Instead, here are some New Year’s resolutions to truly kick off your search from a position of strength.” A. Green, US News

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Keyjob 5

Excerpt: 6 Resolutions That Will Land You a Job in 2015 By A. Green-USNews

1. Go for quality over quantity in your job applications.

“You might be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible, figuring that doing so will increase your odds of being called for an interview. But in practice, this usually means that you’ll end up “résumé-blasting” – sending out tons of applications without customizing your résumé and cover letter to the particular openings you’re applying for. Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application you’ve submitted to dozens of other places, and you have a far lower chance of catching their eyes.”

Choose quality over quantity. Photo- Smashcave

Choose quality over quantity. Photo- Smashcave

2. Write better cover letters.

“If you’re like most job seekers, your cover letter is, well, bland and pretty boring… Your cover letter should add new information to your candidacy, such as personal traits, work habits and why you’re genuinely interested in the job.”  For Help Visit ESL Voices Business Section

3. Learn from past mistakes.

 “Effectively job searching isn’t just about getting a job offer; it’s about identifying jobs where you’ll excel and be happy and avoiding the ones where you won’t.”

Learn from past mistakes. Photo- SFU

Learn from past mistakes. Photo- SFU

4. Stop agonizing about when or whether you’ll hear back from an employer.

“One of the worst parts of job hunting is sitting around and wondering when you’ll hear back from an employer after you interview or submit an application, and trying to read into every tiny sign from an employer.”Don't agonise.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) 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

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 Tasks

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. You might be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible.
  2. You need to customize your résumé.
  3. Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application.
  4. Write cover letters that ensure that your résumé highlights the qualifications being sought.
  5. If you’re like most job seekers, your cover letter is bland.
  6. Your cover letter should add new information to your candidacy.
  7. Avoid making mistakes in the future by reflecting on what red flags you ignored in the past.
  8. Vow to heed warning signs this time around.
  9. Stop agonizing about when or whether you’ll hear back from an employer.
  10. This approach won’t hurt your chances.
Word Map Education Oasis.

Word Map Education Oasis.

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. When sending out job applications the rule is quantity over quality.
  2. It’s better to send out a large number of applications.
  3. You should write cover letters that are specific to each job.
  4. Your cover letter should summarize the experiences that’s already listed on your résumé.
  5. Your cover letter should add new information to your candidacy.
  6. Identify apply for those jobs where you’ll excel and be happy.
  7. Don’t spend time reflecting on red flags that you ignored in the past.
  8. An unpleasant interviewer is an example of a red flag.
  9. Your résumé should be detailed.
  10. Don’t sit around waiting to hear back from an employer after you interview.

 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. You might be tempted to apply to the many jobs as possible.
  2. Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application.
  3. You have a far lower chance of catching their eyes.

II

  1. Send out fewer applications, and spend time customizing each.
  2. Write cover letters that is specific to each job.
  3. Ensure that your résumé highlights speak directly to the qualifications being sought.

III

  1. Your cover letter are probably bland and pretty boring.
  2. It likely doesn’t do much more than summarize the experience that’s already listed on your résumé.
  3. Effectively job searching isn’t just about getting a job offer.

III. Post Reading Tasks

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 Exercise

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

1. The following  four statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each one, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“You might be tempted to apply to as many jobs as possible, figuring that doing so will increase your odds of being called for an interview… Employers can tell when you’re submitting the same generic application you’ve submitted to dozens of other places, and you have a far lower chance of catching their eyes.”

“Send out fewer applications, and spend time customizing each. Write cover letters that are specific to each job you’re applying for, and ensure that your résumé highlights speak directly to the qualifications being sought. If your application package is identical every time you send it out, that’s a sign that you need to be more targeted in your approach.”

“Avoid making similar mistakes in the future by reflecting on what red flags you ignored in the past – such as an unpleasant interviewer or a culture that didn’t feel like a fit – and vowing to heed warning signs this time around.”

“Do yourself a favor, and vow to move on mentally after applying or interviewing. Tell yourself you didn’t get the job so that you’re not sitting around agonizing about why you haven’t heard anything, and let it be a pleasant surprise if they do contact you. This approach won’t hurt your chances, and it will make you a whole lot happier in the meantime.”

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about job hunting 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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2015: Having A Ball!

December 28th, 2014  |  Published in Celebrations

“In cities around the world, the first seconds of the new year are marked by fireworks. But dropping a ball on New Year’s Eve is a wholly American tradition to count down the last fleeting moments. The first ball dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve remains the most famous: the one on top of One Times Square in New York City.” E. Rolfes, PBS

Times Square balls from 1907, 2007,  2009, and 2012.

Times Square balls from 1907, 2007, 2009, and 2012.

Excerpt: Having a ball: The history behind American New Year’s Eve celebrations By Ellen Rolfes, PBS

With the creation of standard time, time balls were invented so that sailors could adjust their chronometers, or timepieces, while at sea. With a telescope, they would scope the harbor and watch for a time ball to drop at a specific time, usually noon or 1 p.m. The first time ball was installed in 1829 in Portsmouth, England. The U.S. Naval Observatory followed suit and began dropping a time ball in 1845 in Washington’s Foggy Bottom neighborhood.

Times Square New Year's Eve ball preparations for 2015.

Times Square New Year’s Eve ball preparations for 2015.

Soon many port towns and cities adopted the practice. It was one of these time balls that became the inspiration for Walter Palmer, The New York Times’ chief electrician, who reimagined the maritime timekeeping ritual as a unique finale to the city’s end-of-the-year party. In 1904, New York City’s New Year’s Eve celebrations moved up to the New York Times building at 46th St and Broadway. Crowds had previously gathered at Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan, near Wall Street, to hear the bells ring at midnight. In lieu of chimes, The New York Times company produced a midnight fireworks spectacle to lure more New Yorkers north. That proved effective but also disastrous when hot ashes, the remnants of the fireworks, rained down onto the streets.

The ball was redesigned as new technology and materials became available, Jeffrey Straus noted. As president of Countdown Entertainment and executive producer for New Year’s Eve celebrations in Times Square, Straus organizes television and Web broadcasts of the Times Square. Over the decades, aluminum has replaced iron and halogen lamps and then light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, replaced incandescent bulbs. Some balls have had rhinestones, strobe lights or rotating pyramid mirrors. Computer controls were added in 1995.

What distinguishes the current ball from earlier predecessors is the multitude of lights and crystals. At 11,875 pounds and 12 feet in diameter, the Big Ball has 2,688 Waterford Crystals that refracts the light of 32,256 Philips LEDs.”

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