Too Young for a Smartphone?

“Not long ago, many parents wondered at what age they should give their child full access to the car keys. Nowadays, parents face a trickier question: At what age should a child own a smartphone? The smartphone, after all, is the key to unfettered access to the internet and the many benefits and dangers that come with it.” B. Chen, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- wonderhowto190.rssing.com

Photo- wonderhowto190.rssing.com

 

Excerpt: What’s the Right Age for a Child to Get a Smartphone? By Brian X Chen, The New York Times

“But unlike driving a car, which is legal in some states starting at the age of 16, there is no legal guideline for a parent to determine when a child may be ready for a smartphone.

The topic is being increasingly debated as children get smartphones at an ever younger age. On average, children are getting their first smartphones around age 10, according to the research firm Influence Central, down from age 12 in 2012. For some children, smartphone ownership starts even sooner — including second graders as young as 7, according to internet safety experts.Image yourekavach.comtiff

I think that age is going to trend even younger, because parents are getting tired of handing their smartphones to their kids, said Stacy DeBroff, chief executive of Influence Central.

The downward age creep is meeting resistance. James P. Steyer, chief executive of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization that reviews content and products for families, has a strict rule for his family: His children get a smartphone only when they start high school — after they have learned restraint and the value of face-to-face communication.

So how do you determine the right time? To come up with some guidelines, I interviewed internet safety experts and combed through studies on smartphone use among children. The takeaway will not please smartphone makers: The longer you wait to give your children a smartphone, the better.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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. I think that age is going to trend even younger.
  2. How do you determine the right time?
  3. I interviewed internet safety experts.
  4. Parents have  advice on regulating smartphone use.
  5. There is no legal guideline.
  6. The downward age creep is meeting resistance.
  7. Children must learn restraint.
  8. Smartphones can be addictive.
  9. They also are one step closer to distracting games.
  10. Smartphones undoubtedly bring benefits.

vocab Freeology

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. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

“In the end, such ___may ___the pros, Ms. Weinberger said. If you hold off___ smartphones to___, many still have ___to technology ___through devices like ___and ___ she added. The main difference with a___is that it is with a___ everywhere, including outside of___ supervision.”

WORD LIST: outweigh, parental, computers, access, tools, tablets, child,  children, smartphone, giving, cons,

 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

Smartphones undoubtedly bring benefits.

But they also is one step closer to distracting games.

Even older children are not immune.

II

In the end con may outweigh the pros.

parents will determine when their child truly needs a smartphone.

She felt the device would make him a target for muggers.

III

Parents can set  limits.

Some limits is no smartphones at the dinner table or in class.

There are some phone settings that can help keep children safe.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements 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. “No two kids are the same, and there’s no magic number…A kid’s age is not as important as his or her own responsibility or maturity level.”
  2. “In a separate study published this year, Common Sense Media polled 1,240 parents and children and found 50 percent of the children admitted that they were addicted to their smartphones. It also found that 66 percent of parents felt their children used mobile devices too much, and 52 percent of children agreed.”
  3. At what age do you think children should be allowed to use smartphones? Provide reasons for your answer.
  4. At what age did you begin using a smartphone?

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:

The Power of Pokémon Go on Kids…and Adults

“It is strange to live in a place where the skeletons of Alaskan king salmon, loosed from bald eagles’ talons, sometimes plummet to the sidewalk. It is strange to live in a place where brown bears are so populous that hikers tie bells to their dogs and wrists. Where ravens as big as house cats caw and the sun barely sets into the ocean beside a dormant volcano. Stranger still, however, to see young people hold their phones to their faces and scan this landscape for an elusive Jigglypuff.”A. Butcher, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- serebii.net

image- serebii.net

Pikachu (Polygon)

Pikachu (Polygon)

Excerpt: Pokémon Go See the World in Its Splendor By Amy Butcher, The New York Times

“Bubble-gum pink, more cotton candy than animal, the Jigglypuff might lurk, my students tell me, in the woods among the scattered totem poles. Or perhaps along the harbor, where yachts and trolling boats rock between rows of barnacled piers.

Jigglypuff

Jigglypuff

The shells crunch beneath their feet as the kids lift their screens into the air, scanning sky and earth and sea, ignoring jellyfish and banana slugs, saying, quietly, It’s just another Rattata.

Rattata is a Normal type Pokémon.

Rattata is a Normal type Pokémon.

I used to be obsessed with Pokémon. A middle schooler when the game was first released in the late ’90s… My companion of choice was Charmander, tiny and orange and adorable.

Charmander is a Fire type Pokémon.

Charmander is a Fire type Pokémon.

How easily my parents bribed me in return for buying booster packs. How many weeds I pulled in pursuit of a Mewtwo.

Mewtwo

Whole rooms were vacuumed of Ritz crackers and crayon tips because of the possibility of a bumbling Snorlax, a skin-shredding Dratini…But upon the release, early this month, of Pokémon Go — the long-awaited augmented-reality iPhone and Android counterpart to the original Game Boy series — I found I had evolved to the curmudgeonly attributes of the nearly 30.

Phones away! became my mantra. I said it dozens of times a day. I was teaching at a fine arts camp in Sitka, Alaska, when the game came out… They were enrolled in courses in juggling, sketch comedy and opera. They were practicing the ancient Japanese pottery-making technique of raku.

But they were also playing the great Japanese game Pokémon Go, like everyone else. The students pointed their cameras at the blackboard, bouncing digital Poké Balls to capture creatures, laughing when a wormy Weedle landed on another student or slithered across a desk.

More than anything, I couldn’t understand why my students — living in pristine, picturesque Alaska — were so enamored of the invented wilderness superimposed on their screens. The real thing was all around them.

Days later, upon return to my Ohio home, when I no longer felt I had to set an example, I downloaded the game myself.

My community came to life in vibrant shades of pastel blue and green, the grid of my neighborhood alive with magic… The whole idea of Pokémon Go is to visit where you have not been, to trace sites both new and foreign.”

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.

The UIE brainstorming chart (sample)

Brainstorming chart by UIE copy

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. The kids lift their screens into the air scanning sky and earth.
  2. I used to be obsessed with Pokémon
  3. My companion of choice was Charmander.
  4. I liked  how the adolescent things gave way to jutting claws.
  5. How easily my parents bribed me.
  6. I was, in short, enraptured.
  7. I had evolved to the curmudgeonly attributes of the nearly 30.
  8. The game seemed an incredible nuisance in the classroom.
  9. The restaurants I most frequently patronize are a mile away.
  10. The game thrives most through collaboration.

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.

My___ came to life in___shades of___ blue and green, the grid of my___ alive with magic. I caught a Bulbasaur on my comforter. A fluffy ___lurked within the garden. In jest, my ___and I walked a block in pursuit of___ leaves that indicated an___not yet ___in our Pokédex. We caught him and___the block. Then another. We walked five miles.

WORD LIST: pastel, community, boyfriend, walked,

vibrant, neighborhood, Eevee, captured, rustling, animal.

 Grammar Focus

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 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. “More than anything, I couldn’t understand why my students living in pristine, picturesque Alaska — were so enamored of the invented wilderness superimposed on their screens. The real thing was all around them.”
  2. “The game seemed an incredible nuisance in the classroom, but also in the cafeteria and the auditorium, at our nightly events and on the campus green… They were respectful when class started, or when the lights dimmed for a performance, but still I resented the game and its viral international reception.”
  3. Have you played the Pokémon Go game? If so describe your experince.
  4. Do you think that Pokémon Go is a good idea for children? What about adults? Provide reasons for your answers.

Additional Class Activities for Pokémon Go

“How can you utilize the game “Pokemon Go” into your classroom in a meaningful way? Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities.” Visit Discovery Education with Kathy’s Katch  August 2016: Pokémon Go in the classroom

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology | Tags:

Why American Families Fear For Their Lives in the U.S.

“I am the son of Muslim immigrants. Being Muslim American already carries a decent amount of baggage. In our culture, when people think Muslim, the picture in their heads is not usually of the Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar…It’s of a scary terrorist character from Homeland or some monster from the news…It also makes no sense.” A. Ansari, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Aziz Ansari is an American actor and comedian. He is known for his roles as Tom Haverford on the NBC series Parks and Recreation and as Dev Shah on the Netflix series Master of None.

Aziz Ansari is an American actor and comedian. He is known for his roles as Tom Haverford on the NBC series Parks and Recreation and as Dev Shah on the Netflix series Master of None.

Excerpt:  Why Trump Makes Me Scared for My Family, By Aziz Ansari, The New York Times

“Today, with the presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and others like him spewing hate speech, prejudice is reaching new levels. It’s visceral, and scary, and it affects how people live, work and pray. It makes me afraid for my family.

There are approximately 3.3 million Muslim Americans. After the attack in Orlando, The Times reported that the F.B.I. is investigating 1,000 potential “homegrown violent extremists,” a majority of whom are most likely connected in some way to the Islamic State. If everyone on that list is Muslim American, that is 0.03 percent of the Muslim American population. If you round that number, it is 0 percent. The overwhelming number of Muslim Americans have as much in common with that monster in Orlando as any white person has with any of the white terrorists who shoot up movie theaters or schools or abortion clinics.

Aziz Ansari’s parents.

Aziz Ansari’s parents.

I’m really sick of having to explain that I’m not a terrorist every time the shooter is brown…I understand that as far as these problems go, I have it better than most because of my recognizability as an actor. When someone on the street gives me a strange look, it’s usually because they want to take a selfie with me, not that they think I’m a terrorist.

According to reporting by Mother Jones, since 9/11, there have been 49 mass shootings in this country, and more than half of those were perpetrated by white males. I doubt we’ll hear Mr. Trump make a speech asking his fellow white males to tell authorities “who the bad ones are,” or call for restricting white males’ freedoms.

Ansari visits Sesame Street.

Ansari visits Sesame Street.

One way to decrease the risk of terrorism is clear: Keep military-grade weaponry out of the hands of mentally unstable people, those with a history of violence, and those on F.B.I. watch lists.”

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. I am the son of Muslim immigrants.
  2. That killer was a psychopath.
  3. The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump is horrific.
  4. He  implied that millions of innocent people are involved in those attacks.
  5. One way to decrease the risk of terrorism is clear.
  6. Keep military-grade weaponry out of the hands of mentally unstable people.
  7. Suspected terrorists can buy assault rifles.
  8. Xenophobic rhetoric was central to Mr. Trump’s campaign.
  9. The haunting sound of the second plane hitting the towers is forever ingrained in my head.
  10. My family, unable to reach me was terrified about my safety.

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. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

My ___was close enough that it ___upon impact. I was ___for my life as my ___students and I ___the panicked streets of___. My family, unable to reach me on my___, was terrified about my___ as they watched the towers___. There was ___no cheering. Only sadness, ___and fear.

WORD LIST: collapse, shook, trekked, Manhattan, horror, building, cellphone, scared, absolutely, safety, fellow,

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.

I myself am not a region/religious person, but after these attacks/attics, anyone that even likes/looks like they might be Muslim understands the feelings/feel my friend described. There is a strong/strange feeling that you must almost prove/proof yourself worthy/worth of feeling sad and scarred/scared like everyone else.

Discussion/Writing Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statement. 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. “The vitriolic and hate-filled rhetoric coming from Mr. Trump isn’t so far off from cursing at strangers from a car window. He has said that people in the American Muslim community “know who the bad ones are,” implying that millions of innocent people are somehow complicit in awful attacks.”
  2. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.

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 article.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues | Tags:

Female Athletes Want the Testosterone Testing to Stop!

“The treatment of female athletes, and intersex women in particular, has a long and sordid history. For centuries, sport was the exclusive province of males… As women athletes’ strength and confidence grew, some observers began to wonder if fast, powerful athletes could even be women.” R. Padawer, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Dutee Chand is the current national champion in the women's 100 metres event. When dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. NYT

Dutee Chand is the current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event. When dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. NYT

Excerpt: The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes, By Ruth Padawer, The New York Times

“By the mid-1940s, international sports administrators began requiring female competitors to bring medical ‘femininity certificates’ to verify their sex. In the 1950s, many Olympics officials were so uneasy about women’s participation that Prince Franz Josef of Liechtenstein, a member of the International Olympic Committee, spoke for many when he said he wanted to be spared the unesthetic spectacle of women trying to look and act like men…Others were particularly bothered by women in track and field because of the strained expressions on their faces during competition…Amid complaints about the genital checks, the I.A.A.F. and the I.O.C. introduced a new gender verification strategy in the late ’60s: a chromosome test. Officials considered that a more dignified, objective way to root out not only impostors but also intersex athletes, who, Olympic officials said, needed to be barred to ensure fair play… the tests discriminated against those whose anomalies provided little or no competitive edge and traumatized women who had spent their whole lives certain they were female, only to be told they were not female enough to participate.Maria José Martínez Patiño was kicked off the Spanish team and stripped of her titles. Photo outsport.com

One of those competitors was Maria José Martínez Patiño, a 24-year-old Spanish hurdler who was to run at the 1985 World University Games in Japan…because of a genetic mutation, her cells completely resisted the testosterone she produced, so her body actually had access to less testosterone than a typical woman… Spanish athletic officials told her she should feign an injury and withdraw from athletics permanently and without fuss. She refused. Instead, she ran the 60-meter hurdles and won, at which point someone leaked her test results to the press.Patiño was thrown off the national team, expelled from the athletes’ resi­dence and denied her scholarship. Her boyfriend and many friends and fellow athletes abandoned her. Her medals and records were revoked. Patiño became the first athlete to formally protest the chromosome test and to argue that disqualification was unjustified.

Caster Semenya Forces Olympic Community to Rethink Gender.

Caster Semenya Forces Olympic Community to Rethink Gender.

When Caster Semenya blew by her opponents in the 800-meter race at the 2009 African Junior Championships, her performance raised suspicions. Shortly after, sports officials tested her as she prepared for the World Athletics Championship. Unconcerned — she assumed the investigation was for doping — Semenya won gold again. Almost immediately, the fact that Semenya had been sex-tested was leaked to the press. Instead of attending what is normally the celebratory news conference, Semenya went into hiding.

Dutee Chand celebrates after winning the womens 100m event at the `55th National Open Athletics Championships 2015` in Kolkata

Dutee Chand celebrates after winning the womens 100m event at the `55th National Open Athletics Championships 2015` in Kolkatawas.

Dutee Chand was unaware of any controversy surrounding Semenya or other intersex athletes.  At 16, she also became a national champion in the under-18 category, winning the 100 meters in 11.8 seconds. The next year, she won gold in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. In June 2014, she won gold yet again at the Asian championships in Taipei.

Not long after that, she received the call to go to Delhi and was tested. The particulars of her results were not made public, but the media learned, and announced, that Chand had failed a gender test and wasn’t a ‘normal’ woman.

As news spread that Chand had been dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. Payoshni Mitra, an Indian researcher with a doctorate in gender issues in sport who had advocated on behalf of other intersex athletes, suggested Chand send a letter to the Athletics Federation of India, requesting her disqualification be reversed…In the new guidelines, female-to-male athletes face no restrictions of any kind; male-to-female athletes have some restrictions, including suppressing their testosterone levels below the typical male range…Those debates are far from Chand’s thoughts. Her focus now is on making the most of the window the ruling provides: allowing her to try to qualify for next month’s Olympics without having to change her body. In the miserable months after her test results were revealed, Chand’s training time and concentration were interrupted, and her hope of ever competing seemed out of reach. Once the ruling was issued, though, she returned to the Indian national team, and intensified her training for the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 400-meter relay… In addition to working out six hours a day, she tries to relax with naps… She is painfully aware that if she doesn’t make this summer’s [2016] Olympics, she may not have another chance.”

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level:  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. Sports organizations have been policing women for masculine qualities.
  2. Chand was raised in Gopalpur, a rural village in eastern India with only intermittent electricity.
  3. The doctor told her he would forgo the usual urine and blood tests.
  4. Competitors said her physique seemed suspiciously masculine.
  5. The doctor ordered an ultrasound for Chand.
  6. The word hermaphrodite is considered stigmatizing.
  7. Because of a genetic quirk some are born with ambiguous genitalia.
  8. For Chand, who had never heard the words testosterone it has been a slow and painful education.
  9. Nobody has so tenaciously tried to determine who counts as a woman for the purpose of sports as the I.A.A.F.
  10. Their rationale for decades was to catch male athletes masquerading as women.
Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Vocabulary Organizer 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 paragraphs 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.

In 1938, the ___of an ___was again in dispute. The ___high-jumper Dora Ratjen, a ___four th-place Olympian who won a gold medal at the European Athletics Championship, was suddenly identified as male, prompting Germany to___ return the medal. When Ratjen’s case became public years later — he claimed that the___pressured him to___as a ___for three years — it vali­dated the growing anxiety about gender___ in athletics.

Word List: athlete, pose, German, gender, fraud, quietly, woman, Nazis, former,

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,

___the Atlanta Games___1996, one___the few times the I.O.C. allowed detailed intersex-related data___be released, seven ___the eight women who were found___have a Y chromosome turned out___ be androgen insensitive: Their bodies couldn’t use the testosterone they made… The judges concluded that requiring women like Chand___change their bodies___order___ compete was unjustifiably discriminatory.

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. “Well into the 20th century, women were discouraged from participating in sports. Some medical experts claimed that vigorous exercise would damage women’s reproductive capacity and their fragile emotional state and would make them muscular, “mannish” and unattractive to men. Critics fretted that athletics would unbind women from femininity’s modesty and self-restraint.”
  2. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.
  3. Have each group “Google” the topic and see what additional information they can find. 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: Sports | Tags:

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