Frida Kahlo: The Original Selfie

“She was a genius…an ace manipulator of society and media nearly a century before social media came into existence. Born in 1907, dead at 47, Frida Kahlo achieved celebrity even in her brief lifetime that extended far beyond Mexico’s borders, although nothing like the cult status that would eventually make her the mother of the selfie, her indelible image recognizable everywhere.” G. Trebay, NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Frida Kahlo-July 6 1907-July 13 1954

Frida Kahlo-July 6 1907-July 13 1954

Excerpt: Frida Kahlo Is Having a Moment by Guy Trebay,NYT

“Yet, despite the many biographies, documentaries and biopics, there remains much to learn about this often misunderstood artist… a proto-feminist who invested her art with an autobiography filled with struggle and pain. She was also an ardent Communist who sometimes fudged her date of birth to align with the start of the Mexican Revolution…In a welcome though unexpected convergence, an array of new books and exhibitions about Kahlo have suddenly appeared this spring, adding insight and depth to our understanding of a woman who would seem among the most overexposed artistic figures of all time.

Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo.

Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo.

While it seems clear that artists like Tracey Emin have fallen under the influence of her audacious self-disclosures; that designers — like Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier — have drawn inspiration from her style; and that entertainers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé shrewdly adapted the lessons pioneered by a publicity-friendly solipsist who anticipated the Instagram era by many decades, Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma. In Mirror, Mirror, a portrait-survey that opens this month at Throckmorton Fine Art in Manhattan, Kahlo is revealed to have been an image wizard… Frida did not miss an opportunity to be photographed by anyone and everyone, said Norberto Rivera, the photography director at the gallery.

Kahlo painting portrait. Credit:rebelarte.livejournal

Kahlo painting portrait. Credit:rebelarte.livejournal

She created this image to hide the pain, referring to the lifelong aftereffects of severe injuries Kahlo suffered in a streetcar accident when she was 18. In under two decades, aided by a well-regarded biography and asoapy biopic, Kahlo had undergone transformation from a compelling cult figure to a universally recognized symbol of artistic triumph and feminist struggle. Somehow along the way she also became a centerpiece of a kitsch marketing bonanza.

Frida Kahlo-Self-Portrait 1930.

Frida Kahlo-Self-Portrait 1930.

The Fridamania that elevated Kahlo to near-mythic dimensions also transformed her — brooding gaze, elaborate Tehuana coiffures, signature mono-brow — into an image emblazoned on sneakers, T-shirts, tote bags, coasters, cosmetics, even tequila and beer. Unlike Che Guevara, who when he became a T-shirt and a poster was scarcely identifiable as the leader of the Cuban revolution… Frida Kahlo remains Frida Kahlo… there is little doubt Kahlo continues to exist as a potent figure of myth.”

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Frida Kahlo.  Next, have students look at the pictures 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.

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

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. Despite the many biopics, kahlo is misunderstood.
  2. She was also an ardent Communist.
  3. She fudged her date of birth to align with the start of the Mexican Revolution.
  4. An array of new books about Kahlo have suddenly appeared.
  5. Artists have fallen under the influence of her audacious self-disclosures.
  6. Kahlo was a publicity-friendly solipsist.
  7. Kahlo anticipated the Instagram era.
  8. Kahlo suffered severe injuries a streetcar accident.
  9. The self-portraits unsparingly depict her physical travails.
  10. “Fridamania shows no signs of relenting.
ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

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

Fine/find catalogs accompany/accompanying each exhibition/exhibit add to an ever-expanding Kahlo literary/library, and yet in certain ways it is the newly published “Frida Kahlo: The Gisèle Freund Photographs,” that offers/off the most intimidate/intimate insights into her life and working process/progress. Its 100 rave/rare images document/documents a friendship that the Magnum photographer conduct/conducted with the couple in the last years/yearly before Kahlo’s death; both Kahlo and Rivera shine forth/fourth from these domestic images.

 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. Yet, despite the many biography there remains much to learn about this artist.
  2. She was an ardent Communist.
  3. Riccardo Tisci of Givenchy and Jean Paul Gaultier  have drawn inspiration from her style.

II

  1. Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma.
  2. Kahlo is revealed to have been an image wizard.
  3. Frida Kahlo’s fame is extensive.

III

  1. Another Kahlo painting was featured on a cover of a Sotheby’s catalog.
  2. This portrait, of the artist with a parrot and a monkey, sold for more than $3 million.
  3. Fridamania show no signs of relenting.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

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

WH-organizer from Enchanted Learning.

WH-organizer from 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  statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“…entertainers like Lady Gaga and Beyoncé shrewdly adapted the lessons pioneered by a publicity-friendly solipsist who anticipated the Instagram era by many decades, Kahlo remains in some ways an enigma.”

“In under two decades, aided by a well-regarded biography and asoapy biopic, Kahlo had undergone transformation from a compelling cult figure to a universally recognized symbol of artistic triumph and feminist struggle. Somehow along the way she also became a centerpiece of a kitsch marketing bonanza.”

“I remember buying as a gift Frida Kahlo Converse sneakers at 10 Corso Como,” said Robert Burke, a luxury consultant, referring to the high-end Milanese retailer. Though that was fun and good, there’s only a certain amount of times an image can be used before it starts to fatigue and degrade.”

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: Arts | Tags:

Robotic Chimps on the Moon

“Could the next moon mission involve a small step for an ape, but a giant leap for all robots?…a design from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (also known as DFKI) in Bremen, Germany, has landed on the chimpanzee as its model for unmanned lunar missions.” P. Shadbolt CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

ROBOTIC CHIMP. PHOTO CNN

ROBOTIC CHIMP. PHOTO CNN

Excerpt: This robotic chimp could one day roam the moon By Peter Shadbolt, for CNN

“DFKI hopes its design — called the iStruct Demonstrator will capitalize on the inherent stability of the ape’s quadrupedal stance without losing the chimp’s versatility in climbing, grasping and moving over all types of terrain.

Chimps have good quadrupedal walking abilities but they can also perform stand-up motion and walk on two legs. CNN

Chimps have good quadrupedal walking abilities but they can also perform stand-up motion and walk on two legs. CNN

For example, they have quite good quadrupedal walking abilities but they can also perform stand- up motion and walk on two legs — their ability to do this is greater than other animals. This change in posture and walking form interested us… Four-legged locomotion, might be stable — but for speed and agility on flat ground, bipedal walking has the edge. The chimp’s greatest asset is that it can choose which form of movement best fits the situation. Founded by the German space agency DLR, the project has also built Lunar craters in a lab to test the prototype.The robot can walk up and down slopes of up to 20 degrees.

Its biggest advantage, however, comes from the fact that like a real chimpanzees, it has a spine. Because of the embedded electronics in the spine, the overall structure can be used as a 6-axis force-torque sensor, allowing it a range of movement that replicates human and animal mobility. The chimpanzee is not the only animal that is being studied by DFKI as a potential model for a lunar robot. Also on the drawing board are plans for a lunar mantis and a lunar scorpion.”

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.

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 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. There is renewed interest in moon exploration.
  2. Deposits of helium-3, is believed to be on the moon.
  3. Robots might be the ideal solution.
  4. There is the stability of the ape’s quadrupedal stance.
  5. Previously, most multi-legged robots have been equipped with single-point contact feet.
  6. The robotic chimpanzee focuses on a sophisticated system.
  7. The sensors include an array of 43 individual force sensing resistor (FSR) sensors.
  8. The robot is also equipped with a distance sensor.
  9. Like a real chimpanzees, it has a spine.
  10. It has embedded electronics in the spine.

    ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

    ELL-teaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

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. The chimpanzee model  is a design  from Bremen, Sweden.
  2. The design is called the iStruct Demonstrator.
  3. They  chose the ape because of its size.
  4. Chimps have good quadrupedal walking abilities and they can also perform stand- up motion and walk on two legs.
  5. Chimps live longer than most monkeys.
  6. The project has also built Lunar craters in a lab to test the prototype.
  7. The German space agency is not happy with the results.
  8. There are approximately 100 robot chimps thus far.
  9. The biggest advantage is the robot has a spine like a real chimp.
  10. Plans for a  lion and a lunar bear are also being considered.

Grammar Focus: Preposition Exercise

Prepositions:  in, for, of, with, by,  on, at, to, as, into, around, over,  without, from, during,

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

DFKI hopes its design called the iStruct Demonstrator will capitalize___the inherent stability___ the ape’s quadrupedal stance___ losing the chimp’s versatility___climbing, grasping and moving over all types___terrain. The chimpanzee is not the only animal that is being studied___DFKI___ a potential model___ a lunar robot. Also___the drawing board are plans for a lunar mantis and a lunar scorpion. Also___ the prototype stage, the advantage___ this type___ locomotion, Kuhn says, has great potential.

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 statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“The chimp’s greatest asset is that it can choose which form of movement best fits the situation. They can choose: if the environment won’t let you move in a stable fashion on two legs they can choose four. When the environment improves, two legs allows you to get a better view over the field.”

“For those designing lunar robots, the list of specifications can be daunting. Not only must a robot be able to see, drill, grind, collect and even sieve, it needs to get around a hostile environment in extreme temperatures and in a vacuum.”

“Robots also must offer the greatest strength and versatility for the least payload and have the ability to fix problems if something goes wrong.With the moon 380,000 kilometers away, there’s little margin for error and …it may take three or four generations before the lunar chimp is completely space proof.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology | Tags:

Is Sign Language Universal in the Human Mind?

“First, tap your forehead with your index finger. Then, with hands at shoulder width and forming a circle using the thumb and index finger of each, move your hands from neck height downward, stopping abruptly. If you are not fluent in American Sign Language, you would struggle to guess that this motion means “decide”—but a study published this week suggests that non-signers can guess at least one crucial aspect of the word.” The Economist

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Signing the word Decide. Photo- Lifeprint

Signing the word Decide. Photo- Lifeprint

Excerpt: A word in the hand -The Economist

“Decide” is what is known as a telic verb—that is, it represents an action with a definite end. By contrast, atelic verbs such as “negotiate” or “think” denote actions of indefinite duration. The distinction is an important one for philosophers and linguists…One question is whether the ability to distinguish them is hard-wired into the human brain. Academics such as Noam Chomsky, a linguist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believe that humans are born with a linguistic framework onto which a mother tongue is built.

Exploring these ideas is tricky, not least because newborns hold the answer. But sign languages, just as complex and expressive as their spoken counterparts, may give hints by bringing the conceptual into the visual domain.

In 2003 Ronnie Wilbur, of Purdue University, in Indiana, noticed that the signs for telic verbs in American Sign Language tended to employ sharp decelerations or changes in hand shape at some invisible boundary, while signs for atelic words often involved repetitive motions and an absence of such a boundary. Dr Wilbur believes that sign languages make grammatical that which is available from the physics and geometry of the world.

Work by Brent Strickland, of the Jean Nicod Institute, in France, and his colleagues, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, now suggests that it is. Dr Strickland has gone some way to showing that signs arise from a kind of universal visual grammar that signers are working to.

All of this, Dr Strickland says, challenges the long-standing notion in linguistics that the relation between a symbol and its meaning is arbitrary. If the various symbols for “decide”, encoded in a number of different sign languages of different descent, all share unconscious visual cues, then perhaps the relation is not entirely arbitrary after all.”

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

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about  American Sign Language.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately.com

KWL Chart from Creately.com

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. Atelic verbs  denote actions of indefinite duration.
  2. The distinction is an important one for philosophers and linguists.
  3. Humans inherently have a broader core knowledge.
  4. Sign languages are as complex as their spoken counterparts.
  5. Signs arise from a kind of universal visual grammar.
  6. Dr Strickland’s team recruited volunteers.
  7. Participants guessed correctly more than 90% of the time.
  8. This pattern was not confined to Italian Sign Language.
  9. That may be an indication of core knowledge.
  10. All of this challenges the long-standing notion in linguistics.
Vocabulary Chart by  Freeology.

Vocabulary Chart by Freeology.

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

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

One question/quest is weather/whether the ability/able to distinguish/distinct them is hard-wired into the human bran/brain. Academics such as Noam Chomsky, a linguist/linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, believe that humans are barn/born with a linguistic framework onto which a mother tongue is build/built. Elizabeth Spelke, a psychologist/psychology up the road at Harvard, has gone farther/further, arguing that humans inherently have a broader “core knowledge” made up of various cognitive and computational capabilities.

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. “Decide” is what is known as an telic verb.
  2. It represents an action with a definite end.
  3. The distinction is an important one.

II

  1. The volunteers reported having none prior experience of sign languages.
  2. Respondents accurately spotted the correct answer.
  3. Perhaps the relation is not entirely arbitrary after all.

III

  1. Speakers of Nicaraguan Sign Language (ISN) would be useful.
  2. Humans may share such communication basics.
  3. But the present findings are an good sign.

III. Post Reading Tasks

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart  (what they Learned). 

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

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

opic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

opic 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  statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“Dr Strickland’s team recruited volunteers…These volunteers reported having no prior experience of sign languages. In the first experiment, they were shown videos of a series of signs from Italian Sign Language. For each, they were asked to guess the sign’s meaning and given a pair of options: one telic, and one atelic describing a different kind of action altogether (one pair might, for example, be “forget” and “negotiate”).”

“All of this, Dr Strickland says, challenges the long-standing notion in linguistics that the relation between a symbol and its meaning is arbitrary…That may be an indication of core knowledge that would not surprise the Chomskyists. What might provide more compelling evidence are experiments in a similar vein carried out among speakers of Nicaraguan Sign Language (ISN). This developed spontaneously, in the 1970s, among deaf Nicaraguan schoolchildren: an untainted expression of communication made visual.”

“The notion that humans may share such communication basics is also fuel to Dr Wilbur’s idea that sign language long predated the spoken kind. Establishing either proposition will take far more work. But the present findings are a good sign.”

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about American Sign Language 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: Language | Tags:

Meet The Giant “Hero Rats” of Angola

“I’m walking in a minefield here in rural Angola, tailing a monster rat. This is a Gambian pouched rat, a breed almost 3 feet from nose to tail, the kind of rat that gives cats nightmares. Yet this rat is a genius as well as a giant, for it has learned how to detect land mines by scent — and it’s doing its best to save humans like me from blowing up.” N. Kristof, New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Abraham, a Hero Rat. Photo-International reporting project

Abraham, a Hero Rat. Photo-International reporting project

Excerpt: The Giant Rats That Save Lives by Nickolas Kristof, NYT

“These rodent mine detectors have been dubbed HeroRats, and when you’re in a minefield with one that seems about right. You’re very respectful, and you just hope this HeroRat doesn’t have a stuffed nose. I’m here because five years ago, my kids gave me a HeroRat for a Father’s Day present through GlobalGiving.org. I didn’t actually take physical possession (fortunately!) but the gift helped pay to train the rat to sniff out explosives. And now I’ve come to minefields of rural Angola to hunt for my rat.

A Gambian pouched rat clears a minefield in N. Angola. Credit-N. Kristof:NYT

A Gambian pouched rat clears a minefield in N. Angola. Credit-N. Kristof:NYT

I’ve seen land-mine detection in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and it’s dreadfully slow and inefficient. Typically, men in body armor walk in precise rows holding metal detectors in front of them. Whenever they come across metal, they stop and painstakingly brush away the soil until they see what it is…In contrast, the rats scamper along on leashes. They respond only to the scent of explosives, so scrap metal doesn’t slow them down.

The rats are paid in bananas, peanuts, avocados and apples, and they don’t need body armor — partly because they’re too light to set off land mines. (They can still weigh up to 2.5 pounds, which is a lot of rat when you’re face to face.) The handlers grow attached to the rats and recognize each of them by face.

Credit- AllAfrica

Credit- AllAfrica

Bart Weetjens, a Belgian product designer, started the HeroRat program after puzzling about how to improve mine detection. As a boy, Weetjens had kept rats as pets, and he came across an article about the use of gerbils for tasks involving scent detection. Weetjens then consulted rodent scholars, who suggested Gambian pouched rats, in part because they compensate for very weak eyes with a superb sense of smell.

So Weetjens started an aid group, Apopo, that trains the rats in Tanzania and then deploys them to minefields in various countries. Apopo is also now branching off into using HeroRats to detect tuberculosis — a disease of poverty that kills 1.5 million people a year around the world.

Through Apopo.org, you can “adopt” a HeroRat for $84 a year. Take it from me, this makes a terrific Mother’s Day or Father’s Day present!”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. 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. 

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic.

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. These rodent mine detectors have been dubbed HeroRats.
  2. When you’re in a minefield with one that seems about right.
  3. Land-mine detection in Afghanistan and elsewhere is inefficient.
  4. Men in body armor walk in precise rows holding metal detectors.
  5. They painstakingly brush away the soil until they see what it is.
  6. Usually it’s an empty AK-47 cartridge.
  7. Rats are also more reliable.
  8. With humans, concentration wanes after a while.
  9. I think I found my rat: a scraggly codger named Boban.
  10. The rats are also much more accurate than a human.
ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

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. The authors friends gave him a HeroRat as a gift.

  1. The authors friends gave him a HeroRat as a gift.
  2. The author took physical possession of the rat.
  3. The gift helped pay to train the rat to sniff out explosives.
  4. The author went to the minefields of rural Angola to hunt for his rat.
  5. The author has five kids.
  6. There are 52 HeroRats in rural Angola.
  7. The rats wear body armor.
  8. Bart Weetjens, a Belgian product designer, started the HeroRat program.
  9. They are called “pouched” because they are marsupials.
  10. Another advantage of Gambian pouched rats is that they have an eight-year life span.

 Grammar Focus: Preposition Exercise

Prepositions: in, for, of, with, by, across, on, at, to, as, into, around, over, until, from, during,
Directions: The following sentences are from the news article. For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices presented. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

I’ve seen land-mine detection ___Afghanistan and elsewhere, and it’s dreadfully slow and inefficient. Typically, men___body armor walk___ precise rows holding metal detectors___ front ___them. Whenever they come ___metal, they stop and painstakingly brush away the soil___they see what it is.

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.

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

1.  “I’ve seen land-mine detection in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and it’s dreadfully slow and inefficient. Typically, men in body armor walk in precise rows holding metal detectors in front of them. Whenever they come across metal, they stop and painstakingly brush away the soil until they see what it is. Usually it’s an empty AK-47 cartridge or a nail. Sometimes there is metal every few inches. Each time, the whole process stops until the soil can be brushed away.”

2. “Rats are also more reliable,” …With humans, concentration wanes after a while, but rats just sniff away. The rats are paid in bananas, peanuts, avocados and apples, and they don’t need body armor — partly because they’re too light to set off land mines. (They can still weigh up to 2.5 pounds, which is a lot of rat when you’re face to face.)”

3. “Weetjens then consulted rodent scholars, who suggested Gambian pouched rats, in part because they compensate for very weak eyes with a superb sense of smell. They are called “pouched” not because they are marsupials but because they fill their cheeks with nuts and other goodies, and then bury them underground — relying upon scent to recover their caches later. Another advantage of Gambian pouched rats is that they have an eight-year life span that offers a lengthy return on the nine months of training needed to detect land mines.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Technology | Tags: ,

M.B.A.s Gaining the Most Jobs in 2015!

“With some 13,000 graduate schools of business across the globe, the M.B.A. degree has clearly become a commodity. Even among elite schools, courses and case studies are pretty much water from the same well . So how do you choose? By using the rankings? Which ones? The Economist’s? Businessweek’s? The Financial Times’s? And if you do, how do you tell the difference between a school ranked No. 6 and a school ranked No. 7?”  D. McDonald, New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

Credit- Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

Excerpt: M.B.A. Programs That Get You Where You Want to Go, By Duff McDonald New York Times

“Don’t ask us. Don’t ask the schools, either. Their slick brochures try to be everything to everybody, and in the process they obscure rather than illuminate.

Conventional wisdom will tell you that Harvard is for Fortune 500 jobs, Wharton for Wall Street, Kellogg for marketing and Instead for multinational entities. There’s truth to some of it, but times change, and so do employers’ recruiting preferences. The smartest move might be to choose your business school by focusing on a very specific outcome and, assuming a good fit personally, going to the one with an impressive record of helping students achieve the same. Period.

To Work at Amazon

Go to Ross School of Business (University of Michigan)

Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

This might come as a surprise: Amazon regularly hires more M.B.A.s from top-10 business schools than big Wall Street firms. And its demand is surging: In 2014, Amazon hired 40 percent more M.B.A.s than it did in 2013, a large chunk of them from Ross. The e-commerce giant hired 27 M.B.A.s from Michigan last year, displacing Ross’s historical No. 1 recruiter, Deloitte Consulting, and 37 the previous two years.

To Work at Apple

Go to Fuqua School of Business (Duke)

Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

Wesley Bedrosian for The New York Times

Silicon Valley hasn’t always welcomed M.B.A.s. After all, you don’t need a graduate degree to hatch a bold idea in your garage. Steve Jobs, Apple’s late chief, didn’t finish college and was known to have disdain for “suits,” whether investment bankers or management consultants. But the company, once the scrappy symbol of the tech counterculture, has undergone an evolution.

Two of Apple’s top 10 executives hail from Fuqua: the chief executive, Timothy D. Cook, and the senior vice president of operations, Jeff Williams. And they are, apparently, loyal. Apple has hired 32 Fuqua graduates over the past five years, while also providing 42 internships for Duke students.

To Work at Procter & Gamble

Go to Kelley School of Business (Indiana University)

Credit- Wesley Bedrosian

Credit- Wesley Bedrosian

While M.B.A.s don’t dream of working at giant consumer products companies the way they did a few decades ago — today, it’s consulting, start-ups, tech giants or private equity — one of America’s legendary corporate success stories still draws them in hordes: the 177-year-old Procter & Gamble.

To Start Your Own Company

Go to Harvard Business School

Credit: Wesley Bedrosian

Credit: Wesley Bedrosian

No, the world has not been turned upside down. The substantial resources Harvard has devoted to its entrepreneurial offerings in recent years are starting to show real results. By many accounts, Harvard has as strong a claim to being top start-up destination as Stanford does.

Anchored by its Arthur Rock Center for Entrepreneurship, the school offers 33 graduate-level entrepreneurship courses, with the second-largest number of dedicated faculty after finance.”

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ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about the MBA programs at various business schools.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately,com

KWL Chart from Creately,com

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. Conventional wisdom will tell you that Harvard is for Fortune 500 jobs.
  2. But times change, and so do employers’ recruiting preferences.
  3. Choose your business school by focusing on a very specific outcome.
  4. The best schools have impressive records of helping students.
  5. Ross Graduates have traits common to most M.B.A.s.
  6. Desirable soft skills are humility, listening and a hearty work ethic.
  7. Presidio has placed sustainability directors at companies from Salesforce.com to Facebook.
  8. The school’s emphasis on persona is historic.
  9. Private equity has the most lucrative jobs for M.B.A.s, but also the fewest.
  10. East Coast schools seem an obvious choice given their proximity to Wall Street.
ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

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

For an M.B.A.,___a job at McKinsey is a bit like ___to get into a ___business school all over again. Except the field is much ___ made up of only those who managed to pass the first___. But graduates of___perform quite well the second time around. The school’s M.B.A.s are in___ at ___consulting firms, which hired 35 percent of its ___last year, a higher ___than at Harvard (23 percent) and Stanford (16 percent). The top four___at Kellogg in 2014 were McKinsey, Deloitte, Bain and the Boston Consulting Group. McKinsey alone has hired 215 Kellogg ___over the last five years.

Word List:
recruiters, competitive, demand, graduates, trying, hurdle, percentage, graduates,
landing, stronger, Kellogg, elite

 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. This might come as a surprise: Amazon regularly hire more M.B.A.s.
  2. The e-commerce giant hired 27 M.B.A.s from Michigan last year.
  3. The most senior Ross graduate at Amazon is Peter Faricy.

II

  1. Last year, Amazon was home to three teams.
  2. A few desirable soft skills is humility and listening.
  3. Silicon Valley hasn’t always welcomed M.B.A.s.

 

III

  1. Two of Apple’s top 10 executives hail from Fuqua.
  2. Kelley is looking  on talented hard workers with the ability to grow.
  3. Harvard grads consistently start more companies.

III. Post Reading Tasks

KWL Chart

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

Discussion/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.

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

1. “Silicon Valley hasn’t always welcomed M.B.A.s. After all, you don’t need a graduate degree to hatch a bold idea in your garage. Steve Jobs, Apple’s late chief, didn’t finish college and was known to have disdain for “suits,” whether investment bankers or management consultants. But the company, once the scrappy symbol of the tech counterculture, has undergone an evolution.”

2. “This might come as a surprise: Amazon regularly hires more M.B.A.s from top-10 business schools than big Wall Street firms. And its demand is surging: In 2014, Amazon hired 40 percent more M.B.A.s than it did in 2013, a large chunk of them from Ross. The e-commerce giant hired 27 M.B.A.s from Michigan last year, displacing Ross’s historical No. 1 recruiter, Deloitte Consulting, and 37 the previous two years.”

3. “Edward A. Snyder is reinventing Yale’s business school. Soon after his arrival as dean in 2011, the school created the Global Network for Advanced Management. The network has since assembled an impressive membership of 27 schools from five continents, including well-known names (Insead, London School of Economics). Since its establishment in 1976, the Yale School of Management has insisted that business, government and nonprofit leaders need to better understand one another, giving the school a distinct public/private flavor. Dr. Snyder makes clear: We’re not abandoning the school’s longstanding mission. Environmental sustainability, for example, is not going to get solved by the government, the market or the nonprofit sector alone. We’re continuing within the frame, but with a more modern — and more global — view.”

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about MBA programs 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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