Straight Out Of Flint: Girl Boxer Aims For Olympics By Radio Diaries, NPR
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.
Recently Clarissa Shields was selected as a member of the USA Boxing Team for the 2012 London Olympic Games. She is just 17-years-old, the youngest boxing contender in four decades. This year will be the first time Female Boxing will be introduced as an Olympic event. The US has three women on its team, one for each division.
This NPR article is an older one that provides more information about Claressa, and her life before winning a place on the USA Olympic team. This was when she was known as the “Girl Boxer”.
“Sixteen-year-old Claressa Shields has a dream. She’s in London, at the Olympic finals for women’s boxing, when the announcer calls out, “The first woman Olympian at 165 pounds — Claressa Shields!”
Claressa, a high school student and middleweight boxer from Flint, Mich., is the youngest fighter competing for a place on the U.S. Olympic women’s boxing team…Claressa is undefeated — she has a 19-0 record — but in Spokane, at the biggest matches of her life, she faced women almost a decade older and much more experienced.
But Claressa Shields has beaten the odds before. Claressa attributes her start in boxing to her father, Clarence Shields, an amateur underground boxer who was nicknamed “Cannonball” because of his fast, hard punches. Clarence went to prison when Claressa was 2 and didn’t come out until she was 9…
When Claressa first asked Clarence if she could box, he told her that boxing was a man’s sport. “That made me so mad,” Claressa recalls. But she wouldn’t give up on the idea, and when she was 11 years old, her father finally brought her to the gym.
“I’m going to be honest, my first thought was you would get beat up and quit,” her father tells her. But Claressa proved him wrong.I’m still proving people wrong,” she says… Claressa’s coach, Jason Crutchfield, says he first noticed her determination and aggressive, fast punches a week after she came to his gym… A coach always wants a champion; I just never thought it was going to be a girl… It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for Claressa and for Flint, a town infamous for poverty, staggering unemployment and violent crime…Crutchfield says he sees Claressa’s success as a chance for Flint to turn that reputation around and boost morale. “This will show them that, through all that, something good came out of Flint: Claressa Shields.”
Read the article and watch our U.S. Female Boxing team bring home the Gold!
Level: Intermediate -Advanced
Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking and listening. Vocabulary and grammar activities are included.
Time: Approximately 2 hours.
Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.
Objective: Students will read and share their thoughts about the article through discussions. They will learn new vocabulary, and express their views on the topic by writing.
I. Pre-Reading Tasks
• Prediction: Creating Vocabulary & Ideas from headings and photos
Directions: Have students read the title of the post, and of the actual article. Then, have them analyze the photos. Based on these sources, have students create a list of words and ideas that they think might be in this article.
Directions: Have students use this pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.
- Pre-reading Discussion Questions
Directions: Have students discuss the following questions regarding female boxing in their countries.
- Is female boxing prevalent in your country? Explain why or why not.
- Are there any Females representing your country in the 2012 London Olympics? If yes, how do you feel about them? If no, would you have wanted you country to compete in this area? Why or why not?
II. While Reading Tasks
- Vocabulary-Word Inference
Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary or thesaurus for assistance.
- Claressa, a high school student and middleweight boxer from Flint…
- Earlier this month, Claressa joined 23 of the country’s best amateur female boxers…
- Claressa is undefeated — she has a 19-0 record…
- …she faced women almost a decade older and much more experienced.
- Claressa attributes her start in boxing to her father…
- “That made me so mad,” Claressa recalls.
- …But she wouldn’t give up on the idea…
- Stepping inside the ring, meanwhile, is like entering a different dimension.
- … Jason Crutchfield, says he…noticed her determination…
- Sure, Claressa is a fierce competitor, confident and determined…
- Questions for Reading Comprehension: True / False
Directions: The following statements were taken from the article. If a statement is true, students write (T) if a statement is false they write (F) and provide the correct answer from the article.
- Claressa Shields is sixteen-years-old.
- Claressa is from Flint, Missouri
- Earlier this month, Claressa joined 23 female boxers at the Olympic team trials in Washington, D.C.
- Claressa is undefeated.
- For Claressa, the gym is a beautiful place.
- Clarence went to prison when Claressa was 2 and didn’t come out until she was 9.
- When Claressa first asked Clarence if she could box, he told her that she should give boxing a try.
- Her father thought she would get beat up and quit.
- Claressa was beaten in her first fight.
- Claressa and Crutchfield have an almost father-daughter relationship.
- Grammar Focus: Using Adjectives to describe a photo.
Directions: Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.
For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar
III. Post Reading Tasks
- Reading Comprehension Check
Directions: Have students use the WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.
- WH-question format
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?
- Main Idea / Debate
Directions: Student choose two teams for debate. One team will list at least 4 reasons for professional female boxing, the other team will list at least 4 reasons against professional female boxing.
For organization, have students use the great Pros and Cons Scale organizer from Freeology.com
Directions: Have students choose a topic and write an essay.
- The article states, “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing for Claressa and for Flint, a town infamous for poverty, staggering unemployment and violent crime.” Using this statement as a starting point, write an essay in which you describe the ways professional boxing might help young females.
- Clarissa began boxing when she was 11-years-old, and some claim this young experience helped her to get to the Olympics. In some areas children begin boxing as young as 8-years-old. Write an essay in which you explain why allowing children to box at a young age is a good or bad idea.
- Write an essay in which you defend a female’s right to become a professional boxer if she so chooses.
IV. Listening Activity: Video Clip: Claressa Shields Interview with NBC Fox
Watch an interview with Us boxing Olympic team member Claressa Shields.
• While Listening Tasks
Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to select the terms from the choices provided.
1-The 2012 summer Olympics will be starting in London in
3-She’s the___ female qualified in this Olympic event.
c. almost youngest
4-Claressa fights other females between the ages of
5-The school she attends is
a. Michigan western
6-She doesn’t get a lot of fights in Michigan because of her
a. reputation and skills
7-Claressa’s goal is to
a. finish school
b. win the bronze medal
c. win the gold medal
8- Claressa was on her way to the trails in the state of
9- The fundraiser was in held in downtown___.
10-Claressa’s philosophy is
a. fight until you win
b. no pain no gain,no guts no glory
c. no pain, no glory
• Post-Listening Tasks
Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.
1. After listening to this video has your personal view of Claressa Shields changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way. If no, describe your original opinion of Claressa.
2. In your opinion, after viewing this video of Claressa, do you think she can win the gold medal in the 2012 Boxing Olympics?
3. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask Claressa Shields .
ANSWER KEY: Charissa Shields, Boxing.
A RING OF ONE’S OWN by Ariel Levy, The New Yorker
Olympic Contender By Sarah Deming , Columbia University
Please come back again.