Category Archives: Education

Kids Learn How to Code Using Sony’s Building Blocks

“Forget everything you think you know about programming: the long hours behind a screen, the lines of code stacking up, all that time spent debugging someone else’s mess. Koov makes learning to code—the basics, at least—as easy as playing with building blocks.” L. Stinson, Wired

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key!

Sony’s KOOV building blocks get your kids coding and building robots in no time

Excerpt: Get Your Kids Coding With Sony’s Clever Building Blocks, by Liz Stinson, WIRED

“The candy-colored blocks snap together like Legos to create interactive robot penguins, trucks, and other cool things. Blueprints guide kids through the process, but as with all the best toys, the real learning comes when the imagination runs wild. ‘These robot recipes are something we see as more of an inspiration,’ says Tim McGregor, a senior marketing manager at Sony Global Education. ‘[We] want to give them skills to build their own unique robots.’ Sony introduced the blocks in Japan last year.

Sony’s programing kit allows children to build what they want.

A companion app teaches programming concepts like looping and  “if-then” logic. (Sony developed the app’s curriculum using MIT’s drag-and-drop Scratch programing language.)

The Koov app includes an educational track explaining how to use the seven different blocks to create all sorts of objects.

‘We teach them techniques to make shapes out of their imagination,’ McGregor says. ‘You have to have a creative mind to be able to do some of these things.” 

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. Koov blurs the line between learning and playing.
  2. There is an  educational app for the Koov block set.
  3. Koov is a highly marketable toy.
  4. Companies are placing  computing in an environment for kids.
  5. Kids can create interactive robot penguins, and other toys.
  6. Blueprints guide kids through the process.
  7. A companion app teaches concepts like looping and  f-then logic.
  8. Kids can build their own unique robots.
  9. These robot recipes are an inspiration.
  10. The real learning comes when the imagination runs wild.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  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.

The candy-colored___ snap together like___ to___interactive robot penguins, trucks, and other cool things. Blueprints ___kids ___the process, but as with all the best toys, the real ___comes when the runs wild. These___recipes are something we ___as more of an inspiration.

WORD LIST:  see, create,  robot, blocks, Legos, guide, through, learning, imagination,

 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. A companion app teach programming.
  2. Blueprints guide kids through the process.
  3. Sony introduced the blocks in Japan last year.

II

 

  1. Kids want to build his own unique robots.
  2. Creating is as easy as playing with building blocks.
  3. The real learning comes  with the imagination.

III

  1. Kids can build a glowing lantern that turns  in and off.
  2. An advanced lesson include a dancing, singing penguin.
  3. The trick is translating abstract into tangible objects.

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education, Technology

The Forbidden Word: Dyslexia

“Megan Lordos, a middle school teacher, says she was not allowed to use the word ‘dyslexia.’ She’s not alone. Parents and teachers across the country have raised concerns about some schools hesitating, or completely refusing, to say the word. As the most common learning disability in the U.S., dyslexia affects somewhere between 5 and 17 percent of the population. That means millions of school children around the country struggle with it.” G. Gmanuel, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Dyslexia: The Learning Disability That Must Not Be Named By Gabrielle Emanuel, NPR

“Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), schools are required to provide special services to help these students — things like reading tutors and books on tape. But those special services can be expensive, and many schools don’t have the resources to provide these accommodations.

That has led some parents and advocates to worry that some schools are making a careful calculation: If they don’t acknowledge the issue — or don’t use the word ‘dyslexia’ — then they are not obligated to provide services.

Last year, when Lordos was teaching English at a public school in Arlington, Va., she recalls a parent-teacher meeting in the conference room. Things started smoothly.

Lordos says two parents had come in to talk with teachers and administrators about their son – Lordos’ student, an eighth-grader – who was struggling to read.

Partway through the meeting, Lordos says she suggested that the student might have orthographic dyslexia.

When I mentioned that in the meeting, I was stopped. Lordos remembers being interrupted. They said: ‘Oh no no. We don’t say that.’  It wasn’t until after the meeting adjourned and the parents left that Lordos understood why.

We’re not allowed to say it because we don’t have the capabilities to support that particular learning difference, Lordos recalls the school administrator saying. Several parents in the district recounted similar experiences.

However, Brenda Wilks, an assistant superintendent of the Arlington Public Schools, says educators and administrators there use the term dyslexia, but they have to use it carefully. That’s because educators cannot officially diagnose dyslexia.

To help the situation, the district launched a Dyslexia Task Force last year. Its website now has a page explaining dyslexia, the district has expanded literacy screening, and it has hosted training sessions to inform teachers about the disability. Many years ago it wasn’t a word that was widely used, says Kelly Krug, who is co-chairing the task force. And in the past few years, it’s really become a focus.

Both Megan Lordos and the other parents say things are beginning to get better. But this issue is not limited to Arlington, and the U.S. Department of Education is paying attention.

Schools engage in strategies to lower their special education expenses… And dyslexia is by far the largest group within the special education category.”

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

 

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. Several schools are not required to provide special services.
  2. That has led some parents and advocates to worry.
  3. Parents feel that the schools should be obligated to provide services.
  4. Orthographic dyslexia is common.
  5. There is nothing legally preventing schools from saying the word dyslexia.
  6. Many schools don’t have the resources to provide these services.
  7. The woman chairing the meeting came over and apologized.
  8. Many districts have expanded literacy screening.
  9. Dyslexia should be treated just like any other disability.
  10. Long after she left the conference room the explanation lingered with her.

 

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.

Hal Malchow, of the International Dyslexia Association, says there’s another___at play:___. He says those ___services are all things the ___district could have to fund.

And since there are so many ___school children who have___, that___ tag adds up – and school___are tight.

WORD LIST:   special, budgets, American,  school, money, dyslexia, factor, price,

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. Schools are required to provide special services.
  2. The meeting  started smoothly.
  3. Two parents had come in to talk with teachers about there children.

II

  1. A eighth-grader was struggling to read.
  2. They thought that the student might have dyslexia.
  3. The woman chairing the meeting came over and apologized.

III

  1. Many years ago it wasn’t an word that was widely used.
  2. In the past few years, it’s really become a focus.
  3. This issue is not limited to Arlington.

 

III. Post Reading 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.

“Ryder says they heard from school administrators about what might be going on: “What we were told was that, when they used the term ‘dyslexia,’ then families thought that it meant they would get a specific kind of instructional program.”

“IDEA requires schools to help students who have dyslexia – just like any other disability – but the exact help they receive is decided locally. Some kids may get a trained reading specialist, others could get one-on-one tutoring, and still others might receive adaptive technology.”

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: Education

Do You Have What it Takes to Be A Hero Teacher?

“Maybe you have had the fantasy: Chuck your day job to teach in a public school in a blighted neighborhood. The money is lousy, of course, but that’s part of the fantasy — no one wants to turn around the lives of poor children just for a paycheck… Ed Boland  had seen movies like [Lean On Me] and Stand and Deliver in which heroic teachers reach into the lives of at-risk adolescents and make a difference. Mr. Boland believed he could be one of them.” J. Leland New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Ed Boland outside the Henry Street School for International Studies, where he taught ninth-grade history. Photo- Hilary Swift, New York Times

Ed Boland outside the Henry Street School for International Studies, where he taught ninth-grade history. Photo- Hilary Swift, New York Times

Lean On Me The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve

Lean On Me The dedicated but tyrannical Joe Clark is appointed the principal of a decaying inner-city school that he is determined to improve.

 

Excerpt: The Myth of the Hero Teacher, John Leland, NYT

“ An executive at Prep for Prep, a nonprofit organization that places minority children in elite private schools, he quit to teach ninth-grade history at a low-performing public school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  I thought, I can do this, he said the other day, at a coffee shop near the Henry Street School for International Studies, where he arrived as a first-year teacher in fall 2006. I thought, I want to work on the front lines. I want to be one of those teachers that kids really like and listen to and learn from, and you can turn a kid around.

James Olmos in Stand and Deliver.

James Olmos in Stand and Deliver.

On his fifth day, as he describes it in his new memoir, The Battle for Room 314: My Year of Hope and Despair in a New York City High School,  his students schooled him in just how wrong he was.

On the other side of the room, someone had hurled a calculator at the blackboard, he writes. A group of boys were shoving one another near a new laptop. Two girls swayed in sweet unison and mouthed lyrics while sharing the earphones of a strictly forbidden iPod…When he turned to the girl who had started the disruption, he found her now standing on top of her desk, towering above me like a pro wrestler on the ropes about to pounce. She… then told him to perform an act that was anatomically impossible. The class erupted in laughter. Man, came the verdict that would follow Mr. Boland until year’s end, he can’t even control the girls.

Sidney Poiter film To Sir With Love

Sidney Poiter film To Sir With Love

The Battle for Room 314  arrives in a charged atmosphere, where public education has somehow become a contentious topic. Teachers are definitely talking about it, said Christopher Emdin, 37, who teaches science education at Teachers College, Columbia University…For Dr. Emdin, Mr. Boland’s book wrongly blames students for what is really a failure to train teachers, especially those working with students from backgrounds that are different from their own. Teaching in an urban school is a specialty, like surgery…who urges teachers to see beyond the thuggish behavior of difficult students, which might be a performance that itself involves great strategy and talent… Mr. Boland agreed with at least part of that assessment. Of all the hours I was at graduate school, I don’t think there was all together an hour devoted to classroom management…I just wish, when that girl stood on top of that desk, I knew what to do.

Glen Ford starred in 1955 movie Blackbord Jungle, a movie about juvenile delinquency in schools

Glen Ford starred in 1955 movie Blackbord Jungle, a movie about juvenile delinquency in schools

The teachers at his school, Mr. Boland said, often shared their frustrations at happy hours at local bars… Teacher training, especially in classroom management, has long been a point of contention between teachers and the city’s Education Department, said Michael Mulgrew, president of the United Federation of Teachers…As he prepared for publication, Mr. Boland said, he contacted as many students as he could, to tell them about the book and to apologize for his shortcomings as their teacher. Most were gracious…they had too many clueless teachers to get hung up on one.”

Read: Some Natives Take Offense to J K Rowling’s “Fantasy” Writing…Seriously??

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: 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. On the other side of the room, someone had hurled a calculator.
  2. A group of boys were shoving one another.
  3. Earphones are strictly forbidden.
  4. The girl started the disruption.
  5. The act was anatomically impossible.
  6. The Battle for Room 314 arrives in a charged atmosphere.
  7. Mr. Boland agreed with at least part of that assessment.
  8. The teachers at his school shared their frustrations.
  9. There’s a mind-set that it’s O.K. to make your mistakes on the job.
  10. Certain behavior  is not acceptable.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

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

As he prepared/prepped  for publication, Mr. Boland say/said, he contracted/contacted as many/menu students/student as he could, to teach/tell them about the book and to apologizes/apologize for his shortcomings as their tutor/teacher. Most were gracious/grace, he said; they had too many clueless teachers to get hung/hang up on one.

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.

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

“Teaching ___an urban school is a specialty, like surgery.

Especially those working with students from backgrounds that are different ___their own.

Teacher training, especially___ classroom management, has long been a point___contention___ teachers and the city’s Education Department.

Nee-cole is now working part-time___ a Whole Foods___ Westchester County.

She gets___  ___4:30___ the morning___ take a bus.”

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 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 discussion topics.

  1. “Mr. Boland said he hoped people would not conclude from his book that the students were to blame for their chaotic classrooms, or that poor kids could not be taught. He wrote the book,to dispel the myth of the hero teacher, and the idea that just caring was enough. In the book’s final section, he blames poverty for the school dysfunction, nodding only briefly to the teachers and the methods that succeed with impoverished students, even where others fail.”
  2. “For Mr. Boland, the year did not get much better after that fifth day. By spring he was sleeping poorly, realizing that he had become like the cynical teachers he once disparaged — those who gave thanks when students skipped class or fell asleep at their desks. I thought, Where’s your self-respect?”

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: Education

2016: Make The World Your Campus!

As educators question what college should look like in the 21st century, one answer is: global. And to higher education trailblazers, that means more than junior year abroad or overseas internships. They find campuses to be insular places that leave students ill prepared for a globalized world, and they question the efficacy of traditional pedagogy, especially the lecture format, at a time when the same information can be imparted online.” C. C. Miller, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- minerva.kgi.edu

Photo- minerva.kgi.edu

Excerpt:  The World Is Their Campus by Claire C. Miller NYT

“Consider one emerging approach, wherein students hop from campus to campus across continents, earning an undergraduate degree in the process. In these programs, they spend the majority of their college years outside the United States and immerse themselves in diverse cultures. Foreign cities are their classrooms…Campus hopping is not for everyone. Many students don’t want to give up the sustained community built over four years on a campus. Administrators note that 18-year-olds who choose this unorthodox college path have a special blend of traits: maturity, curiosity, adventurousness, flexibility and openness.

W. Louis Brickman in a dorm at Minerva in San Francisco, the staging area for future travels. Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

W. Louis Brickman in a dorm at Minerva in San Francisco, the staging area for future travels. Credit Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

W. Louis Brickman, 18, could have taken many paths to college. As a student at the prestigious Hunter College High School in New York, he was accepted at several elite liberal arts schools and two research universities. But he surprised teachers and friends by choosing to enter the second class at the Minerva Schools, a start-up based in San Francisco, where he will spend three-quarters of his time in other countries.

I’m passionate about international travel, and it felt to me inadequate to stay in one place for four years, said Mr. Brickman, who was born in Berlin and raised in Manhattan.

Minerva's headquarters are in San Francisco. Photo-the atlantic

Minerva’s headquarters are in San Francisco. Photo-the atlantic

Minerva, which is affiliated with the Keck Graduate Institute, was founded by a former tech executive, Ben Nelson, who believed that traditional colleges were not adequately preparing students for the real world.

After freshman year in San Francisco, students will move to a new country each semester; by the time they graduate, they will have lived in Berlin, Buenos Aires, Seoul, Bangalore, Istanbul and London.

Based on research into how students learn, Minerva’s faculty concluded that a key skill is being able to apply learning in new and different contexts. Toward that end, students keep blogs during their travels about how they’re using the concepts they learned freshman year. Yes, they’re graded.

Study abroad LIU Global

Study abroad LIU Global

L.I.U. Global, born out of a Quaker school established 50 years ago and later acquired by Long Island University, debuted a European program last year and added three new minors.

For us, it’s not about: You go somewhere, you study for a bit and you come back to St. Louis, said Elizabeth J. Stroble, Webster’s president. It’s much more about: How can you make the world your home?

You remember that the other people across the world from you are people…they have their own thoughts and motives and dreams and desires. It’s a humbling realization that we’re all the same.”

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 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. The new students are educational trailblazers.
  2. Students can get overseas internships.
  3. This is an  unorthodox college path.
  4. More students, especially at the elite end are studying globally.
  5. College students wish to immerse themselves in diverse cultures.
  6. Many students don’t want to give up the sustained community.
  7. Minerva is affiliated with the Keck Graduate Institute.
  8. Most study-abroad programs think in dyadic terms.
  9. She had applied to traditional schools like Penn State before.
  10. For a seamless transition, credits are the same as on all campuses.
Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

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.

“Students can spend/spill full targets/terms at Webster’s campuses abroad, and some courses/crosses combine an online or in-person glass/class with an immersion/imagine trip; for example, a human rights studies/students class travails/traveled to Rwanda and a class on international criminal/crime law ended with a trip/trap to Leiden, the Netherlands.

For a seedless/seamless transition, credits are the same/some as on the St. Louis campus, as is the $25,300 tuition, though/dough Webster tacks on a $500 study-abroad fee and in many cases does not pay for airfare.”

Grammar Focus:

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures  

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

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Tasks

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

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 rewrite the following statement in their own words. Students can discuss the ideas presented in the statement.

“Minerva’s approach to upending traditional education goes beyond travel. Professors lead live video seminars that are reserved for group projects and debate — students often meet to take the classes together. And while majors are offered in the usual fields, like humanities, science and business, the overarching goal is to teach students to think critically and creatively and to communicate and interact well with others.”

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

The Road Less Traveled…Unique College Majors

“Emerson College made headlines…when it announced it would be offering a four-year degree in comedy beginning this fall. But the Boston school hasn’t cornered the market on unusual degrees: Here are some interesting education paths you can explore at a few select universities around the globe. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that English or biology degree you’ve been considering.)” Cambridge Chronicle

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Emerson College- Photo- Informationnation

Emerson College- Photo- Informationnation

Excerpt:most unique college majors By The Cambridge Chronicle Staff

Puppet Arts

Puppetry photo- jayneandd, Flickr.

Puppetry photo- jayneandd, Flickr.

“Puppetry has been offered at the University of Connecticut since 1964. Students can get their BFA and MA/MFA in puppet arts, learning how to design their own puppets and how to perform. Two other U.S. schools offer undergraduate degrees in the field now: Central Washington University and Evergreen State College. Where: The University of Connecticut (Storrs, Connecticut), Evergreen State College (Olympia, Washington) and Central Washington University (Ellensburg, Washington).

Bagpipes

Photo- Carnegie Mellon Pipes and DrumsCMU.edu

Photo- Carnegie Mellon Pipes and DrumsCMU.edu

Since 1990, Carnegie Mellon University — founded by famous Scotsman Andrew Carnegie — has been the only American college to offer students the chance to major in bagpipes. The major isn’t the school’s biggest: The school has said that almost all of its students have had a one-to-one student-faculty ratio. Where: Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania).

Theme Park Engineering

Photo- Lawrence Rayner, Flickr

Photo- Lawrence Rayner, Flickr

Obviously there is a lot of complex engineering involved in planning and designing theme-park rides, but we never realized some schools offer a specialized theme park engineering major. Students who select this major learn about all of the electrical, hydraulic and mechanical engineering elements that go into crafting cool theme park rides. Where: Cal State Long Beach (Long Beach, California).

Packaging

MSU packaging team project

MSU packaging team project

Michigan State University pioneered packaging science with its packaging major (founded in 1952), and now there are more than a half-dozen U.S. schools where you can learn more about “thinking outside the box” when it comes to crafting packaging for a number of industries. Where: Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan).

Bowling Management and Technology

Bowling Management and Technology

Want to operate your own bowling alley? Indiana’s Vincennes University is the school for you. The school’s unique two-year Bowling Industry Management and Technology program offers courses in accounting, alley maintenance, operations, pro shop management, computer concepts and first aid. Where: Vincennes University (Vincennes, Indiana).”

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

 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 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. How to become  a preeminent Beatles scholar.
  2. This distinction goes to Ontario’s Hunter College.
  3. Students learn about the art of stand-up comedy.
  4. Students  also learn improv. 
  5. Learning how to design your own puppets can be fun.
  6. Fermentation sciences are also offered.
  7. Students will learn about brewing techniques.
  8. Business development and entrepreneurship are also taught.
  9. The school has a unique two-year Bowling program.
  10. Michigan State University pioneered packaging science.

    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. Michigan State University pioneered packaging science.
  2. There isn’t much engineering involved in planning and designing theme-park rides.
  3. Emerson College was the first school to offer a degree in comedy.
  4. Puppetry has been offered at the University of  Hollywood.
  5. Many of these colleges are expensive.
  6. Fermentation sciences is the study of brewing beer and wine.
  7. Fermentation sciences   was first offered by  The Bowery University.
  8. There’s a program offered on the art of watching television.
  9. A number of  French colleges offer a Canadian Studies program.
  10. Indiana’s Vincennes University offers Bowling Industry Management.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

I

  1. Take a hop across the pond  on Liverpool.
  2. This college wasn’t even the first school to offer a degree in comedy.
  3. That distinction goes to Ontario’s Hunter College

II

  1. In both program, students learn the art of stand-up comedy.
  2. Puppetry has been offered at the University of Connecticut.
  3. Americans can learn all about Canadian culture.

III

  1. This has been the only American college to offer a major in bagpipes.
  2. The school has a  unique two-year Technology program.
  3. Student who select this major learn about crafting cool theme park rides.

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.  Which two programs  would you like to study and why?

2. Create a list of other unique college majors.

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

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