Category Archives: Health Issues

Repealing Obamacare = Millions Without Health Care

“On Friday [January 20, 2017-Inauguration Day] as one of his first official acts, Trump signed an executive order that would allow officials to minimize [Obamacare’s] economic burden...The Congressional Budget Office estimates that the repeal of Obamacare could result in 18 million Americans losing their health insurance in the first year after the law is overturned—and could leave more than 30 million people without coverage in ten years.” B. Coombs, CNBC

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif

Excerpt: Obamacare enrollees worry about what comes next By Bertha Coombs, CNBC

Before Obamacare, Alex Travison went without health insurance for years. After getting laid off from GM more than a decade ago, he couldn’t afford the coverage.‘I didn’t have any major health issues in that time, but I did have to see my doctor every so many months, to get my prescriptions filled for my high blood pressure,’ said Travison, during a recent visit to his doctor’s office at the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles.

Alex Travison

Now, with government subsidies, he pays about $50 a month for coverage on an exchange plan, an arrangement he said has worked well for him. However, he’s worried he’ll lose his coverage if the Trump administration and Republican Congress make good on their promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  ‘I’m a 64 year old man and things happen very quickly sometimes with your health, he explained. I believe that to take away these benefits from us at this (time) borders on criminal.’

It’s a concern the staff at the Venice Family Clinic is hearing a lot this month from the low-income patients they see here.‘Our patients are very concerned about… their health insurance in the future,’ said Liz Benson Forer, CEO of the Venice Family Clinic. t’s very important that there be some stability in this system as this discussion goes forward.’

Photo: In These Times

The president and Republicans have promised their replacement plan will be able to provide wide access to coverage and will be cheaper, by offering more options. Republicans want to provide an a la carte menu, with more cheaper, skinnier plans for people who don’t consume a lot of health services, and a standard health insurance tax credit for everyone — regardless of whether they get insurance through their employer or buy it on their own.

Yet for people who require a lot of care and prescriptions, health insurance consultant Carolyn McClanahan says that kind of shift will require careful planning.

‘The big thing they’re going to have to think about if they have a chronic illness, [is] their ongoing expenses are going to be pretty extensive, so they need to have a lot of money set aside,’ said McClanahan.”

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  Obamacare.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the topic. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

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. Travison went without health insurance for more than a decade.
  2. Now, with government subsidies, he pays about $50 a month for coverage.
  3. It’s very important that there be some stability in this system.
  4. Republicans offered assurances that the current administration was committed to maintaining health care.
  5. It is estimated that 20 million Americans have gained coverage under the ACA.
  6. According to the current administration nobody is interested in pulling the rug out from under anybody.
  7. It’s absolutely imperative that all individuals have health care.
  8. There are no details on how the administration would achieve that objective.
  9. People who have a chronic illness need to have a lot of money set aside.
  10. It says in our Declaration of Independence ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ is for all people.

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.

“The president/precedence and Republicans have promiscuous /promised their replacement plan/plans will be able to provision/provide wide access/success  to coverage and will be cheap/cheaper, by offering more options/opinions. They liken/like Obamacare to a big fixed-price buffet, with its record/required preventive health/help benefits/befits for every plan and tax subsidies for low-income Americans.”

 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. People is worried they’ll lose their coverage.
  2. Patients are very concerned about their health insurance.
  3. That is not our goal, nor is it our desire.

II

  1. The administration offered no details for an replacement.
  2. Obamacare helped many people.
  3. Republicans want to provide a different plan.

III

  1. They are also proposing bigger tax deductions.
  2. There are people who require a lot of care and prescriptions.
  3. Many people will need to have a lot of money sit aside.

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?

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.

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: Health Issues

Treatment for PTSD: More Nightmares

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

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo credit utahsbestterapy

Photo credit utahsbestterapy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson)  and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

Brainstorming chart by UIE.

II. While Reading Tasks:Word -Recognition

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

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

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

Vocabulary: Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

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

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

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

II

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

III

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

III. Post Reading Tasks

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.Main idea chart By Write Design

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

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

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

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

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

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the treatment  for PTSD from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Health Issues | Tags:

Autistic Children… When the Parents Need Healing

Caring for a child with severe developmental disabilities can be mentally, emotionally, and at times physically stressful for many parents. A  recent study from Vanderbilt University found that just six weeks of training in simple techniques led to significant reductions in stress, depression and anxiety for these parents.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Nicholas Pinter's autism and bipolar disorder pose challenges for his parents. His father, Mike, right, learned mindfulness methods to help reduce his stress. Credit Pinter family NYT

Nicholas Pinter’s autism and bipolar disorder pose challenges for his parents. His father, Mike, right, learned mindfulness methods to help reduce his stress. Credit Pinter family NYT

Excerpt: When the caregivers need Healing By Catherine Saint Louis  The New York Times

“This has happened before,she tells herself. It’s nowhere near as bad as before, and it will pass.

Robbie Pinter’s 21-year-old son, Nicholas, is upset again. He yells. He obsesses about something that can’t be changed. Even good news may throw him off. So Dr. Pinter breathes deeply, as she was taught, focusing on each intake and release. She talks herself through the crisis, reminding herself that this is how Nicholas copes with his autism and bipolar disorder.  With these simple techniques, Dr. Pinter… blunts the stress of parenting a child with severe developmental disabilities.

Parents of children  with disabilities have more stress than other parents.

Parents of children with disabilities have more stress than other parents.

 All parents endure stress, but studies show that parents of children with developmental disabilities, like autism, experience depression and anxiety far more often. Struggling to obtain crucial support services, the financial strain of paying for various therapies, the relentless worry over everything  from wandering to the future — all of it can be overwhelming. The toll stress-wise is just enormous, and we know that we don’t do a really great job of helping parents cope with it, said Dr. Fred R. Volkmar, the director of Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine.

Parents can get overwhelmed. Photo- SRxA

Parents can get overwhelmed. Photo- SRxA

 But a study published last week in the journal Pediatrics offers hope. It found that just six weeks of training in simple techniques led to significant reductions in stress, depression and anxiety among these parents. Part of what makes the experiment innovative is that it was targeted to adults, not their children, and it was not focused on sharpening parenting skills. Instead, parents learned ways to tackle their distress as problems arise. The idea is to stop wasting energy resisting the way life is.” Read more.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours. 

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article.

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article with a focus on improving  their reading comprehension skills. They will also learn 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

The K-W-L Chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Autism, and what they would like to learn about this topic. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

New K-W-L Chart from Read Write Think

New K-W-L Chart from Read Write Think

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. He obsesses about something that can’t be changed.
  2. She talks herself through the crisis.
  3. Dr. Pinter blunts the stress with these techniques.
  4. All parents endure stress.
  5. Researchers randomly assigned 243 mothers.
  6. One group received instructions on curbing negative thoughts.
  7. An assignment in group might entail taking daily notes.
  8. What makes the experiment innovative is that it was for adults.
  9. Learning to quell distress and anxiety is especially important.
  10. Around 41 percent of parents reported anxiety disorders.
Vocabulary Chart by  Freeology.

Vocabulary Chart by Freeology.

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. Nicholas is the author of the article.
  2. According to Dr. Pinter Nicholas yells to show happiness.
  3. Dr. Pinter teaches English at Belmont University in Nashville.
  4. Dr. Pinter said she descends from a long line of teachers.
  5. The study also focused on medicine for parents.
  6. Dr. Fred R. Volkmar is the director of Child Study Center at Yale University School of Medicine.
  7. The program to help parents takes 2 weeks of training.
  8. During the program the parents were assigned homework.
  9. The experiment targeted both children and adults.
  10. One of the ideas parents are taught is to stop wasting energy resisting the way life is.

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. Dr. Pinter breath deeply, as she was taught.
  2. All parents endure stress.
  3. parents of children with disabilities experience more anxiety.

II

  1. The toll stress-wise is just enormous.
  2. Having an child that has a disability is all-encompassing.
  3. Researchers randomly assigned 243 mothers.

III

 

  1. Stress-reduction groups like these could be a cost-effective way.
  2. Learning to quell distress and anxiety is important of parents.
  3. Mrs. Shouse had to learn how to redirect anxiety.

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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. Rephrase the following 3 statements from the article in your own words:

          “All parents endure stress, but studies show that parents of children with developmental disabilities, like autism, experience depression and anxiety far more often. Struggling to obtain crucial support services, the financial strain of paying for various therapies, the relentless worry over everything from wandering to the future — all of it can be overwhelming.”

                “The parents were assigned some unlikely homework: In the mindfulness group, for instance, they were told to bring a moment-to-moment awareness to a daily activity like chopping vegetables. An assignment in the positive development group might entail taking a “guilt inventory” to assess if your guilt is healthy or counterproductive.”

                    “Part of what makes the experiment innovative is that it was targeted to adults, not their children, and it was not focused on sharpening parenting skills. Instead, parents learned ways to tackle their distress as problems arise. The idea is to stop wasting energy resisting the way life is.”

2. Do you or anyone you know care for a child with disabilities? If yes, what are some of the challenges for the caregiver?

ANSWER KEY

Category: Health Issues | Tags: ,

Medical Marijuana: Last Hope Cure for Children?

In Colorado marijuana has become a major part of social life since it was declared legal for recreational use last year. The once illicit drug has the spotlight once again as a treatment for young children with epilepsy. According to many parents the strain known as Charlotte’s Web has greatly reduced seizures in their children.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key.

The miracle plant. CNN

The miracle plant. CNN

Excerpt: Medical marijuana refugees: ‘This was our only hope’ By Saundra Young, CNN

“They’ve come from as far away as Australia and Canada, or as close as Oklahoma. They are of different backgrounds and ages, but they’ve all moved to Colorado for the same thing: medical marijuana to treat their sick children. Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old. I had never seen a seizure before,” says her mother, Paula Lyles. We took her to the hospital. The doctors said that would probably be the only one she’d have and sent us home.

But when Jordan was 18 months old, the seizures began in earnest. It was Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy characterized by uncontrolled, continuous seizures. Jordan was put on a combination of three anti-seizure medications.

Marisa Kiser was drawn to Colorado in the hopes of relieving seizures suffered by her 19-month-old son, Ezra. NYT.

Marisa Kiser was drawn to Colorado in the hopes of relieving seizures suffered by her 19-month-old son, Ezra. NYT.

But “the drugs take her personality away. The side effects of the cure are horrible, Lyles says…She’d heard about the healing properties of cannabis, but Lyles lived in Ohio, where medical marijuana is not legal… So six months ago, after talking to doctors and reading studies on medical marijuana, Lyles packed up her daughter and moved to Colorado, leaving her engineer husband and 25-year-old daughter Lindsay behind.

Doing so allowed Jordan to be treated with a strain of medical marijuana that’s high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical in cannabis thought to have medicinal properties, and low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot that gets users high.

The strain is called Charlotte’s Web. It’s named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado Springs. Charlotte also has Dravet syndrome; after being on seven medications with no success, she began taking marijuana in an oil form. Her seizures were drastically reduced — from 300 a week to two or three a month. About 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, according to the American Epilepsy Society. Of those, a third have treatment-resistant seizures.

Little Vivian is crippled with seizures. CNN

Little Vivian is crippled with seizures. CNN

We desperately need new treatments, and we need more research to get those treatments, says Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, vice president of the group. Dr. Edward Maa, chief of Denver Health’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, discovered one-third of his patients were using medical marijuana without his knowledge. Although concerned about its long-term safety, he immediately became more interested in cannabis as a potential treatment. He says he’s shocked at the number of families that move to Colorado — just to get this medicine for their children.”  Read more…

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 handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

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

The K-W-L Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about medicinal marijuana for children or adults. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

New K-W-L Chart from Read Write Think

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart by Freeology  for assistance.

  1. Parents want  medical marijuana to treat their sick children.
  2. Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old.
  3. She had a severe form of epilepsy.
  4. She’d heard about the healing properties of cannabis.
  5. There are several organizations run by marijuana dispensary owners.
  6. I had a twinge in my heart because I knew it was the right thing to do.
  7. We’ve been able to reduce her pharmaceuticals by 50%.
  8. We desperately need new treatments.
  9.  There are anecdotal reports that  marijuana derivatives seem to be effective.
  10. The fact that it’s Schedule I is arbitrary at this point.

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 (which are not in the correct order) or provide their own terms to create new information. Students are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary words.

“Over the___ eight months, more than 100___have moved to ___looking for ___to save their children’s lives, ___to the Realm of Caring. The organization is run by the Stanley family — medical marijuana growers and ___owners who ___a strain of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC.

The strain is called___. It’s named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado Springs. Charlotte also has Dravet syndrome; after being on___medications with no success, she began taking___in an ___form. Her___ were drastically reduced — from 300 a ___to two or three a month.”

 WORD LIST
marijuana, Colorado, Charlotte’s Web, week, pioneered, seizures, last, dispensary, oil, families, seven, according,  medicine,

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. They’ve come from as far away as Australia and Canada.
  2. They is of different backgrounds and ages.
  3. They’ve all moved to Colorado for the same thing.

II.

  1. We took her to the hospital.
  2. The doctors sent us home.
  3.  Jordan was 18 months old, when an seizures began in earnest.

III.

  1. The medications took she speech away for two weeks.
  2. We desperately need new treatments.
  3. One parent knows about side effects.

 

Reading Comprehension Check

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 article states, “Even in the 20 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal, the federal government classifies cannabis is a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. Others in that category: heroin, LSD and ecstasy.” Restate this comment using  your own words.
  2. Although the article states the “addictive “quality is taken out of medicinal marijuana do you think there’s a possibility that a child might still become addicted? Explain why.
  3. Why is the medicine  called Charlotte’s Web.
  4. According to the article not all cases using Charlotte’s Web were successful. ““One parent who knows about side effects is Nicole…Their son was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome just before turning 3. He’d had seizures since he was 11 months old. He’s tried several diets, supplements — pretty much you name it, we’ve tried it…but it didn’t work. But neither did marijuana…It never helped his big seizures. In fact, they kept getting worse… They were getting worse before we started cannabis, but cannabis did not help them. Since they stopped the cannabis more than a year ago, Nicole says her son is doing much better.”  In view of this information, if your child had epilepsy would you give them medical marijuana as a cure? Provide reasons for your answer.
  5. If you were sick would you be willing to try the cure yourself? Why or why not?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video ClipMedical marijuana in Maryland for kids?

‘Lawmakers in the 2014 listened to testimony from parents who want their children’s medical issues treated with marijuana.”

  While Listening Activities

Correct Word Choice

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video.

  1. Legislators heard testimony/tests from families who could benefit from medical marijuana.
  2. Families suffer because they can’t get it in a style/state where they live.
  3. They say it’s just not adults that can benefit/benefitted.
  4. Logan is a vibrant active 4 year old exception/except he has epilepsy.
  5. He has ten to twenty/twin seizures every single day.
  6. Gail met with severe/several doctors about Logan’s epilepsy.
  7. They say/saying marijuana could help.
  8. Logan takes other drugs/drinks for the epilepsy, but those have harsher side effects.
  9. Mimi was in a cab/car accident that gave her a stroke.
  10. Now Mimi has seizures/sizes every day.

Video Link

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

  1.  Did  you agree with everything that  the speakers said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with.   Explain why.
  2.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the parents, doctors, and other  speakers.

 ANSWER KEY: Medical Marajuana

 

Video Games: A Possible Cure for Dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a learning disability often characterized by difficulty with reading comprehension, fluency, word recognition, decoding and spelling. Children  with dyslexia have a neurological disorder that causes their brains to process and interpret information differently.  Researchers at Oxford University feel that playing  video games can help correct many problems associated with dyslexia.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer key.

The quick changes between images and sounds in video games could help dyslexic individuals improve their ability to read, scientists suggest. Photo- ScienceNews.

Excerpt: One More Reason To Play Video Games: Beating Dyslexia by  Linda Poon NPR

“Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book rather than a game controller. But for kids with dyslexia, action video games may be just what the doctor ordered. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities, affecting an estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world’s population.Dyslexia affects five to ten percent of the population. Photo- FoxNews.

Many approaches to help struggling readers focus on words and phonetics, but researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of an attention issue. These video games require you to respond very quickly, to shift attention to one part of the screen to another.When people with dyslexia had to shift their attention between sight and sound, their reaction was delayed. And they had significantly more trouble shifting attention from visual to audio than the other way around. Scientists today still don’t agree on what causes dyslexia, but one theory says it has something to do with a faulty nerve pathway from the eyes to the back of the brain that is responsible for guiding both visual and auditory attention. When this network malfunctions, people can’t properly combine what they hear and see for the brain to process the information. One explanation for this may be what psychologists call visual capture, says Jeffrey Gilger, an expert in language and learning disabilities at the University of California, Merced.Gilger cautions that while some dyslexic people do have attention deficit, it is not the underlying cause of every type of dyslexia. Some people may appear to lack focus, but that doesn’t necessarily signal that they have attention problems.”

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 handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video. 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 this great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

 

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

Word Inference Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart from  Education Oasis for assistance.

  1. Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities.
  2. These video games require you to respond very quickly.
  3. They had significantly more trouble shifting attention from visual to audio.
  4. We should also be training shifting attention from sound to visual stimuli.
  5. Making the association between a word and how it sounds might be easier.
  6. When this network malfunctions, people can’t properly combine what they hear and see.
  7. The brain needs to process the information.
  8. The dyslexic group took longer than typical readers to respond.
  9. We were very surprised that there was sort of this asymmetry.
  10. As human beings we prefer visual stimuli.

 Word Chart By Education Oasis

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T.  If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. Most parents prefer that their children pick up a game controller.
  2. For kids with dyslexia action video games may be helpful.
  3. Dyslexia is an uncommon learning disability.
  4. Dyslexia was identified in the U.S. 20 years ago.
  5. An estimated 5 to 10 percent of the world’s population is affected by dyslexia.
  6. Researchers at Oxford University say dyslexia is more of speaking issue.
  7. Scientists today have agreed on what causes dyslexia.
  8. One theory says it has to do with a faulty nerve pathway from the eyes to the back of the brain.
  9. There is a cure for dyslexia.
  10. People who appear to lack focus have attention problems.

 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. Most parents prefer that their children pick up a book.
  2. Dyslexia is one of the most commons learning disabilities.
  3. There are many approaches to help struggling readers.

II

  1. Programs emphasize training the brain’s attention system.
  2. These video game require you to respond very quickly.
  3. We should also be shifting attention from sound to visual stimuli.

III

  1. Scientists today still don’t agree on what causes dyslexia.
  2. As human being we prefer visual stimuli.
  3. You’re trying to get the sound to align with the vision.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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. Restate this idea in your own words, As human beings we prefer visual stimuli. When you’re trying to listen to someone on TV and the sound doesn’t match the mouth moving, it throws you off. You’re trying to get the sound to align with the vision, not the vision with the sound.”
  2. Do you think playing video games can improve skills in general? Which skills?
  3. Do you like to play video games?  How often do you play? Provide reasons for your answer.
  4. What are the most significant ideas in this article?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video ClipWhat is dyslexia? – Kelli Sandman-Hurley TED-Ed “Dyslexia affects up to 1 in 5 people, but the experience of dyslexia isn’t always the same. This difficulty in processing language exists along a spectrum — one that doesn’t necessarily fit with labels like “normal” and “defective.” Kelli Sandman-Hurley urges us to think again about dyslexic brain function and to celebrate the neurodiversity of the human brain.”   Video Link

 While Listening Activities

True /False/NA-Statements Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video.  As students listen to the video if  a statement is true they mark it T.  If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. When most people think of  dyslexia they think of seeing letters and words backwards.
  2. People with dyslexia see things differently from everyone else.
  3. People with  dyslexia have no trouble manipulating language.
  4. People with dyslexia will spell words phonetically.
  5. People with dyslexia  have to spend time  decoding.
  6. Dyslexia  never runs in families.
  7. Children are more likely to get dyslexia.
  8. Picasso, Muhammed Ali,  Cher,  Whoopi Goldberg, and Steven Spielberg all have some form of dyslexia.
  9. Cher has treated her dyslexia.
  10. People with dyslexia can physically change their brains and improve their reading.

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions. 1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of dyslexia changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion. 2. Did  you agree with everything the speaker said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with. Explain why. 3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers.

ANSWER KEY: Dyslexia