Category Archives: History

Thanksgiving Circa 1900: No Pilgrims Or Indians…Just Masks

“Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween. People — young and old — got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash., and points in between.” L. Weeks, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

 

Excerpt: When Thanksgiving Was Weird By Linton Weeks, NPR

“In New York City — where the tradition was especially strong — a local newspaper reported in 1911 that fantastically garbed youngsters and their elders were on every corner of the city. Thousands of folks ran rampant, one syndicated column noted. Horns and rattles are worked overtime. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians is an allowable pastime. It must have been like a strange American dream. Of course there was the familiar Thanksgiving fare for those who could afford it — turkey, pork, apples, figs and mince pies. But there was also a widespread weirdness that has faded away over the years.

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

In fact, so many people participated in masking and making merry back then that, according to a widely distributed item that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 21, 1897, Thanksgiving was “the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers of and dealers in masks and false faces. The fantastical costume parades and the old custom of making and dressing up for amusement on Thanksgiving day keep up from year to year in many parts of the country, so that the quantity of false faces sold at this season is enormous… In New York: Newspapers advertised ‘Thanksgiving masks’ and ‘lithographed character masks’ for the tots…These featureless disguises were often sold in candy stores alongside holiday related treats like spiced jelly gums, opera drops, crystallized ginger and tinted hard candies.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Children would dress themselves in rags and oversized, overdone parodies of beggars (a la Charlie Chaplin’s character ‘The Tramp’) The ragamuffins would then ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’…Ragamuffin parades continued to be popular into the 1950s, but they were eventually overpowered by another burgeoning tradition catapulted into prominence by the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The new symbol of Thanksgiving also showcased people in fantastic masks and costumes and, in addition, hoisted giant character-based balloons. It was called Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Henry David Thoreau

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: 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.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. Fantastically garbed youngsters were on every corner.
  2. One columnist noted that many folks ran rampant.
  3. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians was allowed.
  4. Many people participated in masking.
  5. Masks were a widely distributed item.
  6. There were many popular get-ups at the time.
  7. Some masks greatly exaggerated facial peculiarities.
  8. More refined revelers donned soft, ghostly, painted veils.
  9. Many people kept the tradition alive.
  10. Children would dress themselves in rags and parodies of beggars.

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.

Some marauders/ masqueraders rode/ride horses; others strayed/straddled bicycles. Everyone was generous/genuine with pennies and nickels, and the candy stores did a land-office business. So many young/youngsters in New York City dressed as poor/pop people, Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname: Ragamuffin Day. Parodies/Parades of ragamuffins — sometimes called ‘fantastics’ because of the costumes — can be dated/dates at least to 1891. The ragamuffins would then/than ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives

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

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

“By 1930, the library blog reports, some New Yorkers were ready to move on. School Superintendent William J. O’Shea instructed administrators that modernity is incompatible with the custom of children to masquerade and annoy adults on Thanksgiving day” by asking for gifts and money.”

“Others kept the tradition alive. The Madison Square Club for Boys and Young Men, for instance, put on Ragamuffin Parades in an attempt to bring order to the occasion. The 1940 parade, according to the library blog, featured more than 400 children and touted the group’s motto: American boys do not beg.”

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.

ANSWER KEY

Category: History | Tags:

The 9/11 Museum: Memorial or Theme Park?

On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked. At least 3,000 people died that day. In commemoration, The National September Eleventh Memorial Museum is opening with a ceremony led by  President  Obama. There are mixed feelings about the new memorial.The following excerpt provides a detailed description of the new monument along with the objections from several families of 9/11 victims.   

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

The exterior skin of the museum’s irregularly shaped entry pavilion is banded with alternating stripes of polished and matte finish stainless steel.which meet an angular wall of clear glass. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

The exterior skin of the museum’s irregularly shaped entry pavilion is banded with alternating stripes of polished and matte finish stainless steel.which meet an angular wall of clear glass. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

Excerpt: The 9/11 Story Told at Bedrock…By Holland Cotter, The New York Times

After a decade marked by deep grief, partisan rancor, war, financial boondoggles and inundation from Hurricane Sandy, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero is finally opening ceremonially on Thursday, with President Obama present, and officially to the public next Wednesday. It delivers a gut-punch experience — though if ever a new museum had looked, right along, like a disaster in the making, this one did, beginning with its trifurcated identity.

Was it going to be primarily a historical document, a monument to the dead or a theme-park-style tourist attraction? How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains, still being added to? How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts? How many theme parks bring you, repeatedly, to tears?

The “Survivors’ Stairs” were an escape route used by many people on 9:11. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

The “Survivors’ Stairs” were an escape route used by many people on 9:11. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

Because that’s what the museum does. The first thing to say about it, and maybe the last, is that it’s emotionally overwhelming, particularly, I expect, for New Yorkers who were in the city on that apocalyptic September day and the paranoia-fraught weeks that followed, but almost as certainly for the estimated two billion people around the globe who followed the horror unfolding on television, radio and the Internet.

Anguished, angry questions about the museum, raised by families of some of the 2,983 people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, have been widely reported. Debates over purpose, propriety and protocol are still in the air. At times, they have threatened to derail the project, or delay it indefinitely.

A teddy bear, a flag proclaiming “We will survive,” and a model of the twin towers are among the objects collected from a post-Sept. 11 vigil that are now on display at the 9:11 Memorial Museum. Photo- The New York Times.

A teddy bear, a flag proclaiming “We will survive,” and a model of the twin towers are among the objects collected from a post-Sept. 11 vigil that are now on display at the 9:11 Memorial Museum. (Floto+Warner for TIME)

While the accompanying National September 11 Memorial — two granite basins of cascading water that fill the twin tower footprints — is viewable from a street-level plaza, the museum is almost entirely subterranean. The bulk of it, some 10,000 square feet of gallery space, is 70 feet below ground, where the foundations of the towers met raw Manhattan schist…The drama starts, low key, on the plaza level with an aboveground entry pavilion midway between the memorial fountains. Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, it’s a glass box set at a sharp, dizzy tilt, like a tipping building or a listing ship…Among other things, the fraught global politics of Sept. 11 and the World Trade Center are hinted at here in an astonishing quotation, emblazoned on a wall, by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the towers, in which he declares the buildings “a monument to world peace.” 

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open  to the public May 21. Photo- Boston.com

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open to the public May 21. Photo- Boston.com

Suffice it to say, not everyone bought this utopian gloss. To many people, these quarter-mile-high structures were at best two cold, giant vertical bars of silver bullion, at worst obscene gestures of capitalist might. ..You emerge from the corridor’s close, oppressive aural cloud onto a platform overlooking a yawning space and an archaeological monolith: a 60-foot-high exposed section of the World Trade Center’s slurry wall. This thick, foundational barrier of poured concrete, laid before construction began in 1966, was, and is, the bulwark between the trade center and the Hudson River. When the twin towers collapsed, there was fear that the wall would give, flooding the site. It didn’t give. It cracked, but held, and was quickly claimed as an emblem of indomitability and resilience. 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 clip.

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

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 from Michigan State University to list the information they already know about the events of September 11,  2001.  Later in the Post-Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading copy

 

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, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. After a decade marked by deep grief,  the National September 11 Memorial Museum opening  on Thursday.
  2. The new museum looked like a disaster in the making, beginning with its trifurcated identity.
  3. How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains?
  4. It’s emotionally overwhelming for those who were in the city on that apocalyptic September day.
  5. Was it going to be primarily a historical document or  a monument to the dead?
  6. How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts?
  7. A descent into darkness is the stuff of suspense.
  8. On the plaza level there is an aboveground entry pavilion midway between the memorial fountains.
  9. It cracked, but held, and was quickly claimed as an emblem of indomitability and resilience.
  10. Still, within its narrow perspective, maybe because of it, the museum has done something powerful.

Topic 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 article states, “At times, they have threatened to derail the project, or delay it indefinitely. But the work inched forward, and the museum that emerged is true to its initial and literally fundamental goal: to tell the Sept. 11 story at ground zero bedrock.” Restate this idea using your own words.
  2. What are some of the protests the families of some victims have against the museum?
  3. After reading the article make a list of your personal reasons for liking or disliking the new museum.
  4. What are the most important ideas in this article?

3-2-1-Writing Activity

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down at least three new ideas they’ve learned about 9-11 from the reading. Ask them to write down two things they did not understand in the reading. Then have them write one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity. 

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip: September 11th Memorial Museum Dedication Today 9/11 Families Disgusted!

Video Link                  

While Listening Questions

 

Sentence  Fill-ins

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

  1. It’s expected to be an emotional/emotion  day tomorrow at the dedication of the National September 11, Memorial Museum.
  2. Thousands of artificial/artifacts will be on display some of them sparking controversy.
  3. Seven stories below ground/grown zero and its as if September 11, 2001 just happened.
  4. It was never much doubt/dubious  a memorial museum would be built after 9/11.
  5. For 13 years, three longer than planned, agreements/arguments have slowed down the progress of the National September 11, Memorial Museum.
  6. Many 9/11 families are angry  that thousands of unidentified body parts/parks are being stored this far under ground.
  7. Another corner/concern is a six-minute video called  “The Rise of Al-Qaeda”.
  8. An Interfaith clergy advisory/advises committee found most of the exhibits in the museum to be inspirational, but said they had a problem with the film.
  9. Twenty-four dollars per ticket, six-figure salaries for museum executives, and trinkets/tickets on sale at inflated prices are all criticisms the museum’s management faces.
  10. It’s unlikely the critics will be silenced anytime soon, but despite it all, for now at least, the US has a new focus/focal  for mourning those lost on 9/11.

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 the  National September 11, Memorial Museum changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Explain why some of the families are upset with the museum.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the museum representatives, or family members.

Related Article: 9/11 Museum Opens to a Somber Crowd By Stephen Farrell, May 21. 2014-New York Times.

ANSWER KEY: The National September 11, Memorial Museum

Nelson Mandela Showed Us “What is Possible”

In Johannesburg, South Africa, many people (both black and white) are gathered near the hospital where  the former South African President and activist Nelson Mandela lie in critical condition. Mandela is known as the “heart” of the eradication of the apartheid movement and we celebrate his life and his philosophy. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle are  visiting South Africa.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Hero- Nelson Mandela photo credit- Imgfave.

Hero- Nelson Mandela photo credit- Imgfave.

Excerpt: Obama Meets With Mandela Family as Vigil Continues By Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

“President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old former president of South Africa, delivering his respects in a private meeting Saturday with Mandela’s family even as South Africans gathered at the former president’s home to express their emotional bond him.

Nelson Mandella 1961. Photo- Retronaut.

Nelson Mandella 1961. Photo- Retronaut.

The presidential limousine slipped past a gate at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Saturday afternoon, leaving the media behind as Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela’s relatives before heading to a town-hall meeting with students in Soweto. In statement after the meeting, Mr. Obama said he had also spoken by phone with Graça Machel, Mr. Mandela’s wife, who remained by his bedside.

I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, Mr. Obama said. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world — including me. That’s a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives.

A steady stream of mostly white well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks clustered under trees outside the closed gates. One note, left under a tree and address to Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name, said: Madiba, We drove across town without having to get permission. We live where we can, not where we are told to. All because of you and other heroes. Thank you, Lucien, Joelene, Ava and Luke…

Nelson Mandela enjoying his 89th birthday  at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in Johannesburg. Photo- Denis Farrell:AP.

Nelson Mandela enjoying his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg. Photo- Denis Farrell:AP.

White House officials said the decision not to bring the American president and his entourage to Mr. Mandela’s bedside at a hospital in Pretoria was made “out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort and the family’s wishes.” The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two men together, offering a generational tableau of the first black leaders in both countries. Mr. Obama said as he flew to South Africa on Friday that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country…

Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela met in person in 2005. Photo David Katz. NYT

Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela met in person in 2005. Photo David Katz. NYT

“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible and the people of South Africa have shown what’s possible when a priority is placed on constitutions and rule of law and respect for human dignity and that all people are treated equal, Mr. Obama said.” Read more…

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Photo credit-Allsparkfireworks.

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Photo credit-Allsparkfireworks.

To All of Our Readers: A Glorious 4th of July!~ESL Voices~

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking, 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 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 Nelson Mandela  through discussions, 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  Nelson Mandela.  Next, have students look at the picture(s)  from the post and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board.  Try this great brainstorming chart by Kootation.com to assist students.

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 or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word. They  will find this Word Map by Education Oasis useful.

 Word Chart By Education Oasis

Sentences

  1. Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old is the  former president of South Africa.
  2. Mr. Obama said. “I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa.”
  3. The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  4.  Well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks.
  5. Mrs. Machel, making a rare public appearance was flanked by security guards.
  6. The decision not to bring the American president to Mr. Mandela’s bedside was made out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort.
  7. Mr. Obama said that he does not need a “photo-op” while he is in the country.
  8. Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago for a chronic lung infection.
  9. Mr. Obama plans to salute Mr. Mandela’s life with a visit to Robben Island, the prison where the iconic South African leader spent 18 years in a tiny cell.
  10.  Mr. Zuma noted the symbolism  saying that Mr. Obama and Mr. Mandela are  the first black presidents of  their countries.

Reading Comprehension

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. Nelson Mandela is the former president of South Africa.
  2. Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela.
  3. Winnie Mandela is Mr. Mandela’s wife.
  4. The Centre of Memory hopes to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  5. A steady stream of mostly  African well-wishers gathered outside Mandela’s home Saturday.
  6. Mr. Mandela  spent 18  months in a tiny cell in Robben Island.
  7. Mr. Mandela will leave a fortune to South African charities.
  8. Mr. Obama said that his top priority for the African continent was to help the governments  to establish more stable and transparent democracies.
  9. Many Americans fear that an eruption of violence will occur after  Mandela’s death.
  10. Diana Anderson,is a  member of the African Party who arrived outside Mr. Mandela’s house.

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. In statement  Mr. Obama said he had also spoke by phone with Graça Machel.
  2. Mr. Mandela’s wife remained by his bedside.
  3.  Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones.

II.

  1.  The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  2. One note, left under a tree  was addressed to “Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name.
  3. We drove across town without have to get permission.

III. 

  1. Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago.
  2. His condition turned critical.
  3. The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two man together.

 

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. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.

  1. The article states that “ President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela.” Since this will probably be the last opportunity to see Mandela, do you think Obama should have tried to obtain a meeting with him? Provide reasons for your answers.
  2. Nelson Mandela is known (and loved) primarily for his fight against apartheid in South Africa, and for improving race relations and human rights for all people. Do you think the people of South Africa and in other parts of the world will try to maintain his legacy after his death? Provide reasons for your answer.
  3. According to the article President Obama stated, “…that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country.” Rephrase this comment into your own words.
  4. Many South Africans fear an “erruption” of violence after Mandela’s death. Provide reasons why people might become violent.
  5. Explain what you think are the most important ideas in this article and why.
  6. Choose one of the following topics to research and present to the class.
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Apartheid
  • Winnie Mandela
  • Evelyn Ntoko Mase
  • Graça Machel Mandela
  • The African National Congress
  • pacifist movement
  • Robben Island

IV. Listening Activity

Video Clip: Nelson Mandela a Mini Biography

Introduction: A short documentary about Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Credit: Nelson Mandela Foundation.

While Listening Exercise

Sentence  Fill-ins -Multiple Choice  

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

1. Nelson Mandela was born___

a. July 18, 1918.
b. July 19, 1918.
c. July 16, 1918.

2. At the age of ___Mandela began his British education.

a. six
b. eight
c. seven

3. It was his ___who gave him the name Nelson.

  1. a. father
  2. b. mother
  3. c. teacher

4. It was in ___that Nelson was confronted with the reality of a racially divided South Africa.

  1. a. 1941
  2. b. 1942
  3. c. 1841

5. Nelson began meetings with of the___

  1. a. African Liberal Committee (ALC)
  2. b. African National Congress (ANC).
  3. c. African Literary Congress (ALC).

6. Mandela was___because he publicly spoke out against Apartheid.

  1. a. awarded
  2. b. arrested
  3. c. reprimanded

7. In the 1990s Mandela was released from prison at age___, and the ANC was declared a legal organization.

  1. a. 61
  2. b. 70
  3. c. 71

8. In 1993 the ___was awarded to Mandela for ending apartheid.

  1. a. The Golden Wreath
  2. b. Nobel Peace Prize
  3. c. The African Prize of Peace

9. Mandela was elected as the ___ of South Africa at the age of 75.

  1. a. president
  2. b. congressman
  3. c. senator

10. It was the first time that Africans had voted in more than___years.

  1. a. 400
  2. b. 200
  3. c. 300

Vodeo Link

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  Nelson Mandela changed in any way?  If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Did  you learn new information about Mandela?  Discuss what you’ve learned.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask Mr. Mandela if you had the opportunity. Share your responses with the class.

 

ANSWER KEY: Nelson Mandela

 

Category: History | Tags: ,

Claressa Shields:The U.S. Olympic Gold Medal Champion of Boxing!

17-year old Claressa Shields of Flint, Michigan, is the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport of boxing. Claressa also won the only gold medal for the United States in this Olympic event.

Claressa Shields celebrates her win on the podium in London.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Here are excerpts from her victory: Claressa Shields wins only gold medal for U.S. boxing at London Olympics, and the first by a woman, The  Washington Post

“LONDON — The public address announcer blared, The gold medalist and Olympic champion . . .and that’s about the point that 17-year old Claressa Shields lost it. She started laughing uncontrollably before the announcer could even say her name. And once the medal was around her neck, she immediately clutched it, waving it from side to side and lifting it above her head. The excitement had taken over every nerve and every muscle…

Claessa Shields holds her gold medal. CBS news.

She laughed throughout the medal ceremony, after her 19-12 victory over Russian Nadezda Torlopova made Shields, a middleweight, the only American boxer at these Olympics — and the first U.S. woman — to win boxing gold. The whole time she kept grabbing at the shiny disc, making sure it was real and that it was really hers…Her new prize, she said, is something she’ll wear every single day because it represents so much… Just a teenager — 165 pounds packed with personality, strength and charm — Shields has a lot of life experience behind her. Too much of it, really. She’s from Flint, Mich., a hard-luck town where every victory is a big one.

Claressa Shields of U.S. wins Gold Medal!

Working daily with Crutchfield, Shields became the youngest boxer to make the U.S. team. Her family couldn’t afford to come to London, but her coach did. He helped guide her through the tough bracket… After disappointing performances by the U.S. men’s boxers, Shields performance was one of the few bright spots at these Olympics, the first in which women’s boxing was considered a medal sport…She tried to guess how life might be different now: History will remember her, she figures, and people will see her as an inspiration…”

Our Congratulations to Claressa and to all of the  women who participated in this historical Olympic event!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Low – High Intermediate

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

Time: Approximately 1 1/2 hours.

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

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: Analyzing 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.
Students might use this pre-reading organizer by Scholastic to assist them in finding the main ideas from the reading.

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.

  1. The public address announcer blared
  2. She started laughing uncontrollably before the announcer could even say her name.
  3. “I thought I was gonna have a seizure,” Shields said later.
  4. Just a teenager — 165 pounds packed with personality, strength and charm…
  5. At age 11, she wandered into a gym and met Jason Crutchfield, a journeyman fighter …
  6. In Flint, hope is a precious commodity.
  7. Shields cruised the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds…
  8. At the arena Thursday, she didn’t even notice one of the loudest, most raucous crowds at these Olympics…
  9. Shields remained the aggressor and added to her lead.
  10. Shields closed out the victory with a decisive final round…
  • 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.

 

  1. Shields, a middleweight, was the only American boxer at these Olympics — and the first U.S. woman — to win boxing gold.
  2. Claressa cried throughout the medal ceremony.
  3. Claressa said that her new prize is something she’ll wear every single day because it represents so much.
  4. She’s from Flint, Missouri, a hard-luck town where every victory is a big one.
  5. Her father served time in prison for breaking and entering.
  6. Working daily with Crutchfield, Shields became the second youngest boxer to make the U.S. team.
  7. Before the fight, Shields phoned her family.
  8. The U.S. men’s boxers had disappointing performances.
  9. Claressa stated, “I might have 10,000 followers when I get back on Twitter,”.
  10. Shields will begin her senior year of high school soon and says she she’ll try to defend her Olympic title in 2016.
  •  Grammar Focus: Identifying Parts of Speech

Directions: Have students identify the verbs in the following paragraphs, then use the words to write a short paragraph  concerning female professional boxing.

“I earned this,” she said. “This is my medal. I worked too hard. I worked really hard for this medal. I can’t even explain all the pain that I had went through, all the people I had to deal with. And just life, period.”…Working daily with Crutchfield, Shields became the youngest boxer to make the U.S. team. Her family couldn’t afford to come to London, but her coach did. He helped guide her through the tough bracket.

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-How Questions
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?

  • Essay Writing

Directions:  Have students choose a topic and write an essay.
Review ESL Voices Modes of Essay Writing.

  1. The article states that “Shields, a middleweight, the only American boxer at these Olympics — and the first U.S. woman — to win boxing gold.” In your opinion, do you think this is too much responsibility for a 17-year-old? Write an essay in which you explain your views.
  2. Write an essay in which you state reasons for supporting professional female boxing, or oppose this sport.
  3. The article states, “Shields will begin her senior year of high school soon and says she doesn’t know whether she’ll try to defend her Olympic title in 2016. There has never before been a U.S. female gold-winning boxer, and she doesn’t know what opportunities might come along.” Write an essay in which you provide Claressa with advice as to what she should do in the future.
  • Group Activity: Role Play

Directions: Within your group create a list of questions you would like to ask Claressa Shields. Then have each member take turns playing the roles of Claressa, and a sports interviewer.

ANSWER Key: Claressa Shields wins Gold.

Category: Education, History, Sports

The Most Wanted Face of Terrorism…Dead!

Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says by P. Baker, H. Cooper, and M. Mazzetti, New York Times,

Many schools world wide  are discussing the  historic event of the  death of Bin Laden. Here is a lesson plan and some ideas for discussion groups.
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this article With Answer Key.

 

President Obama  Announced the Death of bin Laden-photo Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Obama Announced the Death of bin Laden-photo Doug Mills/The New York Times

NYC: Times Square, Hundreds Gather to Celebrate-photo Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Firefighters gathered on a ladder to watch the ABC News crawl. Credit: Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Article Excerpt:  Bin Laden Is Dead, Obama Says, by P. Baker, H. Cooper, and M. Mazzetti

Published: May 1, 2011

“WASHINGTON — Osama bin Laden, the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times and the most hunted man in the world, was killed in a firefight with United States forces in Pakistan, President Obama announced on Sunday.

In a late-night appearance in the East Room of the White House, Mr. Obama declared that “justice has been done” as he disclosed that American military and C.I.A. operatives had finally cornered Bin Laden, the leader of Al Qaeda, who had eluded them for nearly a decade. American officials said Bin Laden resisted and was shot in the head. He was later buried at sea.

The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags, cheering, shouting, laughing and chanting, “U.S.A., U.S.A.!” In New York City, crowds sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Throughout downtown Washington, drivers honked horns deep into the night.•

“For over two decades, Bin Laden has been Al Qaeda’s leader and symbol,” the president said in a statement broadcast around the world. “The death of Bin Laden marks the most significant achievement to date in our nation’s effort to defeat Al Qaeda. But his death does not mark the end of our effort. There’s no doubt that Al Qaeda will continue to pursue attacks against us. We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”

Bin Laden’s demise is a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism, a symbolic stroke affirming the relentlessness of the pursuit of those who attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001….Bin Laden’s death came nearly 10 years after Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American passenger jets, crashing three of them into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington. The fourth hijacked jet, United Flight 93, crashed into the Pennsylvania countryside after passengers fought the militants. “This is important news for us, and for the world,” said Gordon Felt, president of the group, Families of Flight 93. “It cannot ease our pain, or bring back our loved ones. It does bring a measure of comfort that the mastermind of the September 11th tragedy and the face of global terror can no longer spread his evil.

”The mostly young people who celebrated in the streets of New York and Washington saw it as a historic moment, one that for many of them culminated a worldwide manhunt that started when they were children….The city of Abbottabad where Bin Laden was found has had other known Al Qaeda presence in the past…

The president was careful to add that, as Mr. Bush did during his presidency, the United States is not at war with Islam. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims,” Mr. Obama said. “Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own. So his demise should be welcomed by all who believe in peace and human dignity.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this article.

Lesson: Understanding Terrorism

Level:  Low Intermediate -Advanced

Time: approximately 1 hour.

Materials: article excerpt, questions for discussion.

Objectives: Students will learn about the significance of the death of Bin Laden; the meaning of terrorism and its connection to the United States and 9/11. Learners will practice reading comprehension, and  learn new vocabulary.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

A. Speaking activity: learning phrases for conversation.

Before beginning the lesson, review the following phrases of Conversation with students.

Suggestions for Guiding Discussion Groups

In a conversation class, there are different formats for group discussions, ranging from informal small talk to a very structured group debate on a controversial topic. In all cases it is important to teach students the words and phrases necessary for them to contribute effectively to the group discussion. Teaching students the proper language to use in certain situations, such as giving opinions, agreeing and disagreeing, is necessary for organized group discussions,  and is vital when students are discussing controversial or sensitive topics. The main focus should be that they respect the opinions of each other. You can create a handout of your own set of relevant phrases for your  students. Also remember that your language in the classroom will also affect how your students speak to each other.

Agreeing and Disagreeing, Interrupting

Examples

I agree.

I agree with you.

I think you are right.

Excuse me, but I disagree.  I don’t agree with you.

Excuse me.  Could you clarify that?  In my opinion…

Additional Phrases for Conversation

B. Stimulate background knowledge

Find out what students know about the following terms: Bin Laden, terrorism, 9/11.

II. While Reading Tasks

A. Vocabulary Practice (inference)

Give students the excerpt from the article (entire article can be read by clicking on NYT above). Have them try to infer the meanings of the underlined words from the sentences. They may use a dictionary if they like. See the answers below.

  1. “Osama  bin Laden the mastermind of the most devastating attack on American soil in modern times
  2. Mr. Obama declared that“justice has been done” …
  3. The news touched off an extraordinary outpouring of emotion as crowds gathered outside the White House, in Times Square and at the ground zero site, waving American flags…
  4. “…We must and we will remain vigilant at home and abroad.”
  5. Bin Laden’s demise is a defining moment in the American-led fight against terrorism…
  6. The mostly young people who celebrated in the streets of New York and Washington saw it as a historic moment, one that for many of them culminated a worldwide manhunt that started when they were children…
  7. “Bin Laden was not a Muslim leader; he was a mass murderer of Muslims,”
  8. “…Indeed, Al Qaeda has slaughtered scores of Muslims in many countries, including our own.”

B. Questions for Discussion and Reflection

  1. What is terrorism?
  2. Who was bin Laden, and what was his background?
  3. What did he do that angered and hurt the American people?
  4. Describe what happened on 9/11/01 in the United States?
  5. Describe the following terms: The Taliban, al-Qaida, Muslims.
  6. What effect will his death have on people in other countries?
  7. How was Bin Laden killed?
  8. Do you think Bin Laden-related terrorists will retaliate?
  9. Do you think it’s correct for the American people to celebrate his death?

III. Post Reading Tasks

A.  Ten Questions You would Ask the following people

Place students in groups and have them think of at least 10 questions (total) they might like to ask the following people. Students can add other people to this list.

  • President Obama
  • Bin  Laden (when he was alive)
  • The soldiers who captured and killed bin Laden
  • The people who lost loved ones in the  9/11 attack

B. Activity: Using Photos To Stimulate Discussion

This is an excellent activity to encourage students to use their imaginations, and their language skills.

Procedure:

Place students in groups or pairs and hand out photos from above (remove the captions), or choose others from the web.

Using the brainstorming technique, have students discuss what they think is going on in the pictures.

Some possible questions you might propose to the students:

1. Who is the person in the photo? (Who are the people in the photo?)

2. What do you think they are doing, thinking, saying?

3. Write down your thoughts.

Visit each group and provide help if needed.

Each group prepares a short story for each photo. Students should write down any new vocabulary words, and check the meanings using a dictionary.  Students share their photos and stories with the class.

For more ideas on using photos for discussion visit lessons for Speaking.

Answers to Vocabulary Practice

  1. mastermind: noun. someone who has exceptional intellectual ability to plan and direct.
  2. devastating: adjective. wreaking or capable of wreaking complete destruction.
  3. justice: noun. judgment involved in the determination of rights and the assignment of rewards and punishments.
  4. extraordinary: adjective. beyond what is ordinary or usual; highly unusual or exceptional or remarkable;
  5. outpouring: noun. the rapid and continuous delivery of linguistic communication (spoken or written);
  6. ground zero: noun. the site of the World Trade Center before it was destroyed
  7. vigilant: adjective. carefully observant or attentive; on the lookout for possible danger;
  8. demise: noun. the time when something ends.
  9. culminate [culminated]: verb. reach the highest or most decisive point.
  10. manhunt: noun. an organized search (by police) for a person (charged with a crime).
  11. Muslim: noun. a believer in or follower of Islam
  12. slaughter [slaughtered]: noun. the savage and excessive killing of many people

Additional Lessons New York Times Learning Network.