Literature

Amy Tan: More History and Family Secrets

November 24th, 2013  |  Published in Education, Literature

Author Amy Tan is especially known for her best seller The Joy Luck Club which was also a major film. Tan’s other best selling novels include The Kitchen God’s Wife, The Hundred Secret Senses, The Bonesetter’s Daughter, and Saving Fish from Drowning. Her themes usually explore the relationships between mothers and daughters, historical connections to ancestors, comparisons of  Chinese and American cultures, along with  mysterious family secrets.  Her latest novel The Valley of Amazement brings the same elements of  historical information and mystery as her  previous books.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. Amazon

The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan. Amazon

Excerpt: Amy Tan’s Latest: Mothers, Daughters… By Jane Ciabattari NPR Books

“Family secrets, life-changing betrayals and the paradox of wondering about the old country while belonging to the new are at the heart of Amy Tan’s work. She enthralled readers of her phenomenally successful first novel, The Joy Luck Club (1989), with the interlocking stories of four Chinese-born mothers and their four California-born daughters… 

Amy Tan and photo of her grandmother. Photo- ABC news

Amy Tan and photo of her grandmother. Photo- ABC news

Thanks to a family mystery — the discovery of a photograph that raises the possibility that her own grandmother might have been a courtesan in China early in the last century — Tan focuses her new novel on the elegant and trend-setting first-class “houses of flowers” for which Shanghai’s international zone was once known.

Photo- Newsfiber

Photo- Newsfiber

The novel opens with Violet Minturn at 7, a “thoroughly American girl in race, manners, and speech,” who lives with her mother, Lulu Minturn. By taking a child’s perspective, Tan creates a sense of innocence, even wonder, at the goings-on in Hidden Jade Path. Tan sets the stage with sumptuous furnishings. As a child, Violet discovers Lu Shing’s landscape painting, “The Valley of Amazement,” among Lulu’s treasures. 

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Amazon

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Amazon

Some three-quarters of the way through the novel, Tan loops back to tell the story of Lulu’s early years…By structuring the novel in this manner, Tan makes poignant how the fates of Lulu and Violet mirror each other in uncanny ways, and builds to her startling conclusion.” Read more…

FROM ESL VOICES:

 

Happy Thanksgiving Photo- PSD SuppliesPhoto: PSD Supplies

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 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 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  the author Amy Tan, her novels, and China.  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.comGreat 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 by Freeology for assistance.

  1. Family secrets and the paradox of wondering about the old country are at the heart of Amy Tan’s work.
  2. She enthralled readers with The Joy Luck Club.
  3. Tan followed up with equally enduring portraits of fierce immigrant mothers.
  4. Tan focuses her new novel on the elegant “houses of flowers”.
  5. By taking a child’s perspective, Tan creates a sense of innocence.
  6. Tan sets the stage with sumptuous furnishings.
  7. Tan gives us a cast of finely drawn and idiosyncratic minor characters.
  8. After a series of wrenching betrayals, Lulu strikes back.
  9. Violet and her mother face ominous crossroads.
  10. She dallies with a smarmy American.

 vocab 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. Accordig to the article the novel opens with 10-year-old Violet Minturn.
  2. Violet’s father is a Chinese diplomat.
  3. Violet’s mother had a happy childhood.
  4. Violet’s father, Lu Shing, met her mother in San Francisco.
  5. We learn that Violet’s father was from a little town in China.
  6. Violet discovered Lu Shing’s landscape painting, “The Valley of Amazement” when she was little.
  7. Lulu is lazy and rich.
  8. In the novel Violet was abandoned by her mother.
  9. Within the novel Tan loops back to tell the story of Lulu’s early years.
  10. LuLu meets an American who helps her.

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. Amy Tan enthralled readers with the novel The Joy Luck Club.
  2. Tan created portraits of fierce immigrant mother.
  3. There were courtesans in early China.

II

  1. The novel creates romance and illusion.
  2. From a child’s perspective, Tan creates a sense of innocence.
  3. Tan sets the stage by sumptuous furnishings.

III

  1. Was the painting meant to depict a feeling of hope?
  2. Violet and her mother reinvent herself.
  3. Tan gives a vivid picture of Violet’s journey.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

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

WH-organizer from Enchanted Learning

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

  1. Amy Tan’s  novels  revolve around themes such as difficult mother-daughter relationships, cultural comparisons between America and China, and family secrets.  In your opinion, why are these topics so interesting to people?
  2. Which age group do you think read Tan’s novels?  Provide reasons why.
  3. Which of the themes in Tan’s novels do you find most interesting? Why?
  4. If you could write a novel, what topics would you choose and why?

IV. Listening Activity 

Video: Amy Tan Discusses her new novel  ”The Valley of Amazement” with “CBS This Morning”.

“Best-selling author Amy Tan has written “The Valley of Amazement” about the world of high-class courtesans in Shanghai. Tan joins the “CBS This Morning” co-hosts to discuss her new book and what she uncovered about her own family during the research.”

 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. Amy Tan’s books have sold more than 5 million copies world wide
  2. Her books have been translated into  35 languages.
  3. Tan found a photo of her grandmother which led her to write this novel.
  4. Amy Tan’s grandmother was dressed as a courtesan in the photo.
  5. A courtesan  was a woman who courted men in high-class brothels in Shanghai.
  6. In the novel the protagonist Violet is half American and half Chinese.
  7. According to Tan, the courtesan’s life was one of beauty and brutality.
  8. During this era, Chinese women were restricted in general.
  9. Tan wants readers to understand the book is about mothers and daughters, and how people are shaped by their circumstances or by choices they make.

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 Amy Tan changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Did  you agree with everything the Tan 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: Amy Tan, The Valley of Amazement 

 

Thank you for using this lesson plan.
Please come back again.

Tags: ,

J. D. Salinger’s Secrets Revealed…Maybe

September 8th, 2013  |  Published in Education, Literature

J. D. Salinger is most remembered for his wonderful novel “Catcher in the Rye”.  Salinger was not only known as  a literary legend, but also as  a man who cherished his privacy.  According to the trailer for the new film about the famous author,  the biggest secrets from Salinger’s life will finally be revealed to the public, although his son Matthew Salinger is skeptical that the public will learn anything “secret” about his famous father.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

The mysterious J.D. Salinger.

The mysterious J.D. Salinger.

Excerpt: Film on Salinger Claims More Books Are Coming, By  M. Cieply and J. Bosman, New York Times

J. D. Salinger may not be done publishing after all, according to claims in a new film and book set for release next week.

Mr. Salinger, who died in 2010 at the age of 91, has been known for a distinguished but scant literary oeuvre that was capped by the enormous success of his 1951 novel, The Catcher in the Rye. But a forthcoming documentary and related book, both titled “Salinger,” include detailed assertions that Mr. Salinger instructed his estate to publish at least five additional books — some of them entirely new, some extending past work — in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Wikipedia.

Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Wikipedia.

The new books and stories were largely written before Mr. Salinger assigned his output to a trust in 2008, and would greatly expand the Salinger legacy.

One collection, to be called “The Family Glass,” would add five new stories to an assembly of previously published stories about the fictional Glass family, which figured in Mr. Salinger’s “Franny and Zooey” and elsewhere, according to the claims, which surfaced in interviews and previews of the documentary and book last week.

J D Salinger“Uncover the Mystery but Don’t Spoil the Secrets!”. Weinstein.

J D Salinger“Uncover the Mystery but Don’t Spoil the Secrets!”. Weinstein.

Another would include a retooled version of a publicly known but unpublished tale, “The Last and Best of the Peter Pans,” which is to be collected with new stories and existing work about the fictional Caulfields, including “Catcher in the Rye.” 

Matthew Salinger, who is Mr. Salinger’s son, and shares responsibility for the Salinger estate with Colleen O’Neill, the author’s widow, declined to discuss plans or the book and film. He said Ms. O’Neill, who did not respond directly to a separate query, would also decline to comment.

In an interview earlier this year, Matthew Salinger said he was skeptical that the planned book and documentary would deepen public understanding of his father, who, he said, for decades had confined his intimate dealings to a small circle of seven or eight people.

Even in old age Salinger never liked being photographed.1988. NYBooks.

Even in old age Salinger never liked being photographed.1988. NYBooks.

The documentary is directed by Shane Salerno, a filmmaker who spent nine years researching and filming the movie that is set for release by the Weinstein Company on Sept. 6, and will air later on PBS in the American Masters series. The companion book, co-written by David Shields, is to be published by Simon & Schuster on Sept. 3.

The book and film have been marketed with the promise of revelations about Mr. Salinger, whose penchant for privacy became a hallmark.”

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 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 discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  ask students to write a paragraph describing J.D. Salinger .

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 students use the Word organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with new vocabulary. Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

  1. Mr. Salinger, has been known for a distinguished but scant literary oeuvre.
  2. There is a forthcoming documentary about Salinger.
  3. Mr. Salinger instructed his estate to publish at least five additional books.
  4. There are previously published stories about the fictional Glass family.
  5. Another  publication would include a retooled version of  the story.
  6. For decades, those in touch with Mr. Salinger have said that he had continued to write assiduously, though he stopped publishing.
  7. Matthew Salinger said he was skeptical that the  film would deepen public understanding of his father.
  8. The film and book provide a somewhat unconventional, tour through the life of an author.
  9. For Mr. Salerno, the simultaneous release of both film and book culminate a quest.
  10. Salinger is going to have a second act said Mr. Salerno. “There’s no precedent for this.”

 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. Mr. Salinger  died in 2012.
  2. Salinger had a happy childhood.
  3. His first wife was American.
  4. Both the documentary and book are titled “Salinger”.
  5. The new books and stories were largely written before Mr. Salinger assigned his output to a trust in 2008.
  6. One collection, is to be called “The Family Plastic”.
  7. Salinger was a known democrat.
  8. Matthew Salinger, is Mr. Salinger’s son.
  9. Matthew Salinger has 3 children.
  10. J. D. Salinger confined his intimate dealings to a small circle of seven or eight people.

 Grammar Focus

Sentence Scramble

Directions:  The following sentences from the article are scrambled. Have students unscramble each sentence. Students can find the original sentences in the reading to check their work.

  1. One collection, to be called “The Family Glass,” would add five new stories to an assembly of previously published stories.
  2. “He did rely on some anonymous sources, and I’ve talked to him about that,” said Mr. Karp.
  3.  J. D. Salinger may not be done publishing after all, according to claims in a new film and book set for release next week.
  4. The new books and stories were largely written before Mr. Salinger assigned his output to a trust in 2008, and would greatly expand the Salinger legacy.
  5. For decades, those in touch with Mr. Salinger have said that he had continued to write assiduously, though he stopped publishing.

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. J.D.Salinger was known as a recluse. Provide several reasons why some famous people might want to be left out of the public’s eye.
  2. Can you think of other famous people who kept their lives private?  Include famous people in your country.
  3. The article states,” For decades, those in touch with Mr. Salinger have said that he had continued to write assiduously, though he stopped publishing after a long story…” Why would he continue to write stories and not publish them?
  4. If your were a famus writer, would you prefer to stay in the public’s eye, or keep your life private as J.D. Salinger? Provide reasons for your answer.

IV. Listening Activity   

Video ClipRemembering J.D. Salinger on Charlie Rose with Adam Gopnick from the New Yorker Magazine. 

Talk show host Charlie Rose and  author Adam Gopnick  discuss J.D. Salinger’s novels.

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. J.D. Salinger’s home was in Cornish New York when he died.
  2. Salinger was 72 years old when he died.
  3. Salinger changed American literature with his book Catcher in the Rye.
  4. Salinger had a wife and 3 kids.
  5. J.D. Salinger was also known as an open person.
  6. In 1953 salinger moved from New york to live in rural New Hampshire.
  7. Adam Gopnick read from Catcher in the Rye.
  8. J.D. Salinger also wrote the book The Glass Family Stories.
  9. J.D. Salinger was a soldier.
  10. Salinger stopped writing publicly when he was 66 years old.
  11. Gopnick read a description of Mrs. Glass
  12. Gopnick stated that Salinger’s writing tended to be spiritual.
  13. One critic stated that Salinger fell in love too deeply with his own characters.
  14. Gopnick was friends with Salinger.

V. 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 J.D. Salinger changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.
  2. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers, or Salinger if you had the opportunity.

ANSWER KEY: J.D. Salinger

Thank you for using this lesson plan.
Please come back again.

Tags:

Revisiting Hemingway… In Audio

May 30th, 2013  |  Published in Education, Literature, Technology

We all love to read Ernest Hemingway’s novels, we even like to see some of his famous characters them portrayed on the silver screen by actors.  Now, we can listen to his classic stories on audio tapes. The set sells for $399 and is entitled, The full Ernest Hemingway Audio Library Collection.  Author  Paul Hendrickson provides a review of this collection.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Ernest Hemingway Audio Collection by Simon & Shuster. Amazon.

Ernest Hemingway Audio Collection by Simon & Shuster. Amazon.

Excerpt: An Audible Feast The Ernest Hemingway Audiobook Library, By P. Hendrickson, New York Times

“In a foreshortened life that didn’t make 62, Ernest Hemingway got a lot down on paper. If, by his middle and later years, enough of it seemed self-­parodying and sometimes even mawkish, great swaths of it remain immortal — and not just the early work, as some critics would claim. Hemingway changed the look and sound of American speech on the printed page.

Hemingway’s Boat- Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 By  Paul Hendrickson. Good Reads.

Hemingway’s Boat- Everything He Loved in Life, and Lost, 1934-1961 By
Paul Hendrickson. Good Reads.

But how did he get so much work done, the stories, the novels, the nonfiction (not to mention the thousands of letters he wrote), amid all that wasteful boozing and boasting, the depressions, the freakish accidents, the bouts of soaring blood pressure, the stark-awake and Seconal-stoked nights?

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project

While that part of Hemingway is not untrue, it’s also the case that he was a far more tormented and sickly soul, both physically and emotionally, than we ever really guessed.

One answer to the riddle of how so many words were set down, in spite of everything, is that Hemingway kept struggling — I’d call it heroically — no matter where he was or what ailed him, to find his way to his writing table. The movable space could be on his fishing cruiser in the Gulf Stream, or in a hotel room in Spain while bombardments were going on outside the window, or under the mosquito netting of a sleeping tent in Africa.

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project

The point is, he kept trying to work… “The Ernest Hemingway Audiobook Library” has been packaged now in a handsome, door-stopping black-and-white 15-disc, MP3 CD slipcase, narrated by celebrated actors and lesser-­known performers. The shebang adds up to a running time of about 133 hours. 

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project .

Ernest Hemingway. Photo: The Hemingway Project .

No, I didn’t listen to it all. I fished around, working toward things I have long worshiped and others about which I have felt minor embarrassment. I’ll acknowledge that these were the first audiobooks of any kind I have ever listened to in bulk. I’ve never wanted to be an audiophile of literature, certainly not of Hemingway. His sentences were in my head, my ear. I didn’t need people reading him to me, not even Donald Sutherland or Stacy Keach or William Hurt or Brian Dennehy. Or so I thought.

Ernest Hemingway. Photos: The Hemingway Project.

Ernest Hemingway. Photos: The Hemingway Project.

But a funny thing happened on the way to my expected disregard for these recordings, which in some cases are something like one-man old-time radio productions: I began to love the sound of Hemingway, if not exactly in new ways, at least in heightened ways…

Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right)-not dated. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Ernest Hemingway with sons Patrick (left) and Gregory (right)-not dated. Photograph in the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection, John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.

Oh, yes, I have to tell you about the bonus track. It’s an interview with Hemingway’s surviving son, Patrick Hemingway, conducted in 2007 at his Montana home. “Mouse,” as his father nicknamed him, and who’ll be 85 in June, wishes to remember the good parts of his dad, naturally.  

Patrick Hemingway at PEN 2009. Photo JFK Library.

Patrick Hemingway at PEN 2009. Photo JFK Library.

I once got to go fishing on the Henrys Fork of the Snake River with him. He was generous, affectionate company, just as his father had described him fictionally in “Islands in the Stream.” He had a high and nearly constant squealy laugh — at least until we climbed into our waders and went fishing after dark, going single file and silently to the bank in the Idaho moonlight. This was in 1987, and he was about to turn 59.” Read more…

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plans for  stories by Hemingway: Indian Camp,  Soldier’s Home , Cat In The Rain

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 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 Ernest Hemingway’s works on video through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading

Stimulating background knowledge

Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Ernest Hemingway,  his stories, and audio books.  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the article  and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Have students use the brainstorming chart by Very Novel.com.

Brainstorming chart by Very Novel.com

 

II. While Reading

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. Have students use the Word organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with new vocabulary.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted LearningSentences:

  1. By his middle and later years, enough of it seemed self-­parodying and sometimes even mawkish.
  2. And this is not even to dwell on all the time he devoted to indulging his passions for fishing and hunting.
  3. That is how we think of him when we squint and say his name.
  4. Hemingway was a far more tormented and sickly soul, than we ever really guessed.
  5. The movable space could be on his fishing cruiser in the Gulf Stream, or in a hotel room in Spain while bombardments were going on outside the window.
  6. It should also be said that there were years of relative stability and domesticity.
  7. I’ll acknowledge that these were the first audiobooks of any kind I have ever listened to in bulk.
  8. I’ve never wanted to be an audiophile of literature, certainly not of Hemingway.
  9. But a funny thing happened on the way to my expected disregard for these recordings.
  10. He was always a bit fearful of gadgety things.

Reading Comprehension

Unscramble The Events

Directions: Place students in groups and have them place the events in the order that they appear in the article.

  1.  Everything bad about the life of Ernest Hemingway seemed somewhere far behind. The work remained. And the river was there.
  2. One answer to the riddle of how so many words were set down, in spite of everything, is that Hemingway kept struggling  to find his way to his writing table.
  3. Until I heard John Slattery narrate “A Farewell to Arms”  I hadn’t concentrated on the way the characters might have actually sounded in Hemingway’s own imagination.
  4. While that part of Hemingway is not untrue, it’s also the case that he was a far more tormented and sickly soul, both physically and emotionally.
  5. In a foreshortened life that didn’t make 62, Ernest Hemingway got a lot down on paper. 
  6. The movable space could be on his fishing cruiser in the Gulf Stream, or in a hotel room in Spain while bombardments were going on outside the window.
  7. I’ll acknowledge that these were the first audiobooks of any kind I have ever listened to in bulk.
  8. But how did he get so much work done amid all that wasteful boozing, the depressions, the freakish accidents, the bouts of soaring blood pressure, and Seconal-stoked nights?
  9. I had the feeling that Donald Sutherland, who ably dramatizes the 1952 comeback novella, “The Old Man and the Sea” has logged some hours listening to Hemingway’s own recorded voice.
  10. Since 2002, Simon & Schuster Audio has been bringing out (“reintroducing . . . to a new generation of listeners,” as the liner notes put it) virtually the full Hemingway literary corpus.

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Place students in groups, and have them choose a picture from this lesson. Each group will  write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives. As a class review the adjectives from each group, then share the paragraphs with the class.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading

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 

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 topics.

  1. The article states, “In a foreshortened life that didn’t make 62, Ernest Hemingway got a lot down on paper.” How would you put this sentence into your own words?
  2. From the article we learn that Hemingway “was a far more tormented and sickly soul, both physically and emotionally than we ever really guessed.” Writer George Orwell wrote, “ “A man wears a mask, and his face grows to fit it.”  Give an example of what Orwell meant.
  3. Ernest Hemingway has been quoted as saying, “Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”  Rephrase this comment in your own words. Do you agree or disagree with Hemingway? Provide reasons for why or why not.
  4. From this article how would you describe Ernest Hemingway?
  5. Either with a partner or individually, research the following people and write an essay describing the person.
  • Ernest Hemingway
  • Hadley Richardson-Hemingway
  • Gertrude Stein
  • Pauline Pfeiffer Hemingway
  • Waldo Peirce
  • Martha Gellhorn -Hemingway
  • Mary Welsh -Hemingway
  • Jack, Patrick, and Gregory Hemingway

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip An Interview with Ernest Hemingway’s Son, Patrick Hemingway (Part I).

Introduction: Sandra Spanier speaks with Ernest Hemingway’s son Patrick about the new picture of his iconic father that emerges in The Letters Of Ernest Hemingway Volume I.

 While Listening Tasks

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  false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answerIf there is no information available for a statement then students write NA.

  1. According to Patrick Hemingway people imagined  Hemingway as a shy introverted man.
  2. To some, Hemingway  seemed to emphasize his quiet nature.
  3. Patrick thinks this is a ridiculous picture people have of his father.
  4. Patrick describes his father in detail.
  5. One of the main things Patrick learned from reading his father’s letters  was  Hemingway’s deep relationship with his sisters.
  6. From Hemingway’s letters, people can learn what type of food Hemingway enjoyed most.
  7. The letters were interesting because Hemingway wrote so few of them.
  8. Hemingway’s letters are interesting because they are the last great example of letter writing.
  9. According to Patrick, no one writes letters any more because letter writing is a lost art.
  10. Patrick explained his relationship with his father.

Link to video.

Post Listening

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 Ernest Hemingway changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Did  you agree with everything Patrick 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 either Patrick or Ernest Hemingway.

ANSWER KEY: Hemingway in Audio

Thank you for using this lesson plan.
Please come back again.

Tags: ,

The Great Gatsby: The “Cover” Story

May 3rd, 2013  |  Published in Education, Literature, Social Issues

Will changing the art work on the cover of a book entice people to buy the book?  Over the years the literary classic The Great Gatsby (published in 1925)  has had various book covers. The latest edition displays a glitzy photo of  Leonardo DiCaprio who is starring in the film version of the story which is  due out in May. Some booksellers are not certain which version of the book (cover) will attract public attention.  In the following article people share their experiences and opinions concerning the changing art covers for The Great Gatsby.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Leonardo diCaprio and Carey Mulligan in The Great Gatsby. Photo AdR Factory.

Leonardo diCaprio and Carey Mulligan in scene from the movie The Great Gatsby. Photo AdR Factory.

Excerpt: Judging ‘Gatsby’ by Its Cover(s) By Julie Bosman, The New York Times

“The Great Gatsby” has united generations of American readers with its crash-and-burn tale of empty elegance and impossible love on Long Island in the 1920s.

The latest cover for the Great Gatsby. Photo Flicks and Bits.

The latest cover for the Great Gatsby. Photo Flicks and Bits.

Now the novel is dividing the nation’s booksellers with dueling paperback editions: the enigmatic blue cover of the original and the movie tie-in book that went on sale Tuesday, a brash, flashy version with Leonardo DiCaprio front and center. The new edition is timed with the 3-D film adaptation, directed by Baz Luhrmann and starring Mr. DiCaprio, that will arrive in theaters on May 10.

The original cover by Francis Coradal-Cugat. Photo- New York Times.

The original cover by Francis Coradal-Cugat. Photo- New York Times.

The new edition, with its Art Deco glitter, presents a stark choice for readers, as well as retailers who are trying to gauge the tastes of their customers. At stores like Barnes & Noble, with its nearly 700 outlets, both editions will be available. But at Walmart, only the movie tie-in edition will be stocked, a tacit acknowledgment that the discount chain’s customers want books that appear fresh and new (even if they happen to have been released in 1925).  And at independent booksellers like McNally Jackson in SoHo, customers who want Older cover.New York Times.2“The Great Gatsby” can purchase only the original: not a single copy of the new, cinematic edition will be for sale. It’s just God-awful,” Kevin Cassem, a bookseller at McNally Jackson, said on Tuesday. “ ‘The Great Gatsby’ is a pillar of American literature, and people don’t want it messed with. We’re selling the classic cover and have no intention of selling the new one.”

Older cover.New York Times.

Older cover.New York Times.

Movie tie-in editions are issued regularly in the book business, but rarely has the contrast between two covers of the same title been so pronounced.

Older cover. Photo:New York Times.

Older cover. Photo:New York Times.

The original art, by Francis Cugat, was completed before the manuscript, according to Scribner, a practice that is common in modern publishing but was rare at the time. The art was initially dismissed as “garish” by *Ernest Hemingway, who wrote in his memoir “A Moveable Feast” that he was “embarrassed by the violence, bad taste and slippery look of it.” It looked the book jacket for a book of bad science fiction,” Hemingway wrote…

Older cover. Photo: New York Times.

Older cover. Photo: New York Times.

While “Gatsby” has been subject to dozens of cover redesigns — and translated into 42 languages, producing covers that read “El Gran Gatsby” and “Gatsby le Magnifique” — it is the original cover that Scribner has kept in print… The tie-in edition is likely to appeal to “the new reader,” said Nan Graham, the publisher of Scribner. “The repeat reader is going to buy the classic cover,” she said in an interview. “A person who is more likely to buy the movie tie-in is reading it for the first time. In Walmart, this is the book you’re going to see.”

Older cover. Photo: New York Times.

Older cover. Photo: New York Times.

Sales history for movie tie-in editions of novels has been mixed. Original covers typically outperform tie-ins because they are on sale longer and because many consumers are reluctant to make a book purchase that appears to be inspired by the local multiplex… As publishers we’re always looking for new readers, and the transformation of a book into a film can exponentially increase consumer awareness…It begins with early press coverage of casting and shooting, and continues through to the film’s prerelease marketing campaign and theatrical run.” Read more…

*Lesson plans for 3 Ernest Hemingway stories.

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 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 discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading

 Predictions

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the post and of  the article.  Then, have them  examine the photos of the various redesigns for the book The Great Gatsby. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.

II. While Reading

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. They might like  to work with this whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by D. Mays!

Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

  1. “The Great Gatsby” has united generations of American readers.
  2. The enigmatic blue cover of the original and the movie tie-in book that went on sale Tuesday are in conflict.
  3. The new edition, with its Art Deco glitter, presents a stark choice for readers.
  4. Retailers are trying to gauge the tastes of their customers.
  5. But at Walmart, only the movie tie-in edition will be stocked, a tacit acknowledgment that customers want books that appear fresh and new.
  6. Rarely has the contrast between two covers of the same title been so pronounced.
  7. The original art, by Francis Cugat, was completed before the manuscript, according to Scribner.
  8. E-book sales have been skyrocketing.
  9.  There are some people who are reading all the time, and there are people who only read selectively.
  10. Publishers were trying to reach readers who might be more tuned into what was happening in Hollywood.

Reading Comprehension

True / False/ NA

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if the information is not available, students write (NA). If  a statement is false they  write (F) and  provide the correct answer from the article.

  1. The Great Gatsby was written in the 1990s.
  2. According to the article, the controversy  has to do with the different artists.
  3. The new edition has the photo of  F. Scott Fitzgerald on the cover.
  4. So far this year, sales of the paperback with the original jacket art  have been extraordinary.
  5. At Walmart, both editions of the book will be stocked.
  6. Ernest Hemingway, stated that he was “embarrassed” by the current cover.
  7. According to the article, the tie-in edition is likely to appeal to the new reader.
  8. The Great Gatsby is frequently described as the greatest American novel.
  9. Sales history for movie tie-in editions of novels has been mixed.
  10. People usually read all of the time.

Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures

Directions: Place students in groups, and have them choose a picture from this lesson. Each group will  write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives. As a class review the adjectives from each group, then share the paragraphs with the class. For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading

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 

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 topics.

  1. Based on your personal experience, do you buy a book mainly for the contents or for the artwork on the cover? Explain your reasons.
  2. Review all of the covers shown. Which one appeals to you the most? Why?  Would you buy the book based on the cover that you chose?
  3. The article states that While “Gatsby” has been subject to dozens of cover redesigns… it is the original cover that Scribner has kept in print.”  Why did the publisher keep the original cover?
  4. Looking at the first 2 covers (the new movie tie-in, and the original cover) which age group would most likely buy the new version, and which would buy the original? Provide reasons for your choices.
  5. Can you think of other books that have changed their original covers to advertise movies based on the story?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip:  Movie trailer from the “Great Gatsby” with comments from director Baz Luhrmann. The movie is due in Cinemas May 16th 2013.

While Listening 

 Multiple choice Directions: Have students listen to the trailer first, then again answering the questions by choosing  the correct response from the ones provided.

Based on the movie trailer  The Great Gatsby answer the following questions.

1. At the beginning, the man states he got an invitation from___

a. Gatsby

b. Luhrmann

c. Greta

2. Everybody  has their version of the Great Gatsby in their___

a.thoughts

b.ideas

c. minds

3. Gatsby tells the man if there anything you want just___

a. get it.

b. pay for it.

c. ask for it.

4. What does the  phrase “do you want to sit on the sidelines or do you want to play ball?” mean as it’s used in this context?

a. Not do your part

b. just observe and not be actively involved in something

c. Don’t play baseball

5. Baz Luhrmann wanted the movie to feel___

a. classical.

b. old fashioned.

c. contemporary.

6. Baz Luhrmann admits that he drawn to___

a. tragic romances.

b. crime dramas.

c. comedies.

7. Gatsby tells a man that he knows___

a. his life.

b. his strife.

c. his wife.

8. It was said that he threw all those parties hoping that she’d  wander in one night. Who is the “he” the person is referring to?

a.  The brother

b. Gatsby

c. Baz Luhrmann

9. It is stated that the world is so  “lush and so intimate” that viewers feel they’re ___on these people’s lives.

a. eavesdropping

b. ignoring in

c. joining with

10. The movie “The Great Gatsby”  is described as having___

a. joy, violence, and happiness

b. passion violence and love

c. passion, hate, and jealousy

Post Listening Questions

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

  1. How would you describe the party scenes from this movie?
  2. How would you describe the people?
  3. Based on this trailer would you go and see the movie? Provide reasons why or why not.

ANSWER KEY : The Great Gatsby

Related

Teaching The Great Gatsby- The New York Times Learning Network-Provides great ideas for teachers using the book in class.

Thank you for using this lesson plan.
Please come back again.

Toni Morrison At West Point: The Moral Ambiguities of War

March 31st, 2013  |  Published in Education, Lesson Plan, Literature

Recently the Nobel Prize recipient, author Toni Morrison accepted an invitation to speak at the prestigious West Point Military Academy. The topic of her talk was Ms. Morrison’s book “Home”  about a U.S. Korean War veteran.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Toni Morrison spoke to the Class of 2016 cadets in Robinson Auditorium. Photo-West Point.

Excerpt: Words and War: Toni Morrison at West Point, By Abigail Meisel The New York Times

“As thousands of hungry West Point cadets streamed into the mess hall for their 20-minute lunch break here on Friday, they paused from the rush to the tables to give a rousing group cheer to a guest who has received hundreds of accolades, but perhaps none this thunderous…it’s like a movie,” said Toni Morrison, who sat at one of the 420 wooden tables in the flag-bedecked Washington Hall, a majestic Romanesque structure at the United States Military Academy. Seated with members of the African-American Arts Forum at West Point, Ms. Morrison ate her Army-issue ravioli and prepared to read from her most recent novel, “Home,” to the freshman cadets, who studied the book in English class this semester.

The novel Home By Toni Morrison. Photo- Morrison facebook.

The novel is the story of Frank Money, a black Georgia native and Korean War veteran struggling to reintegrate into civilian life in a segregated America, while struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder. I read ‘Home’ last winter and immediately saw that the text touched on so many relevant topics, such as PTSD, as well as race, explained Lt. Col. Scott Chancellor, who directs West Point’s freshman English program and called Ms. Morrison, a Nobel Prize winner, “the greatest living American writer.” During the interview Ms. Morrison said she was concerned about the numberof suicides by veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

West Point has made accommodations to women over the years. Photo: Mike Groll, AP

“I dare you to tell me a sane reason we went to Iraq,” she said…At West Point we ensure that cadets are made to struggle with moral ambiguity, so that when they confront tangled scenarios, they will be able to do that well…Morrison gives us just enough psychological complication of Frank Money to open up an understanding of how desperately malignant the realm of war can be…

Cadet candidates fall in under the watchful eye of West Point Cadet Sgt. Reed Caradine. Photo Daniel P. Elkins. US Military.

After lunch Ms. Morrison moved post, suitably enough, to Robinson Auditorium, named for the Army’s first black four-star general, Roscoe Robinson Jr., who commanded troops in the Korean War. There she settled into a big leather chair placed for her on the stage and faced more than 1,600 cadets in their dress grays to read three passages from “Home.”

U.S. Military Academy First Captain Tyler Gordy leads the Brigade Staff during the Acceptance Day Parade, Aug. 15, at West Point, N.Y. Photo: John Pellino.

We related to the book, especially since we signed up for the academy during a time of war, said Abigail Graves, a freshman, whose father, an Army colonel, was stationed in Iraq for over a year. 

West Point -Graduating Class of 2012. Photo- By Mike Strasser, U.S. Military Academy.

“Many cadets who graduated last year have been serving, and it’s easy to imagine PTSD happening to someone not that much older than us.” 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 the article with a focus on  practicing reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading

 Predictions

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to read the title of the post and of  the article.  Then, have them  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.

Stimulating Background Knowledge

K-W-L Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills. The K-W-L stands for: what I Know, what I Want to learn, and what I did Learn.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart from MSU to list the information they already know about  author Toni Morrison, and West Point Academy. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

II. While Reading

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 neat Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org  useful.

    1. …thousands of hungry West Point cadets streamed into the mess hall. 
    2. Friday, they paused from the rush to the tables to give a rousing group cheer.
    3. Toni Morrison, who sat…in the flag-bedecked Washington Hall, a majestic Romanesque structure at the United States Military Academy.
    4. Ms. Morrison… prepared to read from from her most recent novel, “Home,” to the freshman cadets.
    5. A Korean War veteran struggling to reintegrate into civilian life.
    6. ‘Home’ touched on so many relevant topics, such as PTSD.
    7.  The academy’s Sol Feinstone Lecture…has featured luminaries from the arts, science and politics.
    8. In addition, she found inspiration in an “image of a shellshocked veteran.
    9. But exploring the costs of war is not foreign to the school’s curriculum.
    10. At West Point we ensure that cadets are made to struggle with moral ambiguity.

Reading Comprehension

True / False

  1. Toni Morrison was asked to speak at West Point.
  2. Ms. Morrison  ate in a special dinning room
  3. The novel Home is the story of  a cadet trying to get into West Point.
  4. PTSD stands for”pass the sandwiches down.”
  5. Ms. Morrison teaches at  Harvard, where she is an emeritus professor.
  6. After lunch Ms. Morrison settled into a big leather chair and read three passages from “Home.”
  7. During the interview Ms. Morrison said “I dare you to tell me a sane reason we went to Iraq.”
  8. At West Point cadets are made to struggle with moral ambiguity, so that when they confront tangled scenarios, they will be able to do that well.
  9. One student stated that they  related to the book, especially since we signed up for the academy during a time of war.
  10. This student’s father was stationed in Iraq for over a year.

Grammar

Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article (some may be abbreviated versions). One sentence in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (a, b,  or c ) from each group that contains the grammatical error and make the correction.

I

a. Thousands of hungry West Point cadets streamed into the mess hall.

b. Washington Hall is  a majestic Romanesque structure  into the United States Military Academy.

c. Ms. Morrison ate her Army-issue ravioli and prepared to read from her most recent novel.

II

a. During the interview Ms. Morrison say she was concerned about the number of suicides by veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.

b. I read ‘Home’ last winter and immediately saw that the text touched on so many relevant topics.

c. Lt. Col. Scott Chancellor, who directs West Point’s freshman English program.

III

a. We related to the book, especially since we signed up for the academy during a time of war.

b. After lunch Ms. Morrison move to  the Robinson Auditorium.

c. Many cadets who graduated last year have been serving.

 III. Post Reading

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

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 topics

  1. The article states that, “ Ms. Morrison has been outspoken about her opposition to recent American military interventions.” How does this conflict with her visit to West Point?
  2. When asked where she got her inspiration for the novel Home Ms. Morrison replied, “… she found inspiration in an image of a shellshocked veteran from  her hometown, who walked up and down the streets in military garb, shouting.” Explain what she meant in your own words.
  3. Knowing a little about the novel, how do you think war veterans will like the story presented in Home?
  4. In your country is there a similar military academy like West Point here in the U.S.? If so, describe it.
  5. What are  your feelings about war in general?

IV. Listening Activity

Video:  Toni Morrison | “Home” Authors at Google

“A fireside chat with Toni Morrison, hosted by Torrene Boone from the Google New York office. In her latest book “Home,” Ms.Morrison extends her profound take on our history with this twentieth-century tale of redemption: a taut and tortured story about one man’s desperate search for himself in a world disfigured by war.”

Pre-Listening

Directions: Here is a list of words and phrases from the video. Have students find the meanings before they listen to the video to aid them in comprehension. As students listen, they are to  check off the words and phrases as they hear them.

Words: scab, silenced, Korean War, McCarthyism, experimentation, LSD, narrative.

While Listening

Multiple choice
Directions: Students are to choose the correct response from the ones provided.

1. Toni Morrison stated that one of her goals in writing the novel Home was in___

a. taking the scab off of the view people had of the 50s in America.
b. talking about her book.
c. talking about the good times in America.

2. Many people thought that the 50s were ___

a. a bad time in America.
b. a wild time in America.
c. a peaceful time in America.

3. Morrison felt that some things in the 50s were being___

a. silenced or ignored.
b. discussed.
c. hidden.

4. One was topic was___

a. WWII
b. WWI
c. the Korean War.

5. This war was also referred to as ___

a. an attack.
b. a police action.
c. a policy action.

6. There was an overwhelming ___movement during this time.

a. pro-McCarthyism
b. anti-McCarthyism
c. in favor of McCarthyism

7. The pressure was so strong from this movement that some people___

a. lost their jobs and committed patricide.
b. lost their minds and committed homicide.
c. lost their jobs and committed suicide.

8. LSD had been used on___

a. soldiers during the Vietnam war.
b. soldiers during the Korean war.
c. soldiers during the Pacific war.

9. Toni Morrison stated that she___the protagonist Frank Money in “Home” but she liked talking to him.

a. liked
b. didn’t like
c. was indifferent to

10. Towards the end of the talk, Morrison stated the one thing that would last was___

a. books.
b. cell phones.
c. computers.

11. Some examples Toni Morrison gave of humans making art were___

a. writing books.
b. painting in a cave, dancing, singing, painting their faces.
c. building snowmen.

Post Listening

1. During her talk Morrison stated that ”the hunger for narrative is as old as human life.” Restate this comment in your own words.
2. Make a list of questions that  you would like to ask Toni Morrison.

ANSWER KEY: Toni Morrison and West Point

Thank you for using this lesson plan.
Please come back again.

Tags: ,