Category Archives: Social Issues

Today: Military Ban On Transgender Soldiers! Tomorrow: Who Will Be Next?

“Joining the Navy was one of the best decisions Alec Kerry said she had ever made. The other was coming out as transgender…Like thousands of other transgender veterans and members of the military, she grappled with a mix of anger, sadness and fear on Wednesday after Trump ‘tweeted’ that the United States military would no longer ‘accept or allow’ transgender people to serve — a surprise move that came a year after the Obama administration permitted transgender troops to serve openly.” D. Philipps, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Retired U.S. Army Col. and transgender advocate Sheri Swokowski said she was very disappointed in the ban. Photo- Jessie OpoienCAP TIMES.jpg

Excerpt: For Transgender Service Members, a Mix of Sadness, Anger and Fear, By Dave Philipps, The New York Times

“Some transgender troops were left to wonder if they would face a quick discharge from the military or if scheduled medical appointments would be canceled. And nearly all expressed dismay at what they saw as a misguided action that could purge the military of untold numbers of highly skilled and dedicated service members, bringing back an era when many troops lived in secrecy and shame. 

Alec Kerry, transgender and military member. NYT

There are an estimated 2,000 to 11,000 active-duty transgender service members, according to a 2016 RAND Corporation study commissioned by the Pentagon. Since the Obama administration lifted the ban on transgender people serving, public opinion has been mixed. A poll conducted by Rasmussen Reports in June found that 23 percent of those surveyed believed that having them serve openly was good for the military, 31 percent said it would have no impact and 38 percent said it would hurt…A monument to transgender veterans unveiled in June at Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Illinois was almost immediately defaced by vandals.

Umut Dursun, a former Marine who transitioned from female to male after his service.Photo- A. Valentin for The New York Times

‘I thought we were at a place of progress, and it feels like we’re taking 10 steps back,’  said Umut Dursun, 35, a former Marine in Miami who transitioned from female to male after his service. He was sitting in a V.A. waiting room on Wednesday morning when he saw the news. ‘We’re not afraid of bullets flying at us,’ he said. ‘But we are afraid of someone’s experience around gender because we don’t understand it.’

 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, which represents the newest generation of fighters, came out strongly against the president’s position.‘This is backward, harmful and contrary to American values. It’s also bad for national security,’ said Paul Rieckhoff, the group’s founder. ‘Thousands of transgender troops are serving in our military right now. An unknown number are in combat zones today.”

* Quote from Martin Niemöller:

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — because I was not a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

*From Article: ‘First They Came For…’ By Charles M. Blow, OP-ED COLUMNIST, The New York Times, JULY 27, 2017

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

In the U.S. there are many transgender members of the military.

Members feel that the military taught them about integrity.

Many fear a quick discharge from the military.

Transgender troops expressed dismay at the sad news.

Conservatives are trying to purge the military.

Traditional veterans groups are keeping silent.

This ban is contrary to American values.

Some young troops  developed an inseparably bond.

Sergeant Bruce is scheduled to be evaluated for hormone therapy.

A number of transgender soldiers are in combat zones today.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Some ___say transgender troops ___too many ___procedures that would ___the military’s fighting capability, and they hailed Wednesday’s announcement. With the___ we are facing across the globe, we are asking the ___people to___ their hard-earned money in national defense.

WORD LIST: medical, invest, conservatives, undermine, American, require, challenges,

 

Grammar Focus

Word -Recognition

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

With the changes/challenges we are facing/fighting across the globe, we are asking/ask the American people to investment/invest their hard-earned money in national defense… Each dollar needs to be spent/spend to address threats facing our national/nation.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups.  Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class for discussion or for writing topics.

Group Debate

Directions: Divide students into  two teams for this debate. Both teams can use the article  as their source of information or sources from the Web.

Team A will list five reasons for the military ban of transgender service members.

Team B will list  five reasons against the military ban of  transgender service members.

Each team will have time to state their points of view,  and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use this great Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

 

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY 

Category: Military, Social Issues

My Deaf Son: “I see his voice. I hear his face.”

“I watched my toddler wade into the Gulf and launch a fistful of pebbles in flight. They glistened, tiny sparks of light, before I realized he was up to his chin in cold water. And I realized that if I called his name, if I screamed it, the word would sink like stone.”  E. Engelman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit Giselle Potter, The New York Times

Excerpt: My Deaf Son Fought Speech. Sign Language Let Him Bloom  By Elizabeth Engelman The New York Times

“When Micah turned 2 we had learned that he was profoundly deaf. In the audiologist’s office, an auditory brain response concluded he couldn’t hear a helicopter. ‘You’re taking this well,’ the doctor had said. But later, as I watched Micah step deeper into the Gulf water, I wanted to rage. I was so angry, I could have torn the beach apart. We celebrated his third birthday, and the audiologist turned his cochlear implants on for the first time.

Cochlear Implants | Brain Computer

I said, ‘Hi Micah, can you hear mommy?’ His hazel eyes widened and he screamed in terror, his body trembling. Shock. In American Sign Language, the sign for cochlear implant is similar to the sign for vampire. Vampire is signed with two fingers like teeth to the throat. Cochlear implant is signed with two fingers like teeth behind the ears.

Photo of 3 young children with cochlear implants. photo-hearingsearch

The audiologist told me not to sign at all. She said sign language was a crutch that would hinder his speech. When he heard my voice for the first time, his cry was guttural, a stab wound. He was bitten by sound…He refused to wear the $18,000 sound processors, and his defiance was feral: head butts to my face, kicks, bites. The back of his head smacked against my jaw, and for a moment everything went black. The implant surgery alone had cost $50,000. Auditory verbal therapy was out of pocket, the doctors were out of network. What choice did I have but to force him?

Cochlear Implant and Rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins Listening Center. Photo- John Hopkins

When Helen Keller wouldn’t cooperate, her teacher Annie Sullivan used brute force. In The Story of My Life, Sullivan described how teaching obedience to the deaf and blind girl had to precede teaching language. Each week, I dragged him to speech therapy. He didn’t resist.

In public, his meltdowns drew unwanted attention on playgrounds and in grocery stores. How had I become the dejected mother in the fruit aisle, helpless as Micah bucked and cried, dangerously hitting his head on the linoleum floor?… I was no Annie Sullivan. I couldn’t break him, and instead, he was breaking me.

I gave up on spoken English, and enrolled in American Sign Language classes at the local community college.

Sign Language for children with Autism. photo- shieldhealthcare

Micah’s first sign was flower. To sign flower, the right hand grasps an imaginary stem and holds it first against the right nostril and then against the left, and like a flower, Micah blossomed one new sign at a time and took his implants off his head for good.

The Benefits of Using Sign Language with Your Child | .Intellidanceiff

Nine-week-old Aria, pictured right, was filmed concentrating closely as she was tenderly shown the gesture for ‘grandma’ by her grandmother Pamela, pictured left. photo- The Daily Mail

The first time he told me a story, he was 6. In the dark, his hand reaches up to speak, and I shine a flashlight on his fingers. They make rapid shadow puppets onto the bedroom wall, and I understand his story like a hieroglyph. I see his voice. I hear his face. His pristine silence fills a room far more than sound.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The audiologist turned his cochlear implants on for the first time.
  2. The audiologist told me not to sign at all.
  3. When he heard my voice for the first time, his cry was guttural.
  4. Helen Keller wouldn’t cooperate at the start of her training.
  5. When she took  him to speech therapy he didn’t resist.
  6. I woke up paralyzed on the right side of my face.
  7. The doctor said it was trauma to the nerve.
  8. She gave up on talking English.
  9. They enrolled in American Sign Language classes.
  10. His pristine silence fills a room far more than sound.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Micah’s first___ was___. To sign flower, the right hand grasps an___stem and holds it first against the right___and then against the left, and like a flower, Micah___ one new sign at a time and took his___off his head for good.

WORD LIST: implants, imaginary, sign, blossomed, flower, nostril,

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

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

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding the main idea

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

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language, Social Issues

Let’s Make America Safe Again: Save PBS

“Public broadcasting makes our nation smarter, stronger and, yes, safer. It’s a small public investment that pays huge dividends for Americans. And it shouldn’t be pitted against spending more on improving our military. That’s a false choice.This might seem like an unlikely position for me, a 34-year combat veteran. But it’s a view that has been shaped by my career leading brave men and women who thrive and win when they are both strong and smart. My experience has taught me that education, trusted institutions and civil discourse are the lifeblood of a great nation.”  S.  McChrystal, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Sesame Street. image: wow.tribunnews

Excerpt: Save PBS. It Makes Us Safer By Stanley McChrystal, The New York Times

“Public broadcasting plays a special role with young children. According to the Pew Research Center, rising numbers of American children live with one parent or with two parents who both work.

My son and daughter-in-law are a two-income family with two children, and day care is a part of their lives. Many other parents must get by without day care services. These parents are busy in the morning and busy at night.

They want to protect their children from over-commercialized content. And they strive to prepare their children for school and lifelong learning. Having thoughtful television, games and other media that is not commercially driven is essential to good parenting.

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, more than half of all kids in our country do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool program. I’ve also seen research that PBS local stations reach more children ages 2 to 5 than any other children’s network, and the new dedicated PBS Kids channel is the only free national programming for children that is available anywhere and anytime.

I’ve seen articles that say PBS and its member stations are ranked first in public trust among nationally known institutions. Why then would we degrade or destroy an institution that binds us together?

We need a strong civil society where the connection between different people and groups is firm and vibrant, not brittle and divided.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the title of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. I like to say that leadership is a choice.
  2. Parents want to protect their children from over-commercialized content.
  3. Many children do not have the opportunity to attend a preschool program.
  4. Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social skills.
  5. Stereotyping and prejudice have become substitutes for knowing and understanding one another as individuals.
  6. Why then would we degrade an institution that binds us together?
  7. We need public media that acts as our largest classroom.
  8. We need broadcasting that treats us as citizens.
  9. We are not just consumers but  also citizens of this great country.
  10. We need to defend against weaknesses within.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

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.

Public television/telephones works hardy/hard to engage /engagement young learners/leaners and build the schools/skills needed for a jump-start on life. We need our youngest to be curious/curiosity, resilient and telepathic/empathetic, and prepared for the jobs of the future.

 Grammar Focus: Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

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

Many parents are busy___ the morning and busy___night. They want___protect their children___ commercialized content. The federal appropriation___the Corporation___Public Broadcasting — supports more ___a thousand television and radio stations___ a cost___ about $1.35 per citizen.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Public, noncommercial broadcasting is also giving kids social-emotional skills like persistence and self-control. It pushes people by elevating them and their sights. It brings them into more thinking and understanding, and it brings us together.
  2. We need to defend against weaknesses within and enemies without, using the tools of civil society and hard power. We don’t have to pick one over the other.
  3. Explain why you are for or against public television.

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues

When A Female is a ‘Tomboy’ and Not Transgender

“I just wanted to check, the teacher said. ‘Your child wants to be called a boy, right? Or is she a boy that wants to be called a girl? Which is it again?’ I cocked my head. I am used to correcting strangers, who mistake my 7-year-old daughter for a boy 100 percent of the time…’She’s a girl,’ I said. The woman looked unconvinced. ‘Really. She’s a girl, and you can refer to her as a girl.” L. Selin Davis, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Tomboys

Excerpt: My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy. By LISA S. DAVIS, The New York Times

“In fact, I love correcting them, making them reconsider their perceptions of what a girl looks like. But my daughter had been attending the after-school program where this woman taught for six months. Later, when I relayed this conversation to my daughter, she said, ‘More girls should look like this so it’s more popular so grown-ups won’t be so confused.’

My daughter wears track pants and T-shirts. She has shaggy short hair (the look she requested from the hairdresser was Luke Skywalker in Episode IV). Most, but not all, of her friends are boys. She is sporty and strong, incredibly sweet, and a girl.

And yet she is asked by the pediatrician, by her teachers, by people who have known her for many years, if she feels like, or wants to be called, or wants to be, a boy.

In many ways, this is wonderful: It shows a much-needed sensitivity to gender nonconformity and transgender issues. It is considerate of adults to ask her — in the beginning. But when they continue to question her gender identity — and are skeptical of her response — the message they send is that a girl cannot look and act like her and still be a girl.

Scout a tomboy in the film To Kill A Mockingbird

Left alone, would boys really never wear pink? (That’s rhetorical — pink was for decades considered a masculine color.) Would girls naturally reject Matchbox cars? Of course not, but if they show preferences for these things, we label them. Somehow, as we have broadened our awareness of and support for gender nonconformity, we’ve narrowed what we think a boy or a girl can look like and do.

The kids get it. But the grown-ups do not. While celebrating the diversity of sexual and gender identities, we also need to celebrate tomboys and other girls who fall outside the narrow confines of gender roles. Don’t tell them that they’re not girls.

Film star Katherine Hepburn usually dressed up tomboy style.

My daughter is happy with her body and comfortable with the way she looks, thousands of times happier and more comfortable than I am or ever have been. She is my hero. Or rather, my heroine.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students  create  two KWL charts  to list the information they already know about  about the terms Tomboy and Transgender. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

K-W-L Chart from Creately.com

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. She relayed this conversation to  her daughter.
  2. Many grown-ups can be  confused by her appearance.
  3. This shows a much-needed sensitivity to gender nonconformity.
  4. People are skeptical of her response.
  5. Adults  have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles.
  6. Her look evolved with age.
  7. I want trans kids to feel free and safe.
  8. You are an awesome girl.
  9. She identifies as a tomboy.
  10. invariably people agree with her choice.

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

Let’s be clear: If my___does begin to feel that the___ in her mind and the sex of her ___don’t match, I will be supportive. I will ___puberty blockers and___ (more than I already have). I will listen to her and make ___accordingly, just as I did when she turned 3 and asked for a tie and a button-down shirt. Then she saw her father wear a(for once).

WORD LIST: blazer decisions, hormones, research, daughter, gender, body,

Grammar: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.  Using Adjectives  ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. “She is not gender nonconforming. She is gender role nonconforming. She does not fit into the mold that we adults — who have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles ourselves, as women work outside the home and men participate in the domestic sphere — still impose upon our children.”
  2. “The message I want to send my daughter is this: You are an awesome girl for not giving in to pressure to be and look a certain way. I want her to be proud to be a girl.”

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues

Designs for The Insane “Border Wall” Proposal

“By the time bidding closed Tuesday, there was no lack of companies competing to build the wall…proposed for the border between the U.S. and Mexico. In fact, by The Associated Press’ count, upwards of 200 organizations had expressed interest in designing and building it for ‘Customs and Border Protection‘. Despite their common goal, the companies submitting bids have followed some radically different paths in their approach.” C. Dwyer, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Border fences like this one exist along the U.S.-Mexican border. In Brownsville, Texas, the local consensus is that the fence hasn’t helped anyone except contractors and drug cartels. (Thinkstock photo)

 

Excerpt: The Many Possible Shapes Of [A]Border Wall, by Colin Dwyer, NPR

“Among the submissions are walls with solar panels, wire mesh and sloped, slippery surfaces. There are even walls that are no walls at all — statements standing instead as protests of a policy that from the start has drawn a lot of resistance…The AP notes the prototypes are expected to cost about $200,000 to $500,000 each; estimates for the cost of the wall covering the 2,000-mile border, however, range up to $38 billion. Here’s a glimpse of just a few of the designs vying to stand between the U.S. and Mexico, complete with renderings and explanations of how they could take shape.”

The WireWall

The WireWall fence now in place in California on the border with Mexico.

The WireWall fence now in place in California on the border with Mexico. Riverdale Mills says the fence is produced using the same manufacturing process as its “marquee marine wire mesh” designed for lobster traps used in New England.’The configurations of the wire mesh make it virtually impossible to climb or cut,’ Jane Meehan Lanzillo, director of corporate communications for Riverdale, tells NPR in an email.

Solar Panels

This rendering depicts solar panels snaking along the border.

Partners, the company behind the proposal, believes that the energy provided by the panels would offer the U.S. a financial boon. The company’s proposal sets solar panels on sections of the wall, generating what it says would be approximately 2.0 megawatts of electricity per hour, according to the wire service.

Maximum-Security Wire Mesh

The Penna Group rendering, which displays two groups on either side watching each other through the mesh. Courtesy of the Penna Group

Composed of high-density steel packed into double wire mesh, the Penna Group’s proposed wall takes its cue from maximum security prisons. Nearly impossible to climb, it would also be built to withstand pick axes, acetylene torches and other handheld weapons. Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, CEO of the Penna Group, speaks to the aesthetics of the U.S.-facing side of the wall, telling NPR ‘the wire mesh panels will be emblazoned with the Seal of the United States.’

Hadrian’s Wall

Hadrian Construction Company’s wall, here modeled in miniature, would be paneled according to its Tridipanel system.

It’s impossible to avoid: For a man bidding to build a massive wall, Rod Hadrian has a rather serendipitous name. Namesake of the Roman emperor who built the wall that once marked off the northernmost edge of the ancient empire — the wall that still stands in ruins in the U.K. today — Hadrian Construction Company has proposed a wall constructed in prefabricated panels.

The Wall Of Sound

A Wall of Pipe Organs-jmerindian.studio copy

One of at least three protest proposals ginned up by J.M. Design Studio of Pittsburgh, this one calls for ‘a semi-continuous wall of nearly 10 million pipe organs.’ The long line of 30-foot organs breaks in regular intervals, offering border-crossers the opportunity to walk straight through — but not before playing a ditty of their choosing.

The Wall To End All Walls

Unlike the other proposals on this list, the Otra Nation concept condemns barriers altogether. Courtesy of Otra Nation

‘We propose a trans-national ‘New Deal’ to build an innovative shared co-nation based on local economic empowerment, energy independence and revolutionary infrastructure and transit,’  says the MADE Collective, a cross-disciplinary team that argues for the creation of what it calls the Otra Nation — a ‘regenerative co-nation shared by citizens  of both Mexico and the United Stated and co-maintained by respective governments.'”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. There were submissions with  walls made of solar panels.
  2. There are many protests  against building a wall.
  3. The finalists for the contract will be announced in June.
  4. The companies will be expected to build a prototype of their wall.
  5. Estimates for the cost of the wall covering range up to $38 billion.
  6. Here’s a glimpse of just a few of the designs.
  7. Some companies have renderings of their ideas.
  8. There are mesh walls  designed for lobster traps used in New England.
  9. This wall is virtually impossible to climb or cut.
  10. The Wall Of Sound allows people to play a ditty as they walk through.

 

Word Map by Against the Odds

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

The border___should be “a ___of art,” Russ Baumgartner, CEO of Concrete Contractors Interstate of San Diego, tells the AP. The ___service says the company’s ___calls for stones and___set in___concrete, reflecting the areas the wall wends through and___both sides “aesthetically pleasing” — unlike the CBP’s callout, which___ only that the U.S. side be pleasant to look at.

WORD LIST:  artifacts, wire, piece, proposal, asks,   polished, rendering, wall,

Grammar Focus: Word Recognition

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

J. Meridian — an art/artist who says the actual/actually broader/border wall is “preposterous for so many reasons,” according to the Wall Street Journal — also proposes/purpose a wall of hammocks and a wall of refugees‘ gravestones/grave  for passersby to “consider the danger, terror, and honor/horror they must have faced in trying to cross.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Groups Ask/Answer  Questions

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to pursue in relation to  the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues