Category Archives: Sports

After The Olympics? Join Cirque du Soleil!

“After competing in trampoline at the 2000 Olympics, Lee Brearley of Britain went on to performing double flips on stage in a zoot suit… First time on Broadway, and I wear a skirt, he said of his costume for the Cleopatra scene in Paramour, the Cirque du Soleil musical… At the moment, 21 Olympians — two of them medalists — perform in eight United States-based Cirque du Soleil shows. Jeffrey Wammes, a gymnast from the Netherlands who ended his career in Rio, is about to make it 22.” K. Whiteside, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Lee Brearley on a trampoline during training for Paramour, the Cirque du Soleil musical. Credit- George Etheredge:The New York Times

Jeffrey Wammes is a Dutch gymnast.

Jeffrey Wammes is a Dutch gymnast.

Excerpt: For Some Athletes, Olympic Rings Give Way to the Circus Ring-By  Kelly Whiteside, The New York Times

“By the time the Rio Olympics concluded Sunday, many athletes had gone home to begin or resume other careers. Maya DiRado, an American swimmer who won four medals in Rio, has said that a business analyst job awaits her. The Canadian distance runner Lanni Marchant is a criminal defense lawyer.

A number of Olympic gymnasts fall into a different, hair-raising pipeline, filling roles in the ever-expanding universe of Cirque du Soleil. In all, about 40 percent of Cirque’s performers come from artistic, rhythmic and acrobatic gymnastics backgrounds, as well as from trampoline, tumbling, diving and synchronized swimming.

Fabrice Becker won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle skiing for France at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Photo-britannica

Fabrice Becker won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle skiing for France at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Photo-britannica

For Cirque, recruiting high-caliber athletes is almost a no-brainer, said the company’s creative director, Fabrice Becker, who won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle skiing for France at the 1992 Winter Olympics. Cirque, for instance, conducted a workshop with the Canadian national halfpipe team this year. 

Still, the transition from serious competitor to performer can be challenging. As if it were not hard enough to nail a somersault on a trampoline, try doing it while in costume — perhaps as a cricket, with six legs…Some athletes find the transition fairly smooth.

Former Olympian Terry Bartlett in his Las Vegas show. WSJ

Former Olympian Terry Bartlett in his Las Vegas show. WSJ

Terry Bartlett competed in gymnastics at three Olympics for Britain and retired after the Barcelona Games in 1992. Unsure of what to do next, he stumbled on a Cirque du Soleil audition while on vacation in California and accepted a job as an acrobat in Mystère in Las Vegas.After his acrobatic skills began to wane, Bartlett turned to clowning almost 10 years ago.

At 52, he now stars in Cirque wearing a loosey-goosey sailor suit, a clown nose and shoes the size of flippers. Instead of twists and tumbles, there are slapstick and high jinks.”

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. 

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

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 Rio Olympics concluded Sunday.
  2. Many athletes go home to begin or resume other careers.
  3. You show people your best, but not in a competitive way.
  4. For Cirque recruiting high-caliber athletes is fun.
  5. Searching for athletes is almost a no-brainer.
  6. The transition from serious competitor to performer can be challenging.
  7. Terry Bartlett stumbled on  Cirque du Soleil.
  8. They were holding an audition for an acrobat.
  9. Some performers are known for their somersaults.
  10. The performances appear like  a blur of a circle.
Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word list  or make up your own words.

In the show’s ___moment,___and Dick Tracy-esque ___stage an elaborate chase-and-fight___ on rooftops. Bodies ___in midair like___juggling pins, nearly___. Fourteen___and actors share the___ before the focus narrows on Brearley for his solo.

WORD LIST: paparazzi, crisscross, climatic, mayhem, scene, characters,  human, colliding, acrobats.

 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.

Terry Bartlett competed/completed in gymnastics at tree/three Olympics for Britain and retreated/retired after the Barcelona Games in 1992. Unsure of what/which to do next, he stumbled on a Cirque du Soleil audition/audio while on vacation/vacate in California and accepted/excepted a job as an acrobat in “Mystère” in Las Vegas.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Activities

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.

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: Sports | Tags:

Professional Female Boxers: Pay Still Not Equal to Male Boxers

“There’s a scene in T-Rex  — a documentary that follows the middleweight phenom Claressa Shields from her hometown of Flint, Mich., to the 2012 Olympic Games in London and back again — The reps from Team U.S.A. are discussing her sponsorship opportunities. Team U.S.A.’s public-relations consultant, Julie Goldsticker, looks at Shields and says: I would love for you to stop saying that you like beating people up and making them cry. Shields’s brow creases. She looks completely befuddled. I box, she says.” J. Lowe, New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Claressa Shields wins (2nd) Gold medal in boxing.

Claressa Shields wins (2nd) Gold medal in boxing.

Gold Medalist Boxer Claressa Shields. Photo- Erik Madigan Heck, NYT

Gold Medalist Boxer Claressa Shields. Photo- Erik Madigan Heck, NYT

Excerpt: Women Have Been Boxing in the Shadows for Too Long- By Jaime Lowe, The New York Times 

“The paradox is clear: Shields cannot visibly enjoy fighting to succeed financially as a boxer. It’s a violent sport. If she were a man, that bloodlust, that taste for combat, would be courted. It would be used as a selling point to hype fights, as it always has. But for a woman to admit that she likes aggression, relishes controlled rage, thrives on ferocity and enjoys the feeling of gut-punches, well, that is unfathomable, or it seemed so to the Team U.S.A. reps.

Boxer Shelly Vincent-Photo- Edward Diller:DiBella Entertainment

Boxer Shelly Vincent-Photo- Edward Diller:DiBella Entertainment

They had no idea how to sell her, even after she was featured in a multimedia photo essay in The New York Times, profiled by The New Yorker, heard on NPR or highlighted in any number of other media appearances.

They could not figure out how to sell her in spite of her ready-made biopic childhood — a narrative riddled with disadvantage, abuse and sexual violence that ends in winning Olympic gold.

Professional boxer Laila Ali. Photo-boxrec

Professional boxer Laila Ali. Photo-boxrec

Just before Shields left for Rio, where she will compete again as a middleweight boxer, she told me: “People say the way I talk about boxing is too mean and too tough, but I do enjoy hitting people, or I wouldn’t be a boxer. I’m not gonna pretend that isn’t part of it or part of me.”

Shields went on to talk about something a lot of professional female boxers have mentioned before: that there isn’t support for women’s boxing on a professional level. Boxing’s biggest broadcasters — HBO and Showtime — have been reluctant to feature women’s fight cards.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

Brainstorming Map by rentonschools.us

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 paradox is that Shields cannot enjoy fighting to succeed as a boxer financially.
  2. The women’s bouts,  were fought in the afternoon while men fought in prime time.
  3. At one point in history men’s boxing was being promoted as a barroom spectacle.
  4. In 1904,  men’s boxing made its debut as an Olympic sport in St. Louis.
  5. During that time women’s boxing was limited to exhibition bouts.
  6. Boxing, if it was forward-thinking, would recognize that it needs women.
  7. The U.F.C.’s president, Dana White, decided to reverse a 2011 decision barring women.
  8. Other women helped launch this  project.
  9. There is a lack of central authority to ensure that fights are well-matched.
  10. For centuries boxing has been a man’s sport, and when women popped up, it was treated as a novelty.

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

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

To ___the___ between Hardy and Vincent, the ___and promoters ___the very thing Team U.S.A. was ___to suppress. The fighters stood toe-to-toe at a news conference…Each said she wanted very badly to___ the other ___in the face. Vincent ___me there was ___behind this, that the women always___ the ___with more action, more punching, more to prove. Breaking ___ceilings or in this case, fists and faces — seems especially___ in a year when Hillary Clinton is poised to be the next___.

WORD LIST: president, accentuated, trying, fighters, significant, publicize, passion, fight, punch, glass, fighter, assured,   steal, show,

 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.

Boxing, if it was smart and forward-thinking, would realize/recognize that it needs/nests women (especially the Claressa Shieldses of the world) in other/order to compete with other combat/combative sports/spots that are dominating/domineer the market. It may be no accident that after a 1-minute-and-41-second technical knockout at the Barclays Center last month, the mane/main line of questioning for the victory/victor, the featherweight Amanda Serrano, was: Are you training in M.M.A.?

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Activities

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.

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: Sports | Tags:

Female Athletes Want the Testosterone Testing to Stop!

“The treatment of female athletes, and intersex women in particular, has a long and sordid history. For centuries, sport was the exclusive province of males… As women athletes’ strength and confidence grew, some observers began to wonder if fast, powerful athletes could even be women.” R. Padawer, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Dutee Chand is the current national champion in the women's 100 metres event. When dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. NYT

Dutee Chand is the current national champion in the women’s 100 metres event. When dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. NYT

Excerpt: The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes, By Ruth Padawer, The New York Times

“By the mid-1940s, international sports administrators began requiring female competitors to bring medical ‘femininity certificates’ to verify their sex. In the 1950s, many Olympics officials were so uneasy about women’s participation that Prince Franz Josef of Liechtenstein, a member of the International Olympic Committee, spoke for many when he said he wanted to be spared the unesthetic spectacle of women trying to look and act like men…Others were particularly bothered by women in track and field because of the strained expressions on their faces during competition…Amid complaints about the genital checks, the I.A.A.F. and the I.O.C. introduced a new gender verification strategy in the late ’60s: a chromosome test. Officials considered that a more dignified, objective way to root out not only impostors but also intersex athletes, who, Olympic officials said, needed to be barred to ensure fair play… the tests discriminated against those whose anomalies provided little or no competitive edge and traumatized women who had spent their whole lives certain they were female, only to be told they were not female enough to participate.Maria José Martínez Patiño was kicked off the Spanish team and stripped of her titles. Photo outsport.com

One of those competitors was Maria José Martínez Patiño, a 24-year-old Spanish hurdler who was to run at the 1985 World University Games in Japan…because of a genetic mutation, her cells completely resisted the testosterone she produced, so her body actually had access to less testosterone than a typical woman… Spanish athletic officials told her she should feign an injury and withdraw from athletics permanently and without fuss. She refused. Instead, she ran the 60-meter hurdles and won, at which point someone leaked her test results to the press.Patiño was thrown off the national team, expelled from the athletes’ resi­dence and denied her scholarship. Her boyfriend and many friends and fellow athletes abandoned her. Her medals and records were revoked. Patiño became the first athlete to formally protest the chromosome test and to argue that disqualification was unjustified.

Caster Semenya Forces Olympic Community to Rethink Gender.

Caster Semenya Forces Olympic Community to Rethink Gender.

When Caster Semenya blew by her opponents in the 800-meter race at the 2009 African Junior Championships, her performance raised suspicions. Shortly after, sports officials tested her as she prepared for the World Athletics Championship. Unconcerned — she assumed the investigation was for doping — Semenya won gold again. Almost immediately, the fact that Semenya had been sex-tested was leaked to the press. Instead of attending what is normally the celebratory news conference, Semenya went into hiding.

Dutee Chand celebrates after winning the womens 100m event at the `55th National Open Athletics Championships 2015` in Kolkata

Dutee Chand celebrates after winning the womens 100m event at the `55th National Open Athletics Championships 2015` in Kolkatawas.

Dutee Chand was unaware of any controversy surrounding Semenya or other intersex athletes.  At 16, she also became a national champion in the under-18 category, winning the 100 meters in 11.8 seconds. The next year, she won gold in the 100 meters and the 200 meters. In June 2014, she won gold yet again at the Asian championships in Taipei.

Not long after that, she received the call to go to Delhi and was tested. The particulars of her results were not made public, but the media learned, and announced, that Chand had failed a gender test and wasn’t a ‘normal’ woman.

As news spread that Chand had been dropped from the national team, advocates encouraged her to fight back. Payoshni Mitra, an Indian researcher with a doctorate in gender issues in sport who had advocated on behalf of other intersex athletes, suggested Chand send a letter to the Athletics Federation of India, requesting her disqualification be reversed…In the new guidelines, female-to-male athletes face no restrictions of any kind; male-to-female athletes have some restrictions, including suppressing their testosterone levels below the typical male range…Those debates are far from Chand’s thoughts. Her focus now is on making the most of the window the ruling provides: allowing her to try to qualify for next month’s Olympics without having to change her body. In the miserable months after her test results were revealed, Chand’s training time and concentration were interrupted, and her hope of ever competing seemed out of reach. Once the ruling was issued, though, she returned to the Indian national team, and intensified her training for the 100 meters, the 200 meters and the 400-meter relay… In addition to working out six hours a day, she tries to relax with naps… She is painfully aware that if she doesn’t make this summer’s [2016] Olympics, she may not have another chance.”

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level:  Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: 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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Sports organizations have been policing women for masculine qualities.
  2. Chand was raised in Gopalpur, a rural village in eastern India with only intermittent electricity.
  3. The doctor told her he would forgo the usual urine and blood tests.
  4. Competitors said her physique seemed suspiciously masculine.
  5. The doctor ordered an ultrasound for Chand.
  6. The word hermaphrodite is considered stigmatizing.
  7. Because of a genetic quirk some are born with ambiguous genitalia.
  8. For Chand, who had never heard the words testosterone it has been a slow and painful education.
  9. Nobody has so tenaciously tried to determine who counts as a woman for the purpose of sports as the I.A.A.F.
  10. Their rationale for decades was to catch male athletes masquerading as women.
Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Vocabulary Organizer 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 paragraphs 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.

In 1938, the ___of an ___was again in dispute. The ___high-jumper Dora Ratjen, a ___four th-place Olympian who won a gold medal at the European Athletics Championship, was suddenly identified as male, prompting Germany to___ return the medal. When Ratjen’s case became public years later — he claimed that the___pressured him to___as a ___for three years — it vali­dated the growing anxiety about gender___ in athletics.

Word List: athlete, pose, German, gender, fraud, quietly, woman, Nazis, former,

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,

___the Atlanta Games___1996, one___the few times the I.O.C. allowed detailed intersex-related data___be released, seven ___the eight women who were found___have a Y chromosome turned out___ be androgen insensitive: Their bodies couldn’t use the testosterone they made… The judges concluded that requiring women like Chand___change their bodies___order___ compete was unjustifiably discriminatory.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Activities

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

  1. “Well into the 20th century, women were discouraged from participating in sports. Some medical experts claimed that vigorous exercise would damage women’s reproductive capacity and their fragile emotional state and would make them muscular, “mannish” and unattractive to men. Critics fretted that athletics would unbind women from femininity’s modesty and self-restraint.”
  2. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.
  3. Have each group “Google” the topic and see what additional information they can find. Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the subject.

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: Sports | Tags:

Serena Is The Greatest: On and Off Court!

“Serena Williams is the greatest American athlete of her generation. As a six-time US Open champ and the best player in the world by an incredible margin, the odds are in Serena’s favor. History is a moment away. As she prepares for a calendar year Grand Slam at age 33, we celebrate the most amazing things from her illustrious career.” T. Ziller, SBNation

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Serena wins Wimbledon 2015. Photo al.com

Serena wins Wimbledon 2015. Photo al.com

Excerpt: 15 reasons Serena Williams is the greatest-By Tom Ziller, SB Nation

“Serena Williams is approaching a monumental feat: if she wins the US Open in Queens, she’ll have completed a calendar year Grand Slam, tennis’ first since Steffi Graf in 1988. As a six-time US Open champ and the best player in the world by an incredible margin, the odds are in Serena’s favor. History is a moment away… As she embarks on (more) history, it’s worth celebrating what makes her story so compelling and her legacy so amazing.

Serena: power and grace. Photo-stylenews.peoplewatch.com

Serena: power and grace. Photo-stylenews.peoplewatch.com

In the past 14 calendar years, she has won at least one Grand Slam title in 11 of them and a total of 20. That’s an average of 1.4 Grand Slam titles per year for almost a decade and a half.

Serena: mental toughness. Photo.- Wimbledon al.comtiff

Serena: mental toughness. Photo.- Wimbledon al.comtiff

Serena finished 2014 having been ranked No. 1 for every week of the year. She will finish 2015 the same. No one other than Serena has accomplished this feat since Steffi Graf in 1996.

Serena. Photo- Annie Leibovitz-Vogue

Serena. Photo- Annie Leibovitz-Vogue

She’s been an incredible doubles player, too: her and Venus Williams have paired up to win 13 Grand Slams (their first in 1999 and most recent in 2012) and three Olympic golds. Serena also has two mixed doubles Grand Slams dating back to 1999.

Serena and Venus. Photo Time

Serena and Venus. Photo Time

She has taken more crap from professional complainers than every other tennis star combined. Just consider the list of outrages she’s been forced to stomach: criticism that she was not serious enough about tennis due to having interests outside tennis (such as fashion); 

The beauty of Serena. Photo New York Magazine

The beauty of Serena. Photo New York Magazine

discussions of her body type in the respect that it is unlike the traditionally lithe bodies of other female tennis stars; 

Serena. Photoradaronline.com

Serena. Photoradaronline.com

the God-forsaken controversy around the crip walk; the double-standard-from-Hell debate around her angry comments to a line judge…

Serena. Photo- uptownmagazine.com

Serena. Photo- uptownmagazine.com

She makes all too many people uncomfortable because she is atypical and atypically brilliant. When the natural order of things is disturbed by an athlete as powerful (both on and off the court) as Serena, the apple cart gets wobbly.

Serena. Photo-ew,com

Serena. Photo-ew,com

Her Instagram feed is part requisite celebrity selfie slideshow, part cultural scrapbook and — most importantly — part F.U. to the body type police.

The Diva at the Oscars 2015 after party. news.com

The Diva at the Oscars 2015 after party. news.com

Using the hashtag #strongisbeautiful and some amazing photos, Serena puts the haters in [their] place.”

candletiff

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

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

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about tennis star Serena Williams.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately.com

KWL Chart from Creately.com

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

Directions: Students are to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. They may use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Vocabulary Word Chart By Ellteaching 2.0 for assistance.

  1. Serena Williams is approaching a monumental feat.
  2. As she embarks on (more) history, it’s worth celebrating.
  3. Serena has competed in 60 Grand Slam singles tournaments.
  4. Henin was the only player who actually rivaled Serena.
  5. She’s been an incredible doubles player, too.
  6. Those on-court accomplishments are fantastic.
  7. There’s also a certain je ne sais quoi about Serena’s attitude, outlook and personality.
  8. Serena first graced the top of the rankings 13 years ago.
  9. She is winning 90 percent of her matches against the very best contemporary players.
  10. She has taken more crap from professional complainers than every other tennis star combined.

    ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

    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.

Serena has competed/completed in 60 Grand Slam singles tours/tournaments since going pro. She has won 21 of them. This includes her relatively/relatives lean early years. (She won just a single Grand Slam title in her first four years: the 1999 U.S. Open.) Since 2002, she has won 20-of-46 tournaments she has entered. That’s 43 percent.

Serena’s all-time record/recording against the current members/member of the WTA top 10 is 66-7, or a 90 percent winning percentage/percentile. She is winning 90 percent of her matches/misses against the very best contemporary players.

She’s been an  incredulous/incredible doubles player, too: her and Venus Williams have paired up to win 13 Grand Slams (their first in 1999 and most recent in 2012) and three Olympic golds. Serena also has two mixed/mix doubles Grand Slams date/dating back to 1999.

 Grammar Focus: Using Adjectives to describe pictures

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

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?
Where does the action/event take place?
When does the action/event take place?
Why did the action/event occur?
How did the action/event occur?

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/Writing Exercise

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

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

“She has taken more crap from professional complainers than every other tennis star combined. Just consider the list of outrages she’s been forced to stomach: criticism that she was not serious enough about tennis due to having interests outside tennis (such as fashion); suggestions of match-fixing; discussions of her body type in the respect that it is unlike the traditionally lithe bodies of other female tennis stars; suggestions that she’s been at times completely unfit…the God-forsaken controversy around the crip walk; the double-standard-from-Hell debate around her angry comments to a line judge.”

“Needless to say, Pete Sampras, Steffi Graf, Roger Federer, Bjorn Borg and Chris Evert didn’t get a touch of this scandal following them. She makes all too many people uncomfortable because she is atypical and atypically brilliant. When the natural order of things is disturbed by an athlete as powerful (both on and off the court) as Serena, the apple cart gets wobbly. Serena has fought through it all with characteristic aplomb. She shouldn’t have had to.”

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: Sports | Tags:

World Cup Fever Reaches The Amazon

Despite being located deep in the Amazon jungle, the indigenous tribes of Brazil share their country’s pride  for their national game of soccer. The excitement is tangible as tribal members watch the World Cup matches on communal televisions in the  tiny poverty-stricken villages.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

The Tatuyo tribe in the Amazonian village of Tupe play soccer with bare feet as the best players in the world play just a few miles away. Credit David Lazar

The Tatuyo tribe in the Amazonian village of Tupe play soccer with bare feet as the best players in the world play just a few miles away. Credit David Lazar. The Daily Mail.

Excerpt: Deep in the Amazon…By Jere Longman,The New York Times

“The PP Maués would not set sail for an hour, but its long and narrow decks were already crisscrossed with hammocks for an overnight trip down the Amazon. By the time it was to dock early last Monday at the regional port for which it was named, the Maués would have traveled 15 hours from the nearest World Cup stadium. A second boat would be needed to reach an even more remote indigenous village that planned to watch Brazil play Mexico last Tuesday. The village did not have electricity or cellphone signals and would rely on a diesel generator to indulge its secluded passion for soccer. While Rio de Janeiro and its famous beaches provide the touristic backdrop of the World Cup, the fevered grip of the world’s most popular sporting event can be felt even in some of the most isolated areas of the rain forest, where outsiders seldom visit. Football is in our blood, said Andre Pereira da Silva, 32, the chief of a small community of Sateré-Mawé Indians in Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon, who served as a guide. The intended destination was his home village, Monte Salém, one of an estimated 150 Sateré-Mawé communities of about 11,000 residents along the lower Amazon. As a boy in Monte Salém, he made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees, using a stick to shape the latex into an improvised if sometimes uncontrollable sphere. Ten trees for one ball…Nova Belo Horizonte is home to 22 families, most of them living in wooden houses with thatched roofs. A rudimentary soccer field, with wood goal posts and no nets, has been cleared of stones and tamped flat amid the surrounding groves of guaraná, pineapples, oranges, bananas, peppers and the staple root called manioc.

The Tatuyo tribe's village is located in the jungles just northwest of Manaus. Credit David Lazar. The Daily Mail.

The Tatuyo tribe’s village is located in the jungles just northwest of Manaus. Credit David Lazar. The Daily Mail.

Health care is distant and inadequate, village elders said. There is no radio contact with the hub Maués, four or five hours away on the most common type of boat. Cellphones do not work. The front steps of the school have crumbled, and the ceiling leaks. Yet even if spending on World Cup stadiums seemed wasteful in a country with so many needs, it was important that the tournament returned to Brazil for the first time since 1950, said Reginaldo da Silva Andrade, 27, the chief of Nova Belo Horizonte… Brazilian people are the ones who love and watch the game the most in the world,” da Silva Andrade said. In Nova Belo Horizonte soccer serves many purposes: fun, fitness, conflict avoidance and a diversion from alcohol and drugs. It also provides a chance to socialize with other river villages. Teams travel by boat, and tournaments are often accompanied by festivals… “Brazil is a fighter,” said Luiz Sateré, Pereira da Silva’s father, who wore a Neymar jersey. “Brazil is a warrior.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours. 

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

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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

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

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about aboriginal tribes living  in the Amazon jungle of Brazil.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL  chart from Michigan State University.

KWL chart from Michigan State University.

 

II. While Reading Tasks

Word Inference

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

  1. The boat’s narrow decks were already crisscrossed with hammocks.
  2. It was to dock early last Monday at the regional port.
  3. A second boat was needed to reach an indigenous village.
  4. The intended destination was his home village.
  5. As a boy he made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees.
  6. The game was also showing on a small, staticky television.
  7. A man pointed his flashlight at the water’s edge, searching for caimans.
  8. In mid afternoon Monday, the equatorial heat was stifling.
  9. Most families live in wooden houses with thatched roofs. 
  10. Health care is distant and inadequate.

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. Many of the remote indigenous villages now  have electricity and cellphone signals.
  2. The villages are miles away from Rio de Janeiro.
  3. As a boy in Monte Salém  Pereira da Silva made soccer balls out of the skins of animals.
  4. Flamengo and Vasco da Gama are names of two famous soccer players. 
  5. Neymar is a young Brazilian soccer star.
  6. Today health care is  adequate in the small villages.
  7. Some believe that soccer came to Brazil in the late 1890s by a  man named Charles Miller.
  8. It is said that early Indians made balls from the latex of rubber trees.
  9. In the broader culture of Latin American soccer women are accepted into the game.
  10. There is an initiation ritual in which boys in the tribe become men after being repeatedly stung by venomous ants. 

 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. The Maués would not set sail for an hour.
  2. A second boat would be need to reach an even more remote indigenous village.
  3. The village did not have electricity.

II.

  1. Rio de Janeiro is  famous for it’s beaches.
  2. He made soccer balls with the sap of rubber trees.
  3. Children played among the hammocks.

III.

  1. The boat had no satellite dish.
  2. Paulo José, the ships owner, was left to eat in silence.
  3. Classes for older students in Nova Belo Horizonte cannot be held at night during the World Cup.

 

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: The following statements are from the article. Have groups choose one and restate the idea into their own words. In addition, have students give their opinions  on what they think should be done to help the indigenous families living in the Brazilian jungles. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.

  1. “Nova Belo Horizonte is home to 22 [indigenous] families, most of them living in wooden houses with thatched roofs…Health care is distant and inadequate, village elders said. There is no radio contact with the hub Maués, four or five hours away on the most common type of boat. Cellphones do not work. The front steps of the school have crumbled, and the ceiling leaks.They only want our votes, said  Luiz Sateré, 56, a community coordinator for the Sateré-Mawé. It’s the only thing that matters.” 
  2. “Yet even if spending on World Cup stadiums seemed wasteful in a country with so many needs, it was important that the tournament returned to Brazil for the first time since 1950, said Reginaldo da Silva Andrade, 27, the chief of Nova Belo Horizonte.” 
  3. “In Nova Belo Horizonte soccer serves many purposes: fun, fitness, conflict avoidance and a diversion from alcohol and drugs. It also provides a chance to socialize with other river villages.

 

ANSWER KEY: World Cup in the Amazon

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