From American Detention Centers to Jail

“As 17-year-olds they were asylum seekers. On their 18th birthdays they became criminals” Editorial Board, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- The Cut

Photo- wsj.com

Excerpt:  Coming of Age in American Detention-The New York Times Editorial Board

In the fall of 2017, Wilmer Ramirez had reason to be hopeful. After he trekked from Guatemala and spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Arizona, his application for ‘special immigrant juvenile status,’ a designation that would make him eligible for lawful permanent residency, was pending. What’s more, a family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him, meaning they would submit themselves to the Office of Refugee Resettlement for approval and take him in once they were approved. The only thing between him and freedom, then, was a little more paperwork. But when he turned 18, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials came to the shelter, placed him in handcuffs, and carted him off to a nearby jail.

He hadn’t done anything wrong. The officials were just following the rules. When children become adults, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, turns them over to the Department of Homeland Security, which places them in ‘adult detention,’ a term that usually means county jail.

Exact numbers are difficult to come by, but roughly 1,000 18-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017, according to Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, who have filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the practice.

The transfer from shelter to jail can be abrupt; it often happens at midnight on detainees’ 18th birthday and typically cuts them off from any relationships they might have established, including with caseworkers and counselors.

There are many things wrong with this policy. There is no dark magic that turns teenagers into criminals on their 18th birthday, even if they were born outside the United States. Given the damage that incarceration can do to young adults, every alternative should be pursued before turning teenage asylum seekers over to adult detention.

And, as the Ramirez lawsuit indicates, the procedure itself may be illegal. Federal law requires ICE to place children and teenagers in the least restrictive setting possible, even after they turn 18…Yearlong stays are not uncommon, and cases of 500 days or more have been reported. As those numbers grow, the entire shelter system (some 100 facilities scattered across the country) is nearing capacity.

The best of those shelters may feel like havens to children who fled extreme poverty or violence, and faced incredible risks to make it across the border.

The worst shelters are dens of abuse and neglect. At either end of the spectrum, the children themselves face tedium, a lack of freedom and profound uncertainty, especially when their 18th birthday approaches… Health and Human Services officials have said that the longer stays are an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of improved safety precautions: It takes time to verify that prospective sponsors are who they claim to be, and to ensure that these already vulnerable and traumatized minors won’t be subjected to abuse once they leave the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

That argument withers under scrutiny. Yes, the threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it. But it’s difficult to see how incarcerating teenagers for the crime of turning 18 protects them more than, say, releasing them to a willing sponsor who has cleared a basic but thorough background check…They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country — or in any other. We have the ways and means to provide that protection and support. We just need the will and the decency.”

 

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 improving oral skills. 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.

  1. Many young children were asylum seekers.
  2. Wilmer Ramirez trekked from his home in Guatemala.
  3. Officials are angling to pull out of longstanding judicial agreements.
  4. Ramirez helps other 18-year-olds over their incarceration.
  5. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  6. There should be a law against the indefinite detention of migrant children.
  7. They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country.
  8. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  9. That argument withers under scrutiny.
  10. Stricter requirements have succeeded in scaring off prospective sponsors.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

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

  1. Wilmer Ramirez was from Cuba.
  2. He spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Boston.
  3. A family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him.
  4. When Ramirez turned 18, he was placed in a nearby jail.
  5. He stole from a store in the neighborhood.
  6. Approximately 1,000  5-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017.
  7. According to the article, the number of migrant children who face jail as they ‘age out’ of youth shelters is climbing.
  8. Ramirez attended college in Boston MA.
  9. The threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it.
  10. More than 200,000 migrant children have entered the United States in the past six years.

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.

Stricter requirements have/has succeeded in/on scaring off/under prospective sponsors, many out/of whom/who are undocumented themselves/theirselves or who have undocumented relatives. But there/their fear does not necessarily speak to/too their fitness as guardians.

There/Their are other options, in/out any case: Immigration advocates, including Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, has/have proposed releasing teenagers like Mr. Ramirez to/two sponsors, with ankle monitors if need be, or to/too group homes or shelters for/four young adults.

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

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

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

Obama Is Back and Stronger Than Ever!

“Former President Barack Obama issued a scorching critique of his successor Friday, blasting Trump’s pattern of pressuring the Justice Department, his policies and reminding voters that the economic recovery — one of Trump’s favorite talking points — began on his watch.” PBS News Hour

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Former US president Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois. Photo-Prothom Alo

Excerpt:Biggest threat to democracy isn’t Trump but ‘indifference,’ Obama says, -PBS News Hour

“Obama’s speech at the University of Illinois was delivered less than two months before midterm elections that could determine the course of Trump’s presidency. The remarks amounted to a stinging indictment of political life in the Trump era. ‘It did not start with  Trump,’ Obama said. ‘He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.’

Outside The Beltway -2018

Noting the history of former presidents avoiding the rough and tumble of politics, Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of Trump was something of a departure from tradition. But he said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse…’appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do — that’s an old playbook,’ he said. ‘It’s as old as time. And in a healthy democracy, it doesn’t work.’But, Obama added, when there is a vacuum in democracy, ‘other voices fill the void. A politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment takes hold.’

Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail. LA Times

Obama called Trump ‘the symptom, not the cause’ of division and polarization in the U.S…Even as he has largely remained out of the spotlight, Obama made clear he’s paid close attention to the steady stream of headlines chronicling the Trump administration and said the news is a reminder of what’s at stake in the November midterm elections. ‘Just a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different,’ Obama said. “The stakes really are higher…’This is not normal.’Obama, reacting to the op-ed account, said ‘that’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.’

Barack and Michelle Obama are hitting the campaign trail in 2018. Photo- Matt McClain:The Washington Post

‘The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders, that is not a check,’Obama said.  ‘I’m being serious here. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work. These people aren’t elected. They’re not accountable.’

Obama also jabbed Trump on the issue the current president frequently heralds as one of his greatest achievements: The strong economy. Obama reminded the audience that the economic recovery began during his administration and defended his handling of the 2008 economic collapse.

Obama to Join Midterm Battle. New York Times

‘When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,’ he said…Meanwhile, Michelle Obama is also stepping up her political involvement ahead of the November midterm election. She will headline voter registration rallies in Las Vegas and Miami later in September as part of a week of action byWhen We All Vote,the new nonpartisan organization that she co-chairs.”

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

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 former U.S. President Barack Obama .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

 

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. Obama’s speech was delivered less than two months before midterm elections.
  2. The remarks amounted to a stinging indictment of political life in the current president’s era.
  3. He is a symptom, not the cause.
  4. He’s just capitalizing on resentments from some politians.
  5. Obama acknowledged his sharp critique ofthe current president was something of a departure from tradition.
  6. Former president Obama said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse.
  7. Mr. Obama was especially stern in his condemnation of Trump’s pattern of pressuring law enforcement officials.
  8. To call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution is simply wrong.
  9. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.
  10. The speech was a preview of the argument that Obama is likely to make throughout the fall.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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.

Next week, Obama plans/plan to campaign inn/in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for/four governor, and Ohio Democrats. Obama’s campaign active/activity will continue threw/through October and will include fundraising/fundraiser appearances, according to an Obama adviser. The adviser/advisers was not authorized to discuss Obama’s thinking publicly and spoke/speak on condition of anonymity. While the form/former president will be visible/visibly throughout the general election, the adviser said that Obama will not be a daily presence/present on the campaign trail.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. The event was streamed under the University.
  2. Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of the administration.
  3. The political moment required a pushback.

 

II

  1. There are many people of good will across the political spectrum.
  2. Obama have largely remained out of the spotlight.
  3. Take a glance at recent headlines.

 

III

  1. He said the situation was not normal.
  2. Them people aren’t accountable.
  3. Obama made the economy great during his time in office.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use theWH-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?

Group Writing/Speaking Activity

Directions:Place students in groups and have each group list 3questions they would like to ask any person in 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.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Political Issues | Tags:

This Year Young Voters Will Be Heard!

“Chris Underhill, freshly graduated from high school, was savoring a new milestone: He had registered to vote for the first time. Filling out the form offered by a political activist not much older than him took about three minutes. But its significance was not lost on Mr. Underhill, 18, who grew up in this city on the edge of Amish country, 75 miles west of Philadelphia.” D. Levin,The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

18 volunteers with Sunrise Movement, an activist association concerned about the environment, lived together registering voters and holding rallies. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Excerpt: They’re Young and They Want Change…They’re Ready to Vote for the First Time. By Dan Levin, The New York Times

“An aspiring actor who helped organize a local march following this year’s deadly mass shooting in Parkland, Fla., Mr. Underhill said his everyday worries mirror those that fuel the anxieties of his generation, such as how to pay for college and losing access to health care…’This country’s just gone off the walls since Trump got elected,’ he said, echoing the impressions of thousands of new Pennsylvania voters his age.  ‘But now I have the power to vote and make it better, starting with Lancaster and then going bigger.’

Chris Underhill, 18, registered to vote for the first time. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Weary of a political system that many young Americans see as rigged against their generation, and fired up to elect candidates who they believe support the issues they care about, a surge of young adults between the ages of 18 and 29 have registered to vote this year, according to data from 39 states compiled by Targetsmart, a Democratic polling firm.

Volunteers with Sunrise Movement registered voters at an event in Lancaster, Pa., this month.Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

Pennsylvania is leading the groundswell, with registered voters 34 and younger now outnumbering those 65 and older, according to the latest statistics from the Pennsylvania State Department issued Aug 13. States like Arizona, New York, Florida and Virginia have also seen sharp increases…The surge of youth registrations, said Jarret Smith, Pennsylvania’s youth director for NextGen America, can be attributed to a network of grass-roots organizations and passionate activists who have spent the spring and summer knocking on doors, confronting candidates and building relationships with residents — not just in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, but across the towns, smaller cities and college campuses where they said voters have long been ignored.

From left, Deshawn Nesbitt, Jonathan Seth and Justin Buthdy walked home after registering to vote in Lancaster. Credit Hilary Swift for The New York Times

‘The number one thing we hear is how angry young people are at Washington,’ said Mr. Smith, 27, whose liberal group is focused on registering and mobilizing voters in 11 states. ‘We’ve found that the top issues are affordable health care, gun control and climate change, and they don’t feel they’re being represented.’ The organization has traditionally targeted four-year college campuses, but it recently has expanded to community colleges and other areas with large youth populations, like the cities of Erie, Allentown and Reading, which is more than 63 percent Hispanic…In Lancaster County, a solidly Republican area, a group called Lancaster Stands Up is trying to shift the political makeup. They have found a target in the congressional incumbent, Lloyd K. Smucker, a Republican who voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act and has not held a town-hall meeting since he took office in January 2017. ‘The Koch Bros own Lloyd $$$,’ declares a poster on a wall of the group’s headquarters in Lancaster, where 30 percent of the residents live below the poverty line.

Founded shortly after the 2016 election, Lancaster Stands Up has grown to more than 800 members, many of whom have volunteered to register voters and canvas for Mr. Smucker’s Democratic rival, Jess King, a nonprofit leader and Mennonite. ..Lancaster Stands Up has made a concerted push to register voters in the city’s poorer neighborhoods, where many of the residents are black, Hispanic and immigrants.”

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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. Chris Underhill was savoring a new milestone.
  2. Filling out the form offered by a political activist not much older than him took about three minutes.
  3. Many young Americans are weary of a political system that is rigged against their generation.
  4. There has been a surge of young adults who have registered to vote this year.
  5. NextGen America strategizes with an array of groups in Pennsylvania.
  6. Climate change  is a huge issue for NextGen America organization.
  7. One member remembers a drought that left her family without running water for weeks.
  8. The young activists prepared to sneak into the Philadelphia mayor’s office in early August with a petition demanding that he reject fossil fuel money.
  9. But building a movement takes patience.
  10. Jonathan Seth, 19, a charity worker whose parents immigrated from Cambodia registered to vote at the early August block party.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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.

“NextGen America ___with an ___of groups in___, including local chapters of the Sunrise Movement, an ___association composed of ___people concerned about the environment. In addition to ___to stop___and registering voters, the group said, Sunrise activists have convinced more than 800 political ___nationwide to sign a ___to reject funding from the fossil fuel industry.”

WORD LIST: campaigning,  candidates,  pledge,  array, Pennsylvania, strategizes, climate change, activist,  young,

 

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.

“Not all of the youthful/youth energy is going/coming from the left. Eager to capital/capitalize on conservatives’ support for  Trump — the first Republican presidential candidate/con to win the state in nearly three decades/decks — the 35 chapters of the Pennsylvania Young Republicans have reach/reached about 250,000 voters this year through/threw voter registration drives, knock/knocking on doors and phone-banking, said Rick Loughery, the group’s chairman.”

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following questions/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. If you are not from the U.S.describe the political system in your country.
  2. If you are an American citizen do you like the political system in this country? Why or why not?
  3. Did you (or will you) register to vote this year?
  4. Do you think that it’s important for young people to vote? Explain your answer.
  5. In your opinion, what should the minimum voting age be?
  6. After reading the article, do you think that young people’s campaigns (e.g., Sunrise Movement, NextGen America and Lancaster Stands Up ) are good ideas? Explain why or why not.

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: Political Issues

Remembering Senator John McCain

“John S. McCain, the proud naval aviator who climbed from depths of despair as a prisoner of war in Vietnam to pinnacles of power as a Republican congressman and senator from Arizona and a two-time contender for the presidency, died on Saturday at his home in Arizona. He was 81.” R. D. McFadden, The NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post With Answer Key

A photo of John McCain sits with flowers outside the late senator’s Phoenix office. Photo- Paste Magazine

Excerpt: The Making of a Maverick, Robert D. McFadden, The New York Times

“A son and grandson of four-star admirals who were his larger-than-life heroes, Mr. McCain carried his renowned name into battle and into political fights for more than a half-century. It was an odyssey driven by raw ambition [and] the conservative instincts of a shrewd military man.

Mr. McCain, bottom right, in 1965 with his Navy squadron. While in the Navy, he was cocky and combative and resisted discipline. Credit National Archives

Nowhere were those traits more manifest than in Vietnam, where he was stripped of all but his character. He boiled over in foul curses at his captors. Because his father was the commander of all American forces in the Pacific during most of his five and a half years of captivity, Mr. McCain, a Navy lieutenant commander, became the most famous prisoner of the war, a victim of horrendous torture and a tool of enemy propagandists…To millions of Americans, Mr. McCain was the embodiment of courage: a war hero who came home on crutches, psychologically scarred and broken in body, but not in spirit…settling in Arizona, he won two terms in the House of Representatives, from 1983 to 1987, and six in the Senate.

An American Hero. The Guardian

He was a Reagan Republican to start with, but later moved right or left, a maverick who defied his party’s leaders and compromised with Democrats. He lost the 2000 Republican presidential nomination to George W. Bush, who won the White House...While he was a persistent and outspoken critic of the Obama administration, Mr. McCain had by 2013 become a pivotal figure in the Senate, meeting with Mr. Obama and occasionally fashioning deals with him. He joined a bipartisan group of senators, known as the Gang of Eight, that sought compromises on comprehensive immigration reform.

President Obama and Senator McCain. Photo- www.history.com

With the rise of Trump, the Republican flame thrower who steered American politics sharply to the right after his election in 2016 as the nation’s 45th president, Mr. McCain was one of the few powerful Republican voices in Congress to push back against Mr. Trump’s often harsh, provocative statements and Twitter posts and his tide of changes. 

In his end-of-life memoir, Mr. McCain scorned  Trump’s seeming admiration for autocrats and disdain for refugees. ‘He seems uninterested in the moral character of world leaders and their regimes,’ he wrote of the president. ‘The appearance of toughness or a reality show facsimile of toughness seems to matter more than any of our values. Flattery secures his friendship, criticism his enmity.’

Personal animus between Mr. McCain and Trump arose in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016. After months of boasts by Trump about his wealth, celebrity and deal-making as qualifications for the White House, and his dismissive capsule characterizations of climate change as ‘a hoax’ and the Iraq war as ‘a mistake,’ Mr. McCain and Mr. Romney, with standing as the previous two Republican presidential nominees, denounced Trump as ‘unfit for the presidency.’

‘Make no mistake, my friends, these are dangerous times,’ Mr. McCain said. ‘But you should not count America out, and we should not count each other out.’  As for Trump’s claim that his White House was operating like a ‘fine-tuned machine,’ Mr. McCain said, ‘In many respects, this administration is in disarray.’

Military personal carry the casket of Sen. John McCain.

John McCain’s Naval Academy memorial service and burial will feature two of his sons and Gen. David Petraeus. He will be buried Sunday at the Naval Academy Cemetery, next to longtime friend and academy classmate Admiral Charles Larson.

Trump won’t be there [ prior to his death, Senator McCain specifically requested that Trump not attend his funeral]  but Defense Secretary James Mattis will be a pallbearer.”

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Personal animus between Mr. McCain and Mr. Trump arose in the Republican presidential primaries in 2016.
  2. McCain suffered from a malignant brain tumor.
  3. John McCain was considered a maverick.
  4. McCain had the instincts of a shrewd military man.
  5. He was rebellious since childhood.
  6. McCain was a victim of horrendous torture and a tool of enemy propagandists.
  7. In his end-of-life memoir, Mr. McCain scorned Trump.
  8. Senator McCain warned Americans that Trump’s election might imperil the United States and its democratic systems.
  9. The Senator stated that the Trump administration  was in disarray.
  10. The seven-year Republican drive to derail the Affordable Care Act had collapsed.

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. John McCain was a senator from Texas.
  2. He was the son and grandson of four-star admirals.
  3. Two fighter Jets were named McCain, for the senator’s father and grandfather.
  4. McCain was a prisoner of war in WWII.
  5. John McCain won two terms in the House of Representatives and six in the Senate.
  6. He lost the 2000 Republican presidential nomination to Barack Obama.
  7. Senator John McCain and Trump are best friends.
  8. McCain’s wife  donated to many charities.
  9. As a torture victim, Mr. McCain was sensitive to the interrogation of detainees in the fight against terrorism.
  10. John McCain suffered from a malignant brain tumor.

 

Grammar: 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

Mr. McCain’s___ of Trump perhaps ___in July, after the [meeting with]  Vladimir V. Putin of Russia___in ___ Finland…Responding to Trump’s ___ in which the president spoke favorably of his Russian counterpart and questioned American___ findings that the Russians had ___in the 2016 ___election, Mr. McCain declared, “No prior president has ever___himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”

WORD LIST:  abased, presidential, interfered, intelligence, performance, Helsinki, privately, disapproval, peaked,

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 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.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Educators Are Using Video Games To Enhance Learning In Class

“History has long served as a backdrop in the Assassin’s Creed video games, whose story lines center on pivotal times in history — from the Third Crusade to Imperial China and beyond…Following last year’s release of Assassin’s Creed Origins, set in Ptolemaic Egypt, the team behind it decided that allowing players to learn more about life in ancient Egypt might make for a pretty cool teaching aid. So they traded in the quests and violence for antiquities and history lessons, and created a mode with a series of Discovery Tours. By putting history front and center, the game may give teachers a new way to connect with some students.” J. Porter, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Learning History through video games. Visions of Education

Excerpt: Assassin’s Creed Has a New Mission: Working in the Classroom, By Justin Porter, The New York Times

“Edyeli Marku, a middle-school teacher at Intermediate School 230 in Jackson Heights, Queens, said there could be ‘tremendous value in it,’ for both students and educators — particularly for students who might test as primarily visual, auditory or kinesthetic learners. For those students, she added, ‘exposing them to a different learning vehicle is always beneficial.’   

Ms. Marku said she understands the importance of games to her students and has even used Oregon Trail as a teaching tool…Maxime Durand, who has been the lead researcher and history consultant for the Assassin’s Creed franchise since 2010, and Jean Guesdon, the creative director on Origins, said they had often heard from educators who saw the potential of using the games. Some had even used small portions in their lessons.

This class is playing video games and learning. Photo-The Day

But so much of Assassin’s Creed, given its violence and fictional narrative, is problematic in a school setting. Even Ms. Marku said the violent content could hamper the franchise’s acceptance for education purposes, especially for parents reacting to the name of the series or those familiar with its subject matter.

In this version of the game, though, players guide their chosen avatar. It can be the sheriff-like character Bayek, the original protagonist of Assassin’s Creed Origins, or one of 25 possible others…A voice-over details the objects on view, including artifacts like pottery, scrolls, farm tools and baking ovens. At some locations, non-playable characters are seen performing tasks like baking bread, tilling a field or inscribing scrolls.

Image: Fenix Bazaar

Here players can elect to have their chosen avatar perform the activity. Maybe Cleopatra and Caesar never knelt before a bread oven to remove a hot loaf from the coals, but here players can have that experience…To make the games accessible to broader range of schools, which typically have computers or tablets rather than game consoles, Ubisoft released a stand-alone version of the Discovery Tour for computers, even those with aging hardware.”

 

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Photo courtesy of ABC15 Arizona

“John McCain was a warrior, a patriot, and a man of immeasurable courage. What a privilege it was to know him.-Victoria Reggie Kennedy, The Boston Globe

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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.

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. History has long served as a backdrop in the Assassin’s Creed video games.
  2. The story lines center on pivotal times in history.
  3. Exposing students to a different learning vehicle is always beneficial.
  4. Many educators saw the potential of using  video games.
  5. In this version of the game players guide their chosen avatar.
  6. A voice-over details the objects on view.
  7. Some characters are seen performing tasks like baking bread, tilling a field or inscribing scrolls.
  8. Professor  Éthier was intrigued by the game.
  9. Today the Sphinx and the the pyramids are bleached white  by the sun.
  10. Once these monuments were once vividly colored.

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken 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.

Marc-André Éthier, a professor at the ___of Montreal who ___materials that are being used to___ high school history, noticed that ___tools like ___were being used less. When he ___about the Discovery Tour, he said, ‘I was___ and I prepared a ___to test if Discovery Tour could ___someone as much as a lecture.’

WORD LIST: teach, traditional, University, teach, intrigued, studies,textbooks,study, heard,

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. They traded in the quests and violence for antiquities and history.
  2. Teachers has a new way to connect with students.
  3. Ms. Marku said she understands the importance of games.

II

  1. They can spend hours in front of the computer.
  2. Durand has been the lead researcher since 2010.
  3. A avatar  can be any character the students choose.

III

  1. The 75 available tours cover daily life.
  2. A lot of history’s secret are lost to time.
  3. Students learn how games are created and the way stories are told.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Finding The Main Idea

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

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following questions/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. In your opinion do you think that certain video games can enhance learning in the classroom? Explain why or why not.
  2. Have you ever used video games in your class? If yes, describe the experience. If no, would you like to try one?
  3. Review the descriptions of the following video games. Choose one and explain why you think it would be beneficial for your class.

Suggestions For Video Games For The Classroom From Rubicon:

Elegy for a Dead World — The premise of this game is that students visit alien planets and act as the storyteller of that world, creating stories of the possible people and cultures that lived there.  These words are inspired by poets Byron, Keats, and Shelley, providing an easy connection to English curriculum.

Never Alone — This game has set a precedent for the respectful representation of indigenous people.  Co-developed by native Alaskans, it shares Inupiat stories, themes, and values, in addition to making cooperation a critical part of success in the gameplay.  Best of all, it features documentary-style videos on of the Inupiat people who provide context for the sights, sounds, and stories found in gameplay.

Valiant Hearts — A major complaint I have with popular war games is that they can, to some audiences, glorify war while downplaying the intricacies of cause and effect.  The beauty of Valiant Hearts is that it doesn’t attempt to glorify war, and it doesn’t  focus on the guns and battles.

The Republica Times: For older students, there are a wide variety of games addressing social and political issues available for use and analysis.  Games, like The Republica Times, essentially play the role of interactive social commentary.  In the game, your students are tasked with organizing the headlines for each day’s paper in the game.

Enercities: Science teachers, don’t fret!  There are games addressing science topics, like the balance between economy, ecology, population growth, and quality of life found in the free online game Enercities.  A more focused Sim-style game, Enercities provides a sandbox for students to create a city with the goal of keeping a balance between all of the aforementioned categories.

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