The Power of Random Acts of Kindness

“Researchers found that people who perform a random act of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it. And they believe that miscalculation could hold many of us back from doing nice things for others more often.” C. Pearson, The New York Times, Sept. 2, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: The Unexpected Power of Random Acts of Kindness Catherine Pearson, The New York Times, Sept. 2, 2022

“In late August, Erin Alexander, 57, sat in the parking lot of a Target store in Fairfield, Calif., and wept. 

Her sister-in-law had recently died, and Ms. Alexander was having a hard day.

A barista working at the Starbucks inside the Target was too. The espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed. Ms. Alexander — who’d stopped crying and gone inside for some caffeine — smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there. After picking up her order, she noticed a message on the cup: ‘Erin,’ the barista had scrawled next to a heart, ‘your soul is golden.’

‘I’m not sure I even necessarily know what ‘your soul is golden’ means,’ said Ms. Alexander, who laughed and cried while recalling the incident.

But the warmth of that small and unexpected gesture, from a stranger who had no inkling of what she was going through, moved her deeply… The notion that kindness can boost well-being is hardly new. Studies have shown that prosocial behavior — basically, voluntarily helping others — can help lower people’s daily stress levels, and that simple acts of connection, like texting a friend, mean more than many of us realize.”

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 60 minutes. 

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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. A barista working at the Starbucks was also having a hard day.
  2. he espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed.
  3. Ms. Alexander smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there.
  4. The warmth of that small and unexpected gesture, from a stranger moved her deeply.
  5. Researchers found that people who perform a random act of kindness tend to underestimate how much the recipient will appreciate it.
  6. We just don’t think the positive impact of our behaviors is as positive as it is.
  7. With a study like this, I hope it will inspire more people to actually commit random acts of kindness,” she said.
  8. Underestimating the power of small gestures is a mistake.
  9. The participants  were given a hot chocolate from the snack kiosk.
  10. In that experiment the people doing the kind thing consistently underestimated how much it was actually appreciated.

 

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.

Researchers recruited 84 participants/participant on two/too cold weekend/weekends at the/a  ice skating rink on/at Maggie Daley Park in Chicago.  They were/was given an/a hot chocolate from the snack kiosk and/an were told they can/could keep it or give it two/to a stranger as an/a deliberate act of kindness. The 75 participants who gave/give away their/there hot chocolate was/were asked/ask to guess how “big” the act of kindness would feel to the recipient on a scale from 0 (very small) to 10 (very large), and to predict how the recipient would rate they’re/their mood (ranging from much more negative then/than normal to much more positive than normal) upon receiving the drink.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers. 

  1. “I’m not sure I even necessarily know what ‘your soul is golden’ means.”
  2. “We have this negativity bias when it comes to social connection. We just don’t think the positive impact of our behaviors is as positive as it is.”
  3.  “The people doing the kind thing consistently underestimated how much it was actually appreciated.”
  4. “I have found that kindness can be a really hard sell.”
  5.  “People have bought groceries and baby formula for others in Hallie’s honor. They’ve donated school supplies and given hydrangeas to strangers.” “No small act goes unnoticed.”
  6. “She did it so I wouldn’t find them all immediately, and it did take me a while. But it was meant to bring a smile to my day when I returned.”

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Have you ever been kind to someone that you did not know? If so describe what happened.
  2. Has a stranger  ever been kind to you? If so describe what happened.
  3. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  4. List three questions that you would like to ask anyone mentioned in this article. Share your questions with the class.

 

ANSWER KEY

You Might Have A Doppelgänger Out There!

“That person who looks just like you is not your twin, but if scientists compared your genomes, they might find a lot in common.” K Golembiewsk, The New York Times, Aug. 23, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post   with Answer Key

Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone, Atlanta, 2014.

 

Excerpt: Your Doppelgänger Is Out There and You Probably Share DNA With Them,  By Kate Golembiewski, Photographs by François Brunelle, The New York Times, Aug 23,2022

Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone met in Atlanta in 1997, when Mr. Malone served as a guest singer in Mr. Chasen’s band. They quickly became friends, but they didn’t notice what other people around them did: The two men could pass for twins.

Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen are doppelgängers. They look strikingly similar, but they are not related. Their immediate ancestors aren’t even from the same parts of the world; Mr. Chasen’s forebears hailed from Scotland, while Mr. Malone’s parents are from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

Karen Chu and Ashlee Wong, Culver City, Calif., 2013.

The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project by François Brunelle, a Canadian artist. The picture series, “I’m not a look-alike!,” was inspired by Mr. Brunelle’s discovery of his own look-alike, the English actor Rowan Atkinson. The project has been a hit on social media and other parts of the internet, but it’s also drawn the attention of scientists who study genetic relationships. Dr. Manel Esteller, a researcher at the Josep Carreras Leukaemia Research Institute in Barcelona, Spain, had previously studied the physical differences between identical twins, and he wanted to examine the reverse: people who look alike but aren’t related.”

“Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-serving monarch, has died at Balmoral aged 96, after reigning for 70 years. She died peacefully on Thursday afternoon at her Scottish estate, where she had spent much of the summer. The Queen came to the throne in 1952 and witnessed enormous social change. Her son King Charles III said the death of his beloved mother was a “moment of great sadness” for him and his family and that her loss would be “deeply felt” around the world. He said: “We mourn profoundly the passing of a cherished sovereign and a much-loved mother.”  The BBC

 (April 21, 1926 – September 8, 2022)

 

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 60 minutes. 

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. 

Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The two men could pass for twins.
  2. Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen are doppelgängers.
  3. They are not related.
  4. Their immediate ancestors aren’t even from the same parts of the world.
  5. The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project.
  6. The project has drawn the attention of scientists who study genetic relationships.
  7. Dr. Esteller and his team recruited 32 pairs of look-alikes.
  8. These people really look alike because they share important parts of the genome, or the DNA sequence.
  9. Dr. Esteller is hopeful that the study’s findings will help doctors diagnose illness in the future.
  10. The study’s findings might one day aid  forensic science.

Grammar Focus: Identifying 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.

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

Charlie Chasen and Michael Malone met in Atlanta in 1997, when Mr. Malone served as a guest singer in Mr. Chasen’s band.

Mr. Chasen’s forebears hailed from Scotland, while Mr. Malone’s parents are from the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas.

The two friends, along with hundreds of other unrelated look-alikes, participated in a photography project by François Brunelle, a Canadian artist. The picture series, “’I’m not a look-alike’ was inspired by Mr. Brunelle’s discovery of his own look-alike, the English actor Rowan Atkinson.

 

Reading Comprehension: Word -Recognition

Directions: Choose the correct word (in bold) to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Despite the potential ___of linking people’s___with their ___or their behavior, Mr. Malone and Mr. Chasen said the ___project, and the knowledge that___all might have a secret___out there, was a means of ___people together. The two have remained ___ for 25 years; when Mr. Chasen got___last week, Mr. Malone was the first person he called.

WORD LIST: married, friends, bringing, twin,  we, look-alike, DNA,  pitfalls,  appearances,  

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Have you ever met someone who looked just like you but not related? Did you keep in contact with the person?
  2. Why do you think “The project has been a hit on social media” ?
  3. According to Dr. Esteller what  might this study be used for in the future ?
  4.  According to Dr. Esteller what other links might people share?
  5.  According to Daphne Martschenko, why should scientists take caution in the area of forensics?
  6.  In what way might this project help people in general?
  7. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

 

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education

How To Help Kids Cope With Anger…How to help Parents Cope with Angry Kids

“Anger has a bad reputation, but it is a basic human emotion like any other. Here’s how to help children cope.” C.Pearson,The New York Times, June 28, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit: Tim Lahan

Excerpt: How to Raise Kids Who Are Good at Getting Angry, By Catherine Pearson, The New York Times, June 28, 2022

How to soothe crying babies

I never really witnessed pure rage up close until I became a parent of toddlers. My children, who are a bit older now, weren’t big tantrum throwers. But when they went for it, they really went for it: screaming, sobbing, full-body shaking —the works…Fortunately, their respective meltdown phases were brief. I say “fortunately,” because I didn’t do much to help tame their outbursts. I was flummoxed by their fits of anger, and sometimes worried about who I was raising.

How to calm your babies. Credit-.Medium

How to soothe crying babies

Parents don’t have to yell. Credit; Healthline

Learning to manage anger is a lifelong skill that allows children to function at home, in school and out in the world without losing control. And it’s a skill that parents can help their kids cultivate, even starting when they are babies and toddlers, by encouraging them to develop outlets and modeling strong coping skills yourself.”

Additional Reading [Excellent article ~ ESL-Voices]:

How Inuit Parents Teach Kids To Control Their Anger, By Michaeleen Doucleff and Jane Greenhalgh, NPR, March 13, 2019

This story is part of a series from NPR’s Science desk called ‘The Other Side of Anger’.

Anthropologist Jean L. Briggs (1929–2016)

“For more than 30 years, the Inuit welcomed anthropologist Jean Briggs into their lives so she could study how they raise their children…Back in the 1960s, a Harvard graduate student made a landmark discovery about the nature of human anger.”

“…Across the board, all the moms mention one golden rule: Don’t shout or yell at small children…Traditionally, the Inuit saw yelling at a small child as demeaning. It’s as if the adult is having a tantrum; it’s basically stooping to the level of the child, Briggs documented.”

Inuit parenting is gentle and tender. They even have a special kiss for kids called kunik. (Above) Maata Jaw gives her daughter the nose-to-cheek Inuit sniff. Johan Hallberg-Campbell for NPR

Maata Jaw and daughter. Credit NPR

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 60 minutes. 

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article.  

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. I never really witnessed pure rage up close until I became a parent of toddlers.
  2. My children, who are a bit older now, weren’t big tantrum throwers.
  3. But when they went for it, they really went for it.
  4. Fortunately, their respective meltdown phases were brief.
  5. “Fortunately,” because I didn’t do much to help tame their outbursts.
  6. I was flummoxed by their fits of anger.
  7. Anger isn’t bad nor is expressing it inherently dangerous.
  8. Learning to manage anger is a lifelong skill.
  9. It’s a skill that parents can help their kids cultivate.
  10. Anger is a basic human emotion.

 

Whimsical Vocabulary Organizer by Danielle Mays

 

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.  Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. How to Raise Kids Who Are Good at Getting Angry.
  2. Anger have a bad reputation.
  3. Anger is a basic human emotion like any other.

II

  1. I never really witnessed pure rage.
  2. I was flummoxed by there fits of anger.
  3. Many of us were taught that anger is bad.

III

  1. Learning to manage anger is a lifelong skill.
  2. Don’t be afraid for tantrums.
  3. Some emotions are really stressful.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers. 

  1. Many of us were taught that anger is bad, and that to show we’re angry and express our feelings is bad…But anger isn’t bad, Dr. McCoy said, nor is expressing it inherently dangerous or disrespectful.”
  2.  “When it comes to kids and anger, it can help to remember a few simple facts: First, anger is a basic human emotion. And second, emotions exist to tell us about ourselves and our relationships.”
  3. It’s not uncommon for toddlers or preschoolers to have tantrums several times a week…The average length of toddler tantrums is around three minutes but there is a wide range in how long they can go on — anywhere between 1 and 20 minutes.”

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?

Questions for  Discussion and Comprehension

Directions: In groups answer the following questions:

*[ Please Note: Questions 1 and 2  are from NPR website]

  1. How do you get your kids to do things without yelling or shouting? 
  2. How did your parents get you to do things without yelling or scolding? 
  3. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  4. List 3  questions  that you would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Some Scientists Want to Resurrect the Tasmanian Tiger…Others Say No

“If you haven’t heard of the Tasmanian tiger, it’s not because it’s unworthy of discussion: it’s famously not a feline but a dog-like marsupial, a predator that humans hunted to extinction…Now the ‘de-extinction’ company Colossal Biosciences wants to genetically resurrect the Tasmanian tiger.” B.  Chappell, NPR August 20, 2022

 ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

The last living thylacine in captivity yawns at the Hobart Zoo. Thylacines were capable of opening their jaws as wide as 80 degrees. 1933.

Excerpt: A plan to bring the Tasmanian tiger back from extinction raises questions, By Bill Chappell, NPR August 20, 2022

“The Tasmanian tiger [is] also known as the thylacine (Thylacinus cynocephalus) or the Tasmanian wolf.

Whatever you call it, this mythically beautiful carnivorous marsupial was a true ‘masterpiece of biological advancement’, the company says of the project. Yet, the story of its extinction is a tragedy of human interference and aggression.

A pair of [Tasmanian Tigers] thylacines (Thylacinus cynocephalus) in the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., in 1906. WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The thylacine had trademark stripes and, rare in the animal world, abdominal pouches in both females and males. Australian researchers have called it ‘a dingo with a pouch’ or ‘a dog with a pouch’ — but its DNA also has a lot in common with the kangaroo.

Colossal, which has previously aired plans to resurrect the woolly mammoth, is intent on giving the thylacine ‘a second chance at life.’

Why the Tasmanian Tiger Went Extinct: A captured Thylacine (1869), photo by Victor Prout, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Humans have been blamed for the animal’s extinction, especially after a bounty program was instituted in Tasmania to protect sheep and other animals. 

But in 2017, Andrew Pask, a biosciences professor, led research that found the thylacine also suffered from a lack of genetic diversity.

‘The population today would be very susceptible to diseases, and would not be very healthy’ if it still existed, Pask said back in 2017.

Pask is now part of Colossal’s new project to bring the thylacine back. When asked if his view on its viability had changed, he said via email that the plan will incorporate diverse DNA sources.”

 

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 60 minutes. 

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article.  Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article.  

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The Tasmanian Tiger became  extinct in 1936.
  2. If you haven’t heard of the Tasmanian tiger, it’s not because it’s unworthy of discussion.
  3. It’s famously not a feline but a dog-like marsupial.
  4. The Tasmanian tiger is a  predator that humans hunted to extinction.
  5. The company Colossal Biosciences wants to genetically resurrect the Tasmanian tiger.
  6. This mythically beautiful carnivorous  marsupial was a true masterpiece of biological advancement.
  7. If the Tasmanian tiger lived today it would be very susceptible to disease.
  8. Cloning is a very specific scientific process. 
  9. The first embryo is expected in the next few years.
  10. Colossal Biosciences  is known as the ‘de-extinction’ company. 

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.

Humans has/have been blamed for the animal’s/animals extinction, especially after a bounty program is/was instituted in Tasmania to/too protect sheep and another/other animals.

But in/on 2017, Andrew Pask, an/a biosciences professor, led research that found/find the thylacine also suffer/suffered from an/a lack of genetic diversity.

 

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 ___had trademark___ and, ___in the animal world, abdominal ___in both ___and___. Australian ___have called it ‘a___with a ___or ‘a dog with a pouch’ — but its ___also has a lot in common with the kangaroo.

___, which has previously aired plans to resurrect the___, is intent on giving the thylacine ‘a second chance at life.’

WORD LIST: DNA, researchers, woolly mammoth females, pouches,   dingo,    thylacine, stripes,  rare,  males, pouch,  Colossal, 

 

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 Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Have  students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards,  students share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

Pre-Reading Questions:

Have you ever read an article  or thought about animals today that are near extinction?

Do you ever wonder how these animals came to be on the extinction list today?

Have you ever thought about what would happen if scientists were able to bring an extinct animal back to life?

Directions: After reading the article answer the following questions and share your answers as a class.

  1. What is the Tasmanian tiger?
  2. When did the last specimen die?
  3.  According to scientists, why did the  Tasmanian tiger become extinct?
  4. According to the article the  Tasmanian tiger has a lot in common with which  animal living today?  
  5. According to the article how would the animals be created?
  6. Why were bounty programs organized to kill the Tasmanian tiger?
  7. How would the return of this animal affect the ecosystem in Tasmania?
  8. When do scientists intend to create the first embryo?
  9. What other animal does Colossal intend to bring back?
  10. Some scientists such as Beth Shapiro thinks that  we should focus on helping the wildlife currently struggling to stay alive. Do you agree or disagree with this idea? Please explain why or why not.
  11. After reading this article do you think bringing back an extinct species is a good idea? A bad idea?  Explain your answers.
  12. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

 

ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES

Directions: Search the web and find 10 of the World’s most Endangered Animals in 2022 and answer the following questions:

Were you surprised at the types of animals listed?  Explain why or why not?

Have you ever visited any of the animals in a zoo? 

In which part of the world are the animals located?

Explain (if you can) why are the animals endangered.

Create a list explaining ways we might help save some if not all of the endangered animals on this list. 

Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Web  to support their arguments. 

Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for  resurrecting  the Tasmanian Tiger.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against resurrecting  the Tasmanian Tiger.

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 Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology:

Students with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities Will Attend Colleges in Massachusetts

Massachusetts students with autism and significant intellectual disabilities will gain unprecedented access to postsecondary education at state colleges and universities under a law signed late last month by Governor Charlie Baker, lauded by disability rights advocates as the first of its kind in the nation.” J. Russell, The Boston Globe, August 7, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Brian Heffernan, 31, who has Down syndrome, attended Mass Bay Community College through a program that provides college access for students with intellectual disabilities. Matthew J Lee, Boston globe staff

 

Excerpt: First-of-its-kind law improves college access for students with autism, intellectual disabilities,  By Jenna Russell, Globe Staff, August 7, 2022,

More than a decade in the making, the breakthrough legislationwill require all of the state’s public college campuses to offer accommodations to young people whose severe disabilities prevent them from earning a standard high school diploma, allowing them to take classes as nondegree-seeking students and join extracurricular activities alongside their peers — experiences that can transform their lives for the better, according to experts.

‘It’s truly a joyous and historic milestone, for the state and for the country, because it really will allow people with disabilities to reap the same benefits of higher education,’ said Julia Landau, director of the Disability Education Justice Initiative at Massachusetts Advocates for Children. ‘They have shown that they can exceed societal expectations when they’re given the same opportunities to learn.’

The law will create pathways for students whose intellectual challenges have often left them stuck in high school as their classmates graduated and moved on without them. Unable to pass the state MCAS exam or gain admission to college — and unlikely to thrive there without support — many students with Down syndrome, autism, and other conditions have instead languished in isolated classrooms, facing poor employment prospects and limited social options as they wait to age out of high school at age 22.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

LESSON PLAN

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 60 minutes. 

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you  and your group members think might be related to this article.  

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. This law has been more than a decade in the making.
  2. The breakthrough legislation  will require all of the state’s public college campuses to offer accommodations to young people  with severe disabilities.
  3. The new legislation will allow them to take classes as nondegree-seeking students and join extracurricular activities alongside their peers.
  4. These experiences can transform their lives for the better, according to experts.
  5. It’s truly a joyous and historic milestone, for the state and for the country.
  6. They  succeed when they’re given the same opportunities to learn.
  7. The law will create pathways for students whose intellectual challenges have often left them stuck in high school.
  8. Many are unable to pass the state MCAS exam or gain admission to college.
  9. With expanded access to state campuses, some will now be able to transition to the next stage of learning.
  10. Existing state and federal laws already require equitable access to college for students with disabilities.

 

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.

The law will create/created pathways four/for students whose/who’s  intellectual challenges has/have often left/leave them stuck in/inn high school as there/their classmates graduated and moved in/on without them. 

Unable to pass/past the state MCAS exam or gain admission to college — and unlikely to thrive their/there without support — many student/students with Down syndrome, autism, and other conditions has/have instead languished in isolated classrooms, facing/face poor employment prospects and limited social options as they wait to age out of high school at age 22.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers. 

“They have shown that they can exceed societal expectations when they’re given the same opportunities to learn.”

  1. “It’s a generation of neurotypical college students, sitting next to students like Max in class and seeing what they come up with … that will change their viewpoint.”
  2. “I had been in special education groups where we were segregated, and it was hard to make your own choices.”
  3. “I used to feel shame about my shortcomings, and now I realize I can forge a different path and be an individual … and that is just as valuable.”
  4.  “They often say they’ve become better professors, because they think more about different ways of learning.”
  5. It took time to explain why it benefits those with significant intellectual challenges, whose goals and successes “may not look like success for everyone else.”
  6. “I wanted to go to college to get more independence and to be with friends. I think it made my life better for a bunch of reasons.”

 

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?

Post Reading Activities

Directions: Place students in groups and have them work on the following activities.

  1. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  2. List 3  questions that you would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.  Share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY