Quitting Jobs Has Become Contagious in the U.S.

“A sense of workplace disaffection and restlessness started growing for many Americans in the early stages of the pandemic.” E. Goldberg, The New York Times, Jan. 23, 2022

Image-SHRM

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: You Quit. I Quit. We All Quit. By Emma Goldberg, The New York Times, Jan. 23,2022

Something infectious is spreading through the work force. Its symptoms present in a spate of two-week notices. Its transmission is visible in real time. And few bosses seem to know how to inoculate their staff against this quitagion.

image- mashable

It catches quickly. ‘There’s a shock when you see multiple people leaving — it’s like, oh, is there something I’m not seeing?’ said Tiff Cheng, 27, who left her job in digital marketing in July, along with five of her close friends at the 40-person agency. ‘Is it my time to leave as well?’ Quitting rates were high in August, September and October. Then, according to Labor Department data, they climbed even further: More than 4.5 million people left their jobs voluntarily in November, a record high in two decades of tracking.

Debrocke:ClassicStock, via Getty Images

Economists explained the numbers by noting that competition for workers led to better pay and benefits, driving some to seek out new opportunities. Psychologists have an additional explanation: Quitting is contagious…A sense of workplace disaffection and restlessness started growing for many Americans in the early stages of the pandemic…Career coaches, meanwhile, worry that some people are being too easily influenced by the behaviors of their roaming colleagues.

Image- explore-group.com

Kathryn Minshew, chief executive of the Muse, a job search site, warns clients that a single employee’s desire to leave a company shouldn’t have too much bearing on the decisions that friends make…That Pied Piper trail won’t always lead people to better options, and Ms. Minshew advises workers to assess their companies with the hyper-individualized approach they might take to building relationships.”

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.

 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. 

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. Something infectious is spreading through the work force.
  2. Its symptoms present in a spate of two-week notices.
  3. In two decades of tracking the highest number of people leaving jobs was 4.5 million.
  4. Psychologists have an additional explanation: Quitting is contagious.
  5. Quitting begets more quitting.
  6. One worker’s decision to leave is especially likely to inspire others to leave.
  7. In a recent poll more than 21,000 LinkedIn members left their jobs after seeing other workers leave.
  8. The office has long been a petri dish for infectious behavior.
  9. Employees also mimic the nutritional patterns of people they sit with in the cafeteria
  10. When the people you know, like and respect are leaving a job, you think maybe the grass is greener somewhere else.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

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.

For employers, replacing/replaced  just one quitter is/are a straightforward task. But replacing several, or even dozens, is far most/more challenging, and the interim period tends to leave/left existing staff with a heaviest/heavier load, while recruiters field awkward questions about what’s fueling all the departures. With quitting/quit rates soaring, some executives are wondering how to lifts/lift morale.

Reading Comprehension Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “It catches quickly. There’s a shock when you see multiple people leaving — it’s like, oh, is there something I’m not seeing?”
  2. “Quitting begets more quitting, a challenge that employers can’t always solve with raises or perks. Even a single resignation notice can breed a hot spot.”
  3. Ms. Cruz had grown disgruntled with the hallmarks of work life: “Meetings that could have been an email and lack of control over her schedule.”
  4. “It’s a huge decision. If you Google how to resign from your job, there’s lots of conflicting guidance.Those answers are not in a company handbook. It makes sense people reach out for sounding boards from trusted others.”
  5. She made the leap after seeing two of her teammates resign. She went from making $2,100 a month, spending days on her feet setting up cots for nap time and begging children to wear their masks, to making as much as $8,000 monthly while dictating her own schedule, she said. She realized something now viscerally clear to many child care providers: In her work at the school, the mismatch between strain and pay had been stark.
  6. “When one person announces their resignation, there are usually some questions from their colleagues and workplace friends. Where are you going? Why are you leaving?”

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 or someone you know left your job within the past two years? Please explain why or why not.
  2. According to the article, how many people left their jobs voluntarily in November?
  3. According to psychologists, why is quitting one’s job contagious?
  4. What is “turnover contagion”?
  5. What information did Will Felps and his team of researchers find out?
  6. What were the results from a recent LinkedIn poll involving more than 21,000 members?
  7. The workplace has been the place for what other types of infectious behavior?
  8. In your opinion, do you think so many people have left their jobs due to the pandemic? What other reasons might motivate this behavior?
  9. 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

2022: Emojis Are Still Our Favorite Means of Expression

“Tears of joy prevailed as the most-used emoji in 2021, despite Gen Z’s stated contempt for it.” A. P. Kambhampaty, The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Jörg Carstensen:Picture alliance via Getty Images

Excerpt: The Year in Emojis, By Anna P. Kambhampaty, The New York Times, Dec. 9, 2021

“The pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of modern life, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat to how we spend our time. There is one thing, however, that has remained almost unchanged: the emojis we send.

According to data from the Unicode Consortium, the organization that maintains the standards for digital text, nine of the 10 most-used emojis from 2019 (which was the last time they released data) also ranked among the top 10 this year. The red heart emoji held the No. 2 spot, and the tears of joy emoji ranked No. 1, despite members of Gen Z deeming it uncool (along with side parts and skinny jeans).

To the people who create and study emojis, the persistence of tears of joy, also known as the laughing-crying emoji, comes as no surprise.

‘It speaks to how many people use emoji. If emoji were a purely Gen Z thing, then you wouldn’t see it so highly ranked,’ said Alexander Robertson, an emoji researcher at Google. ‘Because of the sheer number of people using emoji, even if one group thinks something is lame, they have to be a really big group to affect these statistics.’

Looking at a single platform, however, might tell a slightly different story. According to data obtained from Twitter, tears of joy was the most tweeted emoji in 2020, but got bumped down to No. 2 this year, with the crying face taking its place. Tears of joy saw a 23 percent decline in usage from 2020 to 2021…’We did see a rise in the use of the virus emoji, but not in a way that even made it remotely into the most-commonly used emojis because we still had plenty to laugh about and plenty to cry about, whether it was because of the pandemic or not,’ said Lauren Gawne, co-host of the podcast ‘Lingthusiasm’ and a senior lecturer in linguistics at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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 pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of modern life.
  2. There is one thing that has remained unchanged the emojis we send.
  3. According to data the red heart emoji held the No. 2 spot, and the tears of joy emoji ranked No. 1.
  4. The tears of joy emoji ranked No. 1, despite members of Gen Z  deeming it uncool.
  5. To the people who create and study emojis, the persistence of tears of joy, comes as no surprise.
  6. It makes sense that Gen Z would think that certain emojis aren’t hip.
  7. It’s part of the teenage experience of creating a sense of subculture where there’s a right way and a wrong way of behaving.
  8. You don’t necessarily need a vaccination emoji because you have biceps and a syringe emoji.
  9. People used the microbe, or virus, emoji to refer to Covid.
  10. If one group thinks something is lame, they have to be a really big group to affect these statistics.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

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. The pandemic has affected nearly all aspects of modern life.
  2. Many people uses emoji.
  3. it makes sense that Gen Z would think that certain emojis aren’t hip.

 

II

  1. There are a spectrum of laughter that can be expressed through text.
  2. Using emojis, such as the skull face (“I’m dead”) can help to illustrate a range of emotions.
  3. Looking at a single platform, however, might tell a slightly different story.

III

  1. Tears of joy was the most tweeted emoji in 2020.
  2. It basically indicating that we need to communicate a broad range of expressions.
  3. The syringe emoji jumped to 193rd place this year in terms of overall usage.

 

Reading Comprehension:  Identify The  Speakers

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

“It speaks to how many people use emoji. If emoji were a purely Gen Z thing, then you wouldn’t see it so highly ranked.”

“And it makes sense that Gen Z would think that certain emojis aren’t hip. It’s part of the teenage experience of creating a sense of subculture where there’s a right way and a wrong way of behaving.”

“Even in the midst of this massive global pandemic that preoccupied so much of our time, we still spent a lot of time wishing each other happy birthday or checking in or laughing about some new and unexpected element of this slow-burning weirdness.”

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. Do you use emojis? Why?
  2. What are your favorite emojis?
  3. According to data from the Unicode Consortium, which emoji held the No. 2 spot in 2019 and in 2020?
  4. Which group regarded the tears of joy emoji as ‘uncool’ ?  Why?
  5. Why is the laughing-crying emoji the favorite?
  6. According to Alexander Roberton, what happens if one group dislikes a certain emoji?
  7. According to Jennifer Daniel why does it make sense that Gan Z would think that some emojis aren’t hip?
  8. What is the spectrum of laughter expressed through emojis?
  9. According to the article, which emoji was the most tweeted during 2020?
  10. Which emoji became number one in 2021?
  11. What does the consistent use of emojis indicate?
  12. In what language was the crown emoji used to refer to Covid? Why?
  13. Why did people use such a range of emojis to express themselves in the past two years?
  14. 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: Culture | Tags:

This California School’s Deaf Football Team is Awesome!

“The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is steamrolling its opponents, electrifying a campus that has seen more than a few athletic defeats.” T. Fuller, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

On a recent Friday night, the Cubs from the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, beat the Desert Christian Knights, 84-12. Credit…Adam Perez for The New York Times

Excerpt: Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm, By Thomas Fuller, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2021

“The athletic program at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, has suffered its share of humiliations and harassment over the years. There was the time that a visiting team’s volleyball coach mocked the deaf players.

Trevin Adams QB for the Cubs Football team. Photo hudljpeg

And another time a hearing coach for the girls’ basketball team listened as opponents discussed how embarrassing it would be to lose to a deaf team.

Wide receiver Jory Valencia #3, a student at the California School for the Deaf in Riversi…Amelia Ortiz:CSDR Student Yearbook

Running back Enos Zornoza, a student at the California School for the Deaf in Riverside, .Amelia Ortiz:CSDR Student Yearbook Committeejpeg

It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, recently suffered seven straight losing seasons, leaving the school with the sinking feeling that opposing football teams came to the Riverside campus expecting an easy win.

Head coach Keith Adams is also the school’s physical education teacher.Credit…Adam Perez for The New York Times

Assistant coach Ryan Zarembka with a group of players.Credit…Adam Perez for The New York Times

No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest-ranked team in their Southern California division.

Members of the Cubs, the California School for the Deaf, Riverside’s varsity football team. The NYT

Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them…Led by the school’s physical education teacher, Keith Adams, a burly and effervescent deaf man whose two deaf sons are also on the team, the Cubs are a fast and hard-hitting squad… The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher, with 22 touchdowns on the season.”

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.

 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. 

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. Many thought that the Cubs were the underdog team.
  2. The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is steamrolling its opponents.
  3. It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, suffered seven straight losing seasons.
  4. No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore.
  5. Keith Adams is  a burly and effervescent deaf man.
  6. Football is a richly audible experience.
  7. Friday night games at the Riverside campus are not totally silent, but they are not boisterous either.
  8. A sign-language interpreter hired by the school serves as an intermediary between the Cubs’ coaching staff and the game officials.
  9. Mr. Adams, who coached the team for two seasons has a philosophy that what might be thought of as a deficit can be an edge.
  10. Many teams try to use hand signals to call in plays, but they are no match for the Cubs.

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. It did not help morale that the team lost.
  2. No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore.
  3. Friday night was the second round on the playoffs.

II

  1. The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher.
  2. The Cubs is a fast and hard-hitting squad.
  3. The Cubs’ excellence has lifted the school and the surrounding community.

III

  1. The coaches also say deaf players has heightened visual senses.
  2. The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is the only all-deaf public school.
  3. Many players and staff use the word loneliness to describe how they felt in mainstream settings.

Reading ComprehensionFill-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 California School for the___ Riverside, is the only all-deaf___ school serving the southern half of the___. The team’s ___has given the___ and the surrounding community a lift. 

For___ parents and___, the ___of the football team has been more than just an athletic ___. Many describe it as a sign that___children can be at their ___when they are ___in an all-deaf environment.

WORD LIST: together, best, deaf, triumph, success, players, school, success, state, Deaf, public, staff,

 

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

  1. Are you a football fan?
  2. If you heard that the members of a winning football team were deaf, what would be your first reaction?
  3. How does the team confuse opponents?
  4. Even before winning the division championship games, how do the team members feel about themselves?
  5. Who serves as an intermediary between the Cubs’ coaching staff and the game officials?
  6. How does Keith Adams think about being deaf in football?
  7. Why don’t the Cubs need to huddle like other teams?
  8. According to the coaches, what advantage do the Cubs have over other football teams?

 

ANSWER KEY

 

Category: Education, Sports | Tags:

Health Care for Trans People Gets Better in MA!

“The new MassHealth guidelines will cover more services and remove some onerous requirements that have kept trans and gender-diverse communities from receiving services.”  D.  Ducar, The Boston Globe,  September 7, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Philip Steury- Adobe

Excerpt: Massachusetts leads the way in caring for the health needs of trans and gender-diverse people. By Dallas Ducar, The Boston Globe,  September 7, 2021, 

“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that Americans need better health care access, especially for those who are most marginalized. States should reassess what is considered medically necessary to expand equitable coverage and access — including for transgender and gender-diverse people.

On Sept. 3, MassHealth took that next step forward. It updated the state’s Guidelines for Medical Necessity Determination for gender-affirming care. MassHealth uses these guidelines to determine what care is deemed necessary and paid for. Gender-affirming services currently include services such as hair removal, surgery, pubertal blockade, and hormone therapies.

Expanding access to these services will improve mental health and save livesThese advances are landmark examples of how the government has led by example in advancing care for trans and gender-diverse individuals. The new MassHealth guidelines will cover more services and remove some onerous requirements that have kept trans and gender-diverse communities from receiving services… MassHealth has made a move in the right direction by recognizing the variability in gender-affirming care. It’s time for private payers to follow this same path. To be sure, there are concerns that individuals will join MassHealth or other insurers strictly for gender-affirming care and then leave. These arguments are scarecrow arguments and advance the idea that gender-affirming care is a lifestyle choice. The fact is, gender-affirming care is life-saving care.”

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

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 the current  health care situation for Trans and gender-diverse people.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

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 coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that Americans need better health care access,
  2. Especially for those Americans who are most marginalized.
  3. States should reassess what is considered medically necessary.
  4. Medical coverage  should include transgender and gender-diverse people.
  5. *These arguments are scarecrow arguments and advance the idea that gender-affirming care is a lifestyle choice.
  6. MassHealth uses guidelines to determine what care is deemed necessary and paid for.
  7. Unfortunately, coverage for gender-affirming services has been trailing behind the needs of the trans communities.
  8. These advances are landmark examples.
  9. MassHealth guidelines will cover more services and remove some onerous requirements.
  10. Private insurers have attempted to apply a more restrictive model.

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.

Gender-affirming care/caring is only the first steps/step. When we cared/care for our most/more marginalized, we provide/providing better health cares/care overall. We all have/having some/any relationship to gendered/gender. We know that caring/care for the whole person allows four/for better health and decreases the overall costs.

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, mark it NA. If the statement is false  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. The coronavirus pandemic has made it clear that Americans need better health care access.
  2. States do not have to reassess what is considered medically necessary to expand equitable coverage and access.
  3. On Sept. 3, New York Medical Center took that next step forward. It updated the state’s Guidelines for Medical Necessity Determination for gender-affirming care.
  4. Gender-affirming services currently include services such as hair removal, surgery, pubertal blockade, and hormone therapies.
  5. Coverage in Massachusetts has continued to advance over the years:
  6. In 2021, the attorney general’s office reminded providers that MassHealth gender-affirming surgeries are not covered.
  7. Private payers, on the other hand, have traditionally relied on the World Professional Association for Transgender Health Standards of Care 7 to determine necessity.
  8. According to WPATH, every trans and gender-diverse person has the same types of gender-affirming care needs.
  9. According to WPATH, every trans and gender-diverse person has specific types of gender-affirming care, and types of social transition needed. There’s no one size fits all model.
  10. MassHealth has made a move in the right direction by recognizing the variability in gender-affirming care.

 

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.

  1. How does MassHealth determine what care is necessary for gender-affirming care?
  2. What new services are included for gender-affirming patients?
  3. Name several advances that have occurred in Massachusetts Healthcare coverage over the years.
  4. What gender-affirming healthcare advances have occurred on the national level?
  5. Why is the Supreme Court’s 2020 Bostock decision so important?
  6. What does WPATH stand for and what function does it serve?
  7. Explain three new ideas that you have learned from reading this article. Was there anything that you did not understand? Was there any information left out of this article?

ANSWER KEY

New Year’s Celebrations!

“Celebrating the start of the New Year has been practiced for at least four thousand years. The following article reviews the history,  significance, and common traditions of this festive, and meaningful holiday.” History.com

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.

Excerpt: The History of New Year’s Celebration–History.com

“Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day).

The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.

New Year Celebration, Tendillas Square, Spain

Revelers often enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes-symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight.

In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the United States. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.

New Year Celebration, Vienna, Austria.

In Sweden, it is believed that whoever gets that one peeled almond hidden inside the rice pudding at Christmas will get married within a year. the scoop.

 

In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.

The London Eye on the River Thames during New Year fireworks and celebrations. The Telegraph.

Other customs that are common worldwide include watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the new year, including the ever-popular “Auld Lang Syne” in many English-speaking countries. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot. (They would reportedly vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.)

Chinese New Year, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo-NBC News

New Year Celebration New York City’s Times Square. Photo- C. Morris.

In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight…Over time, the ball itself has ballooned from a 400-pound iron-and-wood orb to a brightly patterned sphere 12 feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds.”

WISHING EVERYONE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: reading, writing, speaking,  vocabulary and grammar activities are included.

Time: approximately 2 hours.

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

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article about New Year’s celebrations 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 Task

Prediction: Analyze headings and photos.

Directions: Read the title of the post, and article.  Analyze the photo(s) to see if  you can predict what  information the article will discuss.  Then based on this information,  make a list of ideas,  words and phrases that might be in the article.

The K-W-L Chart

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

 

Vocabulary: Word Inference

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

  1. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia.
  2. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31st.
  3. New Year’s Eve is the last day of the Gregorian calendar.
  4. Common traditions include attending parties, and eating special New Year’s foods.
  5. Other traditions include making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.
  6. The earliest recorded festivities date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.
  7. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars.
  8. The calendars would pin the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.
  9. In Egypt the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius.
  10. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

 

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. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least five millennia.
  2. Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays
  3. The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Rome.
  4. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
  5. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth).
  6. In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 3 and continue into the early hours of January 1.
  7. Revelers often eat specific foods that are believed to bring good crops for the coming year.
  8. Grapes in Spain, round fruits in the Philippines, suckling pig in Austria, soba noodles in Japan are all considered good-luck food.
  9. Other customs that are common in the U.S. include making resolutions.
  10. In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight.

III Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech: Nouns

Directions: Identify the nouns in the following paragraph, then use the words to write a short paragraph about \ New Year celebrations in the United States.

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

WH-How Questions format

Directions: 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?

K-W-L 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 article states, “ Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day).  Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.”
  2. Provide a description of when and how the New Year is celebrated in your country. If you live in the U.S. then discuss how you celebrate the New Year.
  3. Discuss the types of foods you like to eat on New Year’s Day and the significance of the food.
  4. A big New Year  tradition in the U.S. is making resolutions. Discuss a few of your own resolutions and why you are making them.
  5. What new ideas have you learned from this article? Discuss them with group members and the class.

ANSWER KEY

 

 

Category: History, Holidays, Social Issues | Tags: