“Home schooling won’t kill kids.. Covid-19 might”

“Parents and teachers struggle with how to reopen schools safely this fall…No one wants to go back to school more than I do. It is imperative that we have a real plan in place.” R. Harris and L Tarchak, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Illustration by Ori Toor

 

Excerpt:‘Home-Schooling Won’t Kill Us. Covid-19 Might.’ By Rachel L. Harris and Lisa Tarchak, The New York Times

“In the past few weeks we’ve heard from multiple contributors, columnists and the editorial board about whether or not schools should reopen for in-person classes this fall. And in the thousands of comments on these pieces, parents and teachers weighed the dangers and the repercussions of continued virtual learning.

Wherever they landed, many agreed that the coronavirus crisis has brought into acute focus how vital America’s schools and child care centers are to society and how crucial they are to helping our diminished economy recover. A selection of those comments follows…I love my job. It is my calling, my life’s work. I have done this for more than twenty years at the same urban public school. My students amuse me and amaze me on a daily basis. Yet the urgent desire of people who are not in education to get schools up and running, frankly, amazes me. Despite all my love for my students, I don’t really want to die for them or anyone else. Neither does my partner, who is living with cancer. It is imperative that we have a real plan in place if we have school.

‘Teachers and students and cafeteria workers and secretaries and custodians and librarians and bus drivers all deserve to be safe while at their jobs.’ Eva Lockhart

‘How many teachers receive combat pay while being forced into mortal heroics?’ James Siegle

‘If young kids are home, one parent has to quit their job. I’m a parent of a first grader and remote learning is a disaster. My kid only had one hour of remote learning a day. The one hour was far from smooth (interruptions, technology issues). I had to teach my child the rest of the day while trying to keep up with my job.” DK, New Jersey

‘There isn’t anyone involved in schools or children’s lives who doesn’t want to see children return to school safely. But we are not yet safe. Tell me how to get a 6-year-old to not sneeze on his friends let alone play and work from a distance’.Anna B, Westchester, N.Y.

‘I spent 12 or more hours a day teaching live lessons, providing written feedback on student work, making instructional videos, meeting remotely with students one on one… I say give remote learning another chance.’ Carolyn, Princeton, N.J.

‘It’s fairly obvious to most people that you cannot open schools in high-rate Covid areas like South Florida. The kids will be fine, it’s the adults that need to get their act together.’ Mike L, South Carolina

 

‘This Is About Justice’: Biden Ties Economic Revival to Racial Equity

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. released the fourth piece of his ‘Build Back Better’ proposal in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday.Credit- M. Agins-NYT

In the last of four proposals laying out his vision for economic recovery, Joseph R. Biden Jr. pledged to lift up minority-owned businesses and to award them more federal contracts”. – By T. Kaplan and K. Glueck , The NYT

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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.

 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.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

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 repercussions of virtual learning continued to be a source of debate.
  2. Parents and teachers weighed the dangers of virtual learning.
  3. Wherever they landed a crisis  followed.
  4. American Schools  are crucial in helping diminished economy.
  5. ‘It is imperative that we have a real plan in place.
  6. In some instances remote learning is a disaster.
  7. In other circumstances remote learning was adequate at best.
  8. The politicians have been talking about the virus and kids as carriers.
  9. The government has never granted parents the right to child care.
  10. Our district is constantly piling on more administrative requirements.

 

 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. In the past few weeks we’ve heard from multiple contributors.
  2. I love me job. It is my calling.
  3. I have taught for more than twenty years.

 

II

  1. Returning to normal requires controlling the virus.
  2. Of course we need to reopen schools.
  3. My kid only have  one hour of remote learning.

III

  1. I worry about many student who have unstable homes.
  2. We are going to be facing some long-term damage.
  3. In the eyes of the state, school and child care are different.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “I’m the parent of a 12-year-old. Her experience with remote learning was adequate at best.”
  2. “Teachers should take the proper precautions (masks and sanitizer) and come to school to teach.”
  3. “Tell me how each child is going to have her own supplies for the day as shared supplies are no longer an option. No more Legos, no more books.”
  4. “Give remote learning another chance.
  5. You can’t expect students to learn if they aren’t even required to show up.”
  6. “Parents need to step up and step in to educate their kids.”
  7. “It’s fairly obvious to most people that you cannot open schools in high-rate Covid areas like South Florida. The kids will be fine, it’s the adults that need to get their act together.” —
  8. “The risk to the health of the children appears to be minimal; severe illness is very rare. In balancing that risk against the real risks of abuse, isolation and neglect, I strongly believe it is better for us to return to school.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Students discuss the following questions/statements. Afterwards, they may share their thoughts. To reinforce the ideas, students can also  write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why do you think the schools are receiving the most pressure to reopen or not?
  2. Who were the people chosen to answer this important question?
  3. Whether they agreed with each other or not one thing these people had in common was the fact that the coronavirus  crisis has brought into acute focus how vital America’s schools and child care centers are to society. Why is this important?
  4. Are you a parent, student teacher or  health worker?  Do you think the schools should be opened  now? Explain why or why not.
  5. Eve Lockhart is amazed by which group of people who want to reopen the schools at any  cost?
  6. Which group of people have the urgent desire to reopen the schools at any cost?
  7. What new information have you learned from this article?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  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.

Main Idea / 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 reopening schools.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against reopening schools.

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

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

ANSWER KEY

How Animals Play and What We Can Learn From Them

“The animal world is full of games. And tucked in among wrestling monkeys, belligerent birds and wily coyotes are lessons for us all.” E. Vance, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Baby elephants at play. Credit- Smithsonian Magazine

Excerpt: Where the Wild Things Play, Erik Vance, New York Times

“As a sophomore in college I interned at a lab that studied dolphin behavior. The animals spent most of the year doing back flips and spraying water onto tourists at a theme park…In their off months, they hung out with behavioral scientists who studied them. Almost all dolphin [studies] involved games and toys.

Dolphins at play. Credit- New Scientist

Language, consciousness, communication — all of them are easier to study if the animal thinks it’s playing a game. I remember the lead researcher telling me, ‘It has to be fun or they just won’t participate. You cannot force a dolphin to do anything.’ But you can always get them to play…Dolphins are not the only animals that like to play (though they may be the cleverest). The animal kingdom is full of frolicking, frisking, gamboling and romping critters. And while it’s YouTube gold, it also tells us a lot about what’s going on in their heads. And it may help parents better understand how their kids play.

Kitten with string -credit- catslovetoknow

All sorts of animals play for all sorts of reasons. A fawn frolics in the meadow to become more agile. A kitten chases string so that one day it can chase a mouse. 

New Zealand Kea. Photo credit- Lafeber

New Zealand keas, which are large parrots, seem to play just to irritate humans… Keas have been known to rip apart boots, tents and even car parts while campers sleep. I’ve seen them drop branches and rocks on tourists’ vehicles just to watch them thump or break a windshield…Unlike most animals, which become dominant as they age, keas are most dominant as juveniles. Perhaps kea society is just what happens when you put children in charge…Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado, Boulder, has spent decades watching various animal play.

Coyote pack. Credit- Realtree

After hundreds of hours watching wild juvenile coyotes, he’s noticed all sorts of fundamental rules around fun. For instance, play has to be fair. If you tackle another coyote, you have to let it tackle you back, even if you are dominant. Those that play fair, who can discern the subtle signals of how and when to play, become popular playmates and solidify their place in the pack… The young coyotes who don’t play fair basically leave their group. Not because they’re driven out, they just leave their group because other animals don’t want anything to do with them…So, fairness and turn-taking are key to animal play.

Baby gorillas at play. credit-Transitions Abroad

Nowhere is this clearer than during gorilla tag…As with the human version, gorilla tag can devolve into wrestling matches, but even then they take turns winning… play has become a fascinating way to study how animals think. It’s hard to define yet anyone can recognize it when they see it… So why do it? What’s the benefit of play? And what can humans take from it?..Dr. Bekoff noticed that coyote play rarely escalates into real fighting the way it does in human kids. ‘Play breaks down really fast sometimes when a bully starts playing…They don’t learn to negotiate play and the subtle give and take of social cues.’He doesn’t study humans but says he is regularly contacted by school psychologists worried about bullying.”

“Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. joined forces with his top surrogate Thursday morning [July 23, 2020] releasing a video of a conversation with former President Barack Obama that cast the current occupant of the White House as unworthy and Mr. Biden as the perfect leader to replace him.” A. W. Herndon, The New York Times

 

IN MEMORY OF JOHN ROBERT LEWIS

Born: February 21, 1940 — Died: July 17, 2020

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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used. (Below San Juan Edu chart)

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. At theme parks, dolphins love to spray water onto tourists.
  2. I quickly noticed a few things about dolphin research.
  3. Their idle amusement turns out to reveal an almost artistic ability.
  4. The animal kingdom is full of frolicking, frisking, gamboling and romping critters.
  5. A fawn frolics in the meadow to become more agile.
  6. Keas spend their days doing aerial acrobatics for no reason scientists can discern.
  7. They’re thinking in very sophisticated ways.
  8. Dr. Taylor studies kea intelligence and stressed that they are not malicious.
  9. Unlike most animals, keas are most dominant as juveniles.
  10. Marc Bekoff has noticed all sorts of fundamental rules around fun.

 

 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. Human play develop predictably as we get older.
  2. We start out with simple peekaboo.
  3. The animal world is full of games.

II

 

  1. Dolphins are not the only animals that like to play.
  2. The animal kingdom is full of frolicking critters.
  3. All sorts of animals play for all sorts of reasons.

III

  1. Marc Bekoff has spent decades watching juvenile coyotes.
  2. Fairness and turn-taking are key to animal play.
  3. They’re thinking in very sophisticated ways.

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 author first learned about dolphin behavior in a zoo.
  2. To the author, observing dolphins can be exciting.
  3. Language, consciousness, communication are easier to study if the animal thinks there’s food involved.
  4. You cannot force a dolphin to do anything.
  5. The author co-wrote a paper about the odd bubble rings they [dolphins] blow and play with.
  6. A kitten chases string so that one day it can grow muscles.
  7. New Zealand keas are large  kangaroos.
  8. Keas are native to the high mountains.
  9. Keas are most dominant as old adults.
  10. Fairness and turn-taking are key to animal play.

 

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. Have you ever had the opportunity to work with animals? If yes, describe your experience.
  2. Where did the author first learn about dolphin behavior?
  3. Almost all dolphin experiments involve what?
  4. What are the three major things that behavioral scientists study in dolphin behavior?
  5. According to the article what might parents better understand about their kids?
  6. Within a coyote pack what happens when a member does not play ‘fair’ with the other pack members?
  7. According to the article what is the greatest lesson humans can learn about play from animals?
  8. What new information have you learned from this article?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  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. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Comfort People During Covid-19

“The coronavirus won’t be going anywhere for a long time — and neither will our fears about it…There’s a lot to be scared of. But when people share their fears with you, what do you say?” A. Goldfarb, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Credit- Eric Mower and Assosciates

Excerpt: What to Say When People Tell You Their Coronavirus Fears, Anna Golfarb, The New York Times

“It may feel as if you’re offering comfort with a comment meant to lift their spirits — ‘You’ve got this!’ “’ know you’ll be fine!’ — but to those who are aching, these rah-rah sentiments can sound like you’re bulldozing over their pain, leaving little room for understanding or vulnerability.

Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is what the psychotherapist Whitney Goodman calls dismissive, or toxic, positivity.

An empathetic response reassures the other person that you’re seeing the situation from their side and sharing in their suffering. A dismissively positive response subtly shifts the burden of coping back onto the person who is expressing the negative emotion: If you tweaked your attitude, you’d feel better…At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation aiming to make you feel better and quell your concerns, said Nicolle Osequeda, a psychotherapist. But it often ‘results in someone feeling unheard, frustrated, unsupported and alone.’Just because you say, ‘You’ll be fine!’that doesn’t mean that’s actually going to happen…‘That’s not how the world works,’said Ayanna Abrams, a licensed clinical psychologist. ‘That’s not how our bodies work. That’s not how our brain works.’

So here’s what to say — and what not to say — when people express their fears and worries to you right now.

Steer clear of fixing or reframing negative emotions.

Saying something like, ‘The vast majority of people who are infected recover,’ doesn’t help somebody manage their concerns in the moment, Dr. Abrams said.

Don’t minimize the other person’s fears. Saying things like, ‘You have nothing to worry about,’ does not make anxiety magically disappear… Nix the word ‘should.’ Statements with the word ‘should’ sound supportive, but they aren’t.

That’s because we are telling people what to do or how to feel, saidSonia Fregoso, a licensed marriage and family therapist…Instead, we should reflect, validate and be curious. A better way to phrase your concern is by using reflection, validation and curiosity, and in that order, Ms. Fregoso said. Mirror the emotion you hear in your friend’s voice. Fear, sadness and worry are all common emotions people are feeling right now…If you’ve said the wrong thing, you can still repair.

Once you realize what dismissive positivity statements sound like, you may realize you’ve botched the job as a confidant. It’s not too late to do some damage control. Dr. Abrams suggests reaching out and being transparent about missing the mark. Say something like, ‘Hey, I noticed when we were talking earlier, it didn’t seem like you were connecting with what I was saying. I realize I slipped into cheerleader mode too quickly. Can we try again? How are you doing now?’

If you’re at a loss for what to say next time you feel compelled to slip into cheerleader mode, she suggests asking the person directly what they would find helpful. Recruit them as an ally so you can face the issue together.

 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“European diplomats and foreign policy experts say that a Joe Biden presidency would restore the United States’ strained alliances with Europe.” Business Insider

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and 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: 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. It’s hard to lift someone’s spirit in times like these.
  2. Many people are aching.
  3. People are also vulnerable at this time.
  4. Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is dismissive.
  5. An empathetic response reassures the other person that you’re seeing the situation from their side.
  6. If you tweaked your attitude, you’d feel better.
  7. At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation.
  8. Try not to minimize the other person’s fears.
  9. Try not to give unsolicited advice.
  10. Nix the word ‘should’ when giving advice.

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.

Try not/no to gave/give unsolicited advice. Unless/useless the other person explicitly ask/asks you for suggestions on/in managing his/he or she/her concerns, you shouldn’t offer/off your two cents. Most likely, people are just looking/look for a/an ear, Dr. Abrams said. They’re looking for a/an heart, nobody/somebody who can meet/met them in the experience and then they can better figure it out on their own.”

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. Responding to someone’s expression of distress with an unhelpful, cheerful attitude is dismissive, or toxic, positivity.”
  2. At its root, dismissive positivity is a response from someone who feels uncomfortable in the situation.”
  3. “That’s not how the world works. That’s not how our brain works.”
  4. Offering counsel like, ‘You should just practice self-care’ or ‘You shouldn’t be so negative,’ is not helpful.”

 

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. Have you had to comfort anyone since the covid-19?
  2. What advice did you give the person?
  3. List 3 things that one should not say to people in distress. List 3 things to say that are helpful to people in distress.
  4. What is one important  thing Dr. Abrams warns against when attempting to help a person who has fears?
  5. According to Sonia Fregoso what is the one word you should “nix”  when offering advice?
  6. After reading this article, would you change the way you give comfort and advice to people? If yes, explain how you would change.
  7. What new information have you learned from this article?

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  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. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Entertain Your Kids This Summer If You Can’t Hire Mary Poppins!

“You can keep your family safe and sane by encouraging old-school play, embarking on some D.I.Y. projects and, yes, even embracing boredom.”A. Slolski, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Entertain Your Kids This Summer? Maybe Don’t By A. Slolski, The New York Times

“A funny thing about summer: It is long. It is also hot. This one comes in the middle of a global pandemic.

And even in a changed and changing world, I have reserved some mental energy for panicking about how my kids, husband and I will make it to September without everyone’s brains turning into Haribo gummies. Let me put it this way: On a recent rainy Saturday, we baked banana bread and played games. We made lunch together, built a cardboard lantern and learned about the constellations. It was exhausting. And they still put down two Disney movies. Three months into school closures, my children have watched every show. There are no shows left.

And yet, working from home with small children, an ordeal and a privilege, has been de rigueur since agrarianism got going. Parents managed it for thousands of years — without day care, compulsory schooling or camps. What did children used to do all day? Short answer: They worked and they played, often with minimal adult supervision.

Children at play in Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1560 painting Children’s Games.Credit- Kunsthistorisches Museum

In an email, Mintz, a history professor at the University of Texas at Austin, pointed to Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s 1560 painting Children’s Games. A canvas to give social-distancing enforcers nightmares, it shows 100 or so Flemish youths disporting themselves with hoops, stilts, bubbles, marbles, the occasional pig bladder and the wholesome fun of beating one another with a scourge. The Flemish parents are elsewhere, presumably answering emails or cracking open a brown ale.

The painting suggests that a lot of play is social, a difficulty in a pandemic. But it also insists that the desire for play is innate and that children will find ways to amuse themselves, especially if you can supply some rudimentary toys — kites, cards, blocks, dolls, balls, paper boats and paper airplanes, a garden hose if you have one, a half-filled tub…This may also be a good time to get away from the idea that play should be educational or S.T.E.M.-enhancing. ‘All play is productive,’ Mintz said. ‘They will learn something from whatever they do.’

Bored children during the summer.

Still, children may not want to play on their own or with a sibling, and you may have conference calls or Twitter threads that beckon. Which means they will claim boredom, and more than likely they will whine about it. What should you do? Nothing.

Feeling that we ought to keep kids happy and entertained is a comparatively modern mind-set and speaks to certain resources and luxuries. Instead of trying to prevent boredom, maybe welcome it and see what children do…Housework can also become a form of play…’The thing to remember is that kids want to help, so try to get them in the habit of doing some of those things,’ Lenore Skenazy, president of Let Grow, a nonprofit promoting childhood independence said. A 3-year-old separating laundry is quite possible and also quite fun… If you can take a few extra minutes to gamify the chore — Mary Poppins’s ‘Spoonful of Sugar’ approach — they may even enjoy it.

A pandemic isn’t forever… ‘Don’t think that there’s something wrong with you or that you haven’t been the perfect camp counselor and made it a fun and exciting and rewarding summer for everyone,’ Skenazy said. “I mean, just give yourself a break.”

 

“I’ve said from the outset of this election that we are in a battle for the soul of this nation. Who we are. What we believe. And maybe most important — who we want to be. It’s all at stake.”~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

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.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Have  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. Parents no longer have to worry about keeping their kids entertained.
  2. You can keep your family safe and sane by encouraging old-school play.
  3. Also embarking on some D.I.Y. projects helps.
  4. This summer comes in the middle of a global pandemic.
  5. I have reserved some mental energy for panicking about how my kids, husband and I will make it this summer.
  6. We built a cardboard lantern and learned about the constellations.
  7. It was exhausting.
  8. Working from home with small children, can be an ordeal and a privilege.
  9. Working from home with small children has been de rigueur since agrarianism got going.
  10. Parents managed it for thousands of years — without day care, compulsory schooling or camps.

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,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

You can keep your family safe and sane___encouraging old-school play, embarking___some D.I.Y. projects.

And even___a changed and changing world, I have reserved some mental energy ___panicking___how my kids, husband and I will make it ___September.

The desire___play is innate and that children will find ways___amuse themselves, especially if you can supply some rudimentary toys.

This may also be a good time___ get away ___the idea that play should be educational or S.T.E.M.-enhancing.

Still, children may not want___ play ___their own.

 

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. The pandemic has exaggerated and intensified the worst features of children’s play today: adult intrusion; the decline of physical, outdoor and social play; and mediation by screens.”
  2. Feeling that we ought to keep kids happy and entertained is a comparatively modern mind-set and speaks to certain resources and luxuries. Instead of trying to prevent boredom, maybe welcome it and see what children do.”
  3. “The thing to remember is that kids want to help, so try to get them in the habit of doing some of those things.”

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Why is the author concerned about this summer with her kids?
  2. What activities did the author and her husband  do with their children?
  3. Why does the author say, “I have reserved some mental energy for panicking about how my kids, husband and I will make it to September without everyone’s brains turning into Haribo gummies.”
  4. According to the author how did parents manage children a long time ago— without day care, compulsory schooling or camps?
  5. What does author Steven Mintz suggest that parents do with their kids?
  6. When children show boredom, what does author Tom Hodgkinson, suggest?
  7. Describe the D.I.Y. Approach to Culture.
  8. Make a list of activities children can do this summer.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  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. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

 

Category: Children/Teens, Culture

Museums Are Seeking Covid-19 Memorabilia

“Wanted: Artifacts that show how Americans navigated the Covid-19 crisis. The trick is determining what’s historically valuable.” A. Popescu, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt:How Will We Remember the Pandemic? Museums Are Already DecidingBy Adam Popescu, The New York Times

“Six-year-old Franklin Wong captured the simple frustrationof being a student in this city’s Unified School District in mid-March, after his classes were canceled. He wrote in big blocky letters: ‘ did not go anywhere,’ and added an unhappy face in green and red crayon for his remote-learning assignment.

Six-year-old Franklin Wong’s journal entry… It is in the collection of the Autry Museum of the American West.Credit- Franklin Wong

This may be the first time a first grader’s homework is headed to a permanent museum collection instead of a parent’s refrigerator door, a novelty that underscores how far into uncharted waters curators are sailing.

The Autry Museum of the American West, which recently acquired Franklin’s diary, is among the growing contingent of museums, academic institutions and historical societies from here to Bozeman, Mont., and Washington, D.C., that have begun recording this moment of collective uncertainty in the country’s war against the coronavirus…Museums are not just seeking artists’ works but everyone’s memories — the more personal, the better — in an effort that recalls the repositories of first-person testimony, along with material evidence and historical records, gathered by cultural institutions after Sept. 11.

Jake Sheiner, out of work since mid-March, has painted scenes of his home quarantine. They were collected by the University of Southern California Libraries.Credit- J. Sheiner,

But some scholars and historians point to today’s challenges of depicting an event authentically and from many angles when there is still no end in sight to the pandemic. And, they ask, when everything is an artifact, what is truly historically important — and just whose Covid stories are being told in these archives, and whose are not?…Organizers had a decade after Sept. 11 to assemble multiple views of history that would be examined in repositories culminating in the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero — and even longer to put together the many Holocaust Museums scattered across the globe…In the cases of Holocaust and September 11 museums, personal items represented the memories and traumas of everyday people. As institutions rush to bear witness to the pandemic, some historians ask, will they serve us all and account for the deep divides this virus has tapped?

Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s Toilet Paper Hoarder Manhattan NYC was submitted to the Museum of the City of New York‘s Credit- Ruben Natal-San Miguel

‘Museums are places where we convene to make sense of our shared human experience,’ said Martha S. Jones, a history professor at Johns Hopkins University. ‘Still, the burden, pain and grief of this pandemic are not being experienced in the same way across the nation’s many communities.’

Memories by Amber Ren, a virtual exhibition presented by the Eric Carle museum in Amherst, Mass.

Covid-19 has exposed a vein of bigotry toward Asian-Americans. It has been particularly virulent toward African-Americans, [Native-Americans on the reservations] and Latinos.”

 

Presidential Leader Joseph R. Biden and his advisers see 2020 largely playing out as a referendum on Trump. Credit- Kriston J.  Bethel for The New York Times

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.”~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine the photos, then create a list of  words and  ideas  that you 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. People are collecting artifacts that show how Americans navigated the Covid-19 crisis.
  2. Six-year-old Franklin Wong’s journal entry was the first assignment he completed since his school closed.
  3. Franklin Wong captured the simple frustration of being a student in this city during the virus.
  4. This may be the first time a first grader’s homework is headed to a permanent museum collection.
  5. This is  a novelty that underscores how far into uncharted waters curators are sailing.
  6. Some people are donating their work to libraries.
  7. This is an effort to recall the repositories of first-person testimony.
  8. Some people are depicting important events from their lives.
  9. Many museums are seeking art from regular people and the requests have struck a chord.
  10. According to Bob McGinnis, the covid-19 experience focuses him on his mortality.

 

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.

But some/sum  scholars and historians point to todays/today’s challenges of/off depicting an event authentically/authentic  and from/form many angels/angles when there is still no end in sight/cite to the pandemic. And, they ask, when/wen everything is a/an artifact, what is truly historically/history important — and just whose Covid story/stories are being/bean told/tell in these archives, and who’s/whose are not?

 

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Read the following quotes (and actions) from  people in the article and see if you  can identify them.

  1. “I did not go anywhere.”
  2. “Museums have a responsibility to meet history head on.”
  3. He has been walking the streets snapping photos of his native Queens, sharing images with the Museum of the City of New York.
  4. He has painted scenes of his home quarantine. They were collected by the University of Southern California Libraries.
  5. “It brings into sharp focus my mortality.”
  6. “A successful museum of this kind should provide context and enable future visitors to understand the tenor and temper of the times, including inequities, racial and otherwise.”

 

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. Have you been keeping a journal, photos, or other types of remembrances  during this pandemic? Explain why?
  2. In your opinion is this a good idea?  Why or why not?
  3. Why did The Autry Museum of the American West, want Franklin  Franklin Wong’s journal?
  4. After what other major event in the U.S. did  cultural institutions seek artifacts and repositories of first-person testimony, along with material evidence?
  5. Several scholars and historians are stating some challenges of depicting an event authentically. What are they?
  6. Why did Bob McGinnis leave a three-page essay to to the Covid collection at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.
  7. After reading this article are you inspired to begin collecting memorabilia to give to museums? Why or why not?
  8. What new information have you learned from this article?

ANSWER KEY

Additional Exercise

Directions: Search the web and see if you can  find the various kinds of things people are giving to museums and other institutions. For example one man in the article left an essay he wrote to his family and  another left  photos he took in his community.

 

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