The New Way to “Bully-Proof Your Child”

“When my 10-year-old daughter was shunned by her friends a few years ago, we tried a surprisingly effective anti-bullying strategy.” E. Erasmus, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

book by izzy

Excerpt:How to Bullyproof Your Child, Estelle Erasmus, The New York Times

“The trouble started during a play date when three little girls battled over who would wear the one sparkly gown for dress-up. It ended up my daughter’s prize, infuriating one of the girls who told the rest not to play with her. My daughter defended herself, crying, as the other girls continued to taunt her.

Searching for answers, I came upon the work of Izzy Kalman, a school psychologist, educator and author of Bullies to Buddies: How to Turn Your Enemies Into Friends. His concept of the golden rule is to treat the person insulting you as a friend rather than an enemy, and not to get defensive or upset.

Following his online advice, I told my daughter: ‘If they say they don’t want to play with you, say very politely, ‘It’s a free country. It’s O.K. if you don’t want to play with me.’ Then find something else to do.’

It seemed like a lot to ask of a child who was already upset. But we role-played until she had the script down. The next time someone tried to shun her, she didn’t act offended, and the other children saw her as less of a target and moved on. Eventually, the friendships resumed with minimal emotional collateral damage.

Mr. Kalman’s strategydiffers from the approach favored by many schools in several ways: It avoids labeling a child as a bully (it’s an insult, like ‘wimp’ or ‘loser’), but also advocates going to adults for advice or help with role playing. His method encourages kids to solve problems on their own rather than asking an adult to put pressure on the school to take the side of the upset child over the one identified as the ‘bully.’

‘Nobody can guarantee their children a life without difficulties. If you protect your children from the social challenges of life, it weakens them,’ he said…

‘The way to reduce bullying is to not punish kids for exercising their freedom of speech,’ Mr. Kalman said. Teaching children that everyone is allowed to speak freely removes much of the power of the bullying and enables children to be their own advocates…

But many anti-bullying experts think Mr. Kalman’s scripts oversimplify things and call on a child who is likely to be upset to show outsize maturity and restraint.

Barbara Coloroso, author of ‘The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander,’ said: ‘t’s a short walk from hateful rhetoric, to hate crimes to crimes against humanity. Bullying is neither normal, natural or necessary. It is a learned behavior. The bullies must be stopped.’

Of course, Mr. Kalman’s strategies are likely to be most effective if they are used to shut down teasing as soon as it starts. Some bullying situations are so overwhelming that a child feels unable to resolve the conflict alone, and needs to call in adults.”

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:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The trouble started when little girls battled over one sparkly gown for dress-up.
  2. My daughter’s prize, infuriated one of the girls.
  3. My daughter defended herself.
  4. The other girls continued to taunt her.
  5. I came upon the work of Izzy Kalman, a school psychologist.
  6. His concept of the golden rule is to treat the person insulting you as a friend.
  7. We role-played until she had the script down.
  8. The friendships resumed with minimal emotional collateral damage.
  9. Mr. Kalman’s strategy avoids labeling a child as a bully.
  10. Of course, if a child is physically attacked, he deems that a crime and endorses calling for adult intervention.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. The trouble started during a play date.
  2. He also teaches children how to handle threats.
  3. If a child are physically attacked call for adult intervention.

II

  1. Izzy’s concept of the golden rule are to treat the person insulting you as a friend.
  2. It’s O.K. if you don’t want to play with me.
  3. It seemed like a lot to ask of a child who was already upset.

III

  1. He also teaches children how to handle threats.
  2. If someone are committing a crime against you, go to the authorities.
  3. Nobody can guarantee their children a life without difficulties.

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Mr. Kalman ___that when we ___kids for using certain ___ it ___them that words are very harmful. And when an ___punishes a child for saying something___, it ___hostilities and takes the ___for fixing the___ out of the child’s hands.

WORD LIST: teaches,explained,magnifies, punish, issue,solution, hurtful, magnifies,adult, words

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Have you or someone you know ever been bullied?  When? How did you (or your friend) handle the situation?
  2. What is Mr. Kalman’s concept of the golden rule? Do you agree with this rule?
  3. In what ways does Mr. Kalman’s Strategy differ from other approaches?
  4. In what situation does Mr. Kalman advise a child to call for adult  help?
  5. Barbara Coloroso, author of The Bully, the Bullied, and the Bystander, said: …“Bullying is neither normal, natural or necessary. It is a learned behavior. The bullies must be stopped.” Do you believe that bullying is a learned behavior? If so, where would children learn this behavior?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture, Education, Social Issues | Tags:

Wearing Their Hearts on Their Graduation Caps

“Members of the class of 2019 share the inspiration behind their decorated mortarboards.” L. Moore, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Wearing Their Hearts on Their Graduation Caps By Lela Moore, The New York Times

“Decorating one’s graduation cap has become a way for many students to express themselves on their big day, but often the meaning behind their artwork can be hard to decipher. We asked readers graduating this year to tell us the stories behind their mortarboards.Here’s a selection; their comments have been edited and condensed for clarity.”

Credit Shefa Ahsan

Shefa Ahsan, from Lanham, Md., graduated from Temple University in Philadelphia with a B.A. in film and media arts:

“Throughout my years of being a resident assistant, students have told me that they don’t want to live anymore. While I can’t see my cap when I wear it, everyone else can. And I want, need, everyone to know that each and every one of them has a purpose on this earth. That each and every one of them matters.”

Credit Stephanie Fisher

Stephanie Fisher, Salem, Ore., graduated from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City with a B.A. in elementary education.

“I had the students in the kindergarten and first-grade class I worked in as a student teacher write their name on a petal that I turned into a giant flower. I wanted to take a small part of them with me to graduation, as I don’t graduate locally. The center daisy is in honor of my aunt Cathy, who died from cancer. Daisies were her favorite flowers.”

Credit Peta-Gaye Dixon

Peta-Gaye Dixon, from New York, graduated from Brooklyn College with a B.A. in childhood education.

“I immigrated to the United States from Jamaica five years ago, away from my family there. I had to work two or more jobs to survive, but I stayed in school full time and was on the dean’s list every semester. The quote says, ‘If yuh waan good yuh nose haffi run,’ which means that if you want to succeed, you must work hard.”

Credit Rachel Lucyanna

Rebecca Olsen, from Atlanta, graduated from Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., with a B.A. in English and religious studies.

“My quote, from Morgan Harper Nichols, a Christian poet, is about remembering both mountains and valleys because so many mountains and valleys brought me to graduation. God has used every high and every low to teach me something important, and I wanted to remember that when I graduated.”

Credit Julie Lam

Julie Lam from New York, graduated from Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass., with an M.F.A. in creative writing for fiction.

“There’s so much more to what is underneath these words, coming from an immigrant who grew up in Hong Kong, having witnessed the horror of Cultural Revolution through her family’s eyes in China and the Tiananmen Square massacre as a college student… Walking through the crowd, in the sea of black gowns and hats, I wanted my words in blue to shine through the red and white stripes and show the world my loyalty and love for America…”

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

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

G. Cluster Brainstorming-workshopexercises

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Many graduating college students are now decorating their mortarboards.
  2. A first-generation college student bucked family pressure.
  3. Another student chose a quotation from a Christian poet.
  4. The meaning behind their artwork can be hard to decipher.
  5. Their comments have been edited for clarity.
  6. One student immigrated to the United States from Jamaica.
  7. Some graduates find joy among enthusiastic and open-minded people.
  8. One student wanted the cap to represent their vibrant culture.
  9. Students are concerned about the future of journalism.
  10. One graduate decided to incorporate their family and history onto the cap.

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.

I’m/Im a first-generation colleges/college student, so the pressure/pressured to pursue a safe major was/were on from the start of college. Study/Studying art history was a bet that I’m/I’d get the most out of college engaging/engage with something I truly loved, and one that I’m happy to say paid/pay off.

 

Reading ComprehensionFill-ins

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

Canoe ___has been a lifelong ___of mine and it has ___me so many important life lessons. You cannot always ___easily ___in life; sometimes you have to ___hard and ___upriver ___the current, but that is what makes the ___worthwhile.

WORD LIST: adventure, downstream, work, paddle, passion, against, float, tripping, taught,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you think this is a good idea for college graduates? Explain why or why not.
  2. In your school (or country) are students allowed to decorate their mortarboards?
  3. In the comments section one reader had this criticism,Am I the only curmudgeon left who believes that this indecorous and self-indulgent ornamentation is an insult to a solemn thousand-year-old ceremony, as well as to the professors who taught and the families who raised these students? here were a handful of these at my undergrad commencement in 1991, generally worn by students who thought they were better than everyone else, and who wanted to display that fact as loudly as possible.” How would you respond to this person?
  4. After viewing each photo  choose one or two and write a paragraph sharing your thoughts on the mortarboard decorations.
  5. List 3  questions you would like to ask any person mentioned in the article.  Share your questions as a class.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education | Tags:

What Does it Mean to Identify as Nonbinary?

“As nonbinary teenagers push for driver’s licenses that reflect their identity, a fraught debate over the nature of gender has arrived in the nation’s statehouses.” A. Harmon, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- google

 

Excerpt:Which Box Do You Check? Some States Are Offering a Nonbinary Option By Amy Harmon, The NYT

“Ever since El Martinez started asking to be called by the gender-neutral pronouns “they/them” in the ninth grade, they have fielded skepticism in a variety of forms and from a multitude of sources about what it means to identify as nonbinary.

El Martinez, 17, at home in Massachusetts. Credit Tony Luong for The New York Times

There are faculty advisers on El’s theater crew who balk at using “they” for one person; classmates at El’s public school on the outskirts of Boston who insist El can’t be “multiple people”; and commenters on El’s social media feeds who dismiss nonbinary gender identities like androgyne (a combination of masculine and feminine), agender (the absence of gender) and gender-fluid (moving between genders) as lacking a basis in biology. Even for El’s supportive parents, conceiving of gender as a multidimensional sprawl has not been so easy to grasp. Nor has El’s suggestion that everyone state their pronouns gained much traction.

So last summer, when the Massachusetts State Legislature became one of the first in the nation to consider a bill to add an ‘X’ option for nonbinary genders to the ‘M’ and ‘F’ on the state driver’s license, El, 17, was less surprised than some at the maneuver that effectively killed it.

Beyond the catchall ‘X,’ Representative James J. Lyons Jr. (he/him), a Republican, had proposed that the bill should be amended to offer drivers 29 other gender options, including pangender, two-spirit  and genderqueer. Rather than open the requisite debate on each term, leaders of the Democratic-controlled House shelved the measure.

He articulated an anxiety that many people, even folks from the left, have: that there’s this slippery slope of identity, and ‘Where will it stop?’ said Ev Evnen (they/them), director of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, which is championing a new version of the bill…‘Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated,’ said Mx. Evnen, 31, who uses a gender-neutral courtesy title. ‘It’s also threatening to an order a lot of people have learned how to navigate.’

The wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation has prompted debate over whether extending legal recognition to a category of people still unknown to many Americans could undermine support for other groups vulnerable to discrimination…

Some of the antipathy toward nonbinary identities may reflect a generational divide. Over a third of Americans now in their teens and early 20s know someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns, according to a recent survey by Pew Research — more than people in their later 20s and 30s, double the number of those in their 40s, and triple the number of those in their 50s and 60s.

image- Detroit Free Press

‘Possibly it’s an age issue,’ said Jocelyn Doane (she/her), 39, a longtime advocate for progressive causes in Hawaii who struggled with whether to support the gender-neutral license bill in her state. ‘I want to respect their challenges, but the use of ‘their’ for a single person is making me crazy.’

Objections to the bills have also been raised by social conservatives, like State Senator J.B. Jennings (he/him) of Maryland, who made a distinction in public comments between transgender people who transition from male to female or vice versa, and those who identify as nonbinary.

image- The Daily Beast

‘They’re either going one way or the other, they’re not stuck in the middle,’ he said. Mr. Jennings suggested that the license would be inaccurate if it listed a gender other than male or female…other opponents, like the Women’s Liberation Front, an advocacy group that has submitted testimony on so-called ‘Gender X’ bills in several states, argue that bolstering the nonbinary category will harm people who face discrimination and violence precisely because they are born with female anatomy…Proponents of adding a gender-neutral option to state identification documents say it would remove a form of discrimination against nonbinary people by providing them with the means to carry identification that matches their identity.

The gender-neutral designation option on a Maine driver’s license. Credit Maine Bureau of Motor Vehicles, via Associated Press

Perhaps also because some critical mass has been reached, nine state motor vehicles bureaus have recently added the ‘X’ option to driver’s licenses without involving the legislature…Several other jurisdictions, including New York City, Oregon, New Jersey and New Mexico, have also begun to allow people to change the gender on their birth certificate to ‘X.’

The nation’s major airlines have announced that they will allow passengers to identify as an ‘undisclosed’ or ‘unspecified’ gender when booking tickets…Nonbinary teens themselves have also petitioned for a third gender on state identity documents. Ed Luiggi (they/them), 17, president of an after-school club for gender nonconforming students, skipped school to testify before the Maryland Senate’s Judicial Proceedings Committee in Annapolis earlier this 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, 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:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The faculty advisers on El’s theater crew balk at using ‘they’ for one person.
  2. Commenters on El’s social media feeds dismiss nonbinary gender identities.
  3. Critics say that it  can be disorienting to lose the gendered cues like pronouns and  names.
  4. Beyond ‘X’ there are 29 other gender options.
  5. Nonbinary gender identity can be complicated.
  6. There is a  wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation.
  7. Some of the antipathy toward nonbinary identities may reflect a generational divide.
  8. Several nonbinary teenagers claimed that their gender identity was a visceral feeling.
  9. Nonbinary gender identity could provoke social ostracism.
  10. Many young people have transitioned from one binary gender to the other. 

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Scholars say that nonbinary genders has existed across history and cultures.
  2. Massachusetts was the first to consider a bill for the ‘X’ option.
  3. He articulated an anxiety that many people have.

II

  1. Their requests for recognition have been met with reservations.
  2. Elected officials has listened to tutorials on gender identity.
  3. These issues  of gender identity are foreign to many people.

III

  1. Over a third of teens knows someone who uses gender-neutral pronouns.
  2. Many hope it will lend legitimacy to liberate people of all genders.
  3. Gender identity was a visceral feeling, they said, not a political choice.

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.

A state agency in ___that tracks the ___of ___took the opposite tack…The state does not have a ___interest in identifying ___based on their___, the agency’s testimony asserted. That ___did not advance, said its sponsor, State Senator Karl Rhoads probably because ___law ___air travelers to carry identification that includes a gender marker, and in the island state, the only way to get anywhere is flying.

WORD LIST:  requires, residents, status, Hawaii,   women, legitimate,    gender, bill, federal,

III Post Reading

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

Wikipedia defines non-binary as the following:

“Non-binary, also known as genderqueer, is a spectrum of gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine‍—‌identities that are outside the gender binary and cisnormativity.[1] Non-binary people may express a combination of masculinity and femininity, or neither, in their gender expression.”

Here is a Glossary of LGBT Terms for Health Care Teams

After carefully reviewing the terms answer the following:

  1. Which of the terms would you say describes you? If none are on the list then how do you identify your gender?
  2. Are there any terms on the list you do not understand? Share your responses with the class.
  3. In your opinion is it necessary to carry an ID that reflects  a person’s gender identity? Provide reasons for your answers.
  4. The article states, The wave of proposed gender-neutral legislation has prompted debate over whether extending legal recognition to a category of people still unknown to many Americans could undermine support for other groups vulnerable to discrimination.” Which groups of people are discriminated against? Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Provide reasons for your answers.
  5. Make a list of questions you would like to ask a nonbinary person. Share your questions with the class.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

The Power Of Words

“Do you love words? Not just speaking them… But the actual words themselves? Do you delight in certain words? Think others are ugly? Do you believe that words have the power to wound, move — even to heal?” J. Engle, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Emily Spear, who is Kiowa and Cheyenne, at a Kiowa Pow Wow in Oklahoma. Credit: Maddie McGarvey for The New York Times

Excerpt: The Sacred Spell of Words By  Jeremy Engle, The New York Times

“In The Sacred Spell of Words, N. Scott Momaday, an author, poet and playwright, writes:

“Words are powerful. As a writer, my experience tells me that nothing is more powerful. Language, after all, is made of words.

Words are conceptual symbols; they have denotative and connotative properties. The word ‘power’ denotes force, physical strength, resistance. But it connotes something more subtle: persuasion, suggestion, inspiration, security.

Consider the words of Mark Antony in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar”:

Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war;

That this foul deed shall smell above the earth

With carrion men, groaning for burial.

We might be hard pressed to find words more charged with power to incite, to inflame, to affect violence and destruction. But there are, of course, other expressions of power in words.They can be especially personal. They can touch our sensibilities in different and individual ways, perhaps because they have different associations for us. The word ‘Holocaust’ frightens me because survivors of the Nazi death camps have told me of their suffering. Notwithstanding, the word is intrinsically powerful and disturbing.

The word ‘child’ delights me; the word ‘love’ confounds me; the word ‘God’ mystifies me. I have lived my life under the spell of words; they have empowered my mind…It may be that the essential power of language is realized by word-of-mouth expression. The oral tradition is inestimably older than writing, and it requires that we take words more seriously. One must not waste words. He must speak responsibly, he must listen carefully, and he must remember what is said.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Words are conceptual symbols.
  2. The word ‘power’ denotes force.
  3. The word also connotes something more subtle: persuasion.
  4. The word ‘power’  can also mean resistance.
  5. We might be hard pressed to find words more charged with power to incite.
  6. The word Holocaust frightens most people.
  7. Some words are intrinsically powerful and disturbing.
  8. Some words confound me.
  9. Words can nourish my soul.
  10. The oral tradition is inestimably older than writing.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Words are powerful.
  2. They can be especially personal.
  3. They can touched our sensibilities.

II

  1. The word God mystifies me.
  2. I have lived my life under the spell of words.
  3. There are expression of power in words.

III

  1. Words is sacred.
  2. They nourished my soul.
  3. One must not waste words.

 

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.

When I was first able to___ my way in___ my ___American father, a___ of the ___tribe, told me stories from the ___oral tradition. They ___me. They ___and thrilled me. They nourished my___.

WORD LIST:  imagination, member,  transported,  Kiowa, make, Kiowa,  language,  Native,  fascinated,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you agree with  the author that words are power?  Explain why or why not. Provide an example.
  2. What is your favorite word?  Why?
  3. If you speak more than one language, which one can you use more effectively in writing and speaking?
  4. With your group provide a list of words that you feel have power, a list of words that make you laugh, and a list of words that make you sad or angry. Share your responses with the class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Language | Tags:

Why Are So Many People Superstitious?

“…a new acquaintance said to me shortly after I moved to Portland, Ore. ‘I think I saw you running by the river yesterday.”Did you jump up like Michael Jordan to touch a leaf?’ Indeed, I had.’I was probably stretching,’ I offered. ‘Yeah,’ he said doubtfully.’It really looked like you were high-fiving a tree.’ I was actually touching leaves and flowers for luck, which I’ve done since earliest childhood.” K. Russell, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

image- lopezmedia.net

 

Excerpt:Letter of Recommendation: Superstitions, Karen Russell, The New York Times

“Superstitious people are often dismissed as irrational, stunted thinkers — mental children who never outgrow a scrambled understanding of causality. Even those studies that confirm ‘Improved performance’ for superstitious athletes can sound patronizing, hypothesizing that rituals like Serena Williams’s five bounces before her first serve work by conferring ‘the illusion of control.’ 

But those of us who carry charms and sidestep ladders will tell you that superstitions can have an undeniable power. Not because they change the future, but because they articulate a wish. Superstitions are a special syntax, the ellipses we use to bridge the present and the dreamed-of future. Humble, hopeful, fearful, human.

Image-NBC news

My dad, a Navy veteran and the most superstitious person I know, would throw salt over his shoulder to reverse bad luck, occasionally hitting a Denny’s waiter in the face. ‘Don’t worry, kids!’ he would call out as he went diving into the bushes to avoid an inky kitten. ‘I saw a little gray around the paws!’

From him, I learned that superstitions can be a form of prayer, as well as an exorcism in miniature. You release the fear that comes from feeling responsible for everything that happens to you — an especially American delusion… Fear does animate certain superstitions, but even this becomes a kind of thanksgiving. Flip the coin of fear, and you rediscover the ‘everything’ you have to lose…

Superstitions might not ward off suffering and death, but they can draw a dream into focus. ‘Our baby daughter is due this August,’ I have finally been able to tell people, after the tenuous early months when this felt unutterable. It’s a sentence I always punctuate by knocking on wood. Ancient people did this to summon dryads, the benevolent spirits inside trees. Far from conferring ‘the illusion of control,’ the sound connects me to everyone who has ever dared to hope for anything in this life with its single guarantee.”

 

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.

 

Pre-reading Tasks

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask students to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Ask students to write a paragraph describing what they think this article will discuss. Students can use a Pre-reading organizer for assistance.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. I met a new acquaintance yesterday.
  2. He was frowning a little as he thought about my answer.
  3. I was aghast that this had been visible at rush hour
  4. They gave each other a high five at the end of the game.
  5. Superstitions can have an undeniable power.
  6. I learned that superstitions can be a form of prayer, as well as an exorcism in miniature.
  7. Superstitions might not ward off suffering and death.
  8. Fear does animate certain superstitions.
  9. Superstitious people are often dismissed as irrational.
  10. My dad, is a Navy veteran and the most superstitious person I know.

Grammar Focus: English SubjectPronouns

Directions:Students are to choose the correct subject pronouns in the sentences taken from the article.Review Subject pronouns here

A few months later, at the Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, a friend waved me over. ‘Hey! I thought that was you. Were you praying back there?’ She’d seen me kneeling in mud, touching a solar-yellow dandelion. ‘Yes,’ I said, to expedite my day, because this seemed less bonkers than explaining what I was actually doing. From him, I learned that superstitions can be a form of prayer, You release the fear that comes from feeling responsible for everything that happens to you —

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

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

After ___Andrew ___our___in 1992 (a nine-foot storm surge seemed to choose us, leaving the other___on our block largely untouched), I ___a repertoire of new ___overnight, like mental___sprouting out of the ___that had flooded up to our ceiling.

WORD LIST:saltwater,mushrooms, developed, houses, Hurricane,destroyed, home, superstitions

Discussion/Comprehension Questions

  1. The article states, Superstitious people are often dismissed as irrational, stunted thinkers — mental children who never outgrow a scrambled understanding of causality.”Do you agree or disagree with this statement?  Explain why.
  2. What makes people superstitious?
  3. Are there any superstitions that you like?What are they?
  4. Are your relatives or friends superstitious? Give examples of some of their  superstitions.

Group Project:

Directions: In groups review the following website: Bad Luck Signs. Choose a few of the superstitions listed. Try to think about  how they might have started.  Share your ideas with the class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things they did not understand in the reading, and one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

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