Documentary “Reappraising Ernest Hemingway” Questions the Author’s Machismo

“Filmmaker Lynn Novick has joined Ken Burns to make a new six-hour documentary about  Ernest Hemingway for PBS. “Those of you who know Hemingway, or think you know Hemingway, will get a new aspect to it. Those of you who don’t, buckle your seatbelt!” K. Burns April 11, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) poster by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Note: Unless stated, all photos are from the book, Hemingway: A Life in Pictures By Boris Veidovsky (author) and Mariel Hemingway (author) October 27, 2011

Excerpt: Reappraising Ernest Hemingway, CBS News, April 11, 2021

“Filmmaker Lynn Novick, like a lot of us, first read Hemingway when she was in high school: “I was a little intimidated to pick up a book by Ernest Hemingway,” she said… Four decades later, Novick has joined Ken Burns to make a new six-hour documentary about Hemingway for PBS… We all know the Hemingway image, the very definition of macho: war correspondent, deep-sea fisherman, bullfighting aficionado, big-game hunter. Correspondent Mark Whitaker asked Novick, ‘Hemingway is so much the poster boy for toxic masculinity and misogyny and a little bit of racism kind of thrown in there, too.’

Ernest, [young] hunter in the grass, 1906

‘Yeah, well, you know, his public image is really a problem in a lot of ways, for this moment,’ she said. ‘I think a lot of us will look at a man who seems to be glorifying bullfighting and killing animals for sport, and being dominant in physical conquest, and having women be subservient to you. His public persona is challenging at best, and problematic.’

In Teruel, December 1937, by Robert Capa. Ernest was becoming a recognizable face of the war.

He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends…’That really, at times, characterizes Ernest Hemingway in all sorts of ways – he could be a real bitch!’ Burns said. The documentary examines Hemingway’s relationships with women, in real life and in the pages of his writing…He wants all of his four wives to cut their hair short, like boys. He wants to grow his long. He wants to change things up.’

Ernest Hemingway at his standing writing desk… near Malaga  (Photo by Loomis Dean:Getty Images)

In life, and in novels like The Garden of Eden (which was published after he died), Hemingway seemed to have a fascination with androgyny and sexual role reversals…Whitaker asked, ‘So ultimately, what are you trying to say? Like, does Papa Hemingway secretly want to be a Mama Hemingway?”I don’t think we really know that’ [replied Novick]…Hemingway led a vibrant life of worldwide fame and soaring literary success.

Ernest Hemingway standing with shot-gun indoors circa 1950s. (Photo by Foto search: Getty Images). Image provided by Getty Images.

But he was also haunted – by alcoholism, a family history of mental illness, and, as the new documentary lays out, a series of concussions suffered during war, accidents and plane crashes. It was a complicated life, and Ernest Hemingway died, by suicide, at the age of 61.”

 

ESL- Voices Lesson Plans: Four of Ernest Hemingway’s Classic stories:

 

Story: Indian Camp By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Indian Camp

Answer Key

Story:  The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife  By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife

Answer Key

Story: Soldier’s Home   By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Soldier’s Home

Answer Key

Story: Cat in The Rain  By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Cat In The Rain 

Answer Key

Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines CDC

(Centers for Disease Control)

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about the author Ernest Hemingway.  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 to list and discuss these ideas. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

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 headlines are filled these days with stories of so-called cancel culture, as history is reappraised.
  2. Hemingway was known for his display of confidence and overall tough guy machismo.
  3. Filmmaker Lynn Novick was a little intimidated to pick up a book by Ernest Hemingway.
  4. She was mesmerized by the writing and the characters and the world.
  5. Four decades later, Novick has joined Ken Burns to make  a documentary about Hemingway.
  6. He is described as  the seminal writer in the 20th century for Americans.
  7. Hemingway is so much the poster boy for toxic masculinity and misogyny.
  8. His public persona is challenging at best, and problematic.
  9. He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends.
  10. But he was also haunted – by alcoholism, and a family history of mental illness.

 

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. Lynn Novick have joined Ken Burns to make a new documentary about Hemingway.
  2. It follows their films on other not-so-small topics.
  3. Hemingway is the poster boy for toxic masculinity.

II

  1. His public image is really an problem in a lot of ways.
  2. He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends.
  3. His third wife, Martha Gelhorn was also  a war correspondent.

III

  1. He is around because he means something as an artist.
  2. He really suffered a lot emotionally.
  3. Hemingway wanted his wife to be completely obedient.

 

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.

“We ___in an ___where a lot of ___figures of the past – most of them ___men – some ___are being taken down, their ___are being taken off of___. Writers are being taken out of curriculums. Why hasn’t ___been canceled? And why shouldn’t he be canceled?”

WORD LIST: Hemingway, powerful, live, statues, names, era, buildings, White,

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Have you read any stories by Ernest Hemingway? If so which ones?
  2. What do you know about Ernest Hemingway’s personal life?
  3. Why did Ken Burns describe Hemingway as the seminal writer in the 20th century for Americans?
  4. What does the phrase “cancel culture” mean?
  5. According to professor Marc Dudley why hasn’t Hemingway been canceled?
  6. In your opinion, should  Hemingway  be canceled?
  7. What personal problems did Hemingway suffer?
  8. How did Hemingway die?
  9. Write down three new ideas you’ve learned about the topic from this 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.

Additional Activities:

Using Pictures to tell a story

Directions: Place students in groups and have them view the various photos of Hemingway.  Each group writes a description paragraph or two explaining what they think the photos mean. Share the stories as a class.

Asking Questions

Directions: Place students in groups. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask Hemingway or any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Recognizing Depression in Young Kids

“We tend to think of childhood as a time of innocence and joy, but as many as 2 to 3 percent of children from ages 6 to 12 can have serious depression.” P. Klass, M.D., The New York Times, April 1, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Mikyung Lee, The New York Times

Excerpt:How to Spot Depression in Young Children, Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times, April 1, 2021

“When parents bring their children in for medical care these days, there is no such thing as a casual, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness and stress, or at the very least, of coping and keeping it together in this very hard year, full of isolation, loss, tragedy and hardship, with routines disrupted and comfort hard to come by.

Parents have carried heavy burdens of stress and responsibility, worrying about themselves but also watching their children struggle, and there is worldwide concern about depression and suicidality among young people.

But it isn’t only the adults and the young adults and teenagers who are suffering and sad; young children can also experience depression, but it can look very different, which makes it challenging for parents — or doctors — to recognize it and provide help.

Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City, said that it can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

But as many as 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6 to 12 can have serious depression, she said. And children with anxiety disorders, which are present in more than 7 percent of children aged 3 to 17, are also at risk for depression. Depression was originally conceived of as an adult problem. Maria Kovacs, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that in the 1950s and ’60s, there were child psychiatrists who believed that children did not have sufficient ego development to feel depression… What does depression look like in younger children?

When young children are depressed, Dr. Kovacs said, it’s not unusual for ‘the primary mood to be irritability, not sadness — it comes across as being very cranky.’

And while suicide attempts by elementary school-aged children are rare, they do happen and have increased in recent years. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 in 2018…If a child talks about wanting to die, ask what that child means, and get help from a therapist if you’re concerned.”

Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines CDC

(Centers for Disease Control)

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

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. Discuss these ideas as a class.

Pre-reading organizer by San Juan Edu.

 

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. We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness and stress.
  2. Coping this year is very hard because of  isolation, loss and tragedy.
  3. Parents worry about their children’s struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. 
  4. More young children are suffering from depression.
  5. There are also children with anxiety disorders.
  6. Before adolescence, depression is equally common in girls and boys.
  7. The primary mood  is irritability, not sadness — it comes across as being very cranky.
  8. Parents should look for significant changes in functioning.
  9. This might mean a child loses interest in the toys or games or jokes or rituals that used to be reliably fun.
  10. A preschool-aged child might be depressed if they are having daily tantrums.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence identify the prepositions.

We tend to think of childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

When parents bring their children in for medical care these days, there is no such thing as a casual, “Hey, how’s it going?”

We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness.

It can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

What does depression look like in younger children?

The best way for parents to recognize depression in young children is not so much by what a child says as by what the child does — or stops doing.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “…it can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.”
  2. “…according to epidemiologic research, between 1 and 2 percent of young children — as young as 3 — are depressed.”
  3. “… in the 1950s and ’60s, there were child psychiatrists who believed that children did not have sufficient ego development to feel depression.”
  4. “In serious forms it snowballs with time, and earlier onset is associated with worse outcomes across the life span.”

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. Do you feel that young children can suffer from depression? Why?
  2. When doctors speak with parents what are they prepared to hear?
  3. According to Ms. Busman, why is it hard to think about depression in young children?
  4. What percent of children ages 6-12 have serious depression?
  5. Originally, which group of people were conceived as the only ones having depression?
  6. During the 1950s and 60s what did psychiatrists believe about children and depression?
  7. What are some of the signs of depression in younger children?
  8. The article states, “while suicide attempts by elementary school-aged children are rare, they do happen and have increased in recent years. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 in 2018…” In your opinion, why have suicide rates increase among young children?
  9. What does PCIT stand for, and how does it help children with depression?
  10. According to Dr. Busman, what should one do if a child talks about wanting to die?

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

Beware of Deepfakes: Digital Impersonations That Can Deceive Us

“To those fearful of a future in which videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries, two recent developments that attracted an audience of millions might have seemed alarming.” D. Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Lesson Plan

A video of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, who died last year, was created using MyHeritage’s Deep Nostalgia tool.

Excerpt: Your Loved Ones, and Eerie Tom Cruise Videos, Reanimate Unease With Deepfakes,By Daniel Victor, The New York Times, March 10, 2021

“First, a visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to create startlingly accurate videos imitating the actor. The videos, created with the help of machine-learning techniques and known as deepfakes, gained millions of views on TikTok, Twitter and other social networks in late February.

A looping video of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was created using a photograph and a tool on the MyHeritage genealogy site.

Then, days later, MyHeritage, a genealogy website best known for its role in tracking down the identity of the Golden State Killer, offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones, creating a short, looping video in which people can be seen moving their heads and even smiling. More than 26 million images had been animated using the tool, called Deep Nostalgia, as of Monday, the company said.

The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media, which could lead to significant improvements in the advertising and entertainment industries. But the technology could also be used — and has been — to raise doubts about legitimate videos and to insert people, including children, into pornographic images.

The creators of the viral Tom Cruise TikToks said the expertise required to use the technology makes abusing it much harder, and the company behind the photo-animating tool said it put in place safeguards to prevent misuse…‘Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening,’ said Sam Gregory, the program director of Witness, a nonprofit organization focused on the ethical use of video, and an expert on artificial intelligence…The Deep Nostalgia tool was created for MyHeritage by D-ID, an artificial intelligence company based in Tel Aviv. Gil Perry, the chief executive of D-ID, said that the company works only with partners it can trust not to abuse the technology, and that it had a four-year relationship with MyHeritage.

Videos created using the tool have watermarks to indicate that they aren’t real, and the videos do not include audio, a decision that Mr. Perry said makes it harder to use them for unsavory purposes…The effects could also be used in Hollywood to better age or de-age actors, or to improve the dubbing of films and TV shows in different languages, closely aligning lip movements with the language onscreen… Of course, people who have died can’t consent to being featured in videos. And that matters if dead people — especially celebrities — can be digitally resurrected, as the artist Bob Ross was to sell Mountain Dew…Henry Ajder, a deepfakes researcher, imagined a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths.”

STAY SAFE — KEEP LOVED ONES SAFE

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

LESSON PLAN

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities 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 Digital Impersonations.Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading — Michigan State University

 

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. Videos of real people are indistinguishable from computer-generated forgeries.
  2. A visual effects artist worked with a Tom Cruise impersonator to make the forgeries.
  3. MyHeritage is  a genealogy website.
  4. The website offered a tool to digitally animate old photographs of loved ones.
  5. The tool is called Deep Nostalgia.
  6. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  7. Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.
  8. Many people are focused on the ethical use of the videos.
  9. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  10. Creating these videos required extensive expertise and time.

 

 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. More than 26 million image had been animated.
  2. The videos renewed attention to the potential of synthetic media.
  3. Experts say the two examples are not overly alarming.

II

  1. The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat.
  2. Most of what you sea in the videos is the body and voice of Miles Fisher.
  3. Videos like this would require extensive manual work.

III

  1. A nongovernmental organization created a videos of a Mexican journalist.
  2. As the technology advances, it will be used more broadly.
  3. People are always trying to think about the perfect deepfake.

 

While Reading: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Although Deep Nostalgia itself is innocuous, it’s part of this set of tools that are potentially very threatening.”
  2. “The digital imitation of Mr. Cruise was no easy feat. they required extensive expertise and time…It’s like a small Hollywood studio with the two of us. It’s not something you can do at a home computer, pressing a button.”
  3. “The technology could also have a destabilizing effect on global affairs, as politicians claim that videos, including genuine ones, are fake in order to gain an advantage that they have called “the liar’s dividend.”
  4. “Imagine a future in which our own voices could be used with assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, allowing us to stay connected with loved ones after our deaths…In what cases do we need consent of the deceased to resurrect them?”

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. What is the purpose of the tool Deep Nostalgia? What safeguards has D-ID, the company behind the tool, created to prevent its misuse?
  2. What are some benefits to using ‘synthetic media’? What are some dangers in using this type of media?
  3. Name two ways that people can tell which videos were created using the The Deep Nostalgia tool.
  4. Who was Javier Arturo Valdez Cárdenas? Joaquin Oliver? Why are they important to this article?
  5. What are some other ways this technology be used?
  6. (e.g., In the movies/TV shows–in Politics)
  7. How can this technology  have a destabilizing effect on global affairs?
  8. Have you ever seen a deepfake video? If so, where did you see it? Did you think it was real or could you tell it was fake?  If Yes, explain how you knew.
  9. The article concludes with a discussion of consent from people both living and dead. In your opinion, in the future, will we need the consent of dead people to reanimate them? Explain your answer.
  10. Write down 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. Review all  responses as a class.

Extra Activity:

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and additional articles from various newspapers including the New York Times to support their arguments.

Team A will list reasons that support arguments for Deepfake technology.

Team B will list reasons that support arguments against Deepfake technology.

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

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

Pros and Cons Scale

Additional Articles on Deepfakes:

Facebook Says It Will Ban ‘Deepfakes’ (New York Times)

Internet Companies Prepare to Fight the ‘Deepfake’ Future‘ (New York Times)

Deepfakes Are Going To Wreak Havoc On Society. We Are Not Prepared.” (Forbes)

Deepfakes and the New AI-Generated Fake Media Creation-Detection Arms Race” (Scientific American)

What Are Deepfakes — and How Can You Spot Them?” (The Guardian)

ANSWER KEY

How to Keep Achieving Job Success Virtually

“Plenty of offices will be empty until well into 2021, so there’s no time like the present to seek feedback from the boss and brush up on your skills.”  J. Weed, The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  How to Keep Climbing the Ladder While You Work From Home, By Julie Weed — The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

“You’re stuck working from home, but does your career need to be stuck, too? Worried about keeping employees safe, many companies are pushing return-to-office dates deep into next year, so workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables. To keep progressing professionally, reach out for feedback, polish your skills and stay visible (on Zoom, Slack or however you keep in touch with your bosses).

Credit- Recursource

It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office, said Wonya Lucas, chief executive at Crown Media Family Networks, which owns the Hallmark Channel.  It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list, with quick check-ins to clarify or confirm directions.

Employees may wonder if they are checking in too frequently — or not enough — to make sure they are on the right track. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed (by Slack message, email or phone call), how often or under what circumstances, and with what level of detail.

‘Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you,’ said Elizabeth Umphress, a management professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

‘Sending an email asking to meet about communications expectations gives them time to think about what they want,’ Dr. Umphress added, “and you can come to that conversation with ideas, too.’

Level Up Your Skills

Ask your manager what you should focus on improving or which skill he or she is using most right now, Ms. Lucas said. There are plenty of free or low-cost online classes, video tutorials and other resources on every aspect of the business world. It may even be beneficial to go back to school part time… Volunteer for tasks outside your job description to gain new knowledge and get in front of new groups, Ms. Lucas said. Experience and exposure go hand in hand…If you’ve made the effort to acquire a new skill or do some interesting research, offer to hold a ‘lunch and learn’ virtual meet-up to share your new knowledge and gain recognition that way.

Seek out employees with different job descriptions like marketing, finance, human resources and learn what they do. ‘You will always be judged on how well you do in your own area, but unless you understand how your group’s work fits into the company’s overall goals and strategy, you wont rise far,’ Ms. Lucas said.

Take advantage of the virtual break rooms, happy hours or lunchtime hangouts your company is hosting, to meet people, she said. Connecting with someone about a shared interest like sports or pets ‘can lead to the courage to ask that person to a virtual lunch,’ she added.

If Your Boss Doesn’t Support You

Gaining visibility can be especially challenging in a virtual workplace if your boss isn’t passing your good work up the chain or, worse, is taking credit for it. Ask to join the meeting where your work is being presented. Ask peers to speak up for you and acknowledge your contribution to the project.

Give Yourself a Break

If you do need to tread water at work, that’s OK, too. Careers can span 50 years, and for this moment, personal health may need to eclipse professional growth.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 60 minutes. 


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the 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 can use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. You’re stuck working from home.
  2. Workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables.
  3. It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.
  4. It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list.
  5. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed.
  6. Ask your manager under what circumstances you might talk to them.
  7. Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.
  8. If the time you’re saving on your commute travel hasn’t been subsumed by your children’s online schooling you might study improving your skills.
  9. Learn a new skill like wrangling complex PowerPoint presentations or wielding infographics software.
  10. Try to come up with one smart comment or provocative question in the meetings.

 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. Your stuck working from home during the pandemic.
  2. To keep progressing reach out for feedback.
  3. Be sure to clarify or confirm directions.

II

  1. Employees should make sure they are on the right track.
  2. Ask your manager what you should focus on now.
  3. Getting started can sometimes take courage.

III

  1. Don’t be shy about asking a co-worker for help.
  2. People like to be noticed for there strengths.
  3. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.”
  2. “Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.”
  3. “Getting started can sometimes take courage. “Terrified of writing? Take a writing class!”
  4. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it, to communicate most effectively with them…Learn how to express empathy better, as well. “

II. 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. What does the author suggest doing to keep progressing professionally?
  2. How do you make sure that you are on the right track with your boss?
  3. Where can you find classes and tutorials if you need to improve on a skill?
  4. Which skills are very important?
  5. What advice does Jean Choy give for communicating effectively with other people?
  6. What advice does Ms. Lucas give for engaging in online meetings?
  7. Name at least  three things you can do to gain new knowledge and exposure in your job.
  8. What can you do online to to meet people involved with your company?
  9. What advice does Dr. Umphress give to managers?
  10. How do you handle a boss who does not support your work?
  11. List 3  questions that you  would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Share questions as a class.

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

Students Have First Day Jitters as Schools Reopen

“In recent weeks, a growing number of students across the country have set foot in their schools, some for the first time since last March. Here’s what they said it was like to return.” E. Durston, D. Levin and J. Kim, The New York Times, March 13, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

HiKing Joseph, 16 Lusher Charter School-Photo- Annie Flanagan for The New York Times

 

Excerpt: ‘I Was So Nervous’: Back to Class After a Year Online By Ellen Almer Durston, Dan Levin and Juliana Kim, The New York Times, March 13, 2021

“Maisie Robinson was so excited for her first day of kindergarten that she woke up at 2:30 a.m. to make her family breakfast. ‘Unfortunately, the cereal was kind of soggy by the time we got up,’  said her mother, Lindsey Post Robinson.

But that hardly dulled Maisie’s enthusiasm. She skipped to school last week in her purple coat, part of a wave of Chicago elementary school students who met their teachers and classmates in person for the first time.

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, many American students have been in their classrooms since last fall — frequently off and on, as outbreaks have forced quarantines and closures. But in several large cities, students have started returning to school buildings only in the last few weeks.

The lower grades were the first to go back in much of the country, bolstered by research showing that young children are the least likely to spread the virus or to suffer severe consequences from Covid-19…But gradually, a growing number of older students have been sliding back into their desks too…’It was like a whole new beginning,’ said Jzayla Sussmann, 18, a student at a charter high school in New Orleans. ‘I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep the night before.’

Many returning students — and their family members — shared that same anxiety and excitement as they waited for the alarm buzzer to announce their first day back…The students in Nathan Beaser’s  school are not allowed to socialize with one another at lunch, so for entertainment, the cafeteria staff puts on a television show. On Thursday, it was ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’

Nathan said he was not sure about returning to school when his parents signed him up for in-person classes. ‘I was a little scared because I didn’t want to get the virus,’ he said. ‘But I feel a lot better because of all the safety precautions. Like, just in case, we have tissues and hand sanitizer everywhere. And they take my temperature before I walk in and after lunch.’

Nathan’s parents are both physicians at the University of Chicago. ‘I know the precautions that have been taken, and I know it’s safe,’ said his mother, Anna Beaser. ‘I feel comfortable with the plan they have in place.’

On his first day back to school, HiKing Joseph was looking for the gym when he came upon some staff members and asked for directions… HiKing had attended school in person for one day last fall before deciding he would rather stay online…Since asking for directions on his first day back, HiKing has slowly begun to learn his way around the building. ‘It can be overwhelming at times,’ he said.

He especially enjoys his art classes. While learning remotely, he completed assignments alone and submitted a photo of the project. But at school, he said, he gets to see how his classmates are progressing around him.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

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. Maisie Robinson was excited for her first day of kindergarten.
  2. Maisie’s enthusiasm was obvious.
  3. Outbreaks have forced quarantines and closures in many schools.
  4. Bolstered by research showing that young kids were least likely to spread the virus the lower grades were the first to open.
  5. Most of the city’s families, at all grade levels, continue to choose remote learning.
  6. In New Orleans, after a weeks long purgatory of remote learning, High school students were able to return to class.
  7. Parents are confident schools are constantly cleaning, wiping down toys and tables.
  8. Being deprived of social interaction has been difficult for many kids.
  9. Aaron Levinson  has cerebral palsy.
  10. The possibility of her school closing again dampened her enthusiasm.

   

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. HiKing has slowly begun to learn his way around the building.
  2. He especially enjoy his art classes.
  3. He gets to see how his classmates are progressing around him.

II

  1. Maisie’s enthusiasm for school was not dulled.
  2. The lower grades  was the first to go back.
  3. Elementary and special-needs students led the way in Chicago.

III

  1. New York City is the nation’s largest public school system.
  2. Many of them New York students spent a few weeks in classrooms last fall.
  3. Many students feel being in school is much better than learning from home on a computer.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1.  “It was like a whole new beginning…I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep the night before.”
  2. “I know so many people have been worried about these little ones wearing masks all day, but they have been fantastic.”
  3. “Being deprived of social interaction has been difficult for an outgoing child like Maisie.”
  4. “I was a little scared because I didn’t want to get the virus… But I feel a lot better because of all the safety precautions.”
  5. “It’s sort of surreal…You’ll realize you’re in class with only a few people, and everyone is wearing masks.”

 

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. Why were lower grades the first to start school?
  2. According to the article, which two groups of students began school in Chicago?
  3. How do most of Chicago’s families feel about sending their kids back to school?
  4. According to the article when do New York City high schools plan to reopen?
  5. Why did five-year-old Sadie Santiago bring a long rope to school on her first day back?
  6. What items did Maisie Robinson pack for her second day of school?
  7. Describe how   Maisie Robinson’s classroom was arranged.
  8. In your opinion is this a safe arrangement for children in school? Explain why or why not.
  9. In South Loop Elementary School, how do the cafeteria staff entertain the students during lunchtime? What are some of the safety precautions the school takes?
  10. The article states, “Aaron Levinson, who has cerebral palsy, already considers himself a shy kid.” Why was Aaron so surprised and happy to return to school?
  11. Do you think it’s time for all schools in the U.S. to reopen? Why or why not?

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