Blog Archives

The End of Roe Affects Us All!

Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade will usher in a United States not seen in half a century, in which the legal status of abortion is entirely up to the states. Now that the law has changed, reproductive rights will be rewritten almost immediately.” C. C. Miller and M. S. Katz, The New York Times, June 24, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Abortion rights activists clad in green and carrying green signs protest outside the Supreme Court on Saturday.Brandon Bell:Getty Images

Excerpt: What Does the End of Roe Mean? Key Questions and Answers.By Claire Cain Miller and Margot Sanger-Katz, The New York Times, June 24, 202

“Abortion will remain legal in about half of states, but the rest will probably ban it. The number of abortions will probably fall, particularly among poor women in the South and Midwest…Individual states will decide whether and when abortions will be legal. Many states will continue to allow them, and some have even begun making provisions to help serve women who live in states that are likely to restrict abortion… Some women seeking abortions could obtain them in other ways, including traveling to a state where abortion is legal or ordering pills online from outside the country… Without Roe, abortion will probably decline more because women will have to travel farther to reach a state where it’s legal.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 60 minutes. 

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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

Friday’s Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade will leave the legal status of abortion entirely up to the states.

Now that the law has changed, reproductive rights will be rewritten almost immediately.

Abortion will probably become illegal in about half of states, although forecasts differ.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, is a group that fights abortion restrictions in court and closely tracks state laws.

Some states have old abortion laws on the books that were invalidated by the Roe decision.

In September, a law went into effect banning abortion after fetal cardiac activity is detected, around six weeks.

Without Roe, abortion will probably decline more because women will have to travel farther to reach a state where it’s legal.

California looks to enshrine abortion rights in state constitution.

Our article from December describes the demographics of the typical abortion patient.

Under Roe, the United States has been unusual in allowing abortion for any reason until around 23 weeks.

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.

Without Roe, abortion will/may probably declined/decline more because women/woman will has/have to travel farther to reach a/an state where it’s legal. Many women/woman who get abortions are poor, and long travel distances can be insurmountable. The states likely to ban abortion are/is concentrate/concentrated in the South, Midwest and Great Plains.

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.

Under___, around one in ___American ___would have been expected to obtain an ____at some point, according to research from the Guttmacher Institute.

That includes___ from all backgrounds. But statistics show women who receive ___ abortions in the United States are more likely to be___; to be in their 20s; to have ___incomes; and to___have a child.

WORD LIST: already, low, unmarried, abortion, abortions, women, Roe, four, women,  

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. Will abortion become illegal everywhere in the U.S.?
  2. Where will abortion access most likely change?
  3. What are trigger laws?
  4. How will the number of U.S. abortions change?
  5. Without Roe, why will women’s rights to decline more?
  6. In South Dakota which group of women will be most affected by the new law?
  7. Who Gets Abortions in America?
  8. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

“Is Your Child a Digital Addict?”

“It can be hard for children to move on from screen time, but it doesn’t always have to be a battle.” A. Petersen, The New York Times, April 15, 2020

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Is Your Child a Digital Addict? Here’s What You Can Do, By Andrea Petersen, April 15, 2020

“When Meghan Cirrito tells her sons that their time watching ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ on their Kindles or the family’s iPad is over, it tends not to go over very well. ‘They’re completely outraged, shouting about how unfair life is and how mean I am,”’says Cirrito, 42, a stay-at-home mother of two boys, ages 5 and 8, and a community activist in Long Island City, Queens.  That is, they’re outraged if they’re not outright ignoring her.  ‘They act like you do not exist, nothing exists’ except the device, she says, ‘which is so creepy.’

Most parents of young children can relate to this scenario: their zombie progeny zoned out in front of a screen — then the tussles and tantrums that result when they take the device away.  Transitions from one activity to another can be tough for little kids, but the move away from digital devices is often another level of excruciating…Young kids don’t have enough of an ability to regulate their emotions to consistently navigate that transition without freaking out… The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children younger than 18 to 24 months not be exposed to digital media — with an exception for video-chat — and that children 2 to 5 have no more than one hour of screen time per day. The organization also recommends that parents watch media with their kids to help them understand it…Letting kids do something enjoyable after screen time will be much easier than expecting them to go right to dinner, a bath or bed. (The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screens during meals and to shut them off at least one hour before bedtime.) It can also be helpful to have a reward chart, where kids get stickers for handing over the device without freaking out.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

 

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 60 minutes. 

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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

  1. Kids love to watch Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on their Kindles or the family’s iPad.
  2. Some children can become outraged when they are told watching time is over.
  3. One mom said that kids act as nothing else exists except the device, which is so creepy.
  4. Most parents of young children can relate to this scenario.
  5. Many parents see their zombie progeny zoned out in front of a screen. 
  6. Then the tussles and tantrums that result when they take the device away. 
  7. Transitions from one activity to another can be tough for little kids.
  8. The move away from digital devices is often another level of excruciating.
  9. These typical sweet children really take on a different persona when they take away the screens.
  10. Digital content is much more immersive and entrancing than the real world.

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.

Dr. Hiniker still suggest/suggests that parents give/gave there/their kids warnings, but recommends that/this families/family involved/involve children in/on the process bye/by letting them/those chose/choose when warnings will happen (10 minutes vs. 5 minutes before screen time is over, for example), and then/than letting them set the timer and way/weigh in on which activity to/too do when the video or game is over.

Reading Comprehension Identify The  Speakers

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

  1.  “They’re completely outraged, shouting about how unfair life is and how mean I am.”
  2. “The intense sounds, colors and rapid movement of digital content can make it much more immersive and entrancing than the real world — and therefore much more difficult to disengage from.”
  3.  “It is intensely gratifying. Plus, many apps and video games give rewards in the form of points or virtual stickers, and getting those rewards can be fun.”
  4.  “Recommends  that children younger than 18 to 24 months not be exposed to digital media.”
  5.   “It helps to make screen time a predictable and scheduled part of children’s routines.”
  6.  “It is almost Pavlovian. And it may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t try to end kids’ screen time when they’re in the middle of a game or video.”
  7.  Parents need to stay strong and stick to their plan even when faced with vociferous whining.”

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 play video games? How often? 
  2. Do you have children who play video games? Do you feel that they play the games too much? Please explain your answer.
  3. According to Rebecca Berry, what are some of the distractions digital content has that makes it more appealing than the real world?
  4. Describe what happens to the brains of kids while playing digital games.
  5. When kids are stopped from playing games what happens to their brains?
  6. Which organization recommends children younger than 18-24 months not be exposed to digital media? What about children 2 to five?
  7. What other problems has excessive use of media caused in preschoolers?
  8. What are some suggestions for how parents can take away device time without causing problems?
  9. When screen time is planned how do children react?  Why do you think this is?
  10. According to the article, is it a good idea to give warnings to kids before the screen time is over? Why or why not?
  11. According to Dr. Donahue why would a screen-time session that’s too short lead to tantrums? How much screen time does he suggest?
  12. What new information have you learned from reading this article?

ANSWER KEY

 

The U.S. Cannot Protect Our Children From Gun Violence!

“This week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was yet another grim reminder that in the U.S., where civilians own nearly 400 million firearms, children are more likely to die from gun violence than in any other high-income country.” L. Wamsley, NPR, May 28, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A memorial is seen outside Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas…Brandon Bell:Getty Images

 

Excerpt:The U.S. is uniquely terrible at protecting children from gun violence, By Laurel Wamsley, NPR, May 28, 2022

The U.S. is uniquely terrible at protecting children from gun violence, By Laurel Wamsley, NPR, May 28, 2022

The killing of 19 fourth-graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School has unleashed an outpouring of grief and sadness across the nation.

It has also, once again, spurred many to ask why the United States has failed to make any significant changes to its gun laws following the horrendous mass shootings that now happen with regularity.

Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: All are names seared into the nation’s memory for the terrible violence that took the lives of students there.

A young person holds a sign decrying gun violence in Union Square in New York City on Thursday.Timothy A. Clary:AFP via Getty Images

But the dangers young people face from firearms in America go well beyond school shootings, which account for only a fraction of all gun-related deaths. Whether it’s the gun violence they face in their neighborhoods, or suicide or accidents at home when guns are left unsecured, the threat to the nation’s children and teenagers is not only bad, but worsening…Guns are now the leading cause of death among young people in the U.S.

For decades, car crashes were the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 19. But the gap between car crash deaths and firearms deaths began to steadily narrow in recent years. In 2020, gun violence overtook car accidents to become the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents. Guns are now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S. Deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents (1 to 19 years old)…Many guns come from inside the home

In 2012, the shooter at Sandy Hook used his mother’s guns to kill her and 26 children and school staff members. In the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the shooter used his father’s guns.

Research published last year and funded by the National Institute of Justice (a program of the U.S. Justice Department) suggests that’s very much the norm. The analysis examined mass shootings that took place from 1966 to 2019 and found that over 80% of mass shooters at K-12 schools stole guns from family members.”

Excellent Lesson Plan Resources From The New York Times Learning Network

“Using Times reporting and Opinion pieces, we offer teachers ideas and materials for addressing this tragedy in the classroom.” By The Learning Network, May 25, 2022

Resources for Talking and Teaching About the School Shooting in Uvalde, Texas

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 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. This week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was yet another grim reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is out of control.
  2. It has also, once again, spurred many to ask why the United States has failed to make any significant changes to its gun laws.
  3. Former schools shootings are still seared into the nation’s memory for the terrible violence that took the lives of students.
  4. The dangers young people face from firearms in America go well beyond school shootings, which account for only a fraction of all gun-related deaths.
  5. Guns are now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S.
  6. When the total number of firearm deaths are counted, the U.S. ranks second in the world, after only Brazil.
  7. Five years ago, just under 4,000 children and teens up to the age of 17 were killed or injured by gun violence.
  8. In the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the shooter used his father’s guns.
  9. Most people killed by gun violence don’t die in mass shootings.
  10. Youth suicide using guns is rising

 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 U.S. children is more likely to die from gun violence than in any other high-income country.
  2. The killing of 19 fourth-graders  has unleashed an outpouring of grief and sadness across the nation.
  3. The threat to the nation’s children and teenagers is not only bad, but worsening.

II

  1. The firearm-related death rate in the U.S. ranks 32nd on the world.
  2. One factor in America’s high level of gun deaths is the massive number of guns in the country.
  3. The numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries are climbing.

III

  1. So far in 2022, at least 653 children and teens in the U.S. has been killed by guns.
  2. The highest rates for gun-related deaths are among people ages 15 to 34.
  3. Most people killed by gun violence don’t die in mass shootings.

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.

Many___ come from inside the___.In 2012, the ___at Sandy Hook used  his ___guns to kill ___and 26 children and school___members. In the 2018 ___at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the___used his ___guns.

WORD LIST:     mother’s,  shooter,  father’s, shooting, staff,  guns, home,  shooter, her,

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. According to the article in what other situations are children in this country facing gun violence?
  2. What was the leading cause of death among young children 40 years ago?
  3. What is the leading cause of death among young children today? Why?
  4. According to the article, compared to other countries, where does the United States stand in relation to gun violence?
  5. What seems to be one of  the main reasons for the high number of gun deaths in the U.S.?
  6. At the K-12 schools, where do 80% of the mass shooters get their guns?
  7. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where do most of the firearm deaths of people occur?
  8. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.
  9. Group members make a list of ideas that might help protect children and other people from future gun violence in this country. Share your ideas with the class.

ANSWER KEY

Should 4-Year-Olds Be Allowed to Run Errands Alone?

“A 4-year-old can run errands alone … and not just on reality TV.” M. Doucleff, NPR  April 30, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Malaka Gharib: NPR

 

Excerpt: A 4-year-old can run errands alone … and not just on reality TV, By Michaeleen Doucleff, NPR (Goats and Soda section) April 30, 2022

“A few years ago, my husband and I had a bit of a situation on our hands. Our 4-year-old daughter had figured out how to climb onto the roof of our home. After breakfast in the mornings, we would find her perched, like a pigeon, three stories above a busy city sidewalk. (It makes me a bit nauseous to think about it).

The first morning, I tried to coax her down by asking her nicely (“Rosy, please come down. That is dangerous.”), nagging a bit (‘Rosy, I’m serious. You have to come down. Please. Please’) and eventually issuing a flimsy threat (‘Ok. If you don’t come down, we won’t get ice cream on Friday.’)

Then the fourth time she went up there, I was a bit fed up and decided to try and fix the root of the problem, instead of just the symptoms. I was in the middle of writing a book about parenting around the world, and I had heard the same advice over and over again: When a kid misbehaves they need more autonomy; they need more responsibility…So, looking up at the little daredevil hovering over the gutters, I decided she was finally ready to do just that. So I said to her: ‘We’re out of milk. Can you run up to the market and buy us some milk?’ The market is two blocks away. ‘All by myself?’ she asked with a twinkle in her eye. ‘Yes, all by yourself.’

Now a Japanese reality show, streaming on Netflix, is reminding me of that pivotal moment – and the importance of a seemingly trivial task on children’s lives — all around the world. It’s not so much about raising ‘free range’ kids – the term often used to describe children who are free to play and explore around their homes and neighborhoods on their own — but rather it’s about raising smart, capable kids whose parents enable them to practice autonomy without sacrificing safety. Kids who have the skills they need to handle the responsibility.

The show, called Old Enough!, has aired in Japan for more than three decades, but it’s new to an American audience. On the show, children ages 2 to 4 are charged with running an errand for their parents. Camera people follow the kids. A narrator comments on their progress.

Don’t forget the curry! A very young errand runner is the star of one episode of the Japanese series Old Enough!, which assigns seemingly daunting tasks to little tykes. Netflix / screen grab by NPR

In the first episode, a toddler takes a 20-minute walk to a grocery store and picks up three items for his mom: flowers, curry and fishcakes.

The little boy couldn’t be more than 2 and a half years old. Is that a diaper I see under his shorts? Yet he manages to navigate traffic, find two of the items in the grocery, pay for them and walk out of the store…Despite all that, at the end of the episode, I still had this overwhelming sense that the child accomplished something remarkable. Seeing a little tyke – perhaps still in his nappies – handle such a complex task brought this rush of joy through me.

Credit: Malaka Gharib: NPR

And made me think, Wow, kids are so much more capable than we think! And on the flip side: Wow, American society is really holding kids back… If your kid is anything like Rosy, they will cherish and love these moments of responsibility and autonomy.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. We would find our 4-year-old daughter perched, like a pigeon, three stories above a busy city sidewalk.
  2. It makes me a bit nauseous to think about it.
  3. The first morning, I tried to coax her down by asking her nicely.
  4. Eventually, I issued  a flimsy threat (‘If you don’t come down, we won’t get ice cream’.)
  5. When a kid misbehaves they need more autonomy.
  6. I told my friend about Rosy’s escapades.
  7. Looking up at the little daredevil hovering over the gutters, I decided she was finally ready to run errands.
  8. I began watching a Japanese reality show.
  9. Seeing a little tyke – perhaps still in his nappies – handle such a complex task is amazing.
  10. The show has a laugh track behind the commentary,  which makes it feel a bit silly.

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.

Autonomy has/have oodles off/of benefits for/of kids of all age/ages. Studies/study have linked autos/autonomy to/too long-term motivation, independence, confidence an/and better executive function. As a/an children/child gets older, autonomy is associated with better performance in/inn school and a decreased risk of drug and alcohol abuse.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. Learning to run errands has huge benefits to kids All around the world, little kids, even as young as ages 3 or 4, run errands for their parents. In fact, if you look across cultures, not running errands is an oddity.”
  2. kids in many parts of Europe walk to school and make trips to the grocery store alone.
  3.    “Even youngsters who are still walking very unsteadily on their feet are conscripted [asked] by adults to hand knives, beads and food to other nearby adults.”
  4. In a study published in 2009,  they described  a 6-year-old girl in Peru who volunteers to join Izquierdo and another family on a five-day journey down river to fish and gather leaves.
  5. “Autonomous play has been a really important part of child development throughout human evolutionary history. And actually, it was a feature of American society until relatively recently as well.”
  6. They write in their book  The Self-Driven Child: “…when children don’t have enough autonomy, they can feel powerless over their lives…Over time, that feeling can cause stress and anxiety. In fact,  lack of autonomy is likely a major reason for the high rates of anxiety and depression among American children and teenagers. Autonomy provides the antidote to this stress.”
  7. “The biggest gift parents can give their children is the opportunity to make their own decisions.”
  8. “We now live in a country where it is seen as abnormal, or even criminal, to allow children to be away from direct adult supervision, even for a second.”
  9. “What counts as ‘free-range parenting’ and what counts as ‘neglect’ are in the eye of the beholder — and race and class often figure heavily into such distinctions.”

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. Can you remember the first time you went to a store by yourself?
  2. At what age do you think it is safe to send a child alone to the grocery store?
  3. What does the term “free range” kids mean?
  4. How Long has the reality show Old Enough! aired in Japan? Describe what the show is  about.
  5. After viewing the Japanese reality show, what was the author’s reaction?  What did she think about American society and how kids in the U.S. are treated?
  6. What are some of the benefits of teaching young children to run errands?
  7. How did the author of this article handle the situation with her daughter Rosy? Do you think it was a good solution to stop Rosy from doing dangerous things?
  8. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

A Non-Speaking Valedictorian Makes Powerful Statements

“She didn’t say a word — and that only made her message resonate more powerfully. Valedictorian Elizabeth Bonker recently delivered the commencement speech at Rollins College in Florida, urging her classmates to serve others and embrace the power of sharing.” B. Chappell, NPR, May 12, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Valedictorian Elizabeth Bonker delivers the commencement speech at Rollins College in Florida

Excerpt: A nonspeaking valedictorian with autism gives her college’s commencement speech, Bill Chappell, NPR, May 12, 2022

“Bonker, who is affected by nonspeaking autism, hasn’t spoken since she was 15 months old. But thanks to an accepting attitude from her peers and teachers and help from technology, she has overcome many challenges and graduated at the top of her class at the Orlando-area school.

Elizabeth Bonker | CREDIT- ROLLINS COLLEGE

‘God gave you a voice. Use it,’ Bonker told her fellow graduates. ‘And no, the irony of a nonspeaking autistic encouraging you to use your voice is not lost on me. Because if you can see the worth in me, then you can see the worth in everyone you meet.’

Bonker used text-to-speech software to deliver the commencement address — an honor for which she was chosen by her fellow valedictorians.. .’I have typed this speech with one finger with a communication partner holding a keyboard,’ she said… ‘That one critical intervention unlocked my mind from its silent cage, enabling me to communicate and to be educated like my hero Helen Keller.’

In her speech, Bonker also evoked another hero: Fred Rogers, the Florida college’s most famous alumnus…After graduating, Bonker plans to use what she has learned to help people who face situations like hers.”

CREDIT- ELIZABETH BONKER:COMMUNICATION 4 ALL:TWITTER

To Watch the Valedictorian Speech Presented  by Ms. Elizabeth Bonker visit:

Be the Light: Elizabeth Bonker’s 2022 Valedictorian Speech at Rollins College Commencement

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. A nonspeaking valedictorian with autism gives her college’s commencement speech.
  2. She didn’t say a word — and that only made her message resonate more powerfully.
  3. Elizabeth Bonker was the valedictorian at her graduation.
  4. She delivered the commencement speech at Rollins College in Florida.
  5. But thanks to an accepting attitude from her peers and teachers she has overcome many challenges.
  6. Elizabeth stated that “the irony of a nonspeaking autistic encouraging you to use your voice is not lost on me.”
  7. Elizabeth named Helen Keller as her hero.
  8. In her speech, Bonker also evoked another hero: Fred Rogers.
  9. Fred Rogers is the Florida college’s most famous alumnus.
  10. “We are all called to serve, as an everyday act of humility.”

 

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. Bonker, who is affected by nonspeaking autism, haven’t  spoken since she was 15 months old.
  2. Bonker used text-to-speech software to deliver the commencement address.
  3. She was chosen by her fellow valedictorians to deliver her speech.

II

  1. She didn’t say a word — and that only made her message resonate more powerfully.
  2. She have overcome many challenges and graduated at the top of her class.
  3. In her speech, Bonker also evoked another hero: Fred Rogers.

III

  1. Last year, the school unveiled a statue of the man widely known as Mister Rogers.
  2. Bonker recently launched a nonprofit organization.
  3. She’ll also work to educate the public about the millions of people affected bye nonspeaking autism.

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.

She’ll also ___to ___the ___about the millions of people ___by nonspeaking___. As she has___ in the past,it is not a cognitive or intellectual___.

An estimated 25–30% of___with ___disorder are ___or minimally speaking, according to recent___. 

WORD LIST: studies, nonspeaking, children, autism spectrum, disorder, stressed, autism, affected, work, educate, public,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Have you ever been valedictorian for your graduating class? If yes, describe your experience.
  2. From which college did Elizabeth graduate?
  3. How long has it been since Elizabeth  has spoken?
  4. How has Elizabeth been able to speak at her graduation?
  5. What type of software did Elizabeth use to deliver her speech?
  6. During her speech, which people did Ms. Bonker name as her heroes?
  7. What did the school do to honor Mr. Fred Rogers?
  8. What was found in Mr. Roger’s wallet after he died?
  9. What did Ms. Bonker ask each of her classmates to do during her speech?
  10. What are Elizabeth’s plans after graduating?
  11. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY