Category Archives: Children/Teens

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

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

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bored children during the summer.

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

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

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

 

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

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

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

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

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

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

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

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

Still, children may not want___ play ___their own.

 

Identify The  Speakers

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

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

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

 

Category: Children/Teens, Culture

Children With Disabilities Will Suffer More This Covid-19 Summer

“The kids who most need social interaction this summer won’t be getting it.” H. Levine, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Keith Negley, NYT

Excerpt: As the Country Opens Up, Children With Disabilities Are Getting Left Behind, By Hallie Levine, The New York Times

“My 12-year-old daughter, Jo Jo, blossoms over the summer. For her, it’s a time for camp, pool trips with friends, bonfires… Last summer, she began going to the salon for monthly manicures…These events are a rite of passage for any preteen, but they’re particularly important for Jo Jo.

She has Down syndrome, which means she has an extra 21st chromosome that has led to overall developmental delays. For her, these regular social interactions are crucial. But this summer will be dramatically different. Like all kids, she’s been stuck at home since mid-March. Over the last couple weeks, many of those kids have started venturing out, meeting up for bike rides and beach excursions or other outdoor activities. Their parents talk about sending them to day camp, and setting up unofficial ‘quarantine bubbles.’

But Jo Jo and her two neurotypical brothers — Teddy, 10, and Geoffrey, 9 — remain at home, probably for the rest of the summer. Jo Jo is at high-risk for Covid-19 complication… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled intellectual disability as a high risk condition for flu.

An intellectual disability itself isn’t a risk factor for Covid-19 but kids with developmental disabilities often have other underlying medical conditions that could be… In addition, many kids with intellectual disabilities depend on in-person physical, occupational and speech therapy year round to prevent regression. For example, Lisa Kinderman, a psychologist in Seymour, Ill., is grappling with whether it’s safe to resume physical therapy for her daughter, Lija. A 6-year-old with cerebral palsy, Lija cannot walk or talk and has been hospitalized twice in the last year for respiratory ailments…Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19, especially as we’re still learning so much about this disease in kids, stressed Brian Skotko, M.D., director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.But there are a few things parents can do to get a ballpark sense of risk.

He suggested using your child’s past experience with infections as a guide for how they might experience Covid-19. If a child like Jo Jo has come down with flu or pneumonia in the past but recovered without urgent medical care or hospitalization, then ‘you should feel more comfortable gradually re-entering the community, he said. For each step, talk it over with your pediatrician…Social distancing can be equally tricky. ‘Wearing masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, being able to tolerate a Covid-19 test — these may all eventually be required for kids to resume school or other activities,’ Skotko said. These are challenging for any child, let alone one with intellectual disabilities. One way to teach these concepts is through social stories, individualized short stories that pair simple language with pictures often used for children with social-communication disorders such as autism.

Skotko also recommended teaching social distancing through color coded circles for older kids.  For example, red for strangers, orange for people you would normally wave to, green and yellow for casual and close friends, and blue for people it’s OK to hug, like parents or siblings.

“I have almost a blind faith in crisis in the American people getting it right”  ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Latest Presidential General Election Polls 2020:

“Joe Biden’s lead against Trump in the 2020 election is growing wider, polls show — With the 2020 election now less than five months away, polls show former Vice President Joe Biden pulling further ahead of [Trump].”  Kevin Breuniger, CNBC June ,2020

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

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: Ask students  what they already know about people with disabilities.  Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the topic of the article.  Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine

 

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. Monthly manicures  are a rite of passage for any preteen.
  2. The author’s daughter has Down syndrome.
  3. Some children are born wth extra chromosomes.
  4. Kids have started venturing out, meeting up for bike rides and beach excursions or other outdoor activities.
  5. Studies suggest that death rates from pneumonia were up to 5.8 times higher in 2017 among those with intellectual disabilities.
  6. Some kids like JoJo take medicine that suppresses their immune system.
  7. The immune system is vital to every person alive.
  8. It’s very tough for the author  to gauge if any activities — even outdoor ones — are safe for Jo Jo or her brothers.
  9. Many physicians will meet with medically fragile kids first thing in the morning.
  10. Parents of  intellectually challenged children must grapple with  explaining the COVID-19 to them and why it prevents them from doing fun activities.

 

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. C D C has labeled intellectual disability as a high risk condition for flu.
  2. A typical virus hits her hard.
  3. This winter she test positive for the flu.

 

II

  1. Gone to the salon for monthly manicures is fun.
  2. For her, these regular social interactions are crucial.
  3. But this summer will be dramatically different.

III

  1. We have to brought the world to her.
  2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19,
  3. There are a few things parents can do to get a ballpark sense of risk.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. Weighing when, and how, to re-enter the community without putting your child at risk is so much harder.”
  2. “What’s just a mild cold for a typical kid lands Lija in the I.C.U.”
  3. Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19, especially as we’re still learning so much about this disease in kids.”
  4. That doesn’t mean you should neglect routine medical care, especially with underlying medical diseases that need to be monitored. In addition, “the usual childhood diseases are still around.”
  5. Masks can be particularly challenging, because many kids with intellectual disabilities have sensory processing issues that make it hard for them to tolerate a mask on their face.”
  6. “You don’t want to make this all about the child with the more complex medical needs, because you don’t want to ramp up anxiety, or even resentment.”

 

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. Dr. Brian Skotio names some things parents can do to tell if there are risks for infection for certain activities. What are they?
  2. What is one activity  that JoJo’s mom won’t let her do  right now? Why?
  3. Name one thing that doctors cannot check virtually with a patient.
  4. In what ways can the concept of social distancing be taught to children with intellectual disabilities?
  5. According to Leah Booth, why is wearing a mask a special problem for many kids with intellectual disabilities?

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. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Teens Get Creative During COVID-19

“Throughout the country, school closures, remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience. Many are dealing with grief, trauma and loss… For teenagers, there are deep losses, but some are finding bright spots as well.”  A. Homayoun, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- cnbc.com

 

Excerpt: Some Teenagers Are Creating New Rituals in the Pandemic, By Ana Homayoun, The New York Times

“It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and racial minorities, and some students will experience significant learning loss.

At the same time, some previously overscheduled and sleep-deprived students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress around completing schoolwork, and more time for simple activities like reading on the front porch, spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family… In a normal school year, Zachary Jones, 17, of Durham, N.C., would see his life ‘swallowed by baseball.’  But Zachary no longer rushes from school to practice to starting homework at 8:30 p.m., and finds that he now has an entire day to do my homework with quality…To regain control at a time of uncertainty and despair, some students are discovering more purposeful ways to channel their energy. Juliette Fore, 16, of Alexandria, Va., initially found quarantine to be a major adjustment.

Photo- economictimes.indiatimes.com

She worried about the health of her 85-year-old grandfather, who lives with her parents and three siblings. When she heard reports of a worldwide increase in domestic violence during lockdown, she started a campaign to gather donations for House of Ruth, a Washington, D.C.-area shelter for victims of abuse…Right before Easter, she and her family delivered two minivans full of donations to the shelter…For Lexi Weintraub, 17, from Irvington, N.Y., in Westchester County, creating new rituals with friends and family has helped diminish the disappointment of a truncated senior year…At home, her mom recently began a nightly tradition to capture memories that might otherwise be forgotten in the middle of a pandemic.”

Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden speaks via video link as family and guests attend the funeral service for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Houston. David J. Phillip-Washingtontimes   

“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,” ~ Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden~

TODAY WE MARCH — TOMORROW WE VOTE!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities : Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Throughout the country remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience.
  2. It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted   low income families.
  3. Students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress.
  4. Teens are spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family.
  5. Many teenagers say this newfound flexibility has helped them stay focus.
  6. Before school went online, Sydney was in the dance ensemble for the spring musical.
  7. Some students are able to continue participating in extracurricular activities.
  8. To regain control at a time of uncertainty and despair, some students are discovering ways to channel their energy.
  9. One student is a self-described extrovert.
  10. Creating new rituals has helped diminish the disappointment of a truncated senior year.

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.

Her friends has/have started/start driving separately on/to a/an parking lot by/bye the Hudson River and tunes/tuning into/onto the same radio station in there/their respective cars while watching/watch the sun set.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “We had probably the best team in our school’s history,”
  2. “Our teachers are really accessible if we have a question, But it’s been difficult. Our learning has kind of been put on hold.”
  3. “I personally don’t like doing math at 8:30 in the morning.”
  4. “The corrections are harder to apply because the teacher isn’t right there with you.”
  5. “I would say the project helped with my coping because it gave me something to really focus on.”
  6. At home, her mom recently began a nightly tradition to capture memories that might otherwise be forgotten in the middle of a pandemic.

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 has been your experience taking online classes so far?
  2. The article states, Many teenagers say this newfound flexibility and fewer outside obligations mean getting more sleep…Zachary no longer rushes from school to practice to starting homework at 8:30 p.m., and finds that he now has ‘an entire day to do  his homework with quality.” Are your able to spend more quality time completing your assignments since the quarantine?
  3. What are  your greatest struggles adjusting  to this new confinement?
  4. The article states, Some students are able to continue participating in extracurricular activities using Zoom and other online tools.” Do you participate in  extracurricular activities using online tools?  What are they?
  5. The article describes how Juliette Fore, 16, started a campaign to gather donations for House of Ruth, a Washington, D.C.-area shelter for victims of abuse.Have you’ve begun any new activities since you’ve been home? If yes, what are they? If no, are you interested in starting new activities?
  6. Do you think you’ve changed in any way due to confinement?   If yes, describe how?
  7. Do you feel closer to your family?
  8. After reading this article name something new that you’ve learned. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share 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. 

ANSWER KEY

The Importance of Play for Children During Social Distancing

“Parents across the globe are scrambling to fill their kids’ time, trying to become home school teachers and meet their schools’ variousrequirements. But maybe we need to let children play more instead.” L. R.McRobbie, The Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

The Boston Globe

 

Excerpt: No summer camp, no problem. The value of play during a pandemic — By Linda R. McRobbie, The Boston Globe

“States are starting to re-open, but parents facing the end of the school year are at loose ends, not knowing whether camps, summer schools, pools, and playgrounds will be open after the school year ends. Though the prospect of a summer of agonized choruses of “I’m bored!” might be more daunting than a summer of more social distancing, we might actually find ourselves confronted by something we desperately need: An opportunity to play.

Play is difficult to define, at least according to the academics who study it. Broadly speaking, it’s an activity that is directed by the individual or at least of their own volition, that is intrinsically enjoyable, personally meaningful, engaging, and most importantly, fun. Kids, of course, know play when they see it. And they know that play has value, even if adults don’t always remember that…Research demonstrates that it fosters development of emotional regulation and executive function — things like problem solving, focusing on a task, paying attention, and making sense of our experience of the world. Very recent research — out just this month — also indicates that how much access small children have to play is an indicator of their own sense of wellbeing. Play is so essential, so integral to normal development and positive mental health, that it is enshrined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. (However, Wales is the only country that protects that right by law.)

And yet, American playtime is dwindling. Since at least the early 1980s, if not before, child development experts have warned that diminished playtime — and the freedom that entails — is having adverse effects on American children…But the abrupt closure of many schools in March meant that all of a sudden, kids had a lot more undirected, unstructured time, time to not worry so much about achievement and to play. And though this silver lining is perhaps only visible if you squint hard enough, it’s a silver lining nonetheless, because play is even more valuable during periods of stress…And as terrifying as the prospect of a summer of no organized fun seems, remember: It’s all right to let children be bored. “Kids figure out how to play all the time and actually, the figuring it out is building life skills.”

Related:

Sesame Street’s Grover On Coping During Coronavirus: Just For Kids

By C. Turner and A. Kamenetz, NPR

Courtesy of Sesame Workshop

“Kids have lots of questions about staying home right now. When can I go out to see my friends again? When will this be over? To answer them (and have a little fun), NPR’s Life Kit reached out to Sesame Street’s beloved monster, Grover, to speak directly to kids.”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, at a veterans memorial in Wilmington, Del. May 25, 2020. Credit- Erin Schaff:The New York Times

“What gives me hope is when I see somebody do just the little things they didn’t have to do, to go out of their way,” ~Joe Biden~

UPDATED ARTICLE:

5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence –

A portrait of George Floyd is seen as part of a memorial for him Wednesday near the site of his arrest. AP Photo:Jim Mone

“On Monday evening, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. Video surfaced of a white police officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while Floyd pleaded with police saying “I can’t breathe.” Floyd became unresponsive and died shortly after at Hennepin County Medical Center…In this moment, we know there are thousands of white people who are looking for direction and a way to show up alongside Black communities and communities of color. Welcome. You are needed. Here are a few ways to start showing up — not just in words but in action.”  READ  HERE – MEDIUM.COM

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Havestudents to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read.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. Play is a very important factor in child development.
  2. Many parents are at loose ends as summer nears.
  3. Parents dread the agonized choruses of “I’m bored!”
  4. Having bored children can be more daunting.
  5. Children need the opportunity to play.
  6. Play is an activity by an individual and of their own volition.
  7. Play, is a necessary component of building social bonds.
  8. Play is essential to positive mental health.
  9.  In America,  playtime is dwindling.
  10. The abrupt closure of many schools in March meant that  kids had a lot more undirected, unstructured time.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since,

In the early part___ the 2000s, governmental policies prioritized literacy and numeracy skills ___less easily tested skills, such___social-emotional ability, despite warnings ___early childhood education experts and bodies such ___the American Academy___Pediatrics. Average recess time in America — unstructured time___children___ engage___ the kind ___play they want — has shrunk ___just 25 minutes, far less than most other countries___ the world.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify TheSpeakers

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

  1. “Play, she says, is a necessary component of building social bonds, first with parents and caregivers and then with other adults and peers.”
  2. “But play, by its very nature, also prepares individuals to deal with uncertainty and “feel comfortable with risk-taking.”
  3. “Play can also help clarify precisely what those negative emotions are about. Kids can be terrible communicators, but play is their medium.”
  4. “However, none of us should read too much into what we see in children’s play. . . interpreting children’s play is very fraught.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use theWH-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: Havestudents 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 are parents suddenly worried about summer?
  2. Are you a parent? Do you have the same concerns as the parents in this article? Why or why not?
  3. How do academics define “play”?
  4. According to Laura Huerta Migus, why is playing necessary for building social bonds?
  5. According to researchers play fosters what other important developments for children?
  6. According to the article, since the 1980s playtime has been diminishing in America. What are some of the reasons for this?
  7. What kind of effect is reduced play having on American children? Do you agree with this statement? Why/why not?
  8. In the article there are ways to allow children to have fun especially during this time of social distancing from their playmates. Name some of the ways.
  9. Can you think of other ways to make fun things for children to play?
  10. What new information have you learned from this article?

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Stressed Out Parents Now Hire Virtual Baby Sitters

“Overwhelmed parents are paying professionals to virtually babysit while they work.” H. Kelly, The Washington Post

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Babysitter Victoria Rodriguez from the Babysitting Company talks to a 3-year-old about his toy over a Zoom video call. Credit- Heather Kelly:The Washington Post

 

Excerpt: Parents hire Zoom babysitters so they can shelter in peace, By Heather Kelly, The Washington Post

Babysitting used to go something like this: A local teenager comes over to the house after school to play with the kids, then tucks them into bed and spends the remainder of the evening texting from the sofa. All so the parents can unwind after a long week of working in offices by eating and drinking in a crowded restaurant.

Now, babysitting is something that happens over a Zoom or FaceTime call during the day, usually for an hour or less, a few feet from those same parents. But instead of downing margaritas and laughing, they’re taking conference calls, catching up on emails, helping their other kids with home schooling, or just locking themselves in the bathroom for a quick cry.

Over the past two months, millions of Americans have discovered the impossibilities of simultaneously working, parenting, and teaching full time from home. To help ease the strain, they’ve had to get creative with more screen time of all kinds. Now some parents are paying people to spend time with their children virtually.

They’re asking their usual sitters whether they can hire them to keep kids busy over video. On Care.com, a marketplace for caregivers from nannies to health aids, a handful of workers are updating their profiles to say ‘virtual only.’ Existing babysitting services are training their child-care workers on techniques to keep kids engaged over screens, and new companies are popping up to offer virtual-only sitters... a high-end service out of Miami called the Babysitting Company, touts its ‘curated’ child-care offerings in major cities.

It’s still offering some in-person babysitting, with new rules and safeguards for the novel coronavirus but has transitioned many of its sitters to virtual sessions. The company charges $36 for a 45-minute video session, and clients must pay for four hours minimum, to be used at different times…At first, the company offered virtual babysitting for kids 5 and older but has since done a session for a child as young as 2½ years old, which worked. Still, she’s careful to manage parents’ expectations. Sessions can go up to an hour but she doesn’t recommend much longer… The demand for virtual babysitting might increase as the school year, in its mostly virtual form, comes to an end next month and parents who have to work are faced with even less help over the summer.”

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:  Ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic of virtual babysitting during COVID-19.  Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Brainstorming chart by UIE

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Parents  need to unwind after a long week of working.
  2. Today, instead of downing margaritas and laughing, they’re taking conference calls.
  3. To help ease the strain many parents have hired online sitters.
  4. A handful of workers are updating their profiles to say ‘virtual’ only.
  5. Existing babysitting services are training their child-care workers new techniques to keep kids engaged over screens.
  6. It’s a living person on the other side of the screen that’s reading your cues.
  7. One mother goes through a high-end service out of Miami.
  8. One service called the Babysitting Company, touts its curated child-care offerings in major cities.
  9. Babysitting services are careful to manage parents’ expectations.
  10. Some parents do freelance writing and editing work from home.

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.

People use/uses this service differently about/from a babysitter, said/sayAfrick. While before the/an pandemic, the commitment for/on a sitter was a/an few hours, a virtual sitter can/could be book/booked for shorter periods of/near time beyond/throughout the day — just long enough to get some housekeeping or work/worksdone/did or even take a shower.

Reading Comprehension

Identify TheSpeakers

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

  1. “It’s not like you’re watching a show or something that isn’t tuned in to you. It’s a living person on the other side that’s reading your cues,seeing if you’re interested or not interested.”
  2. “If you would have told me this is something we’d be offering, I’d never have believed it. It’s such a personal-contact-based profession.”
  3. “The hardest part, she said, is bringing them back when they walk out of the camera’s range.”
  4. “It doesn’t always keep him occupied for the desired two hours, says Upton-Cosulich, and if he’s tired or anxious, he prefers his parents.”
  5. It is a viable option if you’re willing to be a little bit unorthodox and give it a try.”

 

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, why wouldn’t parents want screen baby sitters sessions to spend no longer than an hour with the kids?
  2. Why is video time with avirtual baby sitter better than having kids watch Netflix and YouTube for long periods of time?
  3. According to baby sitters what seems to be the hardest part of keeping young children entertained?
  4. Whatare some of the the differences between hiringa sitter before the pandemic and hiring virtual sitters now?
  5. What new information have you learned from this article?

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY