Category Archives: Children/Teens

During Quarantine, Children Return to Their Mother Tongue

“With schools and day cares closed, previously dominant languages — such as English in Britain and the United States — are no longer as overpowering. Instead, children are hearing more of their parents’ mother tongues.”S. Hardach, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

credit- adzuna.co blog

Excerpt:In Quarantine, Kids Pick Up Parents’ Mother Tongues,By Sophie Hardach, The New York Times

“A few days into the lockdown here in London, I noticed a surprising side-effect of the pandemic: My 3-year-old son was speaking more German.

German is my mother tongue, and I have used it with him since he was born, but because everyone around us speaks English, including my British husband, we settled into a pattern typical of mixed families. I spoke to my son in German, and he replied in English. Then Covid-19 reshuffled our linguistic deck. As all of us quarantined at home, my son embraced German with unprecedented enthusiasm. Now, almost six months on, it has become his preferred language. In a complete reversal, he even replies to my husband in German.

My experience is far from unique. All over the world, Covid-19 has forced children to stay inside. In some homes where different languages coexist, this is changing how they speak… children are hearing more of their parents’ mother tongues…Before the lockdown, the children tended to use the dominant languages: English in Britain and Ireland, and Norwegian in Norway (plus English, thanks to television, computer games and other media)… School plays a crucial role with this; in a study of 200 Korean-American families, the portion of firstborn children who spoke Korean to their parents went from almost 80 percent to 34 percent after starting school. Younger siblings spoke even less.

For parents, that sudden rejection of the mother tongue can be bewildering and even painful… In the United States, researchers interested in language have launched an app called KidTalk to gather recordings made before and during Covid-19. Yi Ting Huang, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland, and Joshua Hartshorne, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, have recruited more than 300 families, about a third of which are multilingual, for the project… Dr. Huang plans to use speech-recognition software to analyze the recordings; for example, identifying the number of speakers and languages in each conversation, and tracking any changes…n the past, Dr. Huang said, many researchers and policymakers viewed a child as a water glass that could only hold so much liquid.

‘So we’re just trying to cram as much of one language as opposed to another language,’ she said…Dr. Hartshorne and his partner are also raising their daughter in English and Mandarin, but they have seen the opposite effect…’As the weeks have worn on, we’ve worn down.’ English has become the family’s default language, though the daughter still understands Mandarin…Will all these languages continue to blossom after Covid-19? It’s hard to say.

Some researchers expected children to revert to the dominant language once life returns to normal. Others saw the possibility of a virtuous cycle, with children growing more confident in their second language and using it more in the long run.”

“On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went down to Florida in an attempt to help secure the Latino vote in November.”

“I’ll tell you what, if I had the talent of any one of these people, I’d be elected president by acclamation,” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Biden was referring toLuis Fonsi  [the artist who performed the Spanish song ‘Despacito’] as well as singer Ricky Martin and actress Eva Longoria, who also spoke ahead of Biden in Kissimmee, Florida.”Ed O’Keefe reports.

Election 2020: What to know

How to vote:Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

RELATED:

A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
August 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgAugust 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Rest In Love and Peace ESL-Voices

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

Pre-reading:  Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. German is my mother tongue.
  2. The Covid-19 reshuffled our linguistic deck.
  3. All of us are quarantined at home.
  4. My son embraced German  with unprecedented enthusiasm.
  5. My experience is far from unique.
  6. In some homes where different languages coexist, this is changing how they speak.
  7. Dr. Serratrice surveyed the language habits of over 700 multilingual families.
  8. Unless parents take extra measures, the ancestral sound may fade.
  9. For some parents, the school closures are an opportunity to challenge bigger linguistic hierarchies.
  10. Amid the upheaval of Covid-19, kids might be turning to a reassuring language that they associate with parents.  

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article.

The parents in/on these family/families spoke/spoken  more than 40 different mother tongues, including French,  Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Kirundi and Zulu.

Before a/the lockdown, the/an children tended to/too use the dominant languages: English in/on Britain and Ireland, and/an Norwegian in Norway (plus English, thank/thanks too/to television, computer games and another/other media).

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “They’re put into this little hothouse of less English, more other languages.”
  2. “When you think about living in a different country and raising your child in your native language, some people think, ‘Oh, it’s the most natural thing and it’s easy,’ because it’s your native language. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
  3. “…not all respondents saw their native tongue strengthen. Some even said it was suffering because they were home-schooling the children in Norwegian.”
  4. “Language is a living marker of history and cultural identity, linking immigrant families to their place of origin.”
  5. “I don’t know that we’ve had recent historical precedent for a child’s world to be shrunk down to just the immediate family for months at a time.”
  6. “More than 42 Indigenous languages are spoken in Uganda, but formal education is delivered in English, a legacy of colonialism…the local language Luganda  has gained strength during lockdown.

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this graphic organizer to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

Advanced Spider map By writedesignonline

 

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. Besides English, how many other languages do you speak?
  2. If English is not your first language, do you speak your first language at home?
  3. Why are children speaking  more of their first language now?
  4. Why does the author state her  experience is  ‘far from unique’?
  5. Why aren’t children hearing more English during Covid-19?
  6. According to the article, why does the language of the home becomes less and less important to young children?
  7. In general, how do parents feel when their kids stop speaking their mother tongue?
  8. The article states, ‘This echoes research suggesting that passing on one’s language can create better communication between generations and a shared identity and heritage.’  In your own words explain what this means.
  9. What language did Dr. Huang speak as a child? Why did she go back to speaking it as an adult?
  10. Write down one new idea  you’ve learned from this reading.

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

How Schools Are Organizing to Protect Students During Covid-19

An illustrated guide to how schools will try to control the coronavirus when students return to their classrooms, this fall or in the future.” By D. Goldstein, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- The New York Times

 

Excerpt:What Back to School Might Look Like in the Age of Covid-19, By Dana Goldstein, The New York Times

“A typical American school day requires proximity: High school lab partners leaning over a vial. Kindergarten students sharing finger paints. Middle schoolers passing snacks around a cafeteria table.

Credit- The New York Times

This year, nothing about school will be typical. Many of the nation’s largest districts plan to start the academic year online, and it is unclear when students and teachers will be back in classrooms.

Others plan hybrid models, while some are determined to go five days a week.

When school buildings do reopen, whether this fall or next year, buses, hallways, cafeterias and classrooms will need to look very different as long as the coronavirus remains a threat.

Credit- The New York Times

Even teaching, which has evolved in recent decades to emphasize fewer lectures and more collaborative lessons, must change…There is still considerable uncertainty and debate over how easily children of different ages contract and spread the virus, and whether some of the recommended safety guidelines would help or are even necessary.”

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

The 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, at the close of the Democratic National Convention Thursday night. [8/20] Photo: Olivier Douliery

On Thursday night, [8/20] he was introduced by a video that referenced the loss of his first wife and daughter early in his Senate career and, years later, of his son Beau to brain cancer. “I know how mean and cruel and unfair life can be sometimes…your loved one may have left this earth, but they’ll never leave your heart. They’ll always be with you. You’ll always hear them.”

Vice President Biden with his son Beau at Camp Victory on the Baghdad outskirts in 2009.Credit: Khalid Mohammed

As president, the first step I will take will be to get control of the virus that’s ruined so many lives… Because I understand something this president doesn’t. We will never get our economy back on track, we will never get our kids safely back to school, we will never have our lives back until we deal with this virus.”

Brayden Harrington, 13, spoke about how former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. helped him overcome his stutter in a speech on Thursday at the Democratic National Convention.

“As God’s children, each of us has a purpose in our lives… And we have a great purpose as a nation: to open the doors of opportunity to all Americans; to save our democracy; to be a light to the world once again; to finally live up to and make real the words written in the sacred documents that founded this nation that all men and women are created equal. Endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights. Among them, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” 

Biden and Harris: For The American People!

“I will have a great vice president at my side, Senator Kamala Harris,” Biden reminded his listeners. “She is a powerful voice for this nation. Her story is the American story. She knows about all the obstacles thrown in the way of so many in our country: women, Black women, Black Americans, South Asian Americans, immigrants, the left out and left behind. But she’s overcome every obstacle she’s ever faced. No one’s been tougher on the big banks or the gun lobby. No one’s been tougher in calling out this current administration for its extremism, its failure to follow the law, and its failure to simply tell the truth.” 

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

~Democratic Vice-Presidential Leader Kamala Harris~

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: Analyzing headings and photos

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

 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 is an illustrated guide to how schools will try to control the coronavirus.
  2. A typical American school day requires proximity.
  3. Some schools plan to use hybrid models, while some are determined to go five days a week.
  4. The coronavirus remains a threat to everyone.
  5. Unfortunately, education leaders are relying on a host of conflicting federal, state and public health guidelines.
  6. As a result, schools are adopting a wide range of approaches for the pandemic era.
  7. All schools have one factor to solve which is eliminating proximity.
  8. Getting children to school will be one of the most difficult logistical challenges.
  9. Some state guidelines sketch alternative scenarios.
  10. Schools will  check each student for symptoms before they  enter the classroom.

 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. Kindergarten students likes to share finger paints.
  2. Middle schoolers pass snacks around a cafeteria table.
  3. High schoolers share cellphones.

II

  1. Some schools are determined to go five days a week.
  2. Other schools will use a hybrid model.
  3. This year, nothing about school will be typical.

III

  1. For about half of American students, the school day typically begins with a bus trip.
  2. Families should not cluster at the bus stop.
  3. Some schools will hire monitors to check students’ symptoms before they board the bus.

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

Directions: Read the entire article, then  complete the following sentences taken from the article.  You can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide your own terms.

Young ___may be the hardest to ___apart, given their ___energy, need for hands-on play and___nature. And most___acknowledge that it is not realistic to expect them to wear ___all day.

Many ___will try to keep students in___ by limiting class ___to about 12 students and by ___interaction between classrooms. That way, they can ___shutting down entirely if a single pod has a ___case.

WORD LIST: avoid, sizes, pods, masks, guidelines, affectionate, schools, frenetic, children, reducing, positive, keep,

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: 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. To help stop the spread of the virus what is the one factor that all schools must agree upon?
  2. Where is the first place students come into contact with each other?
  3. According to the article how many students should ride the school buses during Covid-19?
  4. What will be the very first thing children will have to have done before entering the school?
  5. What happens to students who fail the symptom check?
  6. What do schools plan to do with large spaces like gyms and cafeterias?
  7. The article states “Schools are not planning to follow a traditional bell schedule.”  How do schools now plan to schedule lunch and bathroom breaks during the day?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes 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

Picture Books to Fire the Imagination of Kids

“These journeys of the imagination explore what it means to be human.” J. Krauss, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

From Lali’s Feather Credit- S. Fizer Coleman

 

Excerpt:  8 Picture Books That Let Young Minds Wonder and Wander on Their Own, By J. Krauss, The New York Times

I Dream of A Journey, By Akiko Miyakoshi

Written and illustrated by Akiko Miyakoshi.

“A plaque, next to rows of glimmering keys, reads ‘Solitude Hotel.’  It is late in the grainy black-and-white night, and the eyes of the anthropomorphic innkeeper, who stands still behind the desk, are soulful. Later, as he closes them, he yearns to go ‘far, far away.’ The pages turn to muted color. We see him with a ‘big suitcase,’ riding a bicycle, crossing a bridge…”

From When You Look Up By Decur

Written and illustrated by Decur.

“Children will pore over this moody watercolor-soaked story of an introvert’s creative awakening, which contains within it a bright collage of weirdly wonderful dreams and nightmares, while adults will covet it as a work of art that speaks to their inner child. A picture book-graphic novel hybrid by the self-taught Argentine artist Guillermo Decurgez (known as Decur),… it begins on “moving day,” as a boy who believes the world exists only inside his cellphone finds a mysterious notebook in the secret compartment of a desk in his new room…”

Lift By Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat.

“A girl who loves to push buttons loses it when her baby brother finally succeeds in reaching one inside their apartment building’s elevator. After the elevator’s repair, she secretly snatches the old “up” button from the lobby trash, tapes it outside her closet door and embarks on nightly ‘out of this world’ all-on-her-own adventures…”

From “Lift”Credit…Dan Santat

 

A Story About Afiya, By James Berry, Illustrated by Anna Cunha.

“This joyous celebration of childhood, culture and place by the late Jamaican poet follows a young girl named Afiya (‘health’ in Swahili) whose summer frock ‘collects’ what she sees as she dances across an island in motion: One day butterflies adhere to it, imprinting their vivid patterns, another day flocks of birds or fish in the waves. For its Brazilian illustrator each airy panoramic spread is a fresh canvas, like Afiya’s newly washed dress each morning…”

From A Story About Afiya Credit-Anna Cunha

LaLi’s Feather, By Farhana Zia. Illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman.

“When local birds disown the ‘lost’ feather Lali finds, she scoffs, imagining it can do ‘100 things!’— tickle, twirl, whirl — until a gust of wind lifts it high above the tamarind trees and it becomes everyone’s prize. Then she finds a button, and the pattern repeats…”

A Wave of Stars”Written by Dolores Brown. Illustrated by Sonja Wimmer.

“Two sea creature friends accidentally look at a moonbow and become human in this book that reads like a Scandinavian fairy tale. Mimbi the seal, clutching a mer-king doll, becomes a girl and Kipo the turtle, bereft of his shell, a boy…”

A Wave of Stars, Credit- Sonja Wimmer.

 

Sandcastle Written and illustrated by Einat Tsarfati.

The fun of this treasure trove begins with its tactile cover: a sandpapery castle against the glossy blue-sky antics of the girl who built it. Inside, the things royal guests love about it (‘It’s 100 percent sand’; ‘You can hear the ocean!’) presage its cathartic end.

From Sandcastle Credit…Einat Tsarfati

 

“Democratic presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., join hands as they watch fireworks during the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention on Aug. 20, 2020, at the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware. Jill Biden is seen on the left.” (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary 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 plaque, next to rows of glimmering keys, reads “Solitude Hotel.”
  2. The eyes of the anthropomorphic innkeeper behind the desk are soulful.
  3. There are scenes that hover between fantasy and reality.
  4. Children will pore over this moody watercolor-soaked story.
  5. It contains within it a bright collage of weirdly wonderful dreams and nightmares,
  6. The story was written by Minh Lê and Illustrated by Dan Santat.
  7. The little girl embarks on nightly out of this world all-on-her-own adventures.
  8. The story is about  a young girl named Afiya  whose summer frock collects what she sees as she dances.
  9. The fun of this treasure trove begins with its tactile cover.
  10. The story includes  the  antics of the girl who built the sand castle.

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article.You are to choose from the options presented.

Children will pore/pour over this mode/moody watercolor-soaked story/stories of an introvert’s creative awakening, which contains wither/within it a bright/bitecollege/collage of weirdly/weird wonderful dreams and nightmares, while adults will covet/cover it as a work of art that speaks to their inner child.

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.  If  a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, mark it NA. If the statement is false  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. In the story I Dream of A Journey, By Akiko Miyakoshi, the name of the hotel is Solitude Hotel.
  2. The inn keeper in the story is very happy!
  3. In the story When You Look Up by Decur, there is a boy who believes the world exists only inside his baseball glove.
  4. The story Lift by by Minh Lê, concerns a girl who loves to push buttons.
  5. The girl in the story secretly snatches the old up button from the lobby trash,  and tapes it outside her Kitchen door.
  6. Every time she pushes the ‘button’  the girl embarks on nightly ‘out of this world’  all-on-her-own adventures.
  7. In A Story About Afiya by James Berry, the young girl’s name (Afiya) means  happiness in Swahili.
  8. The story focuses on Afiya’s dress and the various things that adhere to it.
  9. The illustrator Anna Cunha is Brazilian.
  10. In the story Lali’s Feather, we see that local birds disown the ‘lost’ feather Lali finds.

 

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: Answer the following questions from the article.

  1. Have you ever written a book for children?
  2. Have you thought about writing a book?
  3. Out of the books listed in the article which ones do you think kids would like the best?    Explain why.
  4. Make a list of topics that would be suitable for children in this day and age.
  5. After reading this article, 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

Extra Activity

Write A Children’s Book!

With your group (or alone) write a children’s book.

First, read: How to Write a Children’s Book Outline”

 

If Kids Return to School Masks Are Must!

“Crayola, Old Navy and Disney are among the brands making colorful masks for children. Child psychologists see this as a positive step toward “normalcy.” D. B. Taylor, The New York Times

Crayola-NBC news

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: This Year’s Must-Have Back-to-School Item: Masks for Children By Derrick B. Taylor, NYT

“Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule, ads offering discounts on backpacks, notebooks and pencils are beginning to pop up on television and online.

But this year, during a pandemic that has school officials agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen masks are appearing among the glue sticks and glitter as essential back-to-school items.

Crayola Masks – Credit- Crayola NYT

Companies like Crayola, Old Navy and Disney have begun selling colorful masks for children in packs of four and five as part of their back-to-school offerings… Dr. Andrew Adesman, the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, said the reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible…” Having child-friendly face masks in terms of fit and appeal are probably more part of the solution than the problem.”

Credit- Freepik

With the school year quickly approaching, schools across the United States are grappling with how to reopen — and whether they can reopen safely at all… There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks, especially among older children. A large study from South Korea found that children younger than 10 transmit the coronavirus much less often than adults, although the risk is not zero.

Credit- Krayola

Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found…The research does not necessarily prove that children are spreading the virus, but experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools…Though scientists and health authorities say that masks reduce the spread of the coronavirus, even adults can’t agree on wearing them.”

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“2020 Election Live Updates: Democratic convention speakers will include the Clintons and Obamas, along with Sanders and Kasich. The big names will be augmented by testimonials from “from voters of all kinds — delegates, parents, teachers, small-business owners, essential workers, activists and elected leaders,” culled from “1,000 crowdsourced videos,” officials with the convention’s organizing committee announced on Monday.” The New York Times

Democratic Convention Begins:  Monday August 17 — Ends Thursday August 20  Visit  The Democratic National Convention  Schedule Information Here

Congratulations! Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President!

Biden taps Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president-New York Times

“A former rival for the Democratic nomination, she will be the first woman of color to be nominated for national office by a major political party.” By A. Burns and K. Glueck, The New York Times

Joe Biden with his VP choice Kamala Harris

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: 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. Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule.
  2. But this school year there is a pandemic.
  3. School officials are agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen.
  4. Face masks are appearing as essential back-to-school items.
  5. The idea of colorful masks is all very bright if a little dystopian.
  6. Some educators feel child-friendly face masks  will appeal to kids.
  7. There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  8. It had been found that infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults.
  9. Experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools.
  10. More than half the states have issued mask requirements in recent weeks.

 

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. Masks was designed to help children adapt to the new normal.
  2. Fall is coming and some schools might open.
  3. This school year is during a pandemic.

II

  1. Schools have two major concerns.
  2. Some companies is making large quantities of masks for children.
  3. In addition, items such as face shields are being made for kids.

 

III

  1. It’s all very bright and colorful for kids.
  2. There  is concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  3. Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks.

 

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “The reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible.”
  2.   “The key to getting children to wear masks in school was to make them fun.”
  3. ” The company had designed its masks to help children adapt to the new normal and feel comfortable in school.”
  4. “The company had started making face coverings for families at the outset of the pandemic.”
  5. “Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks, “for kids to say, ‘I want that mask because it’s nicely designed.”

 

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. What are the two main concerns school officials have?
  2. Which three major companies are selling masks for children?
  3. In addition to masks what other items are being made for children to wear this fall?
  4. Dr. Andrew feels that face masks for kids should be viewed in what way?
  5. The article states, In most districts where students will be allowed to return to the classroom, they’ll do so with a requirement to wear masks or face coverings, though that directive is not universal.”
  6. In your opinion, should face masks be required for  some kids but not for all? Why or why not?
  7. The article states, Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found.”
  8. Do you think schools should reopen at all this year? Explain why.

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Webto support their arguments.

Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for children returning to school.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against children returning to school

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

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

Pros and Cons Scale

ANSWER KEY

Ways to Help Your Kids From Falling Behind in School

“As kids start school with more online learning, parents wonder whether they’ll ever catch up. Here’s how to set them up for success.” H. Burns, The New York Times

Credit- Sonia Pulido, The NYT

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: Worried Your Kid Is Falling Behind? You’re Not Alone, By Holly Burns, The New York Times

“The other day my mother gave me a book called ‘What Your Second Grader Should Know.’ A quick flip through it revealed that a few weeks from now, my son would need to label an insect’s thorax [and]discuss the role of Dolley Madison in the War of 1812.

In the wake of some serious distance learning burnout, the most educational thing we’d done all summer had been a contact-free library pickup of the latest ‘Captain Underpants.’ I suddenly wished we’d done a little more.

If you’re concerned that remote learning may have set your child back academically, brace yourself: It probably has… The question comes up constantly: When do we need to start panicking about our children falling behind?

Deborah Stipek, Ph.D., a professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Education, said that may not be the right question to ask. ‘I think a more useful one is, ‘How do we ensure that our children get the best possible opportunities to learn under these challenging circumstances?’

To gauge potential gaps in learning, said Britt Menzies, a preschool teacher in Atlanta, Ga., scatter informal tests throughout the day. ‘Have a child count their peas while they’re eating dinner,” she said. “See how many letters they recognize on a billboard… But don’t stress over hard-hitting academics for the pre-K set, said Emily Levitt, vice president of education for Sylvan Learning…Instead, weave in playful learning activities, like ‘baking sheets filled with lentils to give kids a multi-sensory way to trace shapes and numbers,’ she said.

‘Regardless of socioeconomic status, a household filled with anxiety and stress can be a major driver of kids falling behind’, said Bruce Fuller, Ph.D., a professor of education and public policy at U.C. Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education.

When parents lose their patience or don’t listen, said Dr. Fuller, children can start to shut down emotionally, in turn disengaging from reading and rich conversation inside the family.

That rings true for Lindsay Williams, an interior decorator in Madison, Wis., who said she’s dreading the pressure that comes with teaching her 6- and 9-year-old herself. ‘I’m terrified I’m going to screw my kids up, because I get so easily flustered and frustrated,’ she said…To ease the burden, Williams is thinking of forming a neighborhood learning co-op, so that she and a few other families can share the duties of teaching the material provided by the school. ‘Meeting regularly with a small, safe group of peers can be beneficial for the social-emotional health of both children and parents, said Dr. Fuller.'”

“The Democrats bowed to the realities of the pandemic and canceled the major in-person speeches that were still planned for their convention this month.” Reid J. Epstein and Katie Glueck/ The New York Times

“I’ve wanted to set an example as to how we should respond individually to this crisis,” Mr. Biden said at a fund-raiser on Wednesday. “Science matters.” ~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: 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 use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.

  1. The author stated that her son would need to label an insect’s thorax.
  2. The collective angst in some parenting circles has reached an intense agitation level.
  3. Many parents also  panic  at the thought of their kids failing in school.
  4. Schools want to ensure that kids receive the best education.
  5. Every child deserves the best opportunities to learn during these challenging times.
  6. Experts suggest that parents give kids informal tests throughout the day.
  7. Experts also suggest that parents try not to prompt kids to get a better picture of what skills they need to on.
  8. Educators state that kids will likely bounce  back very quickly when they go back to school.
  9. One parent stated that her 6-year-old, who has A.D.H.D., won’t flourish academically with remote instruction.
  10. Affluent parents are better situated to help or hire help for their kids working online.

 

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “I think a more useful one is, ‘How do we ensure that our children get the best possible opportunities to learn under these challenging circumstances?”
  2. “At home, board games are an easy way to reinforce turn-taking etiquette. Parents can also work on delaying gratification. If your child asks for a snack, stretch out the time between them asking and you giving it to them.”
  3. “Have a child count their peas while they’re eating dinner,” she said. “See how many letters they recognize on a billboard. Ask them what shapes are in that picture they drew.”
  4. “Weave in playful learning activities, like “baking sheets filled with lentils to give kids a multi-sensory way to trace shapes and numbers.”
  5. “She can’t read yet, so she can’t get through the computer work without assistance. She zones out if I’m not sitting next to her. And I can’t sit next to her all the time because I have three other children who need me.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Directions:  Use this advanced organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist with  finding  the main points from the article.

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. What does research show about children returning to school during Covid-19?
  2. According to Dr. Stipek, what question should we be asking about our children’s education?
  3. According to the article when do children learn the crucial social-emotional skills?
  4. What suggestions does Britt Menzies offer to help kids with potential learning gaps?
  5. What advice does  Emily Levitt offer to provide kids with a multi-sensory experience with shapes and numbers?
  6. Which group of kids face an even more difficult learning challenge?
  7. Dr. Stipek  suggests that parents of elementary school kids should look where for resources and guidance?
  8. Can you make  personal connections to this article? For example, if you have children (or know someone who does) is there a concern about kids falling behind in their school work?
  9. Can you think of ways to help parents and teachers help kids keep up with school work?

 

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