Category Archives: Culture

Russians Threaten U.S. General Elections With Fake News (Again)

“The companies [Facebook and Twitter] said the F.B.I. had warned them that the Kremlin-backed Internet Research Agency set up a network of fake user accounts and a website.” S. Frenkel and J. Barnes, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Fake News Attacks Threaten 2020 Election. USA Today

Excerpt: Russians Again Targeting Americans With Disinformation, Facebook and Twitter WarnS. Frenkel and J. Barnes, The New York Times

“The Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election is at it again, using a network of fake accounts and a website set up to look like a left-wing news site, Facebook and Twitter said on Tuesday.

The disinformation campaign by the Kremlin-backed group, known as the Internet Research Agency, is the first public evidence that the agency is trying to repeat its efforts from four years ago and push voters away from the Democratic presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., to help Trump.

That Uplifting Tweet You Just Shared? A Russian Troll Sent It –Rolling Stone

Intelligence agencies have warned for months that Russia and other countries were actively trying to disrupt the November election, and that Russian intelligence agencies were feeding conspiracy theories designed to alienate Americans by laundering them through fringe sites and social media.

Now Facebook and Twitter are offering evidence of this meddling… Some American officials are worried about a broad effort by Russian intelligence to use fringe websites, spread conspiracy theories and sow division in the United States.

“Graphika leverages AI to reveal and study online communities. We are the best in the world at analyzing how online social networks form, evolve, and are manipulated.” Graphika.com

‘The Russians are trying harder to hide; they are increasingly putting up more and more layers of obfuscation,’ ” said Ben Nimmo, whose firm, Graphika, worked with Facebook to release a report on the fake site… Twitter said on Tuesday that it had suspended five accounts associated with Peace Data for platform manipulation…The accounts were low-quality and engaged in spamming activity, Twitter said, so they did not gain a widespread following or attract much attention.

Russian hackers and Trolls Grow Stealthier as U.S. 2020 Election Nears. The New York Times

Researchers are also concerned about homegrown disinformation campaigns, and the latest Russian effort went to some lengths to appear like it was made in the United States.

2020 General Election — Related Articles:

Russian fake news is back. Do these 4 things to help save the election from foreign interference  

“Just as our adversaries are launching a powerful and escalating attack on our democracy, we’re letting our guard down. We can and must be more vigilant.” The Boston Globe

Russia Doesn’t Have To Make Fake News’: Biggest Election Threat Is Closer To Home

“…National security officials say the Kremlin is at it again: Just like in 2016, Russia is using social media to try to undermine the U.S. presidential election, only with even more sophisticated tools. But this time around, Russia may not have to try so hard. Social media companies and outside experts say in 2020, the biggest threats to the election may be coming from Americans…” NPR

Yes, Russia is Interfering in the 2020 Election

“…In this charged environment, the fear is that Russians could advance news items or other misleading claims about fraud or problems at polls. This could stop people from voting at all…” Vox

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden as he hugs his wife Jill Biden after Winning the first presidential debate in Cleveland.(Win McNamee:Getty Images)

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden greet the audience after [winning] the first presidential debate in Cleveland.(Scott Olson:Getty Images)

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden’s thoughts on the first presidential debate:

During a campaign stop Wednesday at a train station in Alliance, Ohio, Democratic nominee Joe Biden said he would continue to participate in the debates, telling reporters that he is looking forward to them.

“I just hope there’s a way in which the debate commission can control the ability of us to answer the question without interruption,” Biden said.

The former vice president said it would make sense for the moderator to switch off Trump’s microphone during Biden’s turn and vice versa, providing each candidate with two minutes of uninterrupted speaking time.

 

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. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/?cid=rrpromo

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

KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about Russian Fake news interfering in the U.S. elections. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

 

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

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The Russians  are spreading disinformation.
  2. But the Peace Data site appeared to be a more worrying example of information laundering.
  3. The writer asked to remain anonymous.
  4. He said his articles for the website were barely edited.
  5. Bill Russo, a spokesman for the Biden campaign, said the Russian activity was proof of two immutable facts.
  6. Both Facebook and Twitter  have evidence of fake sites.
  7. There is proof that the Russians have been meddling in U.S.elections again.
  8. The Russians are increasingly putting up more and more layers of obfuscation.
  9. Facebook used the F.B.I. tip to identify the Peace Data accounts.
  10. The firm, Graphika, worked with Facebook to release a report on the fake site.

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,

  1. The Russian group that interfered___ the 2016 presidential election is___ it again.
  2. The disinformation campaign ___the Kremlin-backed group is known ___the Internet Research Agency.
  3. Now Facebook and Twitter are offering evidence ___this meddling.
  4. The group has been a less important part___ Russia’s operations this year, according ___two American intelligence officials, who spoke___ the condition___ anonymity.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “The Russians are trying harder to hide; they are increasingly putting up more and more layers of obfuscation.”
  2. “The goal appeared to be to drive people to the Peace Data site, which billed itself as a global news organization.”
  3. “The Russian activity was proof of two immutable facts: Russia is attempting to interfere in our elections on behalf of Trump, and Facebook’s platform is a key vector for these efforts.”

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: 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 names of the media social groups the Russians are targeting with false information?
  2. Why is the Kremlin-backed group trying to push voters away from Democratic Presidential candidate, Joseph R. Biden Jr.,?
  3. Why is the current administration trying to  control the flow of information about foreign threats to November’s election?
  4. Who did the Russians hire to interfere with the general election this year?
  5. What is the name of the fake site?
  6. According to the article, how many fake accounts associated with ‘Peace Data’ has Twitter suspended so far?
  7. Other than Russia, what other countries were discovered interfering with the U.S.  2020 general elections?
  8. 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

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

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

Museums Are Seeking Covid-19 Memorabilia

“Wanted: Artifacts that show how Americans navigated the Covid-19 crisis. The trick is determining what’s historically valuable.” A. Popescu, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt:How Will We Remember the Pandemic? Museums Are Already DecidingBy Adam Popescu, The New York Times

“Six-year-old Franklin Wong captured the simple frustrationof being a student in this city’s Unified School District in mid-March, after his classes were canceled. He wrote in big blocky letters: ‘ did not go anywhere,’ and added an unhappy face in green and red crayon for his remote-learning assignment.

Six-year-old Franklin Wong’s journal entry… It is in the collection of the Autry Museum of the American West.Credit- Franklin Wong

This may be the first time a first grader’s homework is headed to a permanent museum collection instead of a parent’s refrigerator door, a novelty that underscores how far into uncharted waters curators are sailing.

The Autry Museum of the American West, which recently acquired Franklin’s diary, is among the growing contingent of museums, academic institutions and historical societies from here to Bozeman, Mont., and Washington, D.C., that have begun recording this moment of collective uncertainty in the country’s war against the coronavirus…Museums are not just seeking artists’ works but everyone’s memories — the more personal, the better — in an effort that recalls the repositories of first-person testimony, along with material evidence and historical records, gathered by cultural institutions after Sept. 11.

Jake Sheiner, out of work since mid-March, has painted scenes of his home quarantine. They were collected by the University of Southern California Libraries.Credit- J. Sheiner,

But some scholars and historians point to today’s challenges of depicting an event authentically and from many angles when there is still no end in sight to the pandemic. And, they ask, when everything is an artifact, what is truly historically important — and just whose Covid stories are being told in these archives, and whose are not?…Organizers had a decade after Sept. 11 to assemble multiple views of history that would be examined in repositories culminating in the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero — and even longer to put together the many Holocaust Museums scattered across the globe…In the cases of Holocaust and September 11 museums, personal items represented the memories and traumas of everyday people. As institutions rush to bear witness to the pandemic, some historians ask, will they serve us all and account for the deep divides this virus has tapped?

Ruben Natal-San Miguel’s Toilet Paper Hoarder Manhattan NYC was submitted to the Museum of the City of New York‘s Credit- Ruben Natal-San Miguel

‘Museums are places where we convene to make sense of our shared human experience,’ said Martha S. Jones, a history professor at Johns Hopkins University. ‘Still, the burden, pain and grief of this pandemic are not being experienced in the same way across the nation’s many communities.’

Memories by Amber Ren, a virtual exhibition presented by the Eric Carle museum in Amherst, Mass.

Covid-19 has exposed a vein of bigotry toward Asian-Americans. It has been particularly virulent toward African-Americans, [Native-Americans on the reservations] and Latinos.”

 

Presidential Leader Joseph R. Biden and his advisers see 2020 largely playing out as a referendum on Trump. Credit- Kriston J.  Bethel for The New York Times

“We are a nation in pain, but we must not allow this pain to destroy us. We are a nation enraged, but we cannot allow our rage to consume us. Please stay safe. Please take care of each other.”~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.

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 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. People are collecting artifacts that show how Americans navigated the Covid-19 crisis.
  2. Six-year-old Franklin Wong’s journal entry was the first assignment he completed since his school closed.
  3. Franklin Wong captured the simple frustration of being a student in this city during the virus.
  4. This may be the first time a first grader’s homework is headed to a permanent museum collection.
  5. This is  a novelty that underscores how far into uncharted waters curators are sailing.
  6. Some people are donating their work to libraries.
  7. This is an effort to recall the repositories of first-person testimony.
  8. Some people are depicting important events from their lives.
  9. Many museums are seeking art from regular people and the requests have struck a chord.
  10. According to Bob McGinnis, the covid-19 experience focuses him on his mortality.

 

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.

But some/sum  scholars and historians point to todays/today’s challenges of/off depicting an event authentically/authentic  and from/form many angels/angles when there is still no end in sight/cite to the pandemic. And, they ask, when/wen everything is a/an artifact, what is truly historically/history important — and just whose Covid story/stories are being/bean told/tell in these archives, and who’s/whose are not?

 

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Read the following quotes (and actions) from  people in the article and see if you  can identify them.

  1. “I did not go anywhere.”
  2. “Museums have a responsibility to meet history head on.”
  3. He has been walking the streets snapping photos of his native Queens, sharing images with the Museum of the City of New York.
  4. He has painted scenes of his home quarantine. They were collected by the University of Southern California Libraries.
  5. “It brings into sharp focus my mortality.”
  6. “A successful museum of this kind should provide context and enable future visitors to understand the tenor and temper of the times, including inequities, racial and otherwise.”

 

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. Have you been keeping a journal, photos, or other types of remembrances  during this pandemic? Explain why?
  2. In your opinion is this a good idea?  Why or why not?
  3. Why did The Autry Museum of the American West, want Franklin  Franklin Wong’s journal?
  4. After what other major event in the U.S. did  cultural institutions seek artifacts and repositories of first-person testimony, along with material evidence?
  5. Several scholars and historians are stating some challenges of depicting an event authentically. What are they?
  6. Why did Bob McGinnis leave a three-page essay to to the Covid collection at the Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum in Canyon, Texas.
  7. After reading this article are you inspired to begin collecting memorabilia to give to museums? Why or why not?
  8. What new information have you learned from this article?

ANSWER KEY

Additional Exercise

Directions: Search the web and see if you can  find the various kinds of things people are giving to museums and other institutions. For example one man in the article left an essay he wrote to his family and  another left  photos he took in his community.

 

Category: Culture, Education, People | Tags:

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