Category Archives: Culture

So You’ve Kondo-ed Everything…Now What?

“If the ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ Netflix show inspired you to throw out the things that don’t ‘spark joy,’ here’s what to do with what’s left.” The Wirecutter Staff, The New York Times

Marie Kondo on Netflix

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Tidy Up After You’ve Kondo-ed Everything, The Wirecutter Staff, The New York Times

“If, like us, you’re obsessed with ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,’ you’ve probably been inspired to sort through mountains of your clothes, books, and papers, and fill countless trash bags with everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy.’ But getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job. Now you have to figure out how to tidy what you keep. 

Professional organizer Beth Penn of Bneato Barauthor of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life, said, ‘Organizing isn’t something that you arrive at, it’s something that is an ongoing process, something that you are constantly working on.’

Ms. Marie Kondo

Here are some of the best tips we gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show, with expert advice to help you stay neat after you’ve purged.

Once you’ve whittled your belongings down to a manageable amount, give each item a place to live. On her show, Ms. Kondo teaches clients to put items in drawers in a single layer — food storage containers are stacked on their sides with their lids on, while clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed… Remember, only shop for organizers after you’ve finished your purge so you know exactly what you have left to store.

Should you Kondo your kids? theaustralian.com

Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents to include children in the task of folding laundry. ‘Like reading a book, it’s a habit to fold clothes with my children,’ she said. Children mimic their parents’ tidying tasks, and even when their work needs to be redone neatly, they enjoy being involved. Getting children involved also means respecting what belongings make them happy.

Belongings that have meaning can’t spark joy when they’re boxed up in the garage. Instead, Ms. Kondo encourages her clients to decorate with their photos and sentimental items so they can enjoy them every day… If most of your family photos are digital, declutter your photo files and create a photo book for the coffee table with the best of them.”

 

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 Marie Kondo.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately,com

 

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. Many fans are obsessed with Marie Kondo’s show.
  2. The article provides tips they  gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show.
  3. You have to figure out how to tidy what you keep.
  4. Next, whittle your belongings down to a manageable amount.
  5. Clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed.
  6. Ms. Kondo also likes to compartmentalize items in to small boxes.
  7. Ms. Kondo tells people to only shop for organizers after they’ve finished  their purge.
  8. Storage space under the sink will keep everything visible and accessible.
  9. Some kids might balk at your attempts to declutter their belongings.
  10. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with clutter.

 

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

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.

While Ms. Kondo relies/rely on/in found boxes like empty jewelry box/boxes or shoe boxes for organizing/organize small items, at Wirecutter we’ve/we’re found that/this the right tool for the/an job works/work even better to maximize space and/because keep tidbits organize/organized.

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, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Marie Kondo teaches people how to cook Japanese dishes.
  2. Getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job.
  3. Marie Kondo’s show can be seen  on Hulu.
  4. Ms. Kondo’s show originated in Japan.
  5. Beth Penn is the  author of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life.
  6. The article provides some tips from Ms. Kondo’s show.
  7. Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents not to involve children in the task of folding laundry.
  8. Erin Boyle is Ms. Kondo’s assistant.
  9. Ms. Kondo’s parents watch her show.
  10. Marie Kondo is married with two children.

ASK/ANSWER QUESTIONS

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask Ms. Kondo. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture, Social Issues

Helping Pediatrics Dispel Myths About Gender Identity

“We’ve all seen news stories about schools attempting to grapple with gender identity issues in children and adolescents, from name changes to restroom policies. In many cases, educators have found themselves making it up as they go along in trying to serve these children — and so has the medical system.” P. Klass, M.D., The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

New guidance for care of Transgender children and teens.Image credit Medscape

Excerpt: Helping Pediatricians Care for Transgender Children PerriKlass, M.D., The New York Times

“This month, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out its first policy statement to guide people providing medical care for children and adolescents who are transgender or questioning their gender identity. 

It arose in part as a direct response to queries from pediatricians, parents and patients, said Dr. Cora Breuner, a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at Seattle Children’s Hospital…The goal of treatment is ‘understanding who each individual child is, and supporting them on that journey,’ said Dr. Jason Rafferty, a pediatrician and psychiatrist at Thundermist Health Center and Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Rhode Island, who was the lead author on the statement; he spoke of “creating a system where all children feel they have access to supportive and nonjudgmental care.’

Ellie, left, who is transgender, hugs her brother Ronnie. (Courtesy Ford family). Photo- Washington Post

Dr. Breuner said that ‘many times, when there are gender issues, we don’t have a road map.’ The statement puts forward a model of ‘gender-affirmative care,’ based in the idea that ‘variations in gender identity and expression are normal aspects of human diversity,’ and that mental health problems in these children arise from stigma and negative experiences, and can be prevented by a supportive family and environment — including health care. The term ‘gender diverse’ describes those whose gender identity does not match the sex they have been assigned, or the norms that are expected to go with that assignment.

Notes Blog – Boston Children’s Hospital

‘Gender identity is a brain thing, it’s your sense of whether you’re male or female in your head; it is independent of your body parts, it is independent of who are you attracted to,’ said Dr. John Steever, an adolescent medicine specialist and assistant professor of pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

‘People can have a sense of being male, female, both, somewhere in between, all of these are normal variations,” he said. ‘Just because they’re not very common doesn’t mean they’re abnormal, and my job is to help patients and parents understand all this.

The new A.A.P. statement tries to dispel a variety of myths about growing up with gender identity questions, Dr. Breuner said, such as the idea that parents should assume this is only a passing phase. ‘And still, colleagues look at me askance, say, ‘Isn’t this something they grow out of, I was taught that in medical school,’Dr. Breuner said. ‘So was I. It’s incorrect.’

And these issues sometimes emerge in relatively young children. Children may say that they don’t feel right in their bodies as young as 4 or 5, Dr. Breuner said, or may say more specifically something like, ‘even though I look like a boy, I feel like I’m a girl.’ Some adolescents will decide to pursue further interventions, medical or surgical, sometimes called transitioning.

‘I always tell parents I’m in no rush, I don’t have an agenda here,’ he said. Many kids, he said, feel much better after they start transitioning. On the other hand, ‘just because you start transition doesn’t mean it’s going to be always sunshine and rainbows — kids are going to need support.’

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.

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

 

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. It  can be difficult growing up with gender identity questions.
  2. The American Academy of Pediatrics tries to dispel myths.
  3. The guidelines  were written in part as a direct response to queries from pediatricians, parents and patients
  4. Dr. Jason Rafferty is  a pediatrician.
  5. Dr. Rafferty wants to create a system where all children feel they have access to supportive and nonjudgmental care.
  6. The goal of treatment is understanding who each individual child is.
  7. Just because they’re not very common doesn’t mean they’re abnormal.
  8. Growing up gender-diverse means children and adolescents are much more likely to be bullied.
  9. Dr. Breuner agreed, It’s the environment that endangers the child, she said, not the gender issues.
  10. More adults are also identifying as transgender.

 

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentencestaken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary

The biggest ___for doing a lot of this___is to try and ___ some of the traditional ___outcomes that ___or gender-nonconforming youth have ended up with,” Dr. Steever said. “We know that many of these___, if unsupported, have grown up and dealt with ___ ___ideation and attempts, substance use and abuse.

WORD LIST: suicidal, depression, people, transgender, horrible reason,work,prevent, 

 

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.

Growing up/out gender-diverse means child/children and adolescents are/is much more likely/likable to be bully/bullied and excluded, and their/they are at/on high risk for depression, suicidal thoughts and suicide. “The statistics are pretty stark,” Dr. Breuner said/say, “triple the/an rate of suicide, five times the risk of suicidal ideation, bullying, teasing, abuse. It’s just horror/horrific.”

 

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 for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. What would your reaction be if  your best friend told you that they were transgender?
  2. If there are transgender members in your group see if they’s like to share their experiences. 
  3. The article states,And these issues sometimes emerge in relatively young children. Children may say that they don’t feel right in their bodies as young as four  or five,  Dr. Breuner said, or may say more specifically something like, “even though I look like a boy, I feel like I’m a girl.”   In your opinion, can a young child really know and understand which gender they want to be? Provide reasons for your answer.

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.

ANSWER KEY

Refugees Give Gratitude and Thanks for First Thanksgiving In America

“Recently arrived refugees in the United States prepare to cook the most American of feasts… From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment to a new country.” By J. Moskin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Preparing for her first Thanksgiving dinner, Mayada Anjari roasted a turkey in her kitchen in Jersey City.CreditCreditChristina Holmes for The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  The First Thanksgiving By Julia Moskin, The New York Times

“Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching. After the family’s three-year journey as refugees from Syria, her sons — Hayan, Mohammed and Abdulrazaq — had just started school here; her husband, Ahmad Abdulhamid, was looking for work; She had cooked for the church group that sponsored the family’s resettlement…A new friend who was also Muslim gave her a turkey from a local halal butcher for Thanksgiving. Ms. Anjari cut it into pieces, covered it with water, and simmered it into soup with potatoes, carrots, ginger and cumin. Her family liked it, she said, but it didn’t seem very special to her. So she decided to take a test run at making her first Thanksgiving feast.

Members of the church’s refugee task force, which sponsored Ms. Anjari’s family for resettlement in the United States.Credit Christina Holmes for The New York Times

The [Anjari ] family left their home city, Homs, on March 31, 2013, when the daily violence of the civil war had made their lives untenable. They walked across the Jordan border in darkness, were picked up by the Jordanian military… They registered as refugees with the United Nations, so the boys could attend school, but the adults couldn’t work legally. Food and money were always scarce.

Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year — most of them families with young children — to resettle in the United States. Only people displaced by violence or the threat of violence (like asylum seekers) can apply; the program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations…So far in 2018, about 22,000 people have been allowed in, and just 50 of them were Syrian. Despite the continuing civil war and refugee crisis, Syria is one of seven countries from which the Trump administration has forbidden people to enter the United States.

On the State Department’s list of things that sponsors must provide immediately is a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family. Some sponsors interpret this in religious terms, and provide store-bought halal fried chicken or kosher pizza.

‘The culturally appropriate hot meal is simply the best federal regulation of all time,’ said Chris George, executive director of Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services, a New Haven agency that has resettled more than 6,000 refugees in Connecticut since 1982.

For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals Moambe Chicken (Poulet à la Moambé) Explorers Kitchen

For Congolese and Rwandan arrivals, volunteers have made chicken moambe, a braise with tomato, onion, peanut butter and rich red palm oil, a basic ingredient in those countries and for many, the taste of home. For an Eritrean mother and children, an Ethiopian family who had arrived earlier supplied a meal with injera, the soft, spongy flatbread that is a staple in both countries.

Afghanistan traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins

Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees, said the meal is particularly powerful for refugees who arrive after years of exile from their home country. Her welcome dinner included a traditional pulao of lamb and rice with raisins, and green tea spiced with saffron and cardamom, a brew specific to the mountainous Hindu Kush region that stretches across northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dima King, a native Russian practiced for his first Thanksgiving dinner by making a pumpkin pie.Credit An Rong Xu for The New York Times

 

Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution and legislation that have taken hold in his native Russia since 2013. He is cooking his first Thanksgiving dinner this year.

‘I understood it right away as a celebration of new Americans and Native Americans,’ he said. Holidays that celebrate a good harvest are universal, he said, but Thanksgiving also honors the practice of treating strangers with generosity, charity and humanity. ‘Of course, that is a holiday I want to cook for.’

Mr. King is a graduate of Emma’s Torch, a nonprofit restaurant in Red Hook, Brooklyn, that offers professional culinary training to resettled refugees; he is soon to start a job as a line cook at Temple Court, a chic restaurant in the financial district.”

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: Place students in groups, and ask them to list what they already know about Thanksgiving  in The United States.Since one refugee in this article speaks about the significance of the American Indians and Thanksgiving, you may wish to begin with this Wikipedia article for background information. 

Thanksgiving in the United States-Wikipedia

Next, have students look at the pictures in this  text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

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. The civil war had made their lives untenable.
  2. They registered as refugees with the United Nations.
  3. From the day of arrival, food is an integral part of adjustment.
  4. Food and money were always scarce.
  5. Chris George is a passionate advocate for refugees.
  6. The program is separate from other American immigration quotas and regulations.
  7. The vetting process for resettlement takes about two years.
  8. Sponsors must immediately provide a culturally appropriate meal for the family.
  9. Some sponsors stocked the family’s new kitchen with key ingredients.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year from Russia, is seeking asylum.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they  mark  it F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. Two years ago this month, Mayada Anjari was only dimly aware that a holiday was approaching.
  2. Mayada  Anjari’s family is from from Pakistan.
  3. The family left their home city, Homs in 2013.
  4. They registered as refugees with the  U.S. Refugee Camp so the boys could attend school.
  5. The children could attend school and  the adults could work legally.
  6. Working with the United Nations Refugee Agency, the Department of State brings a certain number of refugees each year.
  7. Sponsors must provide a ‘culturally appropriate’ meal for the family.
  8. Chris George is a refugee  at Integrated Refugees & Immigrants Services,  in New Haven.
  9. Fereshteh Ganjavi, who arrived from Afghanistan in 2013 and now works at Integrated Refugees.
  10. Dima King, who arrived in the United States last year, is seeking asylum because of the anti-gay persecution.

Grammar: Identifying English Articles

Directions: Have students choose the correct English articles (THE, A, AN)  from those provided to fill in the blanks.

By last fall, ___boys (now 14, 12 and 10) had learned about the Pilgrims.

Ms. Anjari had memorized ___two-mile walk to ___nearest store.

She had cooked for ___church group.

Fans of Ms. Anjari’s food helped her publish ___cookbook of Syrian recipes.

___daily violence of ___civil war had made their lives untenable.

From the day of arrival, food is ___integral part of adjustment to ___ new country.

Mr. George is ___passionate advocate. ___Eritrean mother and children arrived earlier in the year.

 

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 for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Are any students celebrating Thanksgiving for the first time in America?
  2. Have students discuss the ways Thanksgiving is regarded in their countries. 
  3. Students might  list some memories they personally associate with Thanksgiving.
  4. Students could create drawings of their families, food, or other items connected to Thanksgiving.
  5. Ask students to make a list of things for which they are thankful.

 

Additonal Activities

Groups could research and write short presentations or essays on the following topics:

The Wampanoag Indians are the tribe that had first contact with the Pilgrims. Compare that time when  they first met the Pilgrims in March 1621 to the problems the Tribe is now facing in November 2018. 

Visit: Where is the “Thanks” For the Mashpee Wampanoags?

Discover why some Native American Indians view Thanksgiving as a Day of Mourning.

Thanksgiving: National Day of Mourning for Native Americans 

One 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

Category: Culture | Tags: ,

Silicon Valley Nannies: Phone Police for Kids

“Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens. Even a little screen time can be so deeply addictive…But it’s very hard for a working adult to live at home without looking at a phone. And so, as with many aspirations and ideals, it’s easier to hire someone to do this. Enter the Silicon Valley nanny, who each day returns to the time before screens.” N. Bowles, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Silicon Valley parents are raising their kids tech free-Business Insider UK

Excerpt: Silicon Valley Nannies Are Phone Police for Kids —By Nellie Bowles, The New York Times

“Usually a day consists of me being allowed to take them to the park, introduce them to card games,” said Jordin Altmann, 24, a nanny in San Jose, of her charges…’Almost every parent I work for is very strong about the child not having any technical experience at all,’ Ms. Altmann said. ‘In the last two years, it’s become a very big deal.’

From Cupertino to San Francisco, a growing consensus has emerged that screen time is bad for kids. It follows that these parents are now asking nannies to keep phones, tablets, computers and TVs off and hidden at all times. Some are even producing no-phone contracts, which guarantee zero unauthorized screen exposure, for their nannies to sign.

Nanny Ad- PDX Parent

The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley. Vigilantes now post photos to parenting message boards of possible nannies using cellphones near children. Which is to say, the very people building these glowing hyper-stimulating portals have become increasingly terrified of them. And it has put their nannies in a strange position.

‘In the last year everything has changed,’ said Shannon Zimmerman, a nanny in San Jose who works for families that ban screen time. ‘Parents are now much more aware of the tech they’re giving their kids.  Now the parents will say ‘No screen time at all.’ Ms. Zimmerman likes these new rules, which she said harken back to a time when kids behaved better and knew how to play outside. Parents, though, find the rules harder to follow themselves Ms. Zimmerman said.

Silicon Valley UrbanSitter Nannies

‘Most parents come home, and they’re still glued to their phones, and they’re not listening to a word these kids are saying,’ Ms. Zimmerman said. ‘Now I’m the nanny ripping out the cords from the PlayStations.’

Parents are now asking nannies to sign stringent ‘no-phone use contracts,’ according to nannying agencies across the region. ‘The people who are closest to tech are the most strict about it at home,’ said Lynn Perkins, the C.E.O. of UrbanSitter, which she says has 500,000 sitters in the network throughout the United States.

The phone contracts basically stipulate that a nanny must agree not to use any screen, for any purpose, in front of the child.’ We do a lot of these phone contracts now, Ms. Perkins said.

‘We’re writing work agreements up in a different way to cover screen and tech use,’ said Julie Swales, who runs the Elizabeth Rose Agency, a high-end firm that staffs nannies and house managers for families in the region.

‘Typically now, the nanny is not allowed to use her phone for any private use.’ This can be tricky. These same parents often want updates through the day.

‘If the mom does call and the nanny picks up, it’s, ‘Well what are you doing that you can be on your phone?’ Ms. Swales said. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  Ask 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. Silicon Valley parents are increasingly obsessed with keeping their children away from screens.
  2. Nannies have  to sign stringent no-phone use contracts.
  3. These particular parents, after all, deeply understand the allure of screens.
  4. A growing consensus has emerged that screen time is bad for kids.
  5. The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley.
  6. Most parents come home, and they’re still glued to their phones.
  7. Some parents in Silicon Valley are embracing a more aggressive approach.
  8. Sometimes a nanny is perceived to be not paying enough attention to a child.
  9. The nanny spies are self-appointed.
  10. The forums, where parents post questions are now reckoning with public shaming and privacy issues.

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences  taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

We’re ___ work ___up in a different way to___screen and tech use, said Julie Swales, who runs the Elizabeth Rose Agency, a ___firm that staffs___and house managers for___ in the region. Typically now, the ___is not allowed to use her ___for any private use.

WORD LIST: nanny, agreements, high-end, phone, writing,  cover, nannies,  families, 

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.

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

The posts follow a pattern: A parent will take a photo ___a child accompanied ___an adult who is perceived ___be not paying enough attention, upload it ___one ___the private social networks like San Francisco’s Main Street Mamas, home___ thousands___ members, and ask: “Is this your nanny?”

Discussion/Comprehension Questions

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

  1. Have you ever worked as a nanny? If yes, describe your experience.
  2. Would you take a job as a nanny in Silicone Valley?  Why or why not?
  3. In your opinion, is it good practice to keep all screens away from children? Provide reasons for your answers.
  4. The article states,The fear of screens has reached the level of panic in Silicon Valley. Vigilantes now post photos to parenting message boards of possible nannies using cellphones near children. Which is to say, the very people building these glowing hyper-stimulating portals have become increasingly terrified of them. And it has put their nannies in a strange position.”  Do you think that some parents have gone too far? Explain your response.

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

To Mr. Rogers “A Beautiful Day” in the Neighborhood Included Telling The Truth to Kids

“It’s hard to imagine anyone sending hate mail to Fred Rogers, but there was one episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood that brought the beloved children’s TV star a bit of blowback: ‘He did an episode about Santa Claus,’ explains filmmaker Morgan Neville. ‘And he didn’t like the idea that there was somebody who snuck into your house in the middle of the night … so he told kids the truth … and a lot of parents wrote a lot of angry letters.’ Aimed at toddlers and preschoolers, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its nationwide debut in 1968 and aired for more than three decades. It’s now the subject of a new documentary called Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, directed by Neville.” M. Kelly, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

 

Mr. Rogers

Excerpt: Mister Rogers Talked Frankly With Kids About ‘Grown-Up’ Issues, By Mary Louise Kelly, NPR

“Santa aside, ‘Rogers generally flew under the radar’ Neville says, even when he was engaging kids in conversations that some adults considered well beyond their years. With a toy trolley, talking puppets and a simple set, the show had low production value, but the host was cutting edge, the filmmaker explains, in respecting the emotional intelligence of children; helping them grapple with ‘grown-up’ issues such as death, divorce and disturbing current events…”Most of us have a relationship with Fred Rogers that predates our memory …’ Neville says. ‘It’s very deep in us and he speaks to us almost like our own inner child.’

Trolley gets pulled over for speeding, has a few words, but soon gets on his way.

On being ‘cutting edge’ in respecting the emotional maturity of children: What he’s doing is not just providing joy for children but really trying to allay fear. When he looked at children what he realized is that most adults condescend to children.

Along with his trusty puppet, Daniel Tiger, Fred Rogers explained a complex world to kids in terms they could understand.

When bad things happen they say, ‘Don’t worry about it,’ or ‘It wasn’t anything.’ And kids are way too smart and intuitive to not know when those things are happening. So what he decided to do is to level with kids — to really speak to them honestly and say, ‘Yes something bad happened, but let me tell you why, and let me explain it in age-appropriate terms.’ Because he really felt that fear was was the most destructive force in our society.

Some Difficult Topics Mr. Rogers Discussed on His Show:

Mister Rogers invited Officer Clemmons to share a wading pool at a time when that could still be considered radical. John Beale:Focus Features

On the episode when Mr. Rogers invited an African-American police officer, played by François Clemmons, to rest his feet in a wading pool on a hot day. That’s his subtle way of saying: There’s nothing wrong with sharing a pool with a person of a different race.

[After Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1968] Fred knew that children would be home and they would know that this bad thing had happened. And so he quickly put together an episode that aired [ahead of the televised funeral] … where he could explain to people how to speak to their children about something as horrific as an assassination.

 

Fred Rogers

He did it again and again. He did things around the Challenger disaster, the Gulf War, 9/11, Reagan’s assassination attempt. … He really felt like it was in those moments he was really doing the best of what he wanted to do. That that’s when people really needed him.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 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 learning new vocabulary. 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:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they 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. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood had many interesting episodes.
  2. One particular episode brought the beloved children’s TV star a bit of blowback.
  3. Many times he engaged  kids in conversations that some adults considered well beyond their years.
  4. Mr. Rogers helped  them grapple with grown-up issues.
  5. Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood made its nationwide debut in 1968.
  6. The show has aired for more than three decades.
  7. What he’s doing is not just providing joy for children really trying to allay fear.
  8. Kids are  very smart and intuitive.
  9. He really felt that fear was was the most destructive force.
  10. Mr. Rogers was a profound, deep, willful and  intellectual person.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

 

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

Directions: The following sentences are from the article. Choose the correct word for each blank space from the word listor make up your own words.

He ___that ___was going to be this ___that was going to be___ and also that there were going to be generations of___being raised by this___ and somebody had to use ___to do something more than just sell ___and toys to kids.

WORD LIST:sugar, device,transformative, television, realized, device, children, television ,

 

Grammar: Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

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 for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following  questions.  Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. The article states, “[Mr. Rogers] in respecting the emotional intelligence of children helped  them grapple with ‘grown-up’ issues such as death, divorce and disturbing current events.” Do you think this was a good idea on the part of Mr. Rogers? Explain why or why not.
  2. The article further states that Mr. Rogers “really felt that fear was was the most destructive force in our society.” Do you agree with this statement? Do you think that fear is still a destructive force today? Explain your answer.
  3. With your group create a special neighborhood. Draw pictures of the way you think it would look. Describe the rules of the neighborhood (for example Mr. Rogers always made everyone feel accepted in his neighborhood).

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

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