Category Archives: Culture

Girls Are Tough… If Parents Allow Them To Be

“I was one of the first women in the San Francisco Fire Department. For more than a dozen years, I worked on a busy rig in a tough neighborhood where rundown houses caught fire easily and gangs fought with machetes and .22s…I expected people to question whether I had the physical ability to do the job… What I didn’t expect was the question I heard more than any other: ‘Aren’t you scared?’ Apparently, fear is expected of women.” C. Paul, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Women firefighters NYC. Photo-dnaino.com

Women firefighters NYC. Photo-dnaino.com

Excerpt: Why Do We Teach Girls That It’s Cute to Be Scared? By Caroline Paul, NYT

“…It was strange — and insulting — to have my courage doubted. I never heard my male colleagues asked this…This fear conditioning begins early. Many studies have shown that physical activity — sports, hiking, playing outdoors — is tied to girls’ self-esteem. And yet girls are often warned away from doing anything that involves a hint of risk…I spoke recently to a friend who admitted that she cautioned her daughter much more than her son. ‘But she’s very klutzy,’ the mom explained.

The Iron Workers union has many female members. ironworkers.org

The Iron Workers union has many female members. ironworkers.org

I wondered, wasn’t there a way even a klutzy child could take risks? My friend agreed there might be, but only halfheartedly, and I could see on her face that maternal instinct was sparring with feminism, and feminism was losing. I had been a klutzy child, too. I was also shy, and scared of many things: big kids, whatever might be under my bed at night, school. But I pored over National Geographic and Harriet the Spy. I knew all about Sir Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table, who wandered the countryside swearing oaths of bravery and honor. None of these characters talked about fear. They talked about courage, exploration and exciting deeds. 

Female boxers. sports.com

Female boxers. sports.com

So I biked down a steep country road (and hit a car). I sledded down an icy hill (and hit a tree). I don’t remember my parents freaking out; they seemed to understand that mishaps were part of childhood. I got a few stitches, and kept biking and sledding…

Women in combat. wgbh.org

Women in combat. wgbh.org

Nobody is saying that injuries are good, or that girls should be reckless. But risk taking is important… Fear becomes a go-to feminine trait, something girls are expected to feel and express at will… We need to embolden girls to master skills that at first appear difficult, even dangerous. When I worked as a firefighter, I was often scared. Of course I was. So were the men. But fear wasn’t a reason to quit. I put my fear where it belonged, behind my feelings of focus, confidence and courage. Then I headed, with my crew, into the burning building.”

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: 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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Tasks

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 was an insulting remark.
  2. Many of these activities  build self-esteem.
  3. Parents caution their daughters more than their sons.
  4. Her face  showed  the maternal instinct.
  5. I had been a klutzy child.
  6. They talked about courage and exploration.
  7. Mishaps were part of childhood.
  8. With each triumph over fear I gained confidence.
  9. I had been  discouraged from having adventures.
  10. My mom is an outlier

vocab Freeology

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. According to the author fear conditioning begins late in life.
  2. Studies have shown that  sports, hiking, and playing outdoors is tied to girls’ self-esteem.
  3. Only dads teach their sons to face their fears.
  4. Boys can be taught to fear things.
  5. The author states that she had been a klutzy child.
  6. The author is teaching her daughter to be courageous.
  7. According to one report girls may be more  likely than boys to try challenging physical activities.
  8. The author states that when a girl reaches adulthood it’s too late to teach her empowerment.
  9. We need to embolden girls to master skills that at first appear difficult.
  10. The author  was a police officer.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. We must chuck the insidious language of fear.
  2. When girls become woman, this fear manifests in timid decision making.
  3. Parents caution their daughters more than their sons.

II

  1. I was been a klutzy child.
  2. I was also shy and scared of many things.
  3. I knew all about Sir Lancelot and the Knights of the Round Table.

III

  1. Nobody is saying that injuries  is good.
  2. We are failing to prepare them for life.
  3. Fear wasn’t a reason to quit.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main idea and points from the article.

Main idea chart By Write Design

Main idea chart By Write Design

 

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

1. We must chuck the insidious language of fear (Be careful! That’s too scary!) and instead use the same terms we offer boys, of bravery and resilience. We need to embolden girls to master skills that at first appear difficult, even dangerous. And it’s not cute when a 10-year-old girl screeches, I’m too scared.”

2. Have group members choose one woman that they admire  and share with the class the reasons why they chose this woman.

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

Category: Culture

13-Year-old Hunts…With Her Eagle!

Ashol-Pan is a member of the Kazakh people in the Altai mountains of western Mongolia. What distinguishes Ashol-Pan from other 13-year-old girls is that she is a huntress and her partner is a huge golden eagle! She is believed to be the first female in Mongolia to take part in an activity reserved solely for men in the last 2,000 years. In addition, photographer Asher Svidensky captured breath-taking pictures of Ashol-Pan and her beautiful golden eagle.

Huntress Ashol-Pan. Photo- Asher Svidensky.

Huntress Ashol-Pan and her Golden eagle.Photo- Asher Svidensky.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Excerpt: A 13-year-old eagle huntress in Mongolia by William Kremer, BBC

“A photographer who snapped what could be the world’s only girl hunting with a golden eagle says watching her work was an amazing sight.
Most children, Asher Svidensky says, are a little intimidated by golden eagles. Kazakh boys in western Mongolia start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares at the age of 13, when the eagles sit heavily on their undeveloped arms. Svidensky, a photographer and travel writer, shot five boys learning the skill – and he also photographed Ashol-Pan.

Photo- Asher Svidensky.

Photo- Asher Svidensky.

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress…The skill of hunting with eagles, Svidensky says, lies in harnessing an unpredictable force of nature.

You don't really control the eagle.  Ashol-Pan Photo- Asher Svidensky

You don’t really control the eagle. Ashol-Pan Photo- Asher Svidensky

You don’t really control the eagle. You can try and make her hunt an animal – and then it’s a matter of nature. What will the eagle do? Will she make it? How will you get her back afterwards?
The eagles are not bred in captivity, but taken from nests at a young age. Female eaglets are chosen since they grow to a larger size –

The females grow large. Asher Svidensky.

The females grow large. Asher Svidensky.

Photo- Asher Svidensky.

Photo- Asher Svidensky.

a large adult might be as heavy as seven kilos, with a wingspan of over 230cm.
After years of service, on a spring morning, a hunter releases his mature eagle a final time, leaving a butchered sheep on the mountain as a farewell present. That’s how the Kazakh eagle hunters make sure that the eagles go back to nature and have their own strong newborns, for the sake of future generations.

13-year-old Ashol-Pan is shy. Photo- Asher Svidensky.

13-year-old Ashol-Pan is shy. Photo- Asher Svidensky.

He describes Ashol-Pan as a smiling, sweet and shy girl. His photographs of her engaging in what has been a male activity for around 2,000 years say something about Mongolia in the 21st Century.” Read more…

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video clip.

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

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Ask students to examine the titles of the post and of the actual article they are about to read. Then, have them  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article.

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use this  KWL chart from Michigan State University to list the information they already know about Mongolia, golden eagles, and hunting.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about these topics.

Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading copy

 

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

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. Most children are a little intimidated by golden eagles.
  2. Kazakh boys start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares.
  3. Today there are around 400 practicing falconers.
  4. A hunt begins with days of trekking on horseback.
  5. After a fox is spotted, riders charge towards it to flush it into the open.
  6. The skill of hunting with eagles  lies in harnessing an unpredictable force of nature.
  7. The eagles are not bred in captivity.
  8. Female eaglets are chosen since they grow to a larger size.
  9. Hunters make sure that the eagles go back to nature and have their own newborns, for the sake of future generations.
  10. The generation that will decide what will happen with every tradition.

Word Chart By 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. Ashol-Pan is from Thailand.
  2. According to the article Ashol-Pan could be the world’s only girl hunting with a golden eagle.
  3. The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are one of several groups that hunt with golden eagles.
  4. They hunt in summer, when the sun is warm for the eagles.
  5. According to the article the hunters don’t really control the eagle.
  6. Male eaglets are chosen since they grow to a larger size.
  7. After years of service a hunter releases his mature eagle back to nature.
  8. Golden eagles have at least 3 eaglets per year.
  9. Ashol-Pan is described as a smiling, and assertive.
  10. Her parents want her to become a doctor.

Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives to describe pictures
Directions:Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives. Students can share their stories with the class. For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar: Adjectives.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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?

KWL Chart
Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion/Writing Exercise

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer 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 following discussion topics.

  1. The article states, “The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people that hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practising falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress.” How would you put this into your own words?
  2. The Kazakhs use the golden eagles as a means of hunting for food. Can you think of other groups of people who use animals to assist in hunting?
  3. It states, “The skill of hunting with eagles, Svidensky says, lies in harnessing an unpredictable force of nature. “You don’t really control the eagle. You can try and make her hunt an animal – and then it’s a matter of nature. What will the eagle do? Will she make it? How will you get her back afterwards?” Based on this information, how difficult would it be to train a golden eagle to hunt? How long do you think it would take you to train an eagle?
  4. Have you ever hunted in your country? If yes, provide examples. If you have not, would you like to learn how to hunt? Provide reasons for why or why not.
  5. With your group research what life is like for a teen living in Mongolia today. For example, the types of homes, transportation, foods, clothing, and communication.

IV. Listening Activity

Video Clip: The Eagle Hunters of Mongolia

“This is a digital story about the art and sport of hunting with golden eagles in western Mongolia.” 

Pre-Listening

Listening for New Vocabulary or New Terms

Directions: Here is a list of words from the video. Have students find the meanings before they listen to the video. As students listen, they are to  check off the words and phrases as they hear them.

  1. Altai Mountains
  2. raptors
  3. formidable 
  4. predators
  5. utilized
  6. aggressive
  7. Marmots

video Link

While Listening Activities

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose from the options presented.

  1.  The  Altai Mountains is also the birthplace of the accident/ ancient art of falconry.
  2.  Today political borders/binders divide the region.
  3. The nomadic people that residence/reside here live as they always have in conjunction with the land and with nature.
  4. The people of the  Altai  maintain/mountain a strong and connected relationship with nature.
  5. The  Kazakhs like many, were persecuted for practicing their cultural/culture traditions.
  6. One of the highest expressions/express of the culture is the ancient art of eagle hunting.
  7. Golden eagles are  deployed/employed as they are the largest and most powerful of the raptures.
  8. With the wing span/sprain of up to 8 feet these formidable predators can weight up  to 5 kilograms.
  9.  It is the  male/female  golden eagle that is utilized as they are larger and more aggressive than their male counterparts.
  10. The eagle is fed/federal grown squirrel and marmot.

 Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of the Kazakhs changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion of them.

2. Did  you learn any new information?

3. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the Kazakhs.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture | Tags: ,

The Beauty of Global Christmas Festivities

It’s that time of the year when people world-wide celebrate Christmas. This is one of our favorite lessons on Christmas celebrations. The following article highlights six countries and their unique traditions for celebrating Christmas.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

U.S. President Obama and the  First Lady celebrate Christmas.

U.S. President Obama and the First Lady celebrate Christmas.

Excerpt: Six Christmas Traditions From Around the World, By Jane Margolies, The New York Times

“Christmas trees, Santa Claus and gingerbread lattes are all well and good. But with the homogenizing creep of Yuletide customs, travelers might well worry they’ll go to the trouble of getting somewhere new over the holidays only to find it’s just like everywhere else. Not the six places here. Each has its own way of celebrating Christmas, and with the festivities unfolding in plazas, parks and other public places, travelers are free to join right in.

Directions near Castleton in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England, where Christmas singing resounds in local caves. Credit- Jamie Duff:Press Association Images

Directions near Castleton in the Peak District in Derbyshire, England, where Christmas singing resounds in local caves. Credit- Jamie Duff:Press Association Images

Castleton, England

This pretty English village in Derbyshire’s Peak District is known for its walking paths and, high on a hill, the picturesque ruins of a Norman castle. It’s also home to four spectacular caverns bristling with stalagmites and stalactites. On weekends leading up to Christmas two of the caves offer caroling sing-alongs.The Basilica of the Nativity, on the place where Christ was born, in Bethlehem. Credit- Nasser Shiyoukhi:Associated Press

Jerusalem

In most parts of Israel, where Christians make up about 2 percent of the population, it’s business as usual on Dec. 24 and 25. But in this city where Jesus lived and died, Christmas is joyously celebrated in the Christian quarter of the Old City. Churches decorated with trees conduct nonstop services in many languages with Jews and Muslims often sitting in. Marching bands and bagpipers led by Arabian horses weave through the narrow streets to Manger Square, the plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity, which stands on the grotto where Jesus was born.

Sculptures made of radishes are shown at Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Credit- Judith Haden:DanitaDelimont.com

Sculptures made of radishes are shown at Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) in Oaxaca, Mexico. Credit- Judith Haden:DanitaDelimont.com

Oaxaca, Mexico

Posadas — door-to-door processions that re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter — and a parade with candlelit paper lanterns fill the streets of this city in southwestern Mexico… But the most awe-inspiring custom is the century-old competition known as the Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes) on the evening of Dec. 23. In the zócalo, the city’s central square, under a canopy of lights, farmers display elaborate sculptures — nativity scenes, robed kings, musicians — all carved out of the giant radishes grown locally.

Père and Mère Noël stroll the streets of Quebec City. Credit- Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

Père and Mère Noël stroll the streets of Quebec City. Credit- Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

Quebec City

 You would think temperatures in the teens and wind whipping off the St. Lawrence River would drive everyone indoors. But the 403-year-old capital of Quebec province revels in the outdoors at Christmastime, when stone buildings sparkle with lights. Fortify yourself with maple sugar pie from the Ferme Line & Steve Morency stand at Le Marché de Noel in the farmers’ market in the Old Port area.

Christmas lights decorate the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Credit Alseeandro Bianchi:Reuters

Christmas lights decorate the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. Credit Alseeandro Bianchi:Reuters

Rome

Although the larger-than-life nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square is under wraps until Dec. 24, when this year’s still-top-secret version will be unveiled just in time for the Pope’s midnight Mass, you can feast your eyes on the remarkably detailed 18th-century Neapolitan carved-wood crib… Piazza del Popolo, to see crib elements made of everything from coral to chocolate. Or just duck into any church or cathedral you happen by.

Farolitos, paper bags with votive candles inside, illuminate Taos, N.M. Credit- Walter Bibikov:DaniaDelimont.com

Farolitos, paper bags with votive candles inside, illuminate Taos, N.M. Credit- Walter Bibikov:DaniaDelimont.com

Taos, N.M.

Bonfires blaze nightly in the plazas, bringing a block-party vibe to this New Mexico town. Farolitos (brown paper bags lighted with votive candles) line streets, snaking past galleries and art studios… When the Spanish came here in the 17th century, they brought their culture, and today celebrations blend Catholic and Native American traditions.”

 

WISHING EVERYONE A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS!

~ESL VOICES~

A bauble on a Christmas tree By Kris De Curtis-Wikicommons

A bauble on a Christmas tree By Kris De Curtis-Wikicommons

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective: Students will read the article with a focus on improving reading comprehension and learning new vocabulary. In addition, students will express their personal views on the topic through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Tasks
Stimulating background knowledge

Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, to find out what they already know about Christmas celebrations in different countries. Next, have students look at the pictures in the article to generate ideas or words about the topic. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board.

Have students  use the UIE brainstorming chart (sample) for brainstorming the meanings of terms.Brainstorming chart by UIE copy

II. While Reading Tasks

 Vocabulary

Words In Context

  1.  This pretty English village in Derbyshire’s Peak District is known for … the picturesque ruins of a Norman castle.
  2. At Peak Cavern’s evening songfests participants sit inside the… cave — which has great acoustics — to belt out “We Three Kings” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.
  3. From Jerusalem, many people make the pilgrimage six miles south to Bethlehem…
  4. …the plaza outside the Basilica of the Nativity, which stands on the grotto where Jesus was born.
  5. Posadas — door-to-door processions that re-enact Mary and Joseph’s search for shelter…
  6. But the most awe-inspiring custom is the century-old competition known as the Noche de Rábanos…
  7. But the 403-year-old capital of Quebec province revels in the outdoors at Christmastime…
  8. Or just duck into any church or cathedral you happen by.
  9. …along with burlap-and-straw depictions of the Italian witch called La Befana, said to fly around on a broomstick at Epiphany…
  10. Bonfires blaze nightly in the plazas, bringing a block-party vibe to this New Mexico town.

Reading Comprehension

True / False/ NA

Directions:  The following statements were taken from the article.  If  a statement is true, students write (T) if  a statement is false they  write (F)  and  provide the correct answer from the article. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA

  1. Each country mentioned in the article has similar ways of celebrating Christmas.
  2. This pretty English village in Derbyshire’s Peak District is known for its walking paths.
  3. On weekends leading up to Christmas in Derbyshire’s Peak  people can  sing in the caves.
  4. From Bethlehem  many people make the pilgrimage six miles south to Jerusalem, to celebrate.
  5. In Oaxaca, Mexico, the most awe-inspiring custom is the century-old competition known as El  Día de los Muertos on the evening of Dec. 23.
  6.  Creations such as Nativity scenes, robed kings, musicians, are all carved out of the giant radishes grown locally.
  7. In Quebec City the 403-year-old capital of Quebec province revels in the outdoors at Christmastime.
  8. In Rome the larger-than-life nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square is under wraps until Dec. 24 … will be unveiled just in time for the Pope’s midnight Mass.
  9. La Befana, is an Italian santa  said to fly around on a broomstick at Epiphany, dropping down chimneys to leave candy or lumps of coal.
  10. In Taos, N.M. celebrations blend Catholic and Native American traditions.

•  Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

Directions: Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

 

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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/Writing Tasks 

Directions: Place students in groups and have them answer the following questions. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can choose to write an essay on one of the discussion topics.

  1. Describe how Christmas is celebrated in your country.
  2. Which celebration described in this article is your favorite? Explain why.
  3. List the similarities and differences  between the six celebrations.

 

Group Project:

Directions: Have students go to this site Santa’s Net  which has a large collection of traditions  from different countries.  Have each group choose a country that celebrates Christmas differently from the ones mentioned here, and describe that  country’s celebration.

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip:  First Lady Previews the 2012 White House Holiday Decorations

First Lady Michelle Obama welcomes military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children, to the White House for the first viewing of the 2012 holiday decorations.

While Listening Tasks

Sentence  Fill-ins

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose the words from the choices provided.

1. As First Lady, I think you all know that I have had the ___of traveling all across this country.

a. privilege

b. joy

c. honor

2. It’s a___ house.  I like it.

a. cold

b. cool

c. cozy

3. Our___ families truly represent the very best that this country has to offer.

a. merry

b. militia

c. military

4. You are just ___ focused parents.

a. phenomenal

b. phenomena

c. phenomenon

5. And then, there are our military kids.  You guys look ___today, and handsome and very clean.

a. gifted

b. glamorous

c. gorgeous

6. And we’re going to try to change that, because we’re going to have sugar and ___and stuff like that.

a. goo

b. glue

c. glute

7. And so many of you step up and handle your ___while mom or dad is away.  Right?  You do what you can do.

a. business

b. jobs

c. duties

8. And I just want you all to ___– all of you — just how proud we are.

a. understand

b. no

c. know

9. And that’s really why we wanted to___all of you here today — to say thank you.

a. include

b. invite

c. welcome

10. And we are also___ our military families with some very special decorations on the official White House Christmas tree that’s in the Blue Room.

a. honoring

b. welcoming

c. hosting

Post-Listening Tasks

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

  1. After listening to this video what do you think of Mrs. Obama plan to invite the children of military parents for fun activities at the White House?
  2. What is your personal opinion of Michelle Obama? Would you like to meet her?
  3. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the  First Lady or her staff members. Share them with the class.

ANSWER KEY: Christmas Traditions

 

World’s First Maya-Language Telenovela!

“Baktun” is the name of the first Mayan Soap Opera (Telenovela) ever created for the Maya language. It has all of the usual patterns of soaps: greed, betrayal, revenge, and unrequited love.  What is interesting is that they’ve incorporated historical Mayan beliefs and culture into the contemporary format.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Advert for

Advert for “Baktun”First Mayan Telenovela. Photo- Latina News.

Excerpt: A Culture Clings to Its Reflection…By Randal C. Archibold, The New York Times

“It might be the cleanest Mexican soap opera around. The passionate love scenes that are a staple of the genre were reduced, bowing to conservative local sensibilities, to a few pecks on the cheek and hand-holding as innocent as junior high schoolers on a first date.

It was not the only accommodation made by producers of what is considered the first “telenovela,” as soap operas are known here, entirely in an indigenous language, Maya, and with a story line rooted in the community.

Actress from “Baktún” Photo- Huffington Post.

Actress from “Baktún” Photo- Huffington Post.

For starters, María, the love interest, cannot bring herself to say “I am falling in love with you” when her beau-to-be, Jacinto, finally gets his act together. Because while phrases of desire like “I love you” are roughly translatable into Maya, it is trickier to express being “in love” in the language.Mayan actor Hilario Chi Canul. Photo- You Tube

“It’s more like ‘the heart of my heart is happy,’ ” said Hilario Chi Canul, a professor of Mayan language and culture. He also helped write the script and also plays the leading man in the telenovela, called “Baktun,” which makes its debut this month on Quintana Roo State public television.

Residents of the town of Tihosuco, Mexico, for a screening of the new Mayan language soap opera, or telenovela, called “Baktun.” Ginnette Riquelme for The New York Times.

Residents of the town of Tihosuco, Mexico, for a screening of the new Mayan language soap opera, or telenovela, called “Baktun.” Ginnette Riquelme for The New York Times.

But “Baktun” is as much a cultural journey as one of the heart, using a contemporary story line that blends Mayan ceremonies and beliefs with the tale of a young man who emigrates to New York City to work, distances himself from family and community — even becoming rusty in his language — and eventually returns and learns the value of preserving the community and not forgetting his roots. Or his childhood sweetheart, who has taken an interest in his brother.

Mayan ritual. Photo- Mirror News

Mayan ritual. Photo- Mirror News

Baktun (pronounced bak-TOON) refers to a megacycle of the Mayan Long Count calendar and was deliberately chosen as the title in light of the attention it received last December, when widespread misinterpretations fanned on the Internet led people to claim that the end of the world was nigh. In reality, one cycle ended and another began. In the telenovela’s case, the cycle is a metaphor for life’s ever-changing chapters.

At an ancient site in Guatemala, a group of Mayans held a sacred ritual to welcome December 21st, the end of their calendar cycle. Photo- China.org

At an ancient site in Guatemala, a group of Mayans held a sacred ritual to welcome December 21st, the end of their calendar cycle. Photo- China.org

Telenovelas are popular in the Mayan communities, too, but they are not presented in their language or their reality. Most members of the cast are residents of the town with little or no acting experience, smitten a bit with the star turn.  Entertainment offerings in Maya are sparse. There are occasional documentaries and Hollywood movies dubbed in Maya. A full-length telenovela, or any television drama for that matter, set in the Mayan world in Maya is unique, experts on Mexican soap operas said.

Still, Mr. Cárcamo and Mr. Chi Canul had to win the support of community elders, who were skeptical of outsiders but eventually were convinced by the idea of a Mayan story told by Mayans. But working in Maya and in a community where public displays of affection are frowned on presented stiff challenges as well; many staples taken for granted in telenovelas, like passionate love scenes, would offend the community.

One translation stumped them, so they simply avoided it. “New York” is referred to as “the far, faraway town.” What, is a York?”  Read more… 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective: Students will read 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 discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Predictions

Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Place students in groups and  have them read the title of the post, and of the actual article.  Then, have students  examine the photos. Based on these sources,  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 or thesaurus for assistance. Have students use this Vocabulary Word Chart by Against The Odds.

Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

Sentences

  1. The passionate love scenes that are a staple of the genre were reduced.
  2. It was not the only accommodation made by the producers.
  3. Soap operas are known here, entirely in an indigenous language.
  4. It has standard ingredients of the form: greed, betrayal, and family squabbles.
  5. It uses a contemporary story line that blends Mayan ceremonies and beliefs.
  6. It is the tale a young man who emigrates to New York City to work.
  7. In the telenovela’s case, the cycle is a metaphor for life’s ever-changing chapters.
  8. Telenovelas are popular in the Mayan communities.
  9. Most members of the cast are residents of the town.
  10.  Mr. Cárcamo and Mr. Chi Canul had to win the support of community elders, who were skeptical of outsiders.

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article. Have them skim the article to check their responses.

  1. It  mighty/might be the cleanest Mexican soap opera around.
  2. The passionate/passion love scenes were reduced.
  3. In the telenovela’s case, the cycle/circle  is a metaphor for life.
  4. Most members of the cast are residents/resident of the town.
  5. On a recent evening, Mr. Cárcamo show/showed some episodes of the drama.
  6. It’s better to speak/spoke English.

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video. As students listen to the video 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. This is the first telenovela entirely in an indigenous language.
  2. The passionate love scenes were portrayed by foreigners.
  3. Phrases such as “in love” were difficult to express.
  4. The story is about a young man who emigrates to New York City to work.
  5. The Maya people will make a lot of money from the telenovela.
  6. The movie that will be shown at film festivals, was shot in New York.
  7. Most members of the cast are residents of New York.
  8. It was estimated that 80 percent of the village speaks Maya as a first language.
  9. Mr. Cárcamo, wrote the script in Spanish and then adapted it with Mr. Chi Canul into Maya.
  10. The translation that stumped the actors was the word “New York”.

Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech

Directions: Students are to identify the noun words in the following paragraphs. Then they are to use these terms to create their own paragraphs about the Mayan telenovela. After have each group share their stories with the class.

“We wanted to show you could still be proudly Mayan even in this modern world with mass media and digital communication,” said Bruno Cárcamo, the veteran film and television producer who made the show and previously oversaw a documentary on fading indigenous languages in Mexico. “Telenovelas are popular in the Mayan communities, too, but they are not presented in their language or their reality.
The series, in 21 episodes and also packaged as a movie that will be shown at film festivals, was shot in this remote, historic village in Quintana Roo State, 140 miles southwest of Cancún and famed for a church left damaged from a 19th-century Mayan uprising.”

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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/Writing Exercise

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

  1. In the article professor Adrien J. Charlois states  “It’s very important that indigenous people are able to tell stories of their reality, not only in documentaries but in fictional formats.” Explain what he means in your own words.
  2. In your opinion, do you think the Mayan community will change in light of this new publicity? Provide reasons for your answers.
  3. Explain how using the Maya language for a soap opera might help the preserve the language.
  4. In the last part of the article it states, “One translation stumped them, so they simply avoided it. “New York” is referred to as “the far, faraway town.” What, is a York?”  New York City is famous, so why didn’t the Mayan actors recognize the name?
  5. What other indigenous languages can you think of that might be used for telenovelas?

1-Minute Free Writing

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.

IV. Listening Activity

Trailer: ‘Baktún’ You Tube

Note To Teachers: Because this trailer uses the Maya language with Spanish subtitles, the activity will not have a regular listening component.The students can answer the following questions based on what they see.

  1. What did you like or dislike about the trailer?
  2. After watching the trailer with your group members outline the story plot of the movie.
  3. What Genre is this movie? (Drama, Suspense, Thriller, Comedy, Horror, Love story).
  4. What rating would you give this film based on the trailer? (PG, PG-13, R)
  5. Based on the trailer would you go to see this movie? Would you recommend this movie to your friends?  Provide  reasons for your answers.

 Post-Listening Questions

With your group members make a list of questions that you would ask anyone connected to this film.

ANSWER KEY: Mayan Soap opera

Is Sibling Bullying As Damaging As Peer Bullying?

The issue of bullying  in schools and more recently in cyber space, have caused officials, parents, and concerned parties to take strong measures to help stop the relentless harassment  many students endure. One form of bullying rarely discussed is the type that occurs  among siblings, which many parents think is just a “normal rite of passage”. However, recent studies show that sibling bullying can have traumatic effects that last well into adulthood.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Bullying Siblings. Photo- The Winding Ascent.

Bullying Siblings. Photo- The Winding Ascent.

Excerpt: When the Bully Is a Sibling  By Anahad  O’Connor, The New York Times

“Siblings have been bickering and trading blows since the time of Cain and Abel. But the torment and fighting that is often shrugged off as normal sibling rivalry may not always be so benign.

Giuseppe Vermiglio, Cain and Abel, early 17th century.

Giuseppe Vermiglio, Cain and Abel, early 17th century.

New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can inflict psychological wounds as damaging as the anguish caused by bullies at school or on the playground. The findings offer an unusual look at an area of family life that has rarely been studied, in part because infighting among brothers and sisters is widely considered a harmless rite of passage.

5 tips to manage sibling rivalry. Photo- Focus forward.

5 tips to manage sibling rivalry. Photo- Focus forward.

 The new study, which involved thousands of children and adolescents around the country, found that those who were attacked, threatened or intimidated by a sibling had increased levels of depression, anger and anxiety.

Corinna Jenkins Tucker, the lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Pediatrics, said that behaviors among siblings that cross the line into abuse deserve more recognition…There appears to be different norms of acceptability. Peer aggression is unacceptable, but it’s not the same for siblings.

Verbal Abuse can damage. Photo- Mothering.

Verbal Abuse can damage. Photo- Mothering.

Dr. Tucker said that the growing number of programs and public service announcements aimed at stopping bullying and violence in schools and other settings should include a focus on sibling relationships as well.

Sibling Abuse Trauma By John V. Caffaro. Amazon

Sibling Abuse Trauma By John V. Caffaro. Amazon

 John V. Caffaro, a clinical psychologist and the author of “Sibling Abuse Trauma” [stated] Parents who fail to intervene, play favorites or give their children labels that sow divisions — like “the smart one” and “the athlete” — can inadvertently encourage conflict.

Nationwide, sibling violence is by far the most common form of family violence, occurring four to five times as frequently as spousal or parental child abuse, Dr. Caffaro said…Our society tends to minimize child-on-child violence in general. We have these ideas that if you’re hurt by a child it’s less injurious than if you’re hurt by an adult, but the data don’t support that.

But the new research, conducted through interviews with children and their parents, measured the impact of a broad range of violence. It looked at physical assaults with and without weapons and the destruction or stealing of property, as well as threats, name-calling and other forms of psychological intimidation.

Catherine Bradshaw, an expert on bullying and the deputy director of the Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence at Johns Hopkins University, said the study was impressive in its scope and scale, and noted that it showed that all types of sibling aggression, from mild to severe, were associated with worse mental health. “ Read more… 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

Objective: Students will read 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 of sibling bullying  through discussions and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about “ sibling bullying”.  Have them list information that they would like to learn about bullying. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic. Have students use this new K-W-L chart from ReadWriteThink.

New K-W-L Chart from Read Write Think

II. While Reading Activities

Synonyms

Directions: have students choose the synonyms (the words closest in meaning) for the words in bold. Students can use the Vocabulary Word Cluster Chart by Freeology as a guide.

Vocabulary word chart by Freeology

Sentences

1. Siblings have been bickering and trading blows since the time of Cain and Abel.

a. argue

b. joke

c. sing

2. But the torment and fighting may not always be so benign.

a. dangerous

b. kind

c. angry

3. New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can inflict psychological wounds.

a. calm behavior

b. violent behavior

c. nervous behavior

4. New research suggests that  aggression between siblings can inflict psychological wounds as damaging as the anguish caused by bullies at school.

a. happiness

b. sadness

c. suffering

5. The new study, which involved thousands of children  found that those who were intimidated by a sibling had increased levels of depression, anger and anxiety.

a-helped

b. frightened

c. encouraged

6. Behaviors that cross the line into abuse deserve more recognition.

a. acknowledgment

b.  disbelief

c. encouragement

7. There appears to be different norms of acceptability.

a. unusual

b. extraordinary

c. usual

8. Peer aggression is unacceptable.

a-unequal

b. equal

c. older

9. There are a growing number of programs and public services aimed at stopping bullying.

a. torment

b. befriend

c. help

10. The effects of sibling abuse often continue into adulthood.

a. cousin

b. sister or brother

c. aunt

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video.  As students listen to the video 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. Siblings have been bickering and trading blows since the time of Cain and Abel.
  2. New research suggests that as long as there are no there are no physical scars,  aggression between siblings is nothing to worry about.
  3. Infighting among brothers and sisters is widely considered a harmless rite of passage.
  4. The new study  involved thousands of  adults around the country.
  5. Siblings who have famous parents almost never fight.
  6. Peer aggression is unacceptable,  and it is the same for siblings.
  7. Nationwide, sibling violence is by far the most common form of family violence.
  8. For the new research, interviews  were conducted with children and their classmates.
  9. The effects of sibling abuse often  stop in adulthood.
  10. Boys have a tendency to fight more than girls.

Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives  to describe pictures

Directions: Have students choose a picture from this lesson and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of visit ESL Voices Grammar: Adjectives

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

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?

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

Review ESL Voices Modes of Essay Writing.

  1. If you have a sibling, were you bullied by your sibling? If yes, describe the circumstances. If no, explain the type of relationship you and your sibling had.
  2. Did you bully your younger brother or sister when you were young? Explain why you did or did not.
  3. If you are an only child, did you miss having a sibling when you were young?
  4. Provide reasons for your answers.
  5. With your group members make a list of reasons why siblings might bully one another.
  6. Make a list of solutions that might stop siblings from bullying each other.
  7. The article states, “New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression between siblings can inflict psychological wounds as damaging as the anguish caused by bullies at school or on the playground.”   How would you put this statement into your own words?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip:  Sibling Bullying as Damaging as Peer Bullying: Report ABC Good Morning America.

Introduction: Dr. Richard Besser discusses the dangers of bullying by a brother or sister on ABC news.

 While Listening Activities

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video.  As students listen to the video 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. Dr. Richard Besser is a psychiatrist..
  2. The study’s goal was to find out if the same effects occurred from sibling bullying as from peer bullying.
  3. Dr. Besser stated that he rarely asked parents about bullying in the  schools.
  4. Dr. Besser stated that children who bully their siblings are  usually the youngest.
  5. The research showed that bullying by siblings can be  more  damaging than peer bullying.
  6. Dr. Besser’s advice was for parents to have zero tolerance for bullying.
  7. He also stated that parents should not model violent behavior in the home.
  8. When parents see positive interaction between siblings they should separate them,
  9. When parents observe bullying between siblings they should should separate them.
  10. According to Dr. Besser he picked on his  brothers when they were young.
  11. He was the youngest brother of four siblings.
  12.  His Brothers are also doctors.

 Link for video here

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of sibling bullying changed in any way?   If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Did  you agree with everything the speaker said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with.  Explain why.

3. Do you feel different towards your sibling (if you used to fight, or were you always nice with your brothers or sisters) now?

4. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the Dr. Richard Besser.

ANSWER KEY:  Sibling Bullying