Category Archives: Education

How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in 2020

“Experts tips and tricks for helping your younglings think critically about what they see on TV and social media.” M. Herbst, Wired Magazine

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Raise Media-Savvy Kids in the Digital Age By Meghan Herbst, Wired

“What does it mean for a kid to be media literate? It sounds generally positive and important, like a good dental checkup or a flawless report card. The field is broad and definitions vary, but the main thrust of literacy education is to prepare our children to be adept at accessing, creating, and thinking critically about all types of media.

How We Parent

As parents, we can struggle to wrap our heads around a carousel of premium, user-friendly, and questionably educational media choices…Among millennials the first generation are now mothers—but their recollections of navigating AOL Instant Messenger and Napster as tweens haven’t necessarily prepared them to curate a child-friendly media diet in 2020.

According to the latest research, though, encouraging your children to think critically about the media they’re consuming is much more important than playing screen-time babysitter…Basic media literacy skills are like a second alphabet for the digital age, and fostering them in our children involves asking questions and being an active participant in their media consumption.

Here are some age-appropriate tips from a handful of media literacy experts who also happen to moonlight as parents…Developmental psychologists say that children younger than 7 or 8 simply can’t understand the persuasive intent behind commercials. Because of this cognitive limitation, media literacy efforts have long ignored this younger age group, focusing on middle and high school students instead.

image-Mama Natural

But media literacy, like any other skill, can benefit from a strong foundation in the early years, according to Faith Rogow, an expert in early childhood literacy and the founding president of the National Association for Media Literacy Education.  ‘It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use, inquiry, and reflection in the early years than it is to wait until they are defiant middle schoolers,’ Rogow says…You can also play the ‘What are they trying to sell?’ game with kids this age, Rogow says. During a commercial break, see who in the family can be the first to guess what the ad is trying to sell. Most of all, parents should be aware of their own media habits.

Image- ABC

At the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library in North Carolina, media literacy educator and doctoral student Jimmeka Anderson helped establish an ‘active reading’ program for young kids. ‘With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book,’ Anderson says. ‘As you go through the pictures in the book, you’re asking questions like, ‘What color is this bear? What do you think the bear is going to do?’ Anderson says this is a way to build media literacy skills beginning in preschool, equipping kids to become critical thinkers… Ian O’Byrne is a digital literacy researcher and former grade school teacher, but he also has two very accessible research subjects: his son, 9, and daughter, 4. O’Byrne, along with five other researcher-parents, conducted a study on an oft-overlooked branch of digital literacy—information security and algorithms, specifically how children interact with and understand them…He acknowledges that even most adults don’t fully comprehend what happens to our information online or on the internet of things, so getting a more thorough grasp of digital security and information-sharing is an important place for parents to start.

O’Byrne and his colleagues haven’t yet published their results, but he says they’ve found two effective strategies that stand out. The first is to find a teachable moment or ‘approach point’ to discuss these issues with your children.

For O’Byrne, the moment came when his son, who has a Google Hangouts account to keep in touch with his parents and a few select friends, was messaged by a complete stranger. He brought it to my attention and I said, ‘Look, this is what you need to be concerned about,’ and we talked about privacy and security,’ O’Byrne said.

Creating that situation is the second strategy. It can take the form of talking about something in the news or finding a good picture book or story, or even using a real-life situation your children are familiar with, like a playground, to discuss security concepts. The next time you snap a photo together at the park or a restaurant, try asking your child if it’s all right that you post it to social media. Use the opportunity to talk about who can see that photo and show them your privacy settings.

The [Tweens] Teens

Perhaps the most vulnerable period for children engaged with media are the much maligned teenage years. Teens are forming their identities, experimenting with and exposing themselves to all sorts of new experiences on their journey to adulthood.

At this stage, a lot of parents sign off from regulating their kids’ media consumption, but Anderson says this is a critical mistake.

Image- Wired

‘Parents have got to stick with them the whole way through,’ Anderson says. ‘That’s the age of identity development, when they’re trying to figure out who they are. If you’re trying to figure out who you are and you haven’t figured it out, media will tell you who you should be, or who you should try to be.’

Anderson started a program in 2011 called I Am Not the Media, a nonprofit that educates teens about media literacy and messaging.

She focuses particularly on marginalized communities, where representation in the media is often not positive and can influence teens’ perceptions of themselves…Parents should take on more of an advisory role during the teen years, she says.

It’s still important to have restrictions, but we’re not equipping them for the world if we shield them from it entirely.   Anderson suggests that parents work with their kids to come up with reasonable limits. Excessive social media use is linked to depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, so come to an agreement with your child about how much is too much. It’s also important to follow your kids’ social media accounts. ‘I can still engage with you and see the content that you’re posting, because if you can’t share it with me, you shouldn’t share it at all,’ Anderson says.

Image- Common Sense Media

Teens also engage more actively with news. A 2017 report by Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that promotes media education, found that among kids between age 10 and 18, 39 percent get their news from online sources, most often Facebook and YouTube.

Parents often don’t realize that their children are taking in news through these platforms, says Kelly Mendoza, the senior director of education programs at Common Sense Media. ‘It’s more difficult to determine fact versus fiction when it comes to social media.’

Only 44 percent of kids feel confident that they can tell fake news from real news, according to the same 2017 report.

In its curriculum for middle and high school students, Common Sense uses a technique called lateral reading. If you find a piece of information, you try to see if you can corroborate it with another source. Ideally, parents should encourage kids to verify information through trusted news outlets…On the flip side, kids in this age range trust news they hear from their parents more than any other source.

Across the board, experts agree that staying informed and media savvy as an adult is critical. If you don’t have a clue what’s going on in the run-up to the presidential election, or what the fluff Fortnite is all about, you’d be hard pressed to help your children understand it.

We’re more likely to believe things that we hear from our friends and family than from any random information source,” Anderson says. ‘So you are a form of media, and it’s important for you to vet the information that you’re sharing as well.’

The authoritarian ‘Because I said so’ refrain of old has been linked to lower academic performance and poor emotional regulation.”

Here are the books, apps, podcasts, and websites the experts recommend.

A guide to screens in moderation for busy families: The Art of Screen Time: How Your Family Can Balance Digital Media and Real Life by Anya Kamenetz

A non-Draconian guide to media for younger kids: Screen Time: How Electronic Media—From Baby Videos to Educational Software—Affects Your Young Child by Lisa Guernsey

An app created by the News Literacy Project that features a game quiz-style approach to teaching literacy on the go: Informable

A news app specifically curated for 7- to 10-year-olds: News-O-Matic

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

Pre-Reading Activity

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. What does it mean for a kid to be media literate?
  2. The main  force of literacy education is to prepare our children to be adept at  thinking critically about all types of media.
  3. Millennials, the first generation of digital users are now mothers and are not prepared to  curate a child-friendly media diet in 2020.
  4. Encouraging your children to think critically about the media is very important.
  5. Basic media literacy skills need to be fostered in our children.
  6. The ice cream was not at all edible.
  7. The jubilant ponytailed girl on the commercial was enjoying the gloop.
  8. Parents shouldn’t wait until their kids are defiant middle schoolers.
  9. Help kids by teaching them to take an active role in their consumption of pictures and other visual media.
  10. Perhaps the most vulnerable period for children engaged with media are the much maligned teenage years.

 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. According to the latest research parents should encourage children to think critically.
  2. Basic media literacy skills is like a second alphabet for the digital age.
  3. Here are some age-appropriate tips from a handful of media literacy experts.

II

  1. Media literacy, like any other skill, can benefit about a strong foundation in the early years.
  2. It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use in the early years.
  3. Most of all, parents should be aware of their own media habits.

III

  1. Think of it like driving, we’re not going to turn over the car keys to our toddlers.
  2. With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book.
  3. An way to build media literacy skills beginning in preschool.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  1. “Think of it like driving, We’re not going to turn over the car keys to our toddlers, so we aren’t exactly teaching them to drive yet, but they are learning about rules of the road from what we do.”
  2. With active reading, parents do not read the words in the book. “As you go through the pictures in the book, you’re asking questions like, ‘What color is this bear? What do you think the bear is going to do?’”
  3. “These algorithms make decisions about our lives…We started to wonder, when should we start talking to individuals about algorithms and power and about trust and truth in these tools? How do we explain this to our kids?”
  4. “Parents often don’t realize that their children are taking in news through these platforms.”

Discussion Questions 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.

According to the article at what age should parent begin teaching children about digital media?  Why?

When it comes to media literacy which age group is the most popular?  Why?

According to Faith Rogow, “It’s easier to help children develop habits around media use, inquiry, and reflection in the early years than it is to wait until they are defiant middle schoolers.”  Why does she make this statement?

Describe a game Rogow suggests playing with children at a young age.

According to the article, what is the most vulnerable period of a child’s life? What reasons are given for this vulnerability?

According to Jimmeka Anderson, “At this stage, a lot of parents sign off from regulating their kids’ media consumption, but Anderson says this is a critical mistake.”

What stage is Anderson referring to and what advice does she offer parents?

After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned. Name something that you did not understand.  Was there anything you felt should have been included in the article? Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Education, Technology

The Coronavirus: What We Need to Know

“Wuhan Coronavirus: A respiratory virus has spread from China to at least a dozen other countries, including the U.S. Here’s what you need to know.” R. C. Rabin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Travelers at a train station in Yichang, China, about 200 miles from Wuhan. Credit- CHINATOPIX, via Associated Press

 

Excerpt: What Is the Coronavirus? Symptoms, Treatment and Risks By Roni C. Rabin the New York Times

“An international outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel coronavirus has killed at least 132 people and sickened about 6,000, according to the Chinese health authorities. The outbreak began in Wuhan, China, apparently at a market selling live poultry, seafood and wild animals.

A woman checks her son’s forehead in Wuhan, China, on January 27, 2020:The Atlantic

Now the virus has turned up in more than a dozen other countries, including Japan, South Korea, France, Australia and the United States. Investigators in still other nations, and in several American states, are evaluating possible cases…Schools have been closed in affected regions. Major attractions, festivals and movie theaters have been closed down, and sales of tourist packages from China to other countries have been halted. Federal health officials are telling Americans not to visit the Wuhan area, and to avoid traveling to any part of China unless necessary. Some airlines are cutting back on flights to China because of low demand.

Spread of the Wuhan coronavirus in China- CNN

Five cases have been confirmed in the United States: one in Washington State; one in Chicago; one in Arizona; and two in California. All patients had recently traveled to China. More than 100 other patients are being tested.

But much is still unknown about the newly identified virus, including how easily it is transmitted and how often it causes severe disease that can lead to death…Here’s what we have learned so far about the virus and the outbreak.

What is a coronavirus?

model of a coronavirus -Credit NativeAntigen

Coronaviruses are named for the spikes that protrude from their membranes, which resemble the sun’s corona. They can infect both animals and people, and can cause illnesses of the respiratory tract, ranging from the common cold to dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS, which sickened thousands of people around the world — and killed nearly 800 — during an outbreak in 2003.

How dangerous is it?

police officer takes the temperature of a driver at a checkpoint on a street on the outskirts of Wuhan on January 27, 2020. :The Atlantic

Health officials around the world are alarmed, but it is hard to accurately assess the lethality of a new virus. On Thursday, the World Health Organization declined to declare the outbreak a global health emergency…’When we get a new infectious disease, we learn about the most severe cases first, the top of the pyramid as it were,’ said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center…By comparison, roughly 200,000 people are hospitalized with the flu each year in the United States, and about 35,000 people die. But while some scientists say the new virus appears to be less severe than other coronaviruses, like SARS and MERS, it is not clear whether the Chinese authorities have been fully transparent about the number of infections and deaths, or even whether these figures are being carefully tracked.

How is it transmitted?

Photo- Forbes

The Wuhan coronavirus is most likely transmitted through coughing and sneezing, as is the case with influenza and other respiratory viruses, Dr. Vaishampayan said…The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed 198 confirmed cases in Wuhan. Researchers found that 22 percent had direct exposure to the meat market, and 32 percent had contact with people who had a fever or respiratory disease. But roughly half had neither been to the market nor had contact with anyone who was sick… Researchers at Imperial College London estimated that in the current outbreak, each infected person has passed the virus to 2.6 other people, on average.

What treatment is available?

People wearing face masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus wait inside the Wuhan Red Cross Hospital on January 25, 2020. The Atlantic

The main treatment is supportive care, including making sure the patient is getting enough oxygen, and using a ventilator to push air into the lungs if necessary, Dr. Vaishampayan said. Patients should rest and drink plenty of fluids ‘while the immune system does its job and heals itself,’ she said.

No drugs have been approved for any coronavirus diseases, including the Wuhan coronavirus, though an antiviral medication called remdesivir appears to be effective in animals… Chinese officials are experimenting with at least one other H.I.V. drug to treat the infection.

What is the source of the outbreak?

Animals are the most likely primary source of the outbreak, but it is still not clear which animals. Past outbreaks of similar illnesses, including SARS, also are believed to have emerged from live animal markets.

But though the first patients sickened by the Wuhan coronavirus were thought to have contracted the disease at the market, the illness can also be transmitted from person to person.

What are the health authorities doing to contain the virus?

The Chinese authorities have closed off transportation links from and within Wuhan and other affected cities, encircling roughly 50 million people.

Large public gatherings and performances were banned in Wuhan, and the government announced that all residents were required to wear masks in public to help prevent the disease from spreading.

What are the symptoms of infection?

Source- Center for Disease Control and Prevention:USA Today

Symptoms include fever, severe cough and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Milder cases may resemble the flu or a bad cold, making detection difficult. The incubation period — the time from exposure to the onset of symptoms — is believed to be about two weeks.

I’m traveling to China. What can I do to protect myself?

A fully protected man checks out at the self-help machine of a supermarket in Wuhan on January 25, 2020. The Atlantic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned against all nonessential travel to China…Dr. Schaffner, of Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said travelers should practice ‘good hand hygiene’ — washing hands frequently and avoiding touching their faces — and maintain a distance from anyone who is coughing and sneezing. Travelers should monitor their health upon their return. If a cough or fever develops, call health providers before going in, so they can prepare and put protective measures in place.

Should I wear a mask?

People wearing masks in China. Londonpost

Wearing a surgical mask may somewhat protect you from infection in a crowd if there is an outbreak, but, generally, surgical masks are not close fitting enough to filter all the air you are breathing in.

Roads remain empty in Wuhan on January 27, 2020.

At the moment, the risk of infection with the new coronavirus in the United States — where there are only five confirmed cases so far — ‘is way too low to start wearing a face mask,’ Dr. Rabinowitz said. The risk is very, very low to the general public.”

RELATED: Fears of coronavirus fuel anti-Chinese racism. By Deanna Pan, Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. An international outbreak of respiratory illness has killed at least 132 people and sickened about 6,000.
  2. Now the virus has turned up in more than a dozen other countries.
  3. Investigators in still other nations, and in several American states, are evaluating possible cases.
  4. Five cases have been confirmed in the United States.
  5. One of the key questions is whether it can be transmitted by patients who have not yet shown any symptoms of illness themselves.
  6. Health officials around the world are alarmed, but it is hard to accurately assess the lethality of a new virus.
  7. When we get a new infectious disease, we learn about the most severe cases first.
  8. Some scientists say the new virus appears to be less severe than other coronaviruses.
  9. A close examination of one family, suggested that the virus was passed from one ill relative to six others.
  10. Epidemics caused by other members of the viral family, SARS and MERS, have had high death rates.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

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

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

An international outbreak___respiratory illness caused___ a novel coronavirus has killed ___least 132 people.

The outbreak began___ Wuhan, China, apparently ___a market selling live poultry, seafood and wild animals.

Investigators ___still other nations, and___ several American states, are evaluating possible cases.

Federal health officials are telling Americans not___visit the Wuhan area, and ___avoid traveling ___any part___China unless necessary.

Coronaviruses are named ___the spikes that protrude___ their membranes, which resemble the sun’s corona.

 

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. The outbreak began in Japan
  2. The coronavirus has killed at least 132 people and sickened about 6,000 so far.
  3. It appears that the outbreak started in a large crowed village.
  4. The virus has turned up in more than a dozen other countries, including Japan, South Korea, France, Australia and the United States.
  5. Federal health officials are telling Americans not to visit the Wuhan area, but it’s ok to visit other parts of China.
  6. Ten cases have been confirmed in the United States: one in Washington State; one in Chicago; one in Arizona; and two in California.
  7. The virus can only infect people.
  8. There are less severely infected people, and people who are infected who don’t get sick at all.
  9. The Wuhan coronavirus is most likely transmitted through coughing and sneezing.
  10. The main treatment is making sure the patient is getting enough oxygen, and using a ventilator to push air into the lungs if necessary.

III. Post Reading Activities

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

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion Questions 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 subjects mentioned.

  1. Before reading this article how much did you know about the coronavirus?
  2. Why do you think people are beginning to panic?
  3. According to the article, where exactly in Wuhan China did the coronavirus start?
  4. The article mentions an incident involving a hospital in Seoul, South Korea, in 2015, where one man with MERS transmitted it to 82 patients. Why is this a major concern today with the coronavirus?
  5. How is the coronavirus similar and different from other epidemics like SARS and MERS?
  6. How is the coronavirus transmitted?
  7. What precautions can people take to avoid getting the virus?
  8. Can you think of any additional ways people might protect themselves from contacting the virus?
  9. So far is there any treatment that can cure the virus?
  10. According to doctors, what are patients advised to do if they contact the virus?
  11. Do you think people in the U.S. and other countries  will act negatively towards  Chinese students or people from China? Why or why not?

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

The Tug of War Within the Deaf and the Hearing Communities

“Your whole life, they’ve been trying to take you away from me,” my father says to me, referring to the deaf community. But the deaf community could just as easily say the same about my father.” S. Katz, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Katherine Lam, NYT

Excerpt: Is There a Right Way to Be Deaf? By Sarah Katz, The New York Times

“More than 90 percent of deaf and hard-of-hearing children are born to hearing parents like mine, who have little to no experience interacting with deaf people. When it was discovered that I was profoundly deaf at six weeks old, my parents faced a common decision: Should they adapt themselves to their deaf child, learn sign language, and embrace deaf culture, or have their deaf child adapt to hearing culture, give her cochlear implants or hearing aids, and train her in the precarious art of lip-reading?

My parents chose the former, believing that sign language would provide me with equal access to the opportunities afforded my hearing twin brother. So, when I was 6 months old, my parents welcomed educators from a local deaf school into their home to give signing lessons. Over several months, my mother learned to sign with me…Using sign language, I communicated a lot — even more than my brother. But then something strange happened. I began speaking. Aloud. In English.

Dress pretty, you like?’ my mother recalls me asking her when I was around 3 years old. I did, it turned out, have residual hearing, as later tests confirmed.

But I spoke using classic American Sign Language word order, which involves a grammatical structure closer to French than English — And, although my mother knew that my syntax did not indicate limited cognitive ability, but rather an acute, developing awareness of the language, she began to wonder if sign language was the right choice after all. Was disregarding an aural-oral approach restricting my natural gift of gab?

After more research my parents found what they thought was a middle path. Rather than have me undergo cochlear implant surgery my parents hoped to supplement my sign language education with cued speech, a visual communication system invented in 1966 at Gallaudet University that functions as a supplement to speech-reading (only 30 percent of speech is visible on the lips)…Cued speech can be learned in just 48 hours. My mother was convinced that this bicultural-bilingual approach involving a combination of cued speech and sign language lessons could give me the best of both worlds: full visual access to English and the hearing community, and concurrent access to sign language and the deaf community.

But we apparently couldn’t have it both ways. When the educators from the local deaf school learned that my parents were considering cued speech, they became livid. ‘If you choose cued speech,’ my mother recalls one of them saying, ‘we’re not coming back here.’

In the deaf community, some feel that cued speech, like cochlear implants, threatens deaf culture because they believe it arises from a medical model of deafness, through which deafness is perceived as an undesirable trait that needs to be treated or cured.

A ‘social model,’ on the other hand, suggests that the environment must adapt to the deaf person, whose “natural language” is sign language. The educators even asked my parents to consider sending me to their residential program, where, surrounded by fluent signers, I would absorb sign language at a faster pace and have full exposure to deaf culture… My mother was stumped. On the one hand, she didn’t know if cued speech would work, but desperately wanted to succeed at finding a way to communicate with me quickly and effectively. On the other hand, she didn’t want me to be alienated from the deaf community. My father, however, was resolute: He would not send his child away.

Sign Language Chart-amazon

Together, they decided the promise of cued speech was worth the risk for at least a year at the nearby public school. If it didn’t work out, they would have the deaf school’s residential program as a fallback option.. Throughout my life, I’ve felt like the object of a constant tug of war between the deaf and hearing communities. Although I’m rewardingly self-employed, married and highly literate, I still struggle in hearing-centric environments… Well-meaning hearing people frequently insult me with ‘compliments’ about how well I’ve assimilated, like, ‘I can barely tell you’re deaf!’ (We call comments like these ‘audist’ — akin to ‘racist’ or ‘sexist’ — because they assume deaf people like me must speak aloud and sound like a hearing person to be deemed fortunate or successful.)

On the other hand, when I spend time with deaf friends, I’m often chided by them for not being more fluent in sign language, or otherwise embracing a more culturally deaf way of life. According to them, I’ve succumbed to audism by using my voice to speak more often than my hands, and cued speech to absorb information… I still hold out hope that the deaf and hearing communities will come to a compromise.”

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

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Some people are born deaf.
  2. The class studied aural anatomy yesterday.
  3. They reached an oral agreement.
  4. My mother was stumped by the response.
  5. Researchers look for ways to communicate effectively with deaf children.
  6. She didn’t want me to be alienated from the deaf community.
  7. I’m a 30-year-old who wears hearing aids.
  8. I’ve succumbed to audism by using my voice to speak
  9. She’s often chided by her  deaf friends for speaking.
  10. My father was resolute in his plans for me.

Color Vocabulary Map by Enchanted Learning

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

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

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

___the other hand, when I spend time ___deaf friends, I’m often chided ___them___not being more fluent ___sign language, or otherwise embracing a more culturally deaf way ___life.According ___them, I’ve succumbed ___audism___using my voice___speak more often than my hands, and cued speech___ absorb information.

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.

In the ___community, some feel that___speech, like ___implants, ___deaf ___because they believe it arises from a ___model of deafness, through which ___is perceived as an ___trait that needs to be ___or cured.

WORD LIST: treated, undesirable, deafness, medical, culture,  threatens, cochlear, cued, deaf,

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: 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 you or someone you know hearing impaired? If yes, can you describe your experiences with non-hearing people? What about your experiences with people who can hear?
  2. Why is the following comment.I can barely tell you’re deaf!” considered to be an insult to deaf people?
  3. Why did the author’s parents choose to have  her learn sign language?
  4. Why is the classic American Sign Language word order structure closer to French than English?
  5. According to the article what is the difference between cued speech and a social model?
  6. The author states, ‘When the educators from the local deaf school learned that my parents were considering cued speech, they became livid. ‘If you choose cued speech,’ my mother recalls one of them saying, ‘we’re not coming back here.’ Why were the educators angry?
  7. What problems does the author face with her friends in the deaf community?
  8. Who is Amy Crumrine, and what solution does she offer to the deaf and hearing communities?
  9. After reading this article name at least one new thing that you’ve learned about the deaf community. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.
  10. Create a list that of suggestions for ways the non-hearing and hearing people living together in a deaf community might work things out.
  11. As a group search the web and find famous people who are deaf. Write brief summaries of how they have handled being deaf. Share your findings with the class.

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

The Joy and Pain of Being Bilingual

“The bittersweet discovery that language, and the stories it carries, is not a straight path.” N. Sylvester, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: The Beauty of Being Bilingual, Natalia Sylvester, The New York Times

“My parents refused to let my sister and me forget how to speak Spanish by pretending they didn’t understand when we spoke English. Spanish was the only language we were allowed to speak in our one-bedroom apartment in Miami in the late 1980s.

We both graduated from English as a second language lessons in record time as kindergartners and first graders, and we longed to play and talk and live in English as if it were a shiny new toy…I’m most thankful that I can speak Spanish because it has allowed me to help others.

There was the young mother who wanted to know whether she could leave a cumbersome diaper bin aside at the register at Goodwill while she shopped. The cashier shook her head dismissively and said she didn’t understand. It wasn’t difficult to read the woman’s gestures — she was struggling to push her baby’s carriage while lugging the large box around the store. Even after I told the cashier what the woman was saying, her irritation was palpable. The air of judgment is one I’ve come to recognize: How dare this woman not speak English…”I don’t understand,’ she kept saying, though the mother’s gestures transcended language.

I choose not to understand is what she really meant…If you go back one generation, you’ll hear stories of people like my in-laws, whose teachers in Florida beat them for speaking in school the language they spoke at home.

Go back yet another generation and you’ll hear of the state-sanctioned racial terror inflicted on residents of Mexican descent in Texas in the late 1800s and early 1900s…Those whose parents tried to shield them from discrimination by not passing it on are often expected to be fluent in a language they never had the chance to forget.

Those of us who managed to hold on to it, despite the pressures to assimilate, know that our imperfect Spanish is a privilege we are often shamed for both inside and outside of our communities. And those of us who speak only Spanish are too often dismissed and worse, targeted — by women pushing shopping carts, by ICE raids, by gunmen with anti-immigrant manifestoes.

Their terror makes victims of us all…How do you translate fear to those you cannot trust? At a Costco Tire Center in Texas this week, a woman asked the man who had just helped me whether he spoke Spanish. He answered no, flatly… I volunteered to interpret. I found myself interpreting her words verbatim, forgetting to switch from the first person to the third…In her face I saw my friends, my mother, my grandmother and me, each of us with different degrees of Spanish and English, all rooted in a desire to feel accepted and understood.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  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. Those of us who grew up bilingual understand the complexities of embracing either language.
  2. My parents pretended that they didn’t understand  English.
  3. My mother feigned confusion anytime we slipped into English.
  4. I would let out exasperated sighs.
  5. She interrupted us to correct our grammar in Spanish.
  6. One day you’ll thank me, my mother retorted.
  7. The cashier shook her head dismissively and said she didn’t understand
  8. I found myself interpreting her words verbatim.
  9. The Latina woman was struggling and needed someone to interpret for her.
  10. “I don’t understand,” she kept saying, though the mother’s gestures transcended language.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

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

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

My parents refused___let my sister and me forget how___speak Spanish.

Spanish was the only language we were allowed ___ speak____our one-bedroom apartment ___Miami ___the late 1980s.

___kindergartners and first graders we longed ___play and talk and live___ English.

We would let out exasperated sighs ___having ___repeat ourselves ___Spanish.

 

Reading ComprehensionFill-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.

Those of us who’ve served as ___in everyday life know it’s a ___privilege.

You find ___in the in-between spaces of ___ but never the right ___to ___ them.

You hear the___of someone being ___in your voice, and the sound of someone being unseen in the ___.

WORD LIST:  silence, language,  express,  heard, sound ,  interpreters,  bittersweet, words, truths,

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use the  WH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: 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 you bilingual? If yes what languages do you speak?
  2. In your experience, is being bilingual a good thing or not?
  3. the author begins by stating, My parents refused to let my sister and me forget how to speak Spanish by pretending they didn’t understand when we spoke English. Spanish was the only language we were allowed to speak in our one-bedroom apartment in Miami in the late 1980s.”  Why did her parents forbid them to speak English at home? Did your parents do the same or did you grow up speaking both English and your native language?
  4. In her encounter with a cashier, the author states, “The air of judgment is one I’ve come to recognize: How dare this woman not speak English, how dare this other woman speak both English and Spanish.” Have you ever encountered people who were jealous of the fact that you are bilingual?
  5. Do you help others with English translation? Describe a situation when someone was grateful that you were there to help them.
  6. In general, do you feel that people here in the U.S  treat you differently because you’re bilingual?
  7. Should people who come to live in the U.S. learn English? Why?

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: Education, Social Issues | Tags:

The Extraordinary Jane Goodall Still Going Strong At 80!

“During her girlhood, Tarzan was her role model. When she realized how chimpanzee habitats were being destroyed, she turned into a crusader. At 85, she’s still preaching: ‘One million species are in danger of extinction…Just think logically. This planet has finite natural resources. And in some places, we’ve used them up faster than Mother Nature can replenish them.  D. Gelles, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Jane Goodall with Motambo, an orphan at the JGI Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center. Courtesy: The Jane Goodall Institute

Excerpt: Jane Goodall Keeps Going, With a Lot of Hope (and a Bit of Whiskey) David Gelles, NYT

“Jane Goodall nursed a glass of neat Irish whiskey. It was the end of a long day of public appearances, and her voice was giving out. That’s what Ms. Goodall does these days. She talks. To anyone who will listen. To children, chief executives and politicians. Her message is always the same: The forests are disappearing. The animals are going quiet. We’re running out of time.

Dr. Jane Goodall. Photo-New York Times

Ms. Goodall, the celebrated primatologist, was in New York as part of her ongoing efforts to raise money for her institute and its affiliates. The nonprofit organization raises money for conservation efforts across Africa, and works with local communities to promote economic self-sufficiency and improve public health. It’s proven to be an effective model for preserving chimpanzee habitats, yet Ms. Goodall is worried it’s not working fast enough.

Her faltering voice was the result of arduous travel and relentless campaigning. Yet her energy didn’t flag. For more than an hour, Ms. Goodall, 85, spoke about her family history, her unconventional career path and how business leaders — and consumers — can make a difference.

The following interview [conducted by David Gelles] was condensed and edited for clarity.

Where’s home for you these days? Mostly hotels and airplanes. But I’ve got a home in England. It’s that house I grew up in. It belonged to my grandmother, she left it to her three daughters and they left it to me and my sister.

What did your parents do for work? My father was an engineer. As soon as World War II was declared, he joined up and went to build Bailey bridges in Burma. My mum looked after us.

What was your first job? My very first job was with my aunt who was a physiotherapist. She had a clinic, and I would go there and take down the notes when the doctors were examining her patients. I learned a lot there about how lucky I was to be born healthy. And I’m so glad I grew up in the war. Children today, they take everything for granted. We had two little squares of chocolate — that was our ration for a week. One egg.

When did you know you wanted to make working with chimpanzees your life’s work? I don’t know that I thought of it quite like that. There was no thought of becoming a scientist, because girls weren’t scientists like that in those days. And actually, there weren’t really any men going out there, living in the wild. So my model was Tarzan.

How did you make it happen against such long odds? When I dreamed of Africa, everybody laughed at me at school. How would I do that? We didn’t have money. Africa was far away. It was the Dark Continent in those days, and I was just a girl. But my mom said, ‘f you really want this, you’re going to have to work really hard.’

When you finally got into the field, how did you approach the work? I didn’t have any academic training, and so I didn’t have this reductionist way of thinking. But fortunately I just applied common sense. I knew that to find out about the chimps, I would have to get their trust. And that took months. They ran away. They’re very conservative.

Did working with chimps teach you anything about humans? That we’ve been very arrogant in thinking that we’re so separate. Chimps turned out to be, not only behaviorally so like us, but also biologically like us, sharing 98.6 percent of DNA, similarities in immune system, blood composition, anatomy of the brain. We’re not, after all, separate from the animal kingdom. We’re part of it.

Did becoming an activist come naturally to you? No, I was very shy. It happened because I helped organize this conference in 1986. The purpose was to find out if chimp behavior might differ in different environments, or is it so innately chimp that you find it everywhere. But we also had a session on conservation. And in all of these sites, forests were going, chimp numbers were dropping. It was the beginning of the bush meat trade, of chimpanzees caught and wire snares, losing hand and feet. Poachers shooting mothers to steal babies to sell as pets overseas, or training for circuses…After seeing that secretly filmed footage from a medical research lab, I couldn’t sleep. I went to the conference as a scientist, and I left as an activist.

What have you found to be some effective strategies to promote conservation? When we went to find out about the chimps’ problems in Gombe, Tanzania, we also learned about the suffering of the people — poverty, lack of health care and education…So we set up micro credit, based on the work of Muhammad Yunus…We started restoring fertility to the overused farmland, bringing in better health education and family planning information.

Now they love us, and they have agreed to put up a buffer zone between Gombe and the villages, and now they’re creating corridors for the Gombe isolated chimps to interact with other chimpanzee groups. And if you fly over Gombe today, there are no bare hills anymore.

Jane Goodall always travels with a stuffed animal named Mr. H to remind her of the indomitable human spirit.

What’s your message to business leaders today? How can it make sense if we carry on in the way we are now, with business as usual, to have unlimited economic development on a planet with finite natural resources, and a growing population?

But consumers, at least if they’re not living in poverty, have an enormous role to play, too. If you don’t like the way the business does its business, don’t buy their products.

This is beginning to create change. People should think about the consequences of the little choices they make each day.”

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. Jane Goodall nursed a glass of neat Irish whiskey.
  2. Ms. Goodall is a  celebrated primatologist.
  3. Ms. Goodall was in New York as part of her ongoing efforts to raise money for her institute and its affiliates.
  4. Her institute is effective for preserving chimpanzee habitats.
  5. According to Ms. Goodall, one million species are in danger of extinction.
  6. Her faltering voice was the result of arduous travel and relentless campaigning.
  7. Ms. Goodall 85, spoke about her family history, her unconventional career.
  8. Her nonprofit organization works with local communities to promote economic self-sufficiency and improve public health.
  9. If any of the family doesn’t want to inherit the house, it can’t just be sold.
  10. Jane’s family used to get food parcels from Australia.

 

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. At 85, she’s still preach.
  2. It was the end of a long day of public appearances.
  3. Ms. Goodall talks to anyone who will listen.

II

  1. Her message is always the same: The forests are disappearing.
  2. Ms. Goodall is an celebrated primatologist.
  3. The nonprofit organization raises money for conservation efforts across Africa.

III

  1. One million species are in danger of extinction.
  2. Her faltering voice was the result of arduous travel.
  3. For more than an hour, Ms. Goodall spoke about her family history.

 

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. Jane Goodall is a primate.
  2. Ms. Goodall is  75 years old.
  3. She has a home in England.
  4. Jane’s father was an engineer during War II.
  5. Her mother served in the military.
  6. Jane has two  sisters.
  7. Her very first job was with an aunt who was a physiotherapist.
  8. Her uncle Rex, joined the air force and he was killed.
  9. Jane had a Masters in biology when she first began working with chimps.
  10. Some of the problems for the people  in Gombe, Tanzania, were poverty, lack of health care and education.

 

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use theWH-question format to discuss or to write the main points from the article.

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: 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. Jane states, “I’m so glad I grew up in the war.” Explain why she made this statement.
  2. How did Jane’s uncle die?  What effect did this have on Jane’s mother? Why?
  3. According to the article someone told Jane the following, “If you really want this, you’re going to have to work really hard. Take advantage of every opportunity, and don’t give up.” Who said this and why?
  4. According to Dr. Goodall, what did her work with chimps teach her about humans?
  5. Why did Jane’s mother send her to live with a German family? Do you think that Jane learned a lesson  from this experience? What?
  6. Would you like to be a primatologist? Please explain why or why not? 
  7. Describe how your country is (or is not) helping to conserve wild life and forests.
  8. List 3  questions that you would like to ask Dr. Goodall. Share the questions with the class.

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