Category Archives: Education

Documentary “Reappraising Ernest Hemingway” Questions the Author’s Machismo

“Filmmaker Lynn Novick has joined Ken Burns to make a new six-hour documentary about  Ernest Hemingway for PBS. “Those of you who know Hemingway, or think you know Hemingway, will get a new aspect to it. Those of you who don’t, buckle your seatbelt!” K. Burns April 11, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961) poster by Alfred Eisenstaedt.

Note: Unless stated, all photos are from the book, Hemingway: A Life in Pictures By Boris Veidovsky (author) and Mariel Hemingway (author) October 27, 2011

Excerpt: Reappraising Ernest Hemingway, CBS News, April 11, 2021

“Filmmaker Lynn Novick, like a lot of us, first read Hemingway when she was in high school: “I was a little intimidated to pick up a book by Ernest Hemingway,” she said… Four decades later, Novick has joined Ken Burns to make a new six-hour documentary about Hemingway for PBS… We all know the Hemingway image, the very definition of macho: war correspondent, deep-sea fisherman, bullfighting aficionado, big-game hunter. Correspondent Mark Whitaker asked Novick, ‘Hemingway is so much the poster boy for toxic masculinity and misogyny and a little bit of racism kind of thrown in there, too.’

Ernest, [young] hunter in the grass, 1906

‘Yeah, well, you know, his public image is really a problem in a lot of ways, for this moment,’ she said. ‘I think a lot of us will look at a man who seems to be glorifying bullfighting and killing animals for sport, and being dominant in physical conquest, and having women be subservient to you. His public persona is challenging at best, and problematic.’

In Teruel, December 1937, by Robert Capa. Ernest was becoming a recognizable face of the war.

He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends…’That really, at times, characterizes Ernest Hemingway in all sorts of ways – he could be a real bitch!’ Burns said. The documentary examines Hemingway’s relationships with women, in real life and in the pages of his writing…He wants all of his four wives to cut their hair short, like boys. He wants to grow his long. He wants to change things up.’

Ernest Hemingway at his standing writing desk… near Malaga  (Photo by Loomis Dean:Getty Images)

In life, and in novels like The Garden of Eden (which was published after he died), Hemingway seemed to have a fascination with androgyny and sexual role reversals…Whitaker asked, ‘So ultimately, what are you trying to say? Like, does Papa Hemingway secretly want to be a Mama Hemingway?”I don’t think we really know that’ [replied Novick]…Hemingway led a vibrant life of worldwide fame and soaring literary success.

Ernest Hemingway standing with shot-gun indoors circa 1950s. (Photo by Foto search: Getty Images). Image provided by Getty Images.

But he was also haunted – by alcoholism, a family history of mental illness, and, as the new documentary lays out, a series of concussions suffered during war, accidents and plane crashes. It was a complicated life, and Ernest Hemingway died, by suicide, at the age of 61.”

 

ESL- Voices Lesson Plans: Four of Ernest Hemingway’s Classic stories:

 

Story: Indian Camp By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Indian Camp

Answer Key

Story:  The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife  By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: The Doctor and the Doctor’s Wife

Answer Key

Story: Soldier’s Home   By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Soldier’s Home

Answer Key

Story: Cat in The Rain  By Ernest Hemingway

Lesson Plan: Cat In The Rain 

Answer Key

Key Things to Know About COVID-19 Vaccines CDC

(Centers for Disease Control)

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 60 minutes.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about the author Ernest Hemingway.  Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class to list and discuss these ideas. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The headlines are filled these days with stories of so-called cancel culture, as history is reappraised.
  2. Hemingway was known for his display of confidence and overall tough guy machismo.
  3. Filmmaker Lynn Novick was a little intimidated to pick up a book by Ernest Hemingway.
  4. She was mesmerized by the writing and the characters and the world.
  5. Four decades later, Novick has joined Ken Burns to make  a documentary about Hemingway.
  6. He is described as  the seminal writer in the 20th century for Americans.
  7. Hemingway is so much the poster boy for toxic masculinity and misogyny.
  8. His public persona is challenging at best, and problematic.
  9. He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends.
  10. But he was also haunted – by alcoholism, and a family history of mental illness.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Lynn Novick have joined Ken Burns to make a new documentary about Hemingway.
  2. It follows their films on other not-so-small topics.
  3. Hemingway is the poster boy for toxic masculinity.

II

  1. His public image is really an problem in a lot of ways.
  2. He could be the life of the party, but also treacherous, to his friends.
  3. His third wife, Martha Gelhorn was also  a war correspondent.

III

  1. He is around because he means something as an artist.
  2. He really suffered a lot emotionally.
  3. Hemingway wanted his wife to be completely obedient.

 

Reading Comprehension Fill-ins

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

“We ___in an ___where a lot of ___figures of the past – most of them ___men – some ___are being taken down, their ___are being taken off of___. Writers are being taken out of curriculums. Why hasn’t ___been canceled? And why shouldn’t he be canceled?”

WORD LIST: Hemingway, powerful, live, statues, names, era, buildings, White,

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Have you read any stories by Ernest Hemingway? If so which ones?
  2. What do you know about Ernest Hemingway’s personal life?
  3. Why did Ken Burns describe Hemingway as the seminal writer in the 20th century for Americans?
  4. What does the phrase “cancel culture” mean?
  5. According to professor Marc Dudley why hasn’t Hemingway been canceled?
  6. In your opinion, should  Hemingway  be canceled?
  7. What personal problems did Hemingway suffer?
  8. How did Hemingway die?
  9. Write down three new ideas you’ve learned about the topic from this 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.

Additional Activities:

Using Pictures to tell a story

Directions: Place students in groups and have them view the various photos of Hemingway.  Each group writes a description paragraph or two explaining what they think the photos mean. Share the stories as a class.

Asking Questions

Directions: Place students in groups. Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask Hemingway or any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions as a class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Keep Achieving Job Success Virtually

“Plenty of offices will be empty until well into 2021, so there’s no time like the present to seek feedback from the boss and brush up on your skills.”  J. Weed, The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- The New York Times

 

Excerpt:  How to Keep Climbing the Ladder While You Work From Home, By Julie Weed — The New York Times (November 2, 2020)

“You’re stuck working from home, but does your career need to be stuck, too? Worried about keeping employees safe, many companies are pushing return-to-office dates deep into next year, so workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables. To keep progressing professionally, reach out for feedback, polish your skills and stay visible (on Zoom, Slack or however you keep in touch with your bosses).

Credit- Recursource

It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office, said Wonya Lucas, chief executive at Crown Media Family Networks, which owns the Hallmark Channel.  It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list, with quick check-ins to clarify or confirm directions.

Employees may wonder if they are checking in too frequently — or not enough — to make sure they are on the right track. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed (by Slack message, email or phone call), how often or under what circumstances, and with what level of detail.

‘Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you,’ said Elizabeth Umphress, a management professor at the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business.

‘Sending an email asking to meet about communications expectations gives them time to think about what they want,’ Dr. Umphress added, “and you can come to that conversation with ideas, too.’

Level Up Your Skills

Ask your manager what you should focus on improving or which skill he or she is using most right now, Ms. Lucas said. There are plenty of free or low-cost online classes, video tutorials and other resources on every aspect of the business world. It may even be beneficial to go back to school part time… Volunteer for tasks outside your job description to gain new knowledge and get in front of new groups, Ms. Lucas said. Experience and exposure go hand in hand…If you’ve made the effort to acquire a new skill or do some interesting research, offer to hold a ‘lunch and learn’ virtual meet-up to share your new knowledge and gain recognition that way.

Seek out employees with different job descriptions like marketing, finance, human resources and learn what they do. ‘You will always be judged on how well you do in your own area, but unless you understand how your group’s work fits into the company’s overall goals and strategy, you wont rise far,’ Ms. Lucas said.

Take advantage of the virtual break rooms, happy hours or lunchtime hangouts your company is hosting, to meet people, she said. Connecting with someone about a shared interest like sports or pets ‘can lead to the courage to ask that person to a virtual lunch,’ she added.

If Your Boss Doesn’t Support You

Gaining visibility can be especially challenging in a virtual workplace if your boss isn’t passing your good work up the chain or, worse, is taking credit for it. Ask to join the meeting where your work is being presented. Ask peers to speak up for you and acknowledge your contribution to the project.

Give Yourself a Break

If you do need to tread water at work, that’s OK, too. Careers can span 50 years, and for this moment, personal health may need to eclipse professional growth.”

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 60 minutes. 


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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

 

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. You’re stuck working from home.
  2. Workers face more months toiling from spare bedrooms and kitchen tables.
  3. It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.
  4. It’s also more important than ever to keep track of your to-do list.
  5. The simplest solution is to ask your manager how he or she wants to be briefed.
  6. Ask your manager under what circumstances you might talk to them.
  7. Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.
  8. If the time you’re saving on your commute travel hasn’t been subsumed by your children’s online schooling you might study improving your skills.
  9. Learn a new skill like wrangling complex PowerPoint presentations or wielding infographics software.
  10. Try to come up with one smart comment or provocative question in the meetings.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Your stuck working from home during the pandemic.
  2. To keep progressing reach out for feedback.
  3. Be sure to clarify or confirm directions.

II

  1. Employees should make sure they are on the right track.
  2. Ask your manager what you should focus on now.
  3. Getting started can sometimes take courage.

III

  1. Don’t be shy about asking a co-worker for help.
  2. People like to be noticed for there strengths.
  3. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “It’s OK to seek feedback more often now that people aren’t in the same office.”
  2. “Managers can be struggling, too, so they’re not necessarily thinking about you.”
  3. “Getting started can sometimes take courage. “Terrified of writing? Take a writing class!”
  4. Figure out the other person’s style and adapt to it, to communicate most effectively with them…Learn how to express empathy better, as well. “

II. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. What does the author suggest doing to keep progressing professionally?
  2. How do you make sure that you are on the right track with your boss?
  3. Where can you find classes and tutorials if you need to improve on a skill?
  4. Which skills are very important?
  5. What advice does Jean Choy give for communicating effectively with other people?
  6. What advice does Ms. Lucas give for engaging in online meetings?
  7. Name at least  three things you can do to gain new knowledge and exposure in your job.
  8. What can you do online to to meet people involved with your company?
  9. What advice does Dr. Umphress give to managers?
  10. How do you handle a boss who does not support your work?
  11. List 3  questions that you  would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Share questions as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Students Have First Day Jitters as Schools Reopen

“In recent weeks, a growing number of students across the country have set foot in their schools, some for the first time since last March. Here’s what they said it was like to return.” E. Durston, D. Levin and J. Kim, The New York Times, March 13, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

HiKing Joseph, 16 Lusher Charter School-Photo- Annie Flanagan for The New York Times

 

Excerpt: ‘I Was So Nervous’: Back to Class After a Year Online By Ellen Almer Durston, Dan Levin and Juliana Kim, The New York Times, March 13, 2021

“Maisie Robinson was so excited for her first day of kindergarten that she woke up at 2:30 a.m. to make her family breakfast. ‘Unfortunately, the cereal was kind of soggy by the time we got up,’  said her mother, Lindsey Post Robinson.

But that hardly dulled Maisie’s enthusiasm. She skipped to school last week in her purple coat, part of a wave of Chicago elementary school students who met their teachers and classmates in person for the first time.

A year into the coronavirus pandemic, many American students have been in their classrooms since last fall — frequently off and on, as outbreaks have forced quarantines and closures. But in several large cities, students have started returning to school buildings only in the last few weeks.

The lower grades were the first to go back in much of the country, bolstered by research showing that young children are the least likely to spread the virus or to suffer severe consequences from Covid-19…But gradually, a growing number of older students have been sliding back into their desks too…’It was like a whole new beginning,’ said Jzayla Sussmann, 18, a student at a charter high school in New Orleans. ‘I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep the night before.’

Many returning students — and their family members — shared that same anxiety and excitement as they waited for the alarm buzzer to announce their first day back…The students in Nathan Beaser’s  school are not allowed to socialize with one another at lunch, so for entertainment, the cafeteria staff puts on a television show. On Thursday, it was ‘Clifford the Big Red Dog.’

Nathan said he was not sure about returning to school when his parents signed him up for in-person classes. ‘I was a little scared because I didn’t want to get the virus,’ he said. ‘But I feel a lot better because of all the safety precautions. Like, just in case, we have tissues and hand sanitizer everywhere. And they take my temperature before I walk in and after lunch.’

Nathan’s parents are both physicians at the University of Chicago. ‘I know the precautions that have been taken, and I know it’s safe,’ said his mother, Anna Beaser. ‘I feel comfortable with the plan they have in place.’

On his first day back to school, HiKing Joseph was looking for the gym when he came upon some staff members and asked for directions… HiKing had attended school in person for one day last fall before deciding he would rather stay online…Since asking for directions on his first day back, HiKing has slowly begun to learn his way around the building. ‘It can be overwhelming at times,’ he said.

He especially enjoys his art classes. While learning remotely, he completed assignments alone and submitted a photo of the project. But at school, he said, he gets to see how his classmates are progressing around him.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 60 minutes.


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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Maisie Robinson was excited for her first day of kindergarten.
  2. Maisie’s enthusiasm was obvious.
  3. Outbreaks have forced quarantines and closures in many schools.
  4. Bolstered by research showing that young kids were least likely to spread the virus the lower grades were the first to open.
  5. Most of the city’s families, at all grade levels, continue to choose remote learning.
  6. In New Orleans, after a weeks long purgatory of remote learning, High school students were able to return to class.
  7. Parents are confident schools are constantly cleaning, wiping down toys and tables.
  8. Being deprived of social interaction has been difficult for many kids.
  9. Aaron Levinson  has cerebral palsy.
  10. The possibility of her school closing again dampened her enthusiasm.

   

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. HiKing has slowly begun to learn his way around the building.
  2. He especially enjoy his art classes.
  3. He gets to see how his classmates are progressing around him.

II

  1. Maisie’s enthusiasm for school was not dulled.
  2. The lower grades  was the first to go back.
  3. Elementary and special-needs students led the way in Chicago.

III

  1. New York City is the nation’s largest public school system.
  2. Many of them New York students spent a few weeks in classrooms last fall.
  3. Many students feel being in school is much better than learning from home on a computer.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1.  “It was like a whole new beginning…I was so nervous, I didn’t sleep the night before.”
  2. “I know so many people have been worried about these little ones wearing masks all day, but they have been fantastic.”
  3. “Being deprived of social interaction has been difficult for an outgoing child like Maisie.”
  4. “I was a little scared because I didn’t want to get the virus… But I feel a lot better because of all the safety precautions.”
  5. “It’s sort of surreal…You’ll realize you’re in class with only a few people, and everyone is wearing masks.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Why were lower grades the first to start school?
  2. According to the article, which two groups of students began school in Chicago?
  3. How do most of Chicago’s families feel about sending their kids back to school?
  4. According to the article when do New York City high schools plan to reopen?
  5. Why did five-year-old Sadie Santiago bring a long rope to school on her first day back?
  6. What items did Maisie Robinson pack for her second day of school?
  7. Describe how   Maisie Robinson’s classroom was arranged.
  8. In your opinion is this a safe arrangement for children in school? Explain why or why not.
  9. In South Loop Elementary School, how do the cafeteria staff entertain the students during lunchtime? What are some of the safety precautions the school takes?
  10. The article states, “Aaron Levinson, who has cerebral palsy, already considers himself a shy kid.” Why was Aaron so surprised and happy to return to school?
  11. Do you think it’s time for all schools in the U.S. to reopen? Why or why not?

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

2021: Can We Do Without Helicopter Parents on Zoom?

“With kids needing so much help in remote learning, we may be pushed to become the parents we never wanted to be.” D. Braff, New York Times, Sept. 28, 2020

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Delcan and Co

 

Excerpt: The New Helicopter Parents Are on Zoom By Danielle Braff, The New York Times  Sept. 28, 2020

“On the first day of remote learning, my daughter was nervous she’d press the wrong button. So I pulled up a chair next to her bedroom desk and she and I began third grade. The school has set up a system called Schoology, which connects every caregiver with their child’s schoolwork. Every time she (and I) submitted an assignment, my phone dinged, signaling that I may (and should?) check on her work… Welcome to e-learning, where some parents have become reluctant helicopters, circling their kids as they attempt to learn, helping them with their every move…Andrea Cordts Pastin, a senior content manager for an SEO agency, moved a video baby monitor next to her 6-year-old so she could listen to class as she works in another room. “We have to listen in to see if the teacher gives her instructions for the independent learning times,” she said…The issue is that most younger students tend to be unable to manage remote learning on their own regardless of the teacher’s proficiency, said Beyhan Farhadi, a postdoctoral visitor at York University in Toronto, who researches online learning, education policy and equity…It may be difficult for parents, but this helicoptering approach — deliberate or not — can be tough on teachers as well… Some parents chime in during class to offer lesson recommendations, said Natasha Brejnak, the parent of a first-grader at a Chicago public school…’Everyone has a preference for what more effective teaching would be and knows their child very well.”

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 60 minutes.


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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. On the first day of remote learning,  many children are nervous.
  2. Welcome to e-learning, where some parents have become reluctant helicopters.
  3. Many parents can be  found sitting adjacent to their children in front of the computers.
  4. Parents claim that instructions can be confusing for six-year-olds.
  5. Any independence children have developed has gone completely out the window.
  6. Grown-ups  will need to help with everything from getting the child logged on to solving any technical problems.
  7. We often underestimate the role of the adult in the room.
  8. Reluctant learners are less likely to advocate for themselves.
  9. Some parents chime in during class to offer lesson recommendations.
  10. In a virtual environment, the teacher is still responsible for instruction and guidance.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Some parents has become reluctant helicopters.
  2. Any independence she had built up has gone.
  3. A grown-up needs to help with everything.

 

II

  1. We often underestimate the role of the adult.
  2. Some parents sit on their kids all day.
  3. Riggs had been a part-time church choir director.

 

III

  1. Some parents chime on during class.
  2. Many teachers are grateful for all the help they receive from parents.
  3. Kids this age need to be redirected and encouraged.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “We have to listen in to see if the teacher gives her instructions for the independent learning times.”
  2. A grown-up will need to help with everything from getting the child logged on, redirecting them to focus, and solving any technical problems.”
  3. The first couple of days last week, I didn’t even eat or take a shower.”
  4. “Everyone has a preference for what more effective teaching would be and knows their child very well, but I feel that’s just not a realistic expectation…”
  5. “I know most of them are working remotely as they assist their child,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better group of helicopters.”

 

 Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1.  Why did the  author sit next to her kid during online school?
  2.  What does Schoology mean?
  3. Why do they call these parents “helicopter” parents?
  4. Why does Ms. Pastin leave a baby monitor next to her child when the 6-year-old is online in class?
  5. According to Ms. Pastin, why does this take away from her kid’s independence?
  6. According to Dr. Farhadi why is adult support needed for a child’s online learning experience?
  7.  Why would an adult be needed for play-based activities?
  8. What did the organization FlexJobs find out in their study of parents and job hours?
  9.  In general how do teachers feel about parents involvement in their children’s online schooling?
  10.  According to Ms. Brejnak, what is the major problem with parents being online with their kids?
  11.  How does teacher Lorena Rojas feel about parents involvement in online teaching?
  12. After reading the article, do you think ‘helicopter’ parents are helpful or a hindrance to online learning? Provide reasons for your answers.

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

2021: The Challenges of Learning and Teaching English Online

“Five million children in the U.S. rely on public schools to teach them English, and those kids have been hard hit by online schooling. Children learning English are more likely to struggle in school and drop out.” K. Cardoza, NPR, Feb. 24, 2021

Image: Andrea D’Aquino for NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt:Millions Of Kids Learn English At School. Teaching Them Remotely Hasn’t Been Easy.By Kavitha Cardoza, NPR, Feb. 24, 2021

“A year ago, the kindergartners learning English in Tanya Gan Lim’s class were thriving. Back then, she’d bring in props and pictures to help her students learn the language and sound out words. Then she’d lavish them with praise, even if they stumbled, to build their confidence.

Lim teaches in Prince George’s County Public Schools, just outside Washington, D.C. She is used to planning every minute of class, but that’s harder to do now that class time is punctuated with frozen screens, garbled audio and children wandering away from the camera. Sometimes, her kindergartners don’t have supplies…Needless to say, Lim’s job teaching English has gotten a lot harder during the pandemic. How much harder? Lim laughs and says she can’t quantify it. ‘Maybe 10 times?’

Among the challenges: There are fewer resources for teaching English learners remotely, and many English learners are less likely to have access to technology. Even in a school district like Prince George’s, which has distributed free devices and mobile Wi-Fi units, these children may not have support at home to navigate technology…When children are learning another language, she says, it’s important for them to see nuances of communication, such as facial expressions and other non-verbal signs. But those are also harder to make out on a screen.”

Related:

Good  Books To Inspire English Language Learners, Mayra Linares, NPR, December 17, 2016

“I grew up speaking Spanish, and I didn’t start learning English until I was in preschool. When it came to books, I struggled — like many ELL students — to connect with characters that didn’t look like me or speak my language…It wasn’t until Ms. Rueckert handed me a biography of Diego Rivera in the fourth grade that my relationship with books changed forever. I started to read for fun and not for a grade…Research shows that reading comprehension in ELL students gets a boost when kids are exposed to culturally relevant books…So, in that spirit, we’ve reached out to experts and scoured the blogs and asked authors what books they’d put in that big room. Here are five great examples.”Mayra Linares, NPR, December 17, 2016

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and Yangsook Choi

Names are an important part of our identity. Unhei’s classmates show their support as she decides whether to keep her Korean name or choose a completely new American one.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi and Yangsook Choi

 

Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing and Robert Casilla

Pablo spends quality time with his Mexican mom and Jewish father learning about their respective cultures through food. Instead of favoring one culture, Pablo chooses to celebrate both.

Jalapeno Bagels by Natasha Wing and Robert Casilla

 

Maximilian & The Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza

Whether it’s read in Spanish or English, Mexican traditions and pop culture shine in this book for older students.

Maximilian & The Mystery of the Guardian Angel- A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza

 

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 60 minutes.


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


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

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Tanya Gan Lim’s class was thriving before the epidemic.
  2. Back then, she’d bring in props and pictures to help her students learn English.
  3. Then she’d lavish them with praise.
  4. Ms. Gan wanted to build their confidence.
  5. Today, class time is punctuated with frozen screens, and garbled audio.
  6. Lim’s job teaching English has gotten a lot harder during the pandemic.
  7. Lim, is a former English learner herself.
  8. Lim worries about her students when they go to their  mainstream classrooms.
  9. When children are  learning another language it’s important for them to see nuances of communication.
  10. Ninth-grader Jimmy is self-conscious about his English skills.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. A year ago, the kindergartners learning English in Tanya Gan Lim’s class  was thriving.
  2. Lim teaches in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
  3. She is used to planning every minute of class.

II

  1. Sometimes, her kindergartners don’t have supplies.
  2. Children learning English is  more likely to struggle and drop out.
  3. Children may not have support at home to navigate technology.

III

  1. Lim is  a former English learner herself.
  2. Lim worries about her students when they go to their regular, online classes.
  3. Ninth-grader Jimmy are self-conscious about his English skills.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “This year, I only get to interact with my class for 30 minutes and then we log out and that’s it.”
  2. “He’s like my brother to me. He helped me a lot.”
  3. “Very few youth in our study could say they had one friend who was an English dominant speaker. Those friendships have been even harder to foster in the age of social distancing.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Before the pandemic, how was Tanya Gan Lim able to help her students learn English in the classroom?
  2. Because of the pandemic, what are some problems Ms. Lim  has teaching her students online?
  3. If you are an ESL teacher or student what challenges do you face with online classes?
  4. What are some of the challenges  of online learning for ESL students?
  5. Why does Lim worry about her students when they go to their  regular online classes?
  6. Do you think ESL classes will continue online? Why or why not?

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

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