Category Archives: Elections

TikTok Teens Prepare For 2020 Presidential Election!

“Teenagers are campaigning, debating, running fact checks and forming party-based coalitions (hype houses). One of them called it cable news for young people.” By T. Lorenz, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

TikTok Teens Get Political-

 

Excerpt:The Political Pundits of TikTok By Taylor Lorenz, The New York Times

“As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations about social media and the 2020 presidential election, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.

Teenagers in America — many of them too young to vote — are forming political coalitions on TikTok to campaign for their chosen candidates, post news updates and fact check opponents. They are sharing real-time commentary for an audience that is far more likely to watch YouTube videos than turn on a cable news channel.

In a sense, these TikTok users are building short-form TV networks, each with a cast of talking heads. On TikTok they’re called hype houses, named after the high-powered influencer collab house in Los Angeles. These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones represented by group accounts.

There are conservative-leaning houses… and liberal ones…There are also bipartisan houses, for users who love discourse, and undecided houses, for those who aren’t sure what or whom they love… In recent months, content on TikTok has been getting more political.

Many users are campaigning hard, especially because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3. ‘I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote’ Izzy, 17, said…Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election. Those who can’t have been taking political action in other ways, especially on social media.”

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden Laces Into Trump for Fanning ‘Flames of Hate’

“In a speech in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden assailed  [Trump’s] handling of the protests over police brutality and racial justice:  “Donald Trump has turned this country into a battlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears… Is this who we want to be? Is this what we want to pass on to our children and our grandchildren? Fear, anger, finger pointing, rather than the pursuit of happiness? ~ Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden~ June 3, 2020

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions:  Ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine.

 

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. As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.
  2. Young people are forming political coalitions on TikTok.
  3. These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones.
  4. There are conservative-leaning houses.
  5. There are liberal houses on TikTok.
  6. There are also bipartisan houses.
  7. Like YouTube’s commentators any of these creators have sought to replicate their success on TikTok.
  8. TikTok has struggled to prevent conspiracy theories from spreading.
  9. Many on TikTok debunk false theories.
  10. For many members of political hype houses, tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.

 

 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. Teenagers are campaigning, debating.
  2. They are sharing real-time commentary.
  3. These TikTok users is building short-form TV networks.

II

  1. Their are bipartisan houses for users who love discourse.
  2. TikTok is cable news for young people.
  3. TikToks  run a maximum of 60 seconds.

III

  1. Many users are campaigning hard because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3.
  2. For many tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.
  3. Political TikToks often rely on popular trends and dances.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. “I do feel like TikTok is cable news for young people.”
  2. I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote.”
  3. “A lot of political stuff is on Facebook and Twitter, but Gen Z isn’t really into that stuff.”
  4. [referring to the misinformation on the platform.] “Knowing that one million impressionable teens have seen this video and chosen to believe or not believe it.”
  5. “Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election.”

 

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. Are you a member of TikTok, Facebook or any other social media platform?
  2. If yes, what information do you provide? If no, would you consider becoming a member of any media platform?
  3. In your opinion, do you think teens getting involved in politics at an early age is a good idea? Provide reasons for your answer.
  4. Describe ‘Duetting’ on TikTok.
  5. What is a main concern for the majority of the members on TikTok?
  6. After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned.

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

 

Group Project Create An  Online Video Using TikTok

Directions: Have students go to the TikTok site and see if they can create a short video.Ultimate Tik Tok Guide – How to Tik Tok & How to Make a Tik Tok Video that Gets Likes

 

CNN and Sesame Street are refocusing their second town hall to address racism.

The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families’ will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET.

What Makes A Great Leader?

“Leadership may be hard to define, but in times of crisis it is easy to identify. As the pandemic has spread fear, disease and death, national leaders across the globe have been severely tested. Some have fallen short… but there are also those leaders who have risen to the moment, demonstrating resolve, courage, empathy, respect for science… and thereby dulling the impact of the disease on their people.” The New York Times Editorial Board

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand, giving a Covid-19 update on April 29. Credit…Pool photo by Mark Mitchell

 

Excerpt: In a Crisis, True Leaders Stand Out, By The New York Times Editorial Board

“The master class on how to respond belongs to Jacinda Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister of New Zealand.

On March 21, when New Zealand still had only 52 confirmed cases, she told her fellow citizens what guidelines the government would follow in ramping up its response. Her message was clear: ‘These decisions will place the most significant restrictions on New Zealanders’ movements in modern history. But it is our best chance to slow the virus and to save lives.’ And it was compassionate: ‘Please be strong, be kind and united against Covid-19.’ Ms. Ardern, a liberal, then joined with the conservative prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison, in shaping a joint effort that has all but eliminated the virus from their island nations.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and her Australian counterpart, Scott Morrison, in Sydney in February. Credit- Bianca De Marchi:

Other examples of countries where swift and decisive action helped allay the impact of the disease and unite the nation range from South Korea and Taiwan in Asia to Germany and Iceland in Europe. Women, a minority among the national leaders of the world, emerged among the most effective and reassuring of them.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany arriving for a coronavirus briefing.Credit…Pool photo by Markus Schreiber

Like Ms. Ardern, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany acted early and calmly, warning Germans that many of them would fall prey to the novel coronavirus, and quickly getting testing underway.

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan

President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan likewise responded at the first sign of the new danger, keeping the virus under control and enabling her to send millions of face masks to the United States and Europe…and Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, are other women who have earned plaudits at home and abroad for their handling of the crisis…

Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg

In Italy, the European country hardest hit by the pandemic, Giuseppe Contehas won respect for ordering stern measures and pledging that the state will take care of people…

Giuseppe Conte, Italian prime minister. Photo credit- Financial times

All these feats and figures, of course, require caveats. Germany’s relatively low mortality rate, for example, may reflect a far higher rate of testing than other countries, which makes for a greater number of people known to be infected and therefore a smaller percentage of virus-related deaths… A willingness to take quick and bold action, even when it carries political risk, is surely among the most important hallmarks of leadership in a crisis.

[However, several countries such as China and in particular the U.S. have demonstrated extremely poor leadership. It is now obvious that the actions by both governments proved disastrous for the people of those countries].

Other elements of effective leadership include a respect for science, transparent messaging, constant updating of the evidence and prompt assurance of financial support.  Beyond politics, economics and science lie qualities of character that can’t be faked.

 

Democratic President Elect Joe Biden 2020

“When I announced my campaign one year ago today, I said we were in a battle for the soul of the nation. One year later, that is as true as it has ever been. I believe we can and we will emerge from this crisis a stronger, better, and fairer nation. Together, as one America.”

~Democratic Presidential Candidate ‘Leader’ Joe Biden~

U.S. Presidential Election: VOTE NOVEMBER 3,  2020

Related: Joe Biden’s Strengths Match the Nation’s Needs in these Troubled Times

“A return to normality requires an able political adult in the White House.” Scot Lehigh, The 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.

 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. Leadership may be hard to define.
  2. The pandemic has spread fear, disease and death.
  3. In times of crisis it is easy to identify a true leader.
  4. A true leader will demonstrate resolve, courage and empathy.
  5. Leaders are compassionate.
  6. Several countries made swift and decisive actions.
  7. Women leaders were most effective.
  8. They reassured the people.
  9. All these feats and figures, of course, require caveats.
  10. Women have earned plaudits at home and abroad for their handling of the crisis.

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,

The master class ___how___respond belongs ___ Jacinda Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister ___New Zealand.

President Tsai Ing-wen ___Taiwan likewise responded ___the first sign___the new danger.

Leadership may be hard ___ define, but___times___crisis it is easy ___ identify.

Germany’s relatively low mortality rate, ___example, may reflect a far higher rate ___testing than other countries.

 

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. Leadership may be hard to define, but in times of crisis it is easy to identify.
  2. The master class on how to respond belongs to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
  3. Prime Mnister Jacinda Ardern said. “Please be strong, be kind and united against Covid-19.”
  4. Ms. Ardern, a liberal, then joined with the liberal prime minister of Australia, Scott Morrison.
  5. Two other examples of countries where swift and decisive action helped allay the impact of the disease and unite the nation were North Korea and Malaysia.
  6. Ms. Ardern has three children.
  7. Women, a majority  among the national leaders of the world, emerged among the most effective and reassuring of them.
  8. The world leader with a background as a scientist is Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.
  9. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said, “Take good care of yourselves and your loved ones.”
  10. Two countries mentioned in the article as having the  worst leadership were the U.S. and China.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

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: 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. In your opinion, what makes a person a great leader?
  2. Create a list of qualities that would describe a great leader.
  3. Have you ever been in a position of leadership? Describe your experience including the challenges and how you over came them. What did your experience teach you?
  4. After reading the article make a list of the leaders (local or global) that you think handled the coronavirus pandemic most effectively.
  5. The article states, “The master class on how to respond belongs to Jacinda Ardern, the 39-year-old prime minister of New Zealand.” Why do you think Prime Minister Ardern is referred to as  being in the  ‘master class’? Do you agree? Why?
  6. In the article, most of the effective leaders are women. Did this surprise you? Explain why or why not.
  7. What new information have you learned after reading this article?

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Additional Project: Creating Online videos 

School Tube:  students can create their own individual videos or arrange group projects with the teacher’s  support.  New discussions on COVID-19.

School Tube. http://www.schooltube.com/

We Can’t Let the Coronavirus Postpone Elections

“The integrity of the election is critical to the legitimacy of the nation’s next leader, and never more than in this hazardous moment. It’s essential that every eligible voter has an opportunity to cast a ballot, and that every vote is counted. Voting by mail is key to ensuring the integrity and accessibility of November’s vote.” – New York Times Editorial Board

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Credit…Nicholas Konrad

Excerpt: It’s Time to Protect the 2020 Election, Too, —The New York Times Editorial Board

“There is no good time for a pandemic to hit. Still, it’s hard to imagine a more vulnerable moment than the one we find ourselves in, only months before some 130 million Americans expected to head to the polls to vote for the next president and thousands of other officeholders.

The outcome of the November election could shape the contours of American politics and government for decades.

Right now, most people are rightly preoccupied with the immediate impacts of the coronavirus on public health and the national economy. But a functioning democracy requires elections that are free, fair, accurate and on time, even during a global health crisis.

It is almost certain that the 2020 election won’t look like any we’ve seen before. Assuming the coronavirus outbreak persists into the fall, it will pose unprecedented challenges to holding a nationwide vote, the most obvious of which is the need to keep people physically separated… Several states have already postponed their primaries for this reason.

That may be the right call for the time being, but it won’t work for the general election in November, the date of which is prescribed by federal law, and which is followed soon after by the constitutionally mandated inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20, [2021].

Colorado has already moved over to 100% mail or drop-off voting.(Ivan Couronne : AFP:Getty Images)

The most practical fix is to make voting by mail a clear and free optionfor every eligible voter in the country.

This means, at a minimum: printing tens of millions of mail-in ballots and envelopes; ensuring that all registered voters receive one automatically, can request a replacement if they don’t, and can return it by Election Day; and finally, having the human and technological resources, like ballot scanners, available to count those votes quickly and accurately.

The good news is that we already have evidence that voting by mail works well. In five states — Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington, most or all votes are cast by mail; in three others more than half are. In all, nearly one-quarter of all voters cast ballots by mail in 2016.

The experiments in the states have yielded several key findings: First, turnout is significantly higher nearly everywhere voting by mail is used. Second, voters of all political persuasions use it and like it. Third, it’s safe and secure. Bar codes allow for ballot tracking and validation. And states that use vote-by-mail have encountered essentially zero fraud: Oregon, the pioneer in this area, has sent out more than 100 million mail-in ballots since 2000, and has documented only about a dozen cases of proven fraud…Switching to all or nearly all voting by mail will require printing at least 70 million additional ballots.

These ballots will have to be ready to go out by Labor Day, less than six months from today. They must be postage-paid, so that no one has to pay a penny to vote, and there need to be enough machines and poll workers available to start counting ballots as soon as they come in. Signature-matching software can help ensure ballots are coming from the voters they were sent to, without introducing partisan bias into the process…A bill drafted by Senators Ron Wyden of Oregon and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota would require states to, among other things, provide self-sealing envelopes with prepaid postage to all voters who request an absentee ballot. The bill would provide for all necessary federal funds to help the states.

Making voting easy and widely accessible in a time of social distancing is the biggest thing we can do, but there are other steps we can take to ensure a safe, secure and high-turnout election.

It is Your Right to Vote-NYT

First, educating voters with clear and simple instructions about handling and returning their mail-in ballots.

Second, physical polling sites still must be made available for those voters who are uncomfortable voting by mail or unable to. Many Native Americans living on reservations, for example, do not have traditional postal addresses, and would have a hard time receiving or returning a mail ballot. Many others will have moved as a result of the virus and may be hard to locate…Finally, voter registration needs to be easier across the board, in recognition of the fact that many Americans will have moved or be in transit over the coming months. This means making online registration available now and same-day registration available everywhere.

For the oldest continuously operating democracy in the world, the United States has a poor track record of prioritizing the smooth operation of elections…For all Americans, no matter their politics, the most important thing to remember is that this election is not going to look like what they are used to, and to be patient if final results aren’t in on election night. There has been a lot of criticism, much of it legitimate, about slow or disorganized counts during this primary season. But getting an accurate vote count is far more important than getting a fast one.”

In the Meantime:  Great Teaching  Activities Sites with Free Materials for Teachers, Students and Parents

“Learning Packets” for students During School Closures By Larry Ferlazzo:It seems like a fair number of districts don’t have any kind of learning plan in place for their students right now. Some districts, however, even if they don’t have a full-fledged remote learning program going on, are creating “learning packets” for students to complete. It’s not great, obviously, but it seems like it’s better than nothing and can help out parents.” For more information visit

Home With Your Kids? Writers Want to Help” –  The New York Times Mo Willems, Gene Luen Yang, Amie Kaufman and other authors for young readers are reading their work online and offering drawing tutorials, to help fill our strange new hours. For more information visit

The author and illustrator Mo Willems began hosting sessions on YouTube on Monday.

 

The STEM Sprouts Teaching Guide – Boston Children’s Museum & WGBH Welcome! Are you ready for some fun?

The STEM Sprouts Teaching Kit is the product of a collaborationbetween National Grid, Boston Children’s Museum, and WGBH. The goal of this curriculum is to assist preschool educators in focusing and refiningthe naturally inquisitive behaviors of three to five-year-olds on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

For more information visit here

STEM Teaching Guide

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. There is no good time for a pandemic to hit.
  2. The outcome of the November election could shape the contours of American politics.
  3. Right now, most people are rightly preoccupied with the immediate impacts of the coronavirus.
  4. If the coronavirus outbreak persists into the fall the 2020 election won’t look like any we’ve seen before.
  5. It will pose unprecedented challenges to holding a nationwide vote, the most obvious of which is the need to keep people physically separated.
  6. Several states have already postponed their primaries for this reason.
  7. That may be the right call for the time being, but it won’t work for the general election in November.
  8. The general election is followed soon after by the constitutionally mandated  inauguration of the next president on Jan. 20, [2021].
  9. The most practical fix is to make voting by mail a clear and free option  for every eligible voter in the country.
  10. The good news is that we already have evidence that voting by mail works well.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

 

 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. 130 million Americans are expected to head to the polls to vote for the next president.
  2. People are rightly  concerned with the immediate impacts of the coronavirus.
  3. It are almost certain that the 2020 election won’t look like any we’ve seen before.

II

  1. Several states has already postponed their primaries.
  2. The most practical fix is to make voting by mail a clear and free choice.
  3. These ballots will have to be ready to go out by Labor Day.

III

  1. The ballots must be postage-paid, so that no one has to pay a penny to vote.
  2. There need to be enough machines and poll workers available.
  3. Online registration must be make available now.

 

Reading ComprehensionFill-ins

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

For the oldest continuously operating ___in the world, the ___has a ___track record of prioritizing the smooth ___of elections…For all___, no matter their___, the most___thing to remember is that this ___is not going to look like what they are used to, and to be___ if final results aren’t in on ___night.

WORD LIST: election, election,important, patient, politics, operation, poor,democracy,United States, Americans,

 

III. Post Reading Activities

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. If you are of voting age and live in the U.S., have you thought about voting during the coronavirus?
  2. In your opinion, is voting now an important matter to the American People? Why or why not?
  3. The authors state that “It is almost certain that the 2020 election won’t look like any we’ve seen before.”  In what way will the 2020 election be different from others?
  4. The article states that “The most practical fix is to make voting by mail a clear and free option for every eligible voter in the country.” Do you agree with this statement? Why?
  5. We already have states such as Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington, in which most or all votes are cast by mail with very positive results; so why do you think that people are still hesitant to vote by mail in other states?
  6. What are some of the precautions that must be taken to switch to nearly all voting by mail before November elections?
  7. Colorado uses specialized drop boxes with camera monitors. Is this a good idea to ensure safe voting?
  8. Why or why not?
  9. In addition to mail in voting, why must physical polling sites be made available to voters?
  10.   After reading this article name at least one piece of new information that you’ve learned. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY