Category Archives: Environmental

Medical Heroes Fighting the Coronavirus For Us…And Dying

“Millions of health care workers are running to where they are needed, sometimes risking their lives.” D. Berwick, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: They Don’t Hide From the Coronavirus, They Confront It  By Donald M. Berwick, The NYT

‘I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon bombing,’ my daughter said. She was a newly minted physician on the day the bombs went off seven years ago, when the police rolled a man on a stretcher into her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled onto the floor and someone began to wipe it away. ‘Don’t bother,’ the officer said, ‘there is a lot more where that came from.’

ICU medical staff with patients-credit- Washington Post

When she tells that story, my daughter always mentions the dread she felt. How many more victims would arrive, and when?

Now, she faces a similar sense of dread, as demand for Covid-19 care could swamp her hospital and patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.

Exhausted medical caregivers sleep when [and where] they can.

As the world writhes in the grip of Covid-19, the epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring: millions of health care workers running to where they are needed, on duty, sometimes risking their own lives. I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help at such a global scale.

Welsh doctors and nurses urge people tp help contain the virus-credit- www.itv.com

Intensive care doctors in Seattle connect with intensive care doctors in Wuhan to gather specific intelligence on what the Chinese have learned: details of diagnostic strategies, the physiology of the disease, approaches to managing lung failure, and more.

Dozens of healthcare workers are shown on a flight from China to the Philippines. Credit-globalnews.

Health care workers-Credit- CNN

A Wuhan Doctor on the Front Lines-credit-Medscape

The three-page, single spaced document, full of lessons, circulates immediately and widely through social media platforms, a gem borne of pure, professional commitment…And city by city, hospitals mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge: bring in retired staff members, train nurses and doctors in real time, share data on supplies around the region, set up special isolation units and scale up capacity by a factor of 100 or 1000…Think about such adaptations and agility going on all across our nation and the world.

A team of doctors and nurses prepare themselves before heading out to their designated residential areas to check on residents. credit- National Review

A coronavirus prayer. credit-americanmagazine.org

Good people taking the load in a time of crisis…We are witnessing professionalism in its highest form, skilled people putting the interests of those they serve above their own interests…’How are you doing?’ I asked my daughter by phone from the safety of my house. ‘A little scared,’ she said. Then, ‘Gotta go…’ Patients were waiting.”

Credit- healthcareequalityconsulting.com

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: 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. I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon.
  2. She was a newly minted physician.
  3. Many people dread the Coronavirus.
  4. Demand for Covid-19 care could swamp many hospitals.
  5. Patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.
  6. Hospitals prepare for the deluge of patients coming their way.
  7. The Covid-19 epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring.
  8. I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help.
  9. Intensive care units are over crowded.
  10. Medical Care people have a sense of commitment to their jobs.

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

She was a newly minted physician ___the day the bombs went ___seven years ago, when the police rolled a man ___a stretcher___her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled___the floor and someone began to wipe it away.

The Journal ___the American Medical Association, even while moving its staff home ___social distancing, sets new records___speeding helpful scientific studies, peer reviewed, ___the web.

 

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.

On Tuesday, ___Bill de Blasio of___asks for___ medical personnel to join the city’s___; 24 hours later, 1000 new volunteers have signed up. Northwell Health, a 23-hospital ___in___, figures out how to add 1,500 beds, if needed, by___space.

WORD LIST: repurposing,NewYork City, Medical Reserve Corps, Mayor,  New York,  retired, system,

 

III. Post Reading Activities

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

Cerebral Chart by Write Design

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. In your opinion are the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel heroes? Why?
  2. What are some of the ways hospitals are mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge?
  3. What did the mayor of New York City do to help hospital medical personnel?
  4. Can you think of other times in the U.S. or other countries when medical personnel were considered heroes?
  5. Are there people in other fields you would consider heroes?
  6. What ideas 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.

Photo Activity for speaking or Writing

Directions: Have students study the photos then choose one to write a paragraph about.

If possible, here are a few questions students might answer:

How does this person/people look to you? For example, tired, sad, happy, hopeful, bored, etc.

What do you think they are thinking about? 

Thank You Cards Activity

Students could create “Thank You” cards of their own and send them to hospitals where medical personnel can receive the cards.

ANSWER KEY

 

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

“We Are Speeding Extinction And Altering the Natural World”

For a long time, people just thought of biodiversity as saving nature for its own sake,” said Robert Watson, chairman of the group that conducted the assessment. “But this report makes clear the links between biodiversity and nature and things like food security and clean water in both rich and poor countries.” B. Plumer, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Fishing nets and ropes are a frequent hazard for olive ridley sea turtles, seen on a beach in India’s Kerala state in January. Getty Images

 

Excerpt: Humans Are Speeding Extinction and Altering the Natural World at an ‘Unprecedented’ Pace, By Brad Plumer,

“Humans are transforming Earth’s natural landscapes so dramatically that as many as one million plant and animal species are now at risk of extinction, posing a dire threat to ecosystems that people all over the world depend on for their survival, a sweeping new United Nations assessment has concluded.

The Missouri River encroaches on homes in Sioux City, Iowa, during a 2011 flood Stocktrek Images: Media Bakery

The 1,500-page report, compiled by hundreds of international experts and based on thousands of scientific studies, is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity across the globe and the dangers that creates for human civilization.

A summary of its findings, which was approved by representatives from the United States and 131 other countries, was released Monday in Paris. The full report is set to be published this year.

Moe Flannery of the California Academy of Sciences inspected a dead gray whale in Tiburon, Calif., last month, one of seven whales that have washed up on shore. Huston Chronicle

Its conclusions are stark. In most major land habitats, from the savannas of Africa to the rain forests of South America, the average abundance of native plant and animal life has fallen by 20 percent or more, mainly over the past century. With the human population passing 7 billion, activities like farming, logging, poaching, fishing and mining are altering the natural world at a rate ‘unprecedented in human history.’

Cattle grazing on a tract of illegally cleared Amazon forest in Pará State, BrazilCreditLalo de Almeida for The New York Times.

At the same time, a new threat has emerged: Global warming has become a major driver of wildlife decline, the assessment found, by shifting or shrinking the local climates that many mammals, birds, insects, fish and plants evolved to survive in.

When combined with the other ways humans are damaging the environment, climate change is now pushing a growing number of species, such as the Bengal tiger, closer to extinction.

Volunteers collected trash in March in a mangrove forest in Brazil. MSN.com

As a result, biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050, particularly in the tropics, unless countries drastically step up their conservation efforts.

The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems. But it goes further by detailing how closely human well-being is intertwined with the fate of other species.

Extinction is happening at 1,000 times the normal speed. Quartz

In the next two years, diplomats from around the world will gather for several meetings under the Convention on Biological Diversity, a global treaty, to discuss how they can step up their efforts at conservation. Yet even in the new report’s most optimistic scenario, through 2050 the world’s nations would only slow the decline of biodiversity — not stop it.”

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. Extinction is occurring at an unprecedented pace.
  2. As many as one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction.
  3. The report is the most exhaustive look yet at the decline in biodiversity.
  4. A new threat has emerged, the decline of wildlife.
  5. Biodiversity loss is projected to accelerate through 2050.
  6. The report is not the first to paint a grim portrait of Earth’s ecosystems.
  7. As natural landscapes wither the services they provide to humans have been dwindling.
  8. The devastation of nature has become so severe, wildlife refuges will no longer be sufficient.
  9. All told, three-quarters of the world’s land area has been significantly altered by people.
  10. 85 percent of the world’s wetlands have vanished since the 18th century.

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Humans/Human are produced/producing more food than ever, but land degradation is/are already harming/harmful agricultural productivity on 23 percent of the planet’s land area, the new/knew report said. The decline/declining of wild bees and other insects/insect that help pollinate fruits and vegetables is putting up to $577 billion in annual crop production at risk.

Reading Comprehension: Fill-ins

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

The ___rain forest ___immense ___of carbon dioxide and helps slow the pace of ___warming. Wetlands ___drinking water. Coral reefs ___tourism and fisheries in the Caribbean. Exotic tropical___form the basis of a variety of medicines. But as these___ landscapes___ and become less biologically rich, the services they can provide to ___have been dwindling.

WORD LIST: absorbs, sustain, quantities, plants, humans, Amazon, natural, wither, global, purify.

 

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. According to the article, what activities have increased global biodiversity loss?
  2. Why could it become harder in the future to breed hardier crops and livestock?
  3. The article states that, “in addition to advocating the expansion of protected areas, the authors outline a vast array of changes aimed at limiting the drivers of biodiversity loss.” What will the following groups of people have to learn to do?  Farmers and ranchers; Consumers in wealthy countries;  Governments around the world.

Group Projects

Directions: Have groups visit the  Earth Day Network and do the following:

Make a list of ways each endangered species might be saved.

Create a list of things we can all do to help the environment.

Create  collages, graphs or pictures of endangered species.

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

Keep America Wild and Beautiful!

“In 1846, when he was 29, Henry David Thoreau tried to climb to the top of Mount Katahdin in Maine. Living in Massachusetts, where the virgin forest was long since cut down, Thoreau had never seen true wilderness, and the sheer power of the wild Maine woods sent him into an ecstasy of spiritual overload. ‘This was that Earth of which we have heard, made out of Chaos and Old Night,’ he proclaimed, rejoicing in the ‘rocks, trees, wind on our cheeks! the solid earth! the actual world! the common sense! Contact! Contact!”‘ R. Powers, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Beautiful painting by Frederic Edwin Church – Mount Katahdin from Millinocket Camp.

 

Excerpt: Keep America Wild, by Richard Powers, the New York Times

“Lost in fog at Katahdin’s upper altitudes and defeated by the rugged mountain, Thoreau never did reach the summit. But his words have lived on in the deepest parts of the American mind, shaping this country’s conscience toward nature. Last year, President Obama designated 87,563 acres of the land that so moved Thoreau as the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument — a win for the solid earth, the actual world. In a few weeks, Thoreau will turn 200, giving the nation a cause for celebrating. But just in time for the bicentennial, the  [current] government administration is considering stripping Katahdin Woods and Waters of its new designation.

Basin and Range National Monument in Nevada | by mypubliclands

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke visited Katahdin this week as part of a systematic review of more than two dozen national monuments being considered for delisting. He’s acting under the executive order of [the current] government administration. Other targets for possible delisting include Basin and Range in Nevada, Canyons of the Ancients in Colorado, Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona, Craters of the Moon in Idaho and Giant Sequoia in California.

Canyons of the Ancients, Colorado. Reddit

Grand Canyon-Parashant in Arizona. citydata.com

A few of those locations might arguably have some economic potential beyond their incalculable worth as tourist destinations. The oil and gas industries have begun circling around the culturally significant Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, for example, with hopes of fracking it.

Fantastic Craters of the Moon in Idaho. trip101

To his credit, Secretary Zinke concluded his visit to Katahdin by saying that he, at least, is comfortable with the site remaining in ‘public hands.’ But the fight over this and other monuments across the country is far from over.

Giant Sequoia in California.Daily Nova

In Walden, Thoreau wrote that a ‘man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone.’  For Thoreau’s 200th birthday, let’s let the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument — and all those other deeply treasured, absurdly beautiful American vistas — alone. We can afford to.”

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”~Henry David Thoreau~

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

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. Thoreau wanted to reach the summit.
  2. His poems helped shaped this country’s conscience toward nature.
  3. President Obama designated Katahdin Woods and Waters a National Monument.
  4. Mount Katahdin stands as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail.
  5. Thoreau got lost in fog at Katahdin.
  6. People celebrated the bicentennial of Thoreau’s birth.
  7. They had a systematic review of many national sites.
  8. Other targets for possible delisting include YellowStone Park.
  9. Some locations might have some economic potential.
  10. The fight to deprive the country of this public treasure feels like pure tribalism.

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.

Mount Katahdin___ as the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, the___and departure point of that 2,200-mile trek through what___of Eastern American___. The mountain___Thoreau to his ___core, and it still rocks countless ___visitors who each year make the journey to experience it. How can it ___us, to care for such a prize and its surroundings in common? Once we “free it up” and spend these___ in the name of development, what then?

WORD LIST: lands, threaten, innermost, wilderness, shook, American, stands, arrival, remains,

 

 Grammar Focus: Prepositions

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

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

Paul R. LePage, the Republican governor ___Maine, opposed President Obama’s creation___the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, and he continues ___oppose it.

His opposition seems little more than an attempt___incite partisan rancor and now___ingratiate himself___the [current] administration, ___an eye ___aggrandizing his own political future.

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters as a 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

Category: Climate, Environmental

Mudslides: How Much Do We Really Know?

We hear about natural disasters such as  hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes. One natural disaster we don’t often hear about are mudslides. The fatal mudslide that occurred near the small village of Oso, Washington claimed many lives, and searches are still in progress for missing people. Since this area has had slides over the last several years, one major question is could this catastrophe have been avoided?

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key.

This aerial photo of the mudslide near Oso, Washington, was taken Saturday. National Geographic.

This aerial photo of the mudslide near Oso, Washington, was taken Saturday. National Geographic.

Excerpt: Mudslides Explained: Behind the Washington State Disaster Brian C. Howard,National Geographic

“On Saturday morning, a mudslide moved down the Stillaguamish River near the small former fishing village of Oso, Washington. Authorities have confirmed eight dead, eight injured, and as many as 108 people missing or unaccounted for as of Monday morning. The one-square-mile (2.6-square-kilometer) track of the mudslide also destroyed about 30 homes.

Jim O’Connor, a research hydrologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Portland, Oregon, told National Geographic that the mudslide, which was up to 15 feet (4.5 meters) deep in some areas, was caused by ground made unstable by heavy rainfall.

A flag sticks out of a hole in a demolished home. Washingtonpost.com.

A flag sticks out of a hole in a demolished home. Washingtonpost.com.

This area has had slides in small increments over the last several years, but this took a huge bite of the hillslope this time, says O’Connor…A whole section of a hillside, about 700 feet [213 meters] high above the river, collapsed all at once,”says O’Connor. It’s amazing how much terrain it ended up covering.

What Is a Mudslide?

A mudslide, also called a debris flow, is a type of fast-moving landslide that follows a channel, such as a river. A landslide, in turn, is simply when rock, earth, or other debris moves down a slope.

How Mudslides Occur by Doug Smeath.News

How Mudslides Occur by Doug Smeath.News

Mudslides occur after water rapidly saturates the ground on a slope, such as during a heavy rainfall. According to O’Connor, it doesn’t take high relief in the topography to create a slide. Rather, it just takes a pull of gravity strong enough to bring down material that is made fluid enough by water.

How Are Mudslides Prevented?

Strategies to decrease the risk of mudslides include draining water off hillsides, armoring the bases of hills so they are not undercut by rivers, and loading the toe, says O’Connor.

This isn’t a situation where [the authorities] should have done something [to prevent it] because there is so much terrain there that this could have happened to, he says.

Mudslides- Torrential rain pushed tons of mud through villages in Brazil. Getty

Mudslides- Torrential rain pushed tons of mud through villages in Brazil. Getty

Searches continue for missing victims of mudslide.Photo-Washington Post.

Searches continue for missing victims of mudslide.Photo-Washington Post.

The CDC recommends that people exercise caution around steep slopes during rainfall. Immediate signs of a pending slide include tilting trees and sudden increases or decreases in rivers.” Read more…

American Red CrossVisit The American Red Cross to learn how you can help the families.

“OUR THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS GO OUT TO THE FAMILIES”-ESL VOICES-Flowers

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

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

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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students look at the picture(s) in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use the UIE brainstorming chart.

Brainstorming chart by UIE copy

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

Word Inference

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

  1. A fatal mudslide occurred in rural northwestern Washington State over the weekend.
  2. Authorities have confirmed eight dead, and eight injured.
  3. The mudslide, which was up to 15 feet deep in some areas, was caused by ground made unstable by heavy rainfall.
  4. This area has had slides in small increments over the last several years.
  5. There been a lot of precipitation in the area over the past few months.
  6. The Stillaguamish River also has been eroding away the base of the hillside.
  7. A whole section of a hillside, high above the river, collapsed all at once.
  8. It ended up covering a huge amount of terrain.
  9. Strategies to decrease the risk of mudslides include draining water off hillsides.
  10.  Immediate signs of a pending slide include tilting trees and sudden increases or decreases in rivers.

Word Chart By Education Oasis

Word -Recognition 

Directions: Students are to circle or underline the correct word or phrases from the article. This exercise reinforces students’ attention on words that have been introduced in the reading. Have them skim the article to check  their responses.

  1. A fatal/fetal mudslide in Washington State points to the dangers of heavy rainfall.
  2. On Saturday mourning/morning, a mudslide moved down the Stillaguamish River.
  3. This area has had slides/sleds in small increments over the last several years,
  4. A mudslide is also called a debut/debris flow.
  5. It just takes a pulley/pull of gravity.
  6. Mudslides are also often triggered/tried by earthquakes
  7. Strategies to decease/decrease the risk of mudslides include draining water off hillsides.
  8. This isn’t a situation where the authorities should have done something to prevent/prevail it.
  9. The CDC recommends that people exercise caution around step/steep slopes during rainfall.
  10. Immediate sings/signs of a pending slide include tilting trees.

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. A fatal mudslide occurred in rural Washington  D.C. over the weekend.
  2. The missing people are mainly children.
  3. This is a situation where the authorities should have done something to prevent it.
  4. A mudslide is also called a debris flow.
  5. Mudslides occur after water rapidly saturates the ground on a slope, such as during a heavy rainfall.
  6. Mudslides tend to happen during dry seasons.
  7. In the United States, mudslides and landslides result in an average of 25 to 50 deaths a year.
  8. Strategies to decrease the risk of mudslides include draining water off hillsides.
  9. Immediate signs of a pending slide include tilting trees and sudden increases or decreases in rivers.
  10. Mudslides will occur in the future.

 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. 108 people missing or unaccounted for as of Monday morning.
  2. The mudslide also destroyed about 30 home.
  3. This area has had slides in small increments over the last several years.

II.

  1. A whole section of a hillside collapsed all at once.
  2. A mudslides is also called a debris flow.
  3. Mudslides tend to happen during wet seasons.

III.

  1. Mudslides are often triggered by earthquakes.
  2. Engineers put heavy mass, such as large rocks, at the base of a hill as prevention.
  3. The CDC recommend that people exercise caution around steep slopes during rainfall.

III. Post Reading Tasks

Reading Comprehension Check

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Discussion/Writing Exercise

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

  1. In your own words explain how mudslides occur.
  2. Why is it difficult for the search crew to find the missing people?
  3. The article states, “This area has had slides in small increments over the last several years, but this took a huge bite of the hillslope this time.”  Do you think there was a way the people could have been warned about this slide? Explain why or why not.
  4. Can mudslides be prevented in the future? How?
  5. Brazil has had several bad mudslides that have killed many people. Are there many mudslides in your country? Have you ever experienced a mudslide?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video ClipWashington Mudslide Kills at Least 14 Across A Mile

“A mudslide has killed 14 people and left 176 missing in Washington state after burying a mile-long stretch of land under 20 feet or more of mud. Rescuers are still searching the wreckage for survivors though they are holding out little hope for finding any signs of life. Mark Sovel and Jackie Koppell discuss whether or not this situation could have been avoided, in this clip from the Lip.”

 While Listening Activities

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the statements with students before the watching the video. As students listen to the video if a statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false they mark it F and provide the correct answer.

  1. At the time of this broadcast, there were 25 houses and families destroyed.
  2. The wall of dirt that came down was a mile and a half wide.
  3. There had never been a previous slide in this area.
  4. The term “clear cut” means all vegetation is cut down to the earth.
  5. Some contributing factors to the mudslide were heavy rainfall and the number of people living in the area.
  6. The mudslide was compared to a tornado.
  7. Ways to prevent future mudslides were discussed.
  8. The speakers felt that this disaster received a lot of news coverage.
  9. This slide has been having trouble for the past 20 years.
  10. From the video you can guess that geologists are people who study the earth’s structure.

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion
Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.
1. After listening to this video have you learned any new information about mudslides?
2. Did you agree with everything the speakers said? Discuss which comments you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with. Explain why.
3. With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the speakers, geologists, or people who have survived mudslides in the past.

ANSWER KEY: Mudslides

Category: Environmental | Tags: ,