Category Archives: Health Issues

How to Ease Your Child’s Return to School

“As elementary school students return to in-person classes, parents are getting increasingly concerned about their kids’ safety…Added to the worries are fears that after a year of remote learning, some kids have potentially fallen behind or become less comfortable socializing with peers.”  P. Klass, MD, The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Image- Oscar Nimmo, NYT

Excerpt: How to Prep Kids for a Potentially Bumpy Return to School By Perri Klass, MD, The New York Times, Aug. 17, 2021

“As the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to review the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation in schools, it is still recommending in-person education, said Dr. Sara Bode, chairwoman-elect of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council on School Health. But at the same time, it is strongly recommending universal masking and a speedy authorization of vaccines for kids under 12.

Here are some ways you can ensure a smooth re-entry for your child.

Oscar Nimmo NYT

One of the best ways to level a bumpy road back to in-person schooling, said Dr. Bode, who is also a general pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, is to give children a good sense of what they can expect, and for parents to make clear that they believe a safe return is possible…First, and most importantly, make sure all family members who are eligible are fully vaccinated, said Dr. Grace Black, a general pediatrician affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Oscar Nimmo, NYT

This includes kids ages 12 and up, as well as their older siblings, parents and grandparents… Tell your child that the vaccines are safe and effective, said Dr. Danielle Erkoboni, a general pediatrician at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and that using them in tandem with masks is the best way to keep everyone safe.

image- Oscar Nimmo, New York Times

Frank discussions like these can give children a sense of their own power and agency in a potentially scary time…Because of the large-scale disruptions in learning over the past year, some students will be returning with major gaps in their education, Dr. Bode said, and they will need time to catch up…While the weather is still warm, summer activities and visits with friends — hikes, picnics, ball games in the park — can help reintroduce kids to group activities and take some of the tension out of going back to the classroom…Also make sure that your child’s school is doing everything they can to create a culture of acceptance and compassion, and that they are taking bullying — whether it’s because of weight gain, masking, academic issues or anything else — seriously and addressing it promptly.”

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: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: 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 Delta variant has caused a surge in pediatric Covid-19 hospitalizations.
  2. Especially in areas with low vaccination rates.
  3. Some states aren’t mandating masks in classrooms.
  4. Added to the fears that after a year of remote learning, some kids have potentially fallen behind in studies.
  5. Some kids have become less comfortable socializing with peers.
  6. There are ways that you can ensure a smooth re-entry for your child.
  7. Getting the vaccine and using them in tandem with masks keeps everyone safe.
  8. It is important to give children a sense of their own power and agency in a potentially scary time.
  9. Because of the disruptions in learning over the past year, some students will be returning major gaps in their education.
  10. When children are feeling vulnerable, they need more physical affection, reassurance and acknowledgment.

 

Word Map by Against the Odds

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. Be prepared for some challenge.
  2. Be OK with academic imperfection.
  3. Discuss the importance of vaccines and masking.

 

II

  1. Project calm reassurance.
  2. Talk to kids about the types of masks.
  3. Reintroduce social activities safely.

III

  1. Return to an routine.
  2. Help your kids get back on track before school starts.
  3. Try to reestablish some dietary boundaries.

 

Reading Comprehension Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “As the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to review the rapidly evolving coronavirus situation in schools, it is still recommending in-person education.”
  2. “One of the best ways to level a bumpy road back to in-person schooling is to give children a good sense of what they can expect, and for parents to make clear that they believe a safe return is possible.”
  3. “First, and most importantly, make sure all family members who are eligible are fully vaccinated.”
  4. “As soon as the vaccine is available to kids under 12  it’s important that they get it, too.”
  5. “Tell your child that the vaccines are safe and effective, and that using them in tandem with masks is the best way to keep everyone safe.”

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. Do you have school-age kids that are starting school this year?
  2. If so, are you concerned about their health or that they may have fallen behind in their school work? Please explain why.
  3. In your personal opinion should young children start in-person school this year? Why or why not?
  4. According to the article which organization recommends kids attend school in-person?
  5. What are some of the ways mentioned to help your child reenter school this year? Can you think of any other ways?
  6. According to Dr. Grace Black what should all family members do?
  7. Why is it important for children to understand when we ask them to do anything?
  8. How should parents feel if their child’s learning is a little behind other students? 
  9. How should parents and the schools handle bullying or mockery from students who do not wear masks or take safety  precautions?
  10. What things can parents do at home to begin the process of healthy habits in school?

ANSWER KEY

How to Recharge from Burnout

Your inbox is an overflowing bucket of urgent requests. You are consistently asked to do more with less. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities, perpetually calculating the number of minutes left in the day…We’re all feeling a littlefried at work and home. But there are ways to stay sharp and recharge.” Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- Rescuetime blog

Excerpt: How to Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job, By Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021

“Raise your hand if you’re completely burned out…You’re not alone. The pandemic has left many people fried from trying to juggle work, parenting, caregiving and other responsibilities without enough support.

Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout — specifically job burnout — is linked to a range of health problems, from irritability to cardiovascular disease. In 2019, burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon by the World Health Organization…Some, especially younger, workers are simply quitting. But for those who can’t or don’t want to quit, there are ways to beat burnout.

Kira Schabram is an assistant professor of management in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, where she studies how to mitigate burnout in employees. Past research has focused on finding ways to help employers reduce burnout among staff, she said, but hers focuses on what people can do for themselves… Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help reduce feelings of burnout, whether it is short-term or chronic…According to Dr. Schabram, burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling, and ‘not just a paycheck.’ Like teachers…No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help. Workplace cultures vary, butemployers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout, said Steven Azizi, an employment lawyer based in Los Angeles who specializes in representing workers in claims against their employers.”

 

Celebrating Gay Pride Month!

Lesbians in Ballet: ‘Has Anyone Like Me Ever Walked These Halls?’ By Siobhan Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

‘I want a Juliet and Juliet’

Two Juliets- Audrey Malek, left, and Cortney Taylor Key, rehearsing a duet with the choreographer Adriana Pierce. Credit- Yael Malka for The New York Times

“Ballet’s strict gender norms put pressure on women to conform. But dancers who don’t are finding they’re not alone.” S. Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

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.

Pre-Reading: Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

Directions: 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. Job burnout is very common among office workers.
  2. Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout is linked to a range of health problems.
  3. We’re all feeling a little fried at work and home.
  4. Burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon.
  5. Christina Maslach is  an emerita psychology professor.
  6. Job burnout includes feelings of exhaustion and inefficacy.
  7. Burnout is rampant today.
  8. Some employees fear that they may be targeted if they complain.
  9. Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help.
  10. Burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling.

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. Raise you’re hand if you’re completely burned out.
  2. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities.
  3. You’re not alone.

II

  1. job burnout are linked to a range of health problems.
  2. Writing in a journal helps recharge the mind.
  3. Dr. Parangi realized she needed to do things that recharged her.

III

  1. No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.
  2. Letting others know your not OK is also key.
  3. In some places, if you’re not 150 percent, you’re seen as  weak or defective.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Burnout, is rampant today, partly because many workers feel they can’t say ‘no’ to their employers without being targeted, demoted or punished in some way.”
  2. “For a long time, the assumption was that when you reach burnout, others need to pull you out of it…employers are ultimately responsible for conditions that drive burnout, but…employees who cannot leave and are not getting support can still help themselves.”
  3. “It’s overwhelming…It’s a lot of layers of trauma without very many resources.”
  4. “I literally couldn’t move out of my chair. It took every last bit of energy for me to change out of my scrubs.”
  5. “No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.Workplace cultures vary, but employers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

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

Cerebral Chart by Write Design

 

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. Do you feel as if you’re completely burned out these days? Where do you feel the most stressed, at home, school, work or all three?
  2. What are some health issues related to burnout?
  3. Which organization declared burnout as work-related?
  4. Aside from exhaustion, what are some other feelings that define burnout?
  5. According to the article, why are some over-worked employees afraid to say “no” to employers?
  6. Discuss some of the ways to beat burnout. Can you think of other means to beat burnout that the article doesn’t mention?
  7. Why is it important to share your feelings with colleagues in the workplace?
  8. This article primarily  discusses burnout among office workers.Recently, there was an article in the news about tennis champ Naomi  Osaka who mentioned a need to preserve her mental health” during matches, which is why she declined to meet with the news media in between tennis matches. Do you think there is burnout among professional athletes?  What about students? Singers? Ballet dancers? What other professions or situations  can you think of that might cause a person to burnout?
  9. Discuss three new ideas  that 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.
  10. Choose one profession in which you’re interested and write about the ways burnout can be avoided in that particular occupation.

ANSWER KEY

Are We Socially Awkward After Covid-19?

“You might have a knee-jerk reaction to withdraw sharply when someone goes to hug you. If so, this is a byproduct of your highly plastic brain having been trained to protect you from COVID over the past year but is something you have the agency to rescript with time.” L. Johnson, Popsugar, May 20, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- Popsugar

Excerpt: I’ve Really Missed People, but Has COVID Made Us Socially Awkward? By Lacey Johnson, Popsugar May 20, 2021

“For more than a year, many of us have felt alone, together. And no matter if our professions kept us home or on the front lines of the pandemic, I think we’ve all dealt with losing the daily rhythms, freedoms, and lifestyles that collectively defined us. Early in the pandemic, therapists reported an urgent rush of mental health crises in the midst of such swift change, isolation, and grief…Perhaps we didn’t realize how much we valued a friendly smile in an elevator or the sound of a barista shouting our latte order from across a noisy cafe…The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future from the privacy of our homes, feeling a lifetime away from many of the people we love most.

Image- Marc Rosenthal, The New York Times

There’s no question that the sudden, dispiriting changes that swept across our communities and social infrastructures have since dug their roots into our internal landscapes, too. In fact, the data has become clear: scientists have tracked a massive surge in depression… So as the world slowly begins to reopen, it raises an important question: after having spent so much time away from each other…logging into Zoom to celebrate a milestone birthday with friends, being counseled and consoled through apps, and keeping at least six feet of distance while roaming the produce aisle, what if it feels weird to engage with each other in real life again?

‘This summer is going to be lit!’ one of my friends said to me recently after I recited some items from my overzealous post-COVID bucket list.

The New York Times

But as the vaccine numbers continue to rise and America’s case numbers go down, allowing more American cities to swing open their social doors, others are grappling with mixed emotions about postpandemic reentry…we called upon the experts to explore ways that we might not yet realize we’ve changed, with guidance for how to be compassionate with ourselves and each other as we reenter the world… Dr. Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, said that as we slowly transition back into a pre-COVID pulse of life, we should prepare ourselves for some level of awkwardness and bouts of self-consciousness…Therapist Arien Conner, LCSW, and owner of Clear Path Counseling, said that, in the midst of our social reawakening, when we notice that someone appears uncomfortable, we might pause to give them empathy and patience within their respective comfort level… So once your city opens up and you feel it’s safe to roam about it, slide on your most fabulous attire and venture out for a swanky happy hour with your friends. Perhaps wander into a cozy poetry reading or trivia night.”

 

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: Analyzing headings and photos

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

II. While Reading Activities: Word Inference

Directions: 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. We’ve all dealt with losing the daily lifestyles that collectively defined us.
  2. We found ourselves craving lighthearted office banter, harmless gossip fizzy cocktails.
  3. Perhaps we didn’t realize how much we valued the sound of a barista shouting our latte order from across a noisy cafe.
  4. Since COVID-19 gripped America, it’s been a ruthless, scary, and consequential year.
  5. You might have a knee-jerk reaction to withdraw sharply when someone goes to hug you.
  6. It might seem weird to engage with each other in real life again.
  7. I made my overzealous post-COVID bucket list.
  8. Humans are a profoundly adaptive and resilient species.
  9. Some people saw their once-thriving business being swept clean.
  10. Others realized they couldn’t wait to monetize their ideas.

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. For more then a year, many of us have felt alone.
  2. We found ourselves craving lighthearted office banter.
  3. We didn’t realize how much we valued a friendly smile.

II

  1. It’s been a ruthless, scary, and consequential year.
  2. The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future.
  3. After the year-plus that we’ve had, it’s safe to say we deserve a celebration.

III

  1. Typically it take three to six months to form a habit.
  2. Humans are a profoundly adaptive and resilient species.
  3. For some individuals, the pandemic pointed them toward power they didn’t know they had.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Typically it takes three to six months to form a habit, and this includes behavioral and thought habits.”
  2. You’ve likely been masking, social distancing, and closely following the reports for more than a year now, so your brain is naturally going to stop you from doing certain things you may have once done on a daily basis.”
  3. “… in the midst of our social reawakening, when we notice that someone appears uncomfortable, we might pause to give them empathy and patience within their respective comfort level.”
  4. “With few opportunities for socializing and outward distraction, we’ve each had a huge mirror held up in front of us.”
  5. “In my practice, I work mostly with women, and many of them started the pandemic by setting clear, firm boundaries around COVID for their immediate family’s safety.”
  6. “For some, their lockdown experience was hell in every way possible. For others, it was the transformative pause that they needed but never would have given themselves.”
  7. “We need to be mindful that our experience might look nothing like our colleague’s or neighbor’s.”
  8. “We found that the tremendous self-reflection experienced in the pandemic led Hinge users to reassess their priorities in love.”
  9. “According to our most recent research, 75 percent of Hinge daters are no longer looking for something casual but seeking a meaningful relationship.”

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. The article states, “The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future from the privacy of our homes, feeling a lifetime away from many of the people we love most…In fact, the data has become clear: scientists have tracked a massive surge in depression.”  Did you miss being with certain family members and friends? Which ones? Did you experience depression during this time? Was there anyone close to help you?
  2. In your opinion, is it strange to engage with people again? Please explain why or why not.
  3. The author states that they have a “post-COVID bucket list.” Do you have a list of things you want to do this summer? What are they?
  4. Some people feel anxious about leaving their homes and meeting people. Have you or someone you know experienced these feelings?
  5. Write down three new ideas  that 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.

ANSWER KEY

Recognizing Depression in Young Kids

“We tend to think of childhood as a time of innocence and joy, but as many as 2 to 3 percent of children from ages 6 to 12 can have serious depression.” P. Klass, M.D., The New York Times, April 1, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Mikyung Lee, The New York Times

Excerpt:How to Spot Depression in Young Children, Perri Klass, M.D., The New York Times, April 1, 2021

“When parents bring their children in for medical care these days, there is no such thing as a casual, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness and stress, or at the very least, of coping and keeping it together in this very hard year, full of isolation, loss, tragedy and hardship, with routines disrupted and comfort hard to come by.

Parents have carried heavy burdens of stress and responsibility, worrying about themselves but also watching their children struggle, and there is worldwide concern about depression and suicidality among young people.

But it isn’t only the adults and the young adults and teenagers who are suffering and sad; young children can also experience depression, but it can look very different, which makes it challenging for parents — or doctors — to recognize it and provide help.

Rachel Busman, a clinical psychologist at the Child Mind Institute in New York City, said that it can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

But as many as 2 to 3 percent of children ages 6 to 12 can have serious depression, she said. And children with anxiety disorders, which are present in more than 7 percent of children aged 3 to 17, are also at risk for depression. Depression was originally conceived of as an adult problem. Maria Kovacs, professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, said that in the 1950s and ’60s, there were child psychiatrists who believed that children did not have sufficient ego development to feel depression… What does depression look like in younger children?

When young children are depressed, Dr. Kovacs said, it’s not unusual for ‘the primary mood to be irritability, not sadness — it comes across as being very cranky.’

And while suicide attempts by elementary school-aged children are rare, they do happen and have increased in recent years. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 in 2018…If a child talks about wanting to die, ask what that child means, and get help from a therapist if you’re concerned.”

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

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

Pre-reading organizer by San Juan Edu.

 

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. We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness and stress.
  2. Coping this year is very hard because of  isolation, loss and tragedy.
  3. Parents worry about their children’s struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. 
  4. More young children are suffering from depression.
  5. There are also children with anxiety disorders.
  6. Before adolescence, depression is equally common in girls and boys.
  7. The primary mood  is irritability, not sadness — it comes across as being very cranky.
  8. Parents should look for significant changes in functioning.
  9. This might mean a child loses interest in the toys or games or jokes or rituals that used to be reliably fun.
  10. A preschool-aged child might be depressed if they are having daily tantrums.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.  For each sentence identify the prepositions.

We tend to think of childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

When parents bring their children in for medical care these days, there is no such thing as a casual, “Hey, how’s it going?”

We doctors walk into every exam room prepared to hear a story of sadness.

It can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.

What does depression look like in younger children?

The best way for parents to recognize depression in young children is not so much by what a child says as by what the child does — or stops doing.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “…it can be hard to think about depression in younger children because we picture childhood as a time of innocence and joy.”
  2. “…according to epidemiologic research, between 1 and 2 percent of young children — as young as 3 — are depressed.”
  3. “… in the 1950s and ’60s, there were child psychiatrists who believed that children did not have sufficient ego development to feel depression.”
  4. “In serious forms it snowballs with time, and earlier onset is associated with worse outcomes across the life span.”

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. Do you feel that young children can suffer from depression? Why?
  2. When doctors speak with parents what are they prepared to hear?
  3. According to Ms. Busman, why is it hard to think about depression in young children?
  4. What percent of children ages 6-12 have serious depression?
  5. Originally, which group of people were conceived as the only ones having depression?
  6. During the 1950s and 60s what did psychiatrists believe about children and depression?
  7. What are some of the signs of depression in younger children?
  8. The article states, “while suicide attempts by elementary school-aged children are rare, they do happen and have increased in recent years. Suicide was the second leading cause of death in children 10 to 14 in 2018…” In your opinion, why have suicide rates increase among young children?
  9. What does PCIT stand for, and how does it help children with depression?
  10. According to Dr. Busman, what should one do if a child talks about wanting to die?

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

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