Category Archives: Health Issues

The (Much Needed) Healing Power of Laughter

“Some enlightened doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping all of us to get through this seemingly never-ending pandemic: Try a little laughter.” R. Schiffman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Megan Werner uses ‘Irwin,’ a skeleton, to help defuse tensions in her therapy groups.Credit- Megan Werner

Excerpt:Laughter May Be Effective Medicine for These Trying Times, By Richard Schiffman, The New York Times

“Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis, said Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it…‘Having a good sense of humor is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety and bring back a sense of normalcy during theseturbulent times.’

Photo Credit- Medical News Today

Perhaps most relevant today, possessing a sense of humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances, said George Bonanno, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.

Try Laughing-Credit- Getty Images

‘Charlie Chaplin once said ‘In order to truly laugh you need to be able to take your pain and play with it,’ said Paul Osincup, the president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. Write down all of the most difficult and annoying things about quarantine,’Mr. Osincup recommends. Play with those. See if you can find any humor in your situation.

Photo credit- DLPNG

Megan Werner, a psychotherapist in private practice, uses a similar strategy in her work with at-risk youth in Fayetteville, Ark. During group therapy sessions, she has the teenage gang members she works with interact with ‘Irwin,’ a life-size Halloween skeleton, to encourage them to confront their dangerous lifestyle head-on.

‘Most of the time you try to deflate a painful situation,’ she said. ‘In my therapy work, it’s more like ‘let’s blow it up, let’s make it so absurd that we laugh about it.’

Mary Laskin, a nurse case-manager at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, has been working with her chronic pain patients online, teaching them laughter exercises alongside practices designed to develop other positive mental states like gratitude and forgiveness. ‘This pandemic is like a tiger creeping toward us, a huge slow-motion stressor that makes the experience of pain worse. Humor helps my patients relax and release their grip on pain,’  she said…She recommends ‘laughter first-aid boxes,’ where they can stash joke books, funny toys and other props for this purpose.

Mary Laskin, a nurse case-manager, recommends a laughter first aid box for her patients.Credit- Courtesy of Mary Laskin

Humor can also serve to powerfully reaffirm one’s humanity in the face of illness or disability, said Dr. B.J. Miller, a palliative care physician in San Francisco who suffered a freak electrical accident in 1990 that cost him two legs and an arm.

B.J. Miller, a doctor and triple amputee, used his own experience to pioneer a new model of palliative care. Credit: NYT

After the accident, he said, most people — including medical staff members — viewed him as an object of pity. ‘There is a solemnity in how people look at you,’ he said. “You are essentially walled off from others.

The one exception, he recalled, were the men who scrubbed off his burned skin in the hospital. ‘It’s a terrible job, I mean you are inflicting reams of pain on someone to save their life,’ Dr. Miller said. ‘But this ragtag crew, they were freaking hilarious. One of them had a flask and was drinking during the procedure, they were cracking jokes the whole time.’ ‘It made me stronger because they were looking at me and saying this guy can handle the pain and he can also handle a joke — it made me feel like a human being again.’ Inspired by their example, Dr. Miller said, he uses every opportunity to bring a dose of comic relief into his own medical work. Increasingly, he sees his colleagues doing so as well.”

CNN Poll: Biden Wins Final Presidential Debate!

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden answers a question during the debate [ with tRump] 2020. (Morry Gash / Associated Press)

“Joe Biden did a better job in the final debate on Thursday, according to a CNN Instant Poll of debate watchers. Overall, 53% of voters who watched the debate said that Biden won the matchup…”CNN

Beautiful photo of Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill after the debate 2020. Courtesy CNN

Supporters of Joe Biden cheer as the Democrat’s motorcade passes en route to the final presidential debate in Nashville.(Carolyn Kaster : Associated Press)

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine 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. Some enlightened doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping us to get through this pandemic.
  2. Having a sense of humor is the key to helping us.
  3. Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis.
  4. Heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events.
  5. Having a good sense of humor helps during these turbulent times.
  6. Humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances.
  7. Most of the time you try to deflate a painful situation.
  8. Many health experts encourage people to actively cultivate the healing power of laughter.
  9. Humor can also serve to powerfully reaffirm one’s humanity in the face of illness.
  10. We must try to maintain our humanity during these challenging times.

 

 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. Having a good sense of humor are an excellent way to relieve stress.
  2. Doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for patients.
  3. Possessing a healthy sense of humor is also a stress reliever.

II

  1. Heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events.
  2. Dr. Miller prescribes one good belly laughs a day for his patients.
  3. Ms. Laskin suggests that her patients treat humor as a discipline.

III

  1. Some kinds of joking is potentially destructive.
  2. Some hospitals have initiated formal humor programs.
  3. Some caregivers are also innovating ways to bring humor into their own practice.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis, said  It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it.”
  2. “…laughter has also been shown to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and increases the body’s uptake of the feel-good endorphins.”
  3. There also appear to be cognitive benefits from watching a funny video.”
  4. “Perhaps most relevant today, possessing a sense of humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances.”
  5. “Write down all of the most difficult and annoying things about quarantine…See if you can find any humor in your situation.”
  6. During group therapy sessions, she has the teenage gang members she works with interact with “Irwin,” a life-size Halloween skeleton, to encourage them to confront their dangerous lifestyle head-on.”
  7. “This pandemic is like a tiger creeping toward us, a huge slow-motion stressor that makes the experience of pain worse. Humor helps my patients relax and release their grip on pain.”

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. There is an old saying that states, “Laughter is the best medicine”. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
  2. During these difficult times do you feel like laughing? Why or why not?
  3. According to DR. Michael Miller what does laughter and a  good sense of humor do for us in general?
  4. What does Dr. Miller recommend we do at least once a day?
  5. According to Dr. Singh, why should we watch funny videos?
  6. Why is ‘possessing a sense of humor’ helpful in the face of adverse circumstances?
  7. What is the famous quote by Charlie Chaplin? Do you agree or disagree with this advice? Please explain provide reasons for your answers.
  8. What does Paul Osincup recommend we do with all the annoying things about the quarantine? In your opinion is this a good idea? Explain why or why not.
  9. Ms.  Laskin states, “Our health care system focuses on passive ways to manage pain like taking a pill or getting an operation…I encourage people to actively cultivate the healing power of laughter, which puts them back in the driver’s seat.” In your own words explain what she means.
  10. Why is it unusual for Dr. B. J. Miller to have a sense of humor?  If you were in his position do you think you could maintain a sense of humor?  Explain why or why?
  11. What new information have you learned from 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.

Extra Activities

Create a Laughter First-Aid Box

In the article  Mary Laskin, a nurse case manager, said she recommended “laughter first-aid boxes” for her patients, where they can stash joke books, funny toys and other props for this purpose.  Make a list of all the items you would place in your personal “Laughter First-Aid Box”  or create a physical box . Share your items with someone in your group.

ANSWER KEY

During Quarantine, Children Return to Their Mother Tongue

“With schools and day cares closed, previously dominant languages — such as English in Britain and the United States — are no longer as overpowering. Instead, children are hearing more of their parents’ mother tongues.”S. Hardach, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

credit- adzuna.co blog

Excerpt:In Quarantine, Kids Pick Up Parents’ Mother Tongues,By Sophie Hardach, The New York Times

“A few days into the lockdown here in London, I noticed a surprising side-effect of the pandemic: My 3-year-old son was speaking more German.

German is my mother tongue, and I have used it with him since he was born, but because everyone around us speaks English, including my British husband, we settled into a pattern typical of mixed families. I spoke to my son in German, and he replied in English. Then Covid-19 reshuffled our linguistic deck. As all of us quarantined at home, my son embraced German with unprecedented enthusiasm. Now, almost six months on, it has become his preferred language. In a complete reversal, he even replies to my husband in German.

My experience is far from unique. All over the world, Covid-19 has forced children to stay inside. In some homes where different languages coexist, this is changing how they speak… children are hearing more of their parents’ mother tongues…Before the lockdown, the children tended to use the dominant languages: English in Britain and Ireland, and Norwegian in Norway (plus English, thanks to television, computer games and other media)… School plays a crucial role with this; in a study of 200 Korean-American families, the portion of firstborn children who spoke Korean to their parents went from almost 80 percent to 34 percent after starting school. Younger siblings spoke even less.

For parents, that sudden rejection of the mother tongue can be bewildering and even painful… In the United States, researchers interested in language have launched an app called KidTalk to gather recordings made before and during Covid-19. Yi Ting Huang, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at the University of Maryland, and Joshua Hartshorne, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College, have recruited more than 300 families, about a third of which are multilingual, for the project… Dr. Huang plans to use speech-recognition software to analyze the recordings; for example, identifying the number of speakers and languages in each conversation, and tracking any changes…n the past, Dr. Huang said, many researchers and policymakers viewed a child as a water glass that could only hold so much liquid.

‘So we’re just trying to cram as much of one language as opposed to another language,’ she said…Dr. Hartshorne and his partner are also raising their daughter in English and Mandarin, but they have seen the opposite effect…’As the weeks have worn on, we’ve worn down.’ English has become the family’s default language, though the daughter still understands Mandarin…Will all these languages continue to blossom after Covid-19? It’s hard to say.

Some researchers expected children to revert to the dominant language once life returns to normal. Others saw the possibility of a virtuous cycle, with children growing more confident in their second language and using it more in the long run.”

“On the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden went down to Florida in an attempt to help secure the Latino vote in November.”

“I’ll tell you what, if I had the talent of any one of these people, I’d be elected president by acclamation,” ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Biden was referring toLuis Fonsi  [the artist who performed the Spanish song ‘Despacito’] as well as singer Ricky Martin and actress Eva Longoria, who also spoke ahead of Biden in Kissimmee, Florida.”Ed O’Keefe reports.

Election 2020: What to know

How to vote:Find out the rules in your state. Some states have already started sending out mail ballots; see how to make sure yours counts. Absentee and mail ballots are two terms for the same thing, mostly used interchangeably. Barring a landslide, we may not have a result in the presidential election on Nov. 3.

Electoral college map: Who actually votes, and who do they vote for? Explore how shifts in turnout and voting patterns for key demographic groups could affect the presidential race.

Battlegrounds: Want to understand the swing states? Read about Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania, and sign up for The Trailer and get more states, plus more news and insight from the trail, in your inbox three days a week.

Coming up: Trump and Biden are scheduled to debate three times this fall; here’s what to know about the 2020 presidential debates.

RELATED:

A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19 By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe Click on your state in the map to see a lot of the information you need in order to cast a ballot this fall — by whatever method you choose. This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.

 

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
August 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Justice Ruth Bader GinsburgAugust 10, 1993 – September 18, 2020

Rest In Love and Peace ESL-Voices

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

Pre-reading:  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.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. German is my mother tongue.
  2. The Covid-19 reshuffled our linguistic deck.
  3. All of us are quarantined at home.
  4. My son embraced German  with unprecedented enthusiasm.
  5. My experience is far from unique.
  6. In some homes where different languages coexist, this is changing how they speak.
  7. Dr. Serratrice surveyed the language habits of over 700 multilingual families.
  8. Unless parents take extra measures, the ancestral sound may fade.
  9. For some parents, the school closures are an opportunity to challenge bigger linguistic hierarchies.
  10. Amid the upheaval of Covid-19, kids might be turning to a reassuring language that they associate with parents.  

Grammar Focus: Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article.

The parents in/on these family/families spoke/spoken  more than 40 different mother tongues, including French,  Spanish, Hindi, Urdu, Kirundi and Zulu.

Before a/the lockdown, the/an children tended to/too use the dominant languages: English in/on Britain and Ireland, and/an Norwegian in Norway (plus English, thank/thanks too/to television, computer games and another/other media).

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “They’re put into this little hothouse of less English, more other languages.”
  2. “When you think about living in a different country and raising your child in your native language, some people think, ‘Oh, it’s the most natural thing and it’s easy,’ because it’s your native language. And that couldn’t be further from the truth.”
  3. “…not all respondents saw their native tongue strengthen. Some even said it was suffering because they were home-schooling the children in Norwegian.”
  4. “Language is a living marker of history and cultural identity, linking immigrant families to their place of origin.”
  5. “I don’t know that we’ve had recent historical precedent for a child’s world to be shrunk down to just the immediate family for months at a time.”
  6. “More than 42 Indigenous languages are spoken in Uganda, but formal education is delivered in English, a legacy of colonialism…the local language Luganda  has gained strength during lockdown.

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

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

Advanced Spider map By writedesignonline

 

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. Besides English, how many other languages do you speak?
  2. If English is not your first language, do you speak your first language at home?
  3. Why are children speaking  more of their first language now?
  4. Why does the author state her  experience is  ‘far from unique’?
  5. Why aren’t children hearing more English during Covid-19?
  6. According to the article, why does the language of the home becomes less and less important to young children?
  7. In general, how do parents feel when their kids stop speaking their mother tongue?
  8. The article states, ‘This echoes research suggesting that passing on one’s language can create better communication between generations and a shared identity and heritage.’  In your own words explain what this means.
  9. What language did Dr. Huang speak as a child? Why did she go back to speaking it as an adult?
  10. Write down one new idea  you’ve learned from this reading.

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

Everyone Should Be Wearing Masks!

Something that’s supposed to cover our mouths speaks volumes about how crazy some people have gotten. When people ask me about my mood these days, I tell them that I feel like I’m a reporter for The Pompeii Daily News in A.D. 79…” T. L. Friedman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Brittainy Newman:The New York Times

Excerpt: If Our Masks Could Speak, By Thomas L. Friedman

“The summer of 2020 could be remembered as one of those truly important dates in American history. Everywhere you turn you see parents who don’t know where or if their kids will go to school this fall, renters who don’t know when or if they will be evicted, unemployed who don’t know what if any safety net Congress will put under them, businesses that don’t know how or if they can hold on another day — and none of us who know whether we’ll be able to vote in November…How did we get so inept?

If, God forbid, America were buried under lava the way Pompeii was and future archaeologists were to come along and dig it out, I have no doubt that the artifact they’d dust off and hold up first to answer that huge question would be a simple item that costs pennies to make and is so easy to wear: the face mask. For something that’s supposed to cover our mouths it speaks volumes about how crazy some have gotten.

Specifically, that face mask tells how the world’s richest and most scientifically advanced country generated a cadre of leaders and citizens who made wearing a covering over their nose and mouth to prevent the spread of a contagion into a freedom-of-speech issue and cultural marker — something no other country in the world did…And that’s where we are now. When you compare the sacrifices — including the ultimate sacrifice — that the Greatest Generation of Americans made to defend their fellow citizens from the scourge of Nazism with how little some members of today’s generations will sacrifice to defend their fellow Americans from the scourge of Covid-19 — by just wearing a face mask — it leaves you speechless.

It’s inexcusable. Resisting wearing a mask in a pandemic is nothing more than selfish, libertarian nonsense masquerading as a comic-book defense of freedom: ‘Don’t tread on me, but I can breathe on you.’  Trump’s resistance to masks actually had nothing to do with ideology. It was just his primitive opposition to anything that would highlight the true health crisis we were in and that therefore might hurt his re-election… As John Finn, professor emeritus of government at Wesleyan University, writing on The Conversation.com, noted, ‘There are two reasons why mask mandates don’t violate the First Amendment. First, a mask doesn’t keep you from expressing yourself. … Additionally, the First Amendment, like all liberties ensured by the Constitution, is not absolute. All constitutional rights are subject to the government’s authority to protect the health, safety and welfare of the community.’

We have a way to go…Wearing a mask in this pandemic is a sign of respect for your fellow citizens and neighbors — no matter what their race, creed or political affiliation. Wearing a mask says: ‘I’m not just concerned about myself. I’m concerned about you, too. We are all part of the same community, the same country and the same struggle to stay healthy.’  A different president would have been urging every American, from the start of this pandemic, to don a red, white and blue mask. He would have used such a mask to do double duty — crush Covid-19 and bring us together for the long march needed to do so.

As I said, a different president.”

 

“The right to vote is the most sacred American right there is — exercise it. Make your voice heard this November.”

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden ~

~Vice-Presidential Leader Kamala Harris~

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. The author feels like a reporter for The Pompeii Daily News in A.D. 79.
  2. Many people don’t know if they will be evicted.
  3. Some people are already unemployed.
  4. Anxiety is building up beneath our society.
  5. How did we get so inept?
  6. The artifact they’d dust off and hold up first would be  the face mask.
  7. This country had generated a a cadre of leaders and citizens who selfishly refuse to wear a face mask.
  8. Wearing a mask is the cheapest way to prevent the spread of a contagion.
  9. Years ago Americans made the ultimate sacrifice.
  10. Resisting wearing a mask in a pandemic is inexcusable.

 

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. The summer of 2020 could be remembered as a important date in American history.
  2. That is a lot of anxiety building up beneath our  society.
  3. For something that’s supposed to cover our mouths it speaks volumes about how crazy some have gotten.

 

II

  1. Resisting wearing a mask in a pandemic is nothing more than selfish.
  2. Mike Pence is always happy to put lipstick on Trump’s piggishness.
  3. There are two reason why mask mandates don’t violate the First Amendment.

 

III

  1. Our future archaeologists would also be right to focus on face masks.
  2. We have a way too go.
  3. Wearing a mask in this pandemic is a sign of respect for your fellow citizens and neighbors.

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.

“But Mike Pence — always happy to put___on Trump’s ___— dressed up his ___mask-resistance in constitutional garb.

When asked by a___ at Trump’s Tulsa___a few weeks ago why the president appeared___about the absence of masks and social___ at his event, Pence solemnly intoned: ‘I want to remind you again, freedom of speech and the right to peaceably assemble is in the ___ Even in a health crisis, the American people don’t___ our constitutional rights.’  What a fraud.

WORD LIST: forfeit, Constitution of the U.S., distancing, unconcerned, reporter,  elegant,  crude, rally, lipstick, piggishness,

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. According to the author why is there a building up of anxiety in this country?
  2. The author provides one main reason for our ineptness at handling the coronavirus. What is it?
  3. In your opinion, who is to blame for people not wearing face masks?
  4. The author states, “A society that can politicize something as simple as a face mask in a pandemic can politicize anything, can make anything a wedge issue…” What does he mean?
  5. What does the author  say is the ultimate sacrifice that Americans can do (and have done in the past) for  their fellow citizens?
  6. What does the author call refusing to wear a face mask in a pandemic? Do you agree or disagree? Why?
  7. The author refers to Trump as being  ‘primitive’ in handling our country especially during Covid-19. Do you agree/disagree?  Provide reasons for your opinion.
  8. What reason does the author give for Trump’s resistance to masks?

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

Would You Volunteer for the Covid-19 Vaccine Trial Tests?

“How do you sign up for a trial? Who is eligible? Will you be paid? Could an experimental shot protect you? Could you get sick? Who covers the costs if you do? Here’s what you need to know.” H. Murphy, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A volunteer gets his injection in the first-phase trial of the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna, a company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Ceredit- Ted S Warren:AP

 

Excerpt: Do You Want to Be a Vaccine Volunteer? By Heather Murphy, The New York Times  [Note: read this article in its entirety]

“Maybe you are an altruist looking for a way to help fight the coronavirus. Maybe you are hoping to be among the first to try an experimental vaccine. Or maybe you are just bored or could use a few hundred dollars.

Whatever your reasons, scientists, bioethicists and current volunteers say participating in a vaccine trial can be meaningful. And without hundreds of thousands of volunteers, there will be no vaccine for anyone.

But you may be surprised by the commitment and risks that a trial entails. Here’s what you need to know.”

How do I find a trial?

Dr. Avo Avworo in San Antonio, Texas injects volunteer in latest phase of Covid-19 trials. Credit San Antonio Express News

“A number of sites maintain lists of coronavirus vaccine trials. The Covid-19 Prevention Network site, created by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health, helps connect volunteers to Phase 3 studies.”

How do I increase my chance of early access to an experimental vaccine?

lA clinical trial participant in England is injected with either an experimental COVID-19 vaccine or a placebo shot. Trials like this are underway around the world. (Oxford University)

“There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase of a vaccine trial, no matter how hyped the product has been… you might not get the vaccine at all. It might be an inactive placebo or an alternative intervention. Researchers have to give these to some subjects to create a control group, said Nir Eyal, the director of the Center for Population-Level Bioethics at the Rutgers School of Public Health.”

How much will I get paid?

“It could be a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. It varies by the trial… Organizers try to avoid creating a financial incentive.”

I have antibodies. Am I now immune?

A volunteer taking part in a human trial of a potential vaccine for the coronavirus. Credit- Oxford University, via Associated Press

“People infected with the coronavirus typically produce immune molecules called antibodies, which are protective proteins made in response to an infection. These antibodies may last in the body only two to three months.”

What are my rights if I am worried about going back to work?

“Employers have to provide a safe workplace with policies that protect everyone equally. And if one of your co-workers tests positive for the coronavirus, the C.D.C. has said that employers should tell their employees — without giving you the sick employee’s name — that they may have been exposed to the virus.”

What if I’m willing to be infected with the coronavirus to speed up the science?

“Across the world, a lively debate is underway about that. This type of vaccine research is called a ‘challenge trial,’ which entails giving volunteers a vaccine then deliberately exposing them to the virus to see if they end up infected.

The approach is controversial because Covid-19 has no cure and can be fatal. But it is also tantalizing because it promises to dramatically speed up research.”

Dr. Eyal believes that “he most ethical way to conduct these trials is to focus on young, healthy volunteers who meet criteria that suggest they’d be unlikely to develop a severe case of Covid-19. There are no guarantees, however, which is why some experts are adamantly opposed to challenge trials… But if you are not deterred, and want to help advance the science, the site 1 Day Sooner invites people to sign up for future challenge trials.”

 

2020 Election Live Updates: Biden Visits Kenosha and Meets With Jacob Blake’s Family

Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, arrived in Milwaukee on Thursday, where they met with the parents of Jacob Blake, who was shot and paralyzed by a Kenosha police officer. Credit: Kriston Jae Bethel for The New York Times

“Mr. Biden met privately with several of Mr. Blake’s closest relatives for an hour as soon as his plane landed in Milwaukee. He then convened a community meeting at Grace Lutheran Church in Kenosha, which is still reeling after the shooting of Mr. Blake and subsequent protests that saw sporadic outbreaks of violence and looting.

“Hate only hides,” Mr. Biden said, as he described the ways, in his view,  Trump has emboldened bigots. But he predicted that the country had reached an “inflection point.”

“Get off Twitter,” Mr. Biden scolded Trump in a speech on Wednesday, urging him to engage with congressional leaders to help support schools and pass an economic aid package.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the title of the 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. Maybe you are an altruist looking for a way to help fight the coronavirus.
  2. Some people are hoping to be among the first to try an experimental vaccine.
  3. Without hundreds of thousands of volunteers, there will be no vaccine for anyone.
  4. You may be surprised by the commitment and risks that a trial entails.
  5. Typically they will monitor you and a few dozen other subjects closely after each dose.
  6. There are three phases for a trial.
  7. Some volunteers will receive  the experimental vaccine.
  8. Sometimes a vaccine will  generate an immune response.
  9. An immune response does not mean the vaccine was sufficient to protect anyone.
  10. Non of the volunteers will know if they are receiving the vaccine or a placebo.

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. A number of site maintain lists of coronavirus vaccine trials.
  2. There are three primary phases of a vaccine trial.
  3. At the time you receive the vaccine, the developer won’t know if it prevents Covid-19.

II

  1. Phase 1 trials are appealing to some volunteers.
  2. Phase 2 is bigger and typically involves a few hundred people.
  3. Only a Phase three trials allows researchers to study if their vaccine works.

III

  1. There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase.
  2. The approach is controversial because Covid-19 has no cure and can be fatal.
  3. The  approach also promises to dramatically speed up research.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “There’s no guarantee that you’ll actually be protected from the coronavirus at any phase of a vaccine trial, no matter how hyped the product has been.”
  2. Organizers try to avoid creating a financial incentive. So even if they could pay much more, they don’t.”
  3. “It may be possible to get the coronavirus again, but it’s highly unlikely that it would be possible in a short window of time from initial infection or make people sicker the second time.”
  4. “If the money seems extraordinarily attractive to you, think again… You don’t want to let compensation blind you to the need to pay attention to the risks.”

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. What are some reasons a person might want to volunteer for the Covid-19 tests?
  2. According to the article what happens if there are too few or no volunteers for these tests?
  3. How many volunteers is the company Moderna looking for?
  4. How many phases are there for a vaccine trial?
  5. Why is Phase 1 trial the most popular among volunteers?
  6. How much money will a volunteer make?
  7. Will volunteers who were injected become immune to Covid-19?
  8. According to the article what is this kind of research called? Why?
  9. After reading the entire article, would you  volunteer for the Covid-19 trials? Explain why or why not.
  10. With your group members discus how Covid-19 has affected your daily activites (e.g., home, school, family or friends).

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideasyou’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.

Additional Exercises for Group Discussion

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Web to support their arguments.

Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for volunteering for the Covid-19 trials.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against volunteering for the Covid-19 trials.

Allow each team time to state their points of view. The teacher decides which team made their points.  

Pros and Cons Scale

Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

ANSWER KEY

If Kids Return to School Masks Are Must!

“Crayola, Old Navy and Disney are among the brands making colorful masks for children. Child psychologists see this as a positive step toward “normalcy.” D. B. Taylor, The New York Times

Crayola-NBC news

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: This Year’s Must-Have Back-to-School Item: Masks for Children By Derrick B. Taylor, NYT

“Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule, ads offering discounts on backpacks, notebooks and pencils are beginning to pop up on television and online.

But this year, during a pandemic that has school officials agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen masks are appearing among the glue sticks and glitter as essential back-to-school items.

Crayola Masks – Credit- Crayola NYT

Companies like Crayola, Old Navy and Disney have begun selling colorful masks for children in packs of four and five as part of their back-to-school offerings… Dr. Andrew Adesman, the chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at the Cohen Children’s Medical Center in Queens, said the reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible…” Having child-friendly face masks in terms of fit and appeal are probably more part of the solution than the problem.”

Credit- Freepik

With the school year quickly approaching, schools across the United States are grappling with how to reopen — and whether they can reopen safely at all… There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks, especially among older children. A large study from South Korea found that children younger than 10 transmit the coronavirus much less often than adults, although the risk is not zero.

Credit- Krayola

Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found…The research does not necessarily prove that children are spreading the virus, but experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools…Though scientists and health authorities say that masks reduce the spread of the coronavirus, even adults can’t agree on wearing them.”

~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

“2020 Election Live Updates: Democratic convention speakers will include the Clintons and Obamas, along with Sanders and Kasich. The big names will be augmented by testimonials from “from voters of all kinds — delegates, parents, teachers, small-business owners, essential workers, activists and elected leaders,” culled from “1,000 crowdsourced videos,” officials with the convention’s organizing committee announced on Monday.” The New York Times

Democratic Convention Begins:  Monday August 17 — Ends Thursday August 20  Visit  The Democratic National Convention  Schedule Information Here

Congratulations! Kamala Harris Is Biden’s Choice for Vice President!

Biden taps Kamala Harris as his pick for vice president-New York Times

“A former rival for the Democratic nomination, she will be the first woman of color to be nominated for national office by a major political party.” By A. Burns and K. Glueck, The New York Times

Joe Biden with his VP choice Kamala Harris

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine 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. Fall is drawing near, and right on schedule.
  2. But this school year there is a pandemic.
  3. School officials are agonizing over how and whether to safely reopen.
  4. Face masks are appearing as essential back-to-school items.
  5. The idea of colorful masks is all very bright if a little dystopian.
  6. Some educators feel child-friendly face masks  will appeal to kids.
  7. There are concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  8. It had been found that infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults.
  9. Experts said the findings should influence the debate over whether and how to reopen schools.
  10. More than half the states have issued mask requirements in recent weeks.

 

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. Masks was designed to help children adapt to the new normal.
  2. Fall is coming and some schools might open.
  3. This school year is during a pandemic.

II

  1. Schools have two major concerns.
  2. Some companies is making large quantities of masks for children.
  3. In addition, items such as face shields are being made for kids.

 

III

  1. It’s all very bright and colorful for kids.
  2. There  is concerns that the reopening of schools could spark outbreaks.
  3. Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks.

 

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “The reality is, you want children to go back to school in the safest way possible.”
  2.   “The key to getting children to wear masks in school was to make them fun.”
  3. ” The company had designed its masks to help children adapt to the new normal and feel comfortable in school.”
  4. “The company had started making face coverings for families at the outset of the pandemic.”
  5. “Some stores want children to pester their parents for masks, “for kids to say, ‘I want that mask because it’s nicely designed.”

 

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. What are the two main concerns school officials have?
  2. Which three major companies are selling masks for children?
  3. In addition to masks what other items are being made for children to wear this fall?
  4. Dr. Andrew feels that face masks for kids should be viewed in what way?
  5. The article states, In most districts where students will be allowed to return to the classroom, they’ll do so with a requirement to wear masks or face coverings, though that directive is not universal.”
  6. In your opinion, should face masks be required for  some kids but not for all? Why or why not?
  7. The article states, Children between 10 and 19 can spread the virus at least as efficiently as adults do, the study found.”
  8. Do you think schools should reopen at all this year? Explain why.

 

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.

Main Idea / Debate

Directions: Divide students into two teams for this debate. Both teams can use information from the article and sources from the Webto support their arguments.

Team A will list five reasons that support arguments for children returning to school.

Team B will list  five reasons that support arguments against children returning to school

Each team will have time to state their points of view,and the teacher decides which team made their points.  

For organization, have students use this Pros and Cons Scale organizer from Freeology

Pros and Cons Scale

ANSWER KEY