Category Archives: History

New Year’s Celebrations!

“Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.” History.com

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit-Greetings1

Excerpt: The History of New Year History.com

“The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars, typically pinning the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.

The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.

Revelers often enjoy meals and snacks thought to bestow good luck for the coming year. In Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, people bolt down a dozen grapes-symbolizing their hopes for the months ahead-right before midnight.

New Year Celebration, Tendillas Square, Spain

In many parts of the world, traditional New Year’s dishes feature legumes, which are thought to resemble coins and herald future financial success; examples include lentils in Italy and black-eyed peas in the southern United States. Because pigs represent progress and prosperity in some cultures, pork appears on the New Year’s Eve table in Cuba, Austria, Hungary, Portugal and other countries.

New Year Celebration, Vienna, Austria. Photo Image gallery.

In Sweden and Norway, meanwhile, rice pudding with an almond hidden inside is served on New Year’s Eve; it is said that whoever finds the nut can expect 12 months of good fortune.

In Sweden, it is believed that whoever gets that one peeled almond hidden inside the rice pudding at Christmas will get married within a year. Credit: the scoop.

Other customs that are common worldwide include watching fireworks and singing songs to welcome the new year, including the ever-popular ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in many English-speaking countries. The practice of making resolutions for the new year is thought to have first caught on among the ancient Babylonians, who made promises in order to earn the favor of the gods and start the year off on the right foot. (They would reportedly vow to pay off debts and return borrowed farm equipment.)

The London Eye on the River Thames during New Year fireworks and celebrations. The Telegraph.

New Year Celebration New York City’s Times Square. Photo- C. Morris.

In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight…Over time, the ball itself has ballooned from a 400-pound iron-and-wood orb to a brightly patterned sphere 12 feet in diameter and weighing in at nearly 12,000 pounds.”

From ESL Voices To All of Our Readers:

Wishing Everyone A Very Happy New Year!

Click here for more graphics and gifs!

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Intermediate-Advanced

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

Time: approximately 2 hours.

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

Objective: Students will read and discuss the article about New Year’s celebrations 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 Task

Prediction:Analyze headings and photos.

Directions: Read the title of the post, and article.  Analyze the photo(s) to see if  you can predict what  information the article will discuss.  Then based on this information,  make a list of ideas,  words and phrases that might be in the article.

The K-W-L Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about New Year’s celebrations.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia.
  2. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31st.
  3. New Year’s Eve is the last day of the Gregorian calendar.
  4. Common traditions include attending parties, and eating special New Year’s foods.
  5. Other traditions include making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.
  6. The earliest recorded festivities date back some 4,000 years to ancient Babylon.
  7. Throughout antiquity, civilizations around the world developed increasingly sophisticated calendars.
  8. The calendars would pin the first day of the year to an agricultural or astronomical event.
  9. In Egypt the year began with the annual flooding of the Nile, which coincided with the rising of the star Sirius.
  10. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.

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. Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least five millennia.
  2. Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays
  3. The earliest recorded festivities in honor of a new year’s arrival date back some 4,000 years to ancient Rome.
  4. The first day of the Chinese new year, meanwhile, occurred with the second new moon after the winter solstice.
  5. In medieval Europe, Christian leaders temporarily replaced January 1 as the first of the year with days carrying more religious significance, such as December 25 (the anniversary of Jesus’ birth).
  6. In many countries, New Year’s celebrations begin on the evening of December 3 and continue into the early hours of January 1.
  7. Revelers often eat specific foods that are believed to bring good crops for the coming year.
  8. Grapes in Spain, round fruits in the Philippines, suckling pig in Austria, soba noodles in Japan are all considered good-luck food.
  9. Other customs that are common in the U.S. include making resolutions.
  10. In the United States, the most iconic New Year’s tradition is the dropping of a giant ball in New York City‘s Times Square at the stroke of midnight.

III Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech: Nouns

Directions: Identify the nouns in the following paragraph, then use the words to write a short paragraph about \ New Year celebrations in the United States.

Civilizations around the world have been celebrating the start of each new year for at least four millennia. Today, most New Year’s festivities begin on December 31 (New Year’s Eve), the last day of the Gregorian calendar, and continue into the early hours of January 1 (New Year’s Day). Common traditions include attending parties, eating special New Year’s foods, making resolutions for the new year and watching fireworks displays.

III. Post Reading Tasks

WH-How Questions format

Directions: 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?

K-W-L Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

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.

  1. Provide a description of when and how the New Year is celebrated in your country. If you live in the U.S. then discuss how you celebrate the New Year.
  2. Discuss the types of foods you like to eat on New Year’s Day and the significance of the food.
  3. A big New Year  tradition in the U.S. is making resolutions. Discuss a few of your own resolutions and why you are making them.

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

Category: History, Holidays

“Amelia Earhart’s Disappearance Still Captivates, 80 Years Later”

“They are at it again. And this time they have a photo. Since Amelia Earhart, the famous American aviator, and Fred Noonan, her navigator, disappeared somewhere over the Pacific Ocean during a 1937 attempt to circumnavigate the globe, groups of researchers and historians have argued over their fate. Did they land, or did they crash?…Did their twin-engine Lockheed Electra plunge into the ocean, never to be seen again? Or was it found — and even photographed — on Japanese territory in the years leading up to the United States’ 1941 declaration of war on Japan?” J. Fortin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A newly discovered photo shows a woman who resembles Amelia Earhart and a man who appears to be her navigator, Fred Noonan. NBC News

Excerpt: Did Amelia Earhart Survive? A Found Photo Offers a Theory, but No Proof By Jacey Fortin The New York Times

“Sunday was the 80th anniversary of the disappearance of Ms. Earhart and Mr. Noonan. So it is perhaps no surprise that National Geographic recently announced that a team of forensic dogs was being dispatched to a remote atoll to search for the duo’s remains. And now History — formerly ‘The History Channel… is debuting a documentary on Sunday about how Ms. Earhart may have ended up in Japanese custody and imprisoned on the island of Saipan. Various forms of this theory have been tossed around for decades, but a newly discovered photograph is breathing new life into the idea.

Pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, with a map of the Pacific that shows the planned route of their last flight.

The photo, which History said was found in the National Archives by a retired federal agent named Les Kinney, appears to show a tall, trousers-wearing, short-haired woman seated on a dock in Jaluit, an atoll in the Marshall Islands, with her back to the camera. It also appears to show Mr. Noonan and maybe even the Electra itself, on a barge off in the distance.

Shawn Henry, a former F.B.I. executive assistant director who has been working with History to investigate the photo for about a year, said facial identification experts called it likely that the photos showed Ms. Earhart and Mr. Noonan.

He said the Marshall Islands theory is supported by other evidence, too: pieces of metal that were found in the area and could have come from the Electra; an interview Mr. Henry conducted with an islander who claims to have seen Ms. Earhart around the time of her disappearance; and government records citing reports about Ms. Earhart being imprisoned by the Japanese, though the reports mentioned have not been found. He sounded confident — just as confident, in fact, as Ric Gillespie, who may be the best-known proponent of another, entirely different theory.

Francisco Chronicle July 3, 1937,

Mr. Gillespie is the executive director of The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery, a nonprofit that has spent decades searching for Ms. Earhart. He thinks the aviator landed her plane on an atoll (then called Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro) that is more than a thousand miles away from the Marshall Islands. This week, researchers from that organization are on their 12th mission to Nikumaroro in search of the aviator’s remains.

This headline, from the July 1, 1960 San Mateo Times, was ignored.

‘There is such a public desire for an answer to this mystery,’ Mr. Gillespie said. ‘Because it is such a complex and multidisciplinary effort to investigate it, I see it as a wonderful opportunity to explore and demonstrate and teach how we go about figuring out what is true.’

Mr. Henry said that while the crash-and-sink theory holds weight in the popular imagination, ‘there’s not one shred of evidence that she crashed into the ocean.’ Millions of dollars have been spent to explore ocean floor around Howland Island, and no airplane has turned up yet.”

 

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

KWL Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about  Amelia Earhart.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

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. Amelia Earhart attempted to circumnavigate the globe.
  2. Scientists used a team of forensic dogs to search for any remains.
  3. Ric Gillespie is a  proponent of another, entirely different theory.
  4. Researchers hunt for the aviator’s remains.
  5. Some think there is a photo of  the plane on a barge off in the distance.
  6. Researchers claim there is other evidence.
  7. Some claim that Ms. Earhart was imprisoned by the Japanese.
  8. Many nonprofit organizations have searched for the aviator.
  9. Many enthusiasts refuse to believe that  Earhart could have disappeared without a trace.
  10. Mr. Henry said that not one shred of evidence can be found.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabualry chart

 

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.

Mr. Gillespie is the executive ___of The International Group for Historic ___Recovery, a ___that has spent___searching for Ms. Earhart. He thinks the___landed her plane on an ___(then called Gardner Island, now Nikumaroro) that is more than a___miles away from the Marshall Islands.

WORD LIST: thousand, nonprofit, Aircraft, director, decades, aviator, atoll,

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.

The voyage/voter  is the one being supplied/supported, in part, by National Geographic and four dogsThe organization’s/organizer’s  previous missions/misses have found promises/promising artifacts/artificial, like pieces/pies of what could be airplane metal/meals and parts of jars/jugs manufactured by American companies during the 1930s — including one used for a fickle/freckle ointment for women, which wouldn’t have been out of place among the possessions of the freckled female aviator.

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?

KWL Chart

Directions:  Have students  fill in the last column of the KWL chart if they used one in the pre-reading segment of this lesson.

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

Extra: Web Search

Directions: In groups/partners have students search the web for additional information about Amelia Earhart.  Students can either have further discussions or write an essay about the  material they have found.

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

Category: Culture, History | Tags:

Thanksgiving Circa 1900: No Pilgrims Or Indians…Just Masks

“Oddest thing: Thanksgiving in turn-of-the-20th century America used to look a heckuva lot like Halloween. People — young and old — got all dressed up and staged costumed crawls through the streets. In Los Angeles, Chicago and other places around the country, newspapers ran stories of folks wearing elaborate masks and cloth veils. Thanksgiving mask balls were held in Cape Girardeau, Mo., Montesano, Wash., and points in between.” L. Weeks, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Young Thanksgiving maskers, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

 

Excerpt: When Thanksgiving Was Weird By Linton Weeks, NPR

“In New York City — where the tradition was especially strong — a local newspaper reported in 1911 that fantastically garbed youngsters and their elders were on every corner of the city. Thousands of folks ran rampant, one syndicated column noted. Horns and rattles are worked overtime. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians is an allowable pastime. It must have been like a strange American dream. Of course there was the familiar Thanksgiving fare for those who could afford it — turkey, pork, apples, figs and mince pies. But there was also a widespread weirdness that has faded away over the years.

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

Thanksgiving Maskers via Bain News Service-Library of Congress

In fact, so many people participated in masking and making merry back then that, according to a widely distributed item that appeared in the Los Angeles Times of Nov. 21, 1897, Thanksgiving was “the busiest time of the year for the manufacturers of and dealers in masks and false faces. The fantastical costume parades and the old custom of making and dressing up for amusement on Thanksgiving day keep up from year to year in many parts of the country, so that the quantity of false faces sold at this season is enormous… In New York: Newspapers advertised ‘Thanksgiving masks’ and ‘lithographed character masks’ for the tots…These featureless disguises were often sold in candy stores alongside holiday related treats like spiced jelly gums, opera drops, crystallized ginger and tinted hard candies.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Maskers with baskets, circa 1910-1915. Bain News Service:Library of Congress.

Children would dress themselves in rags and oversized, overdone parodies of beggars (a la Charlie Chaplin’s character ‘The Tramp’) The ragamuffins would then ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’…Ragamuffin parades continued to be popular into the 1950s, but they were eventually overpowered by another burgeoning tradition catapulted into prominence by the 1947 movie Miracle on 34th Street.

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

The new symbol of Thanksgiving also showcased people in fantastic masks and costumes and, in addition, hoisted giant character-based balloons. It was called Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Henry David Thoreau

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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 Organizer By Scholastic

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

II. While Reading Tasks

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.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

  1. Fantastically garbed youngsters were on every corner.
  2. One columnist noted that many folks ran rampant.
  3. The throwing of confetti and even flour on pedestrians was allowed.
  4. Many people participated in masking.
  5. Masks were a widely distributed item.
  6. There were many popular get-ups at the time.
  7. Some masks greatly exaggerated facial peculiarities.
  8. More refined revelers donned soft, ghostly, painted veils.
  9. Many people kept the tradition alive.
  10. Children would dress themselves in rags and parodies of beggars.

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

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

Some marauders/ masqueraders rode/ride horses; others strayed/straddled bicycles. Everyone was generous/genuine with pennies and nickels, and the candy stores did a land-office business. So many young/youngsters in New York City dressed as poor/pop people, Thanksgiving Day took on a nickname: Ragamuffin Day. Parodies/Parades of ragamuffins — sometimes called ‘fantastics’ because of the costumes — can be dated/dates at least to 1891. The ragamuffins would then/than ask neighbors and adults on the street, ‘Anything for Thanksgiving?’

 Grammar Focus

Using Adjectives

Directions: Have students choose a picture from the article  and write a descriptive paragraph using adjectives.

For a review of Adjectives visit ESL Voices Grammar

III. Post Reading Tasks

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.

  1. The following  two statements were taken from the article. Rephrase each statement in your own words, then discuss the meaning with the members of your group.

“By 1930, the library blog reports, some New Yorkers were ready to move on. School Superintendent William J. O’Shea instructed administrators that modernity is incompatible with the custom of children to masquerade and annoy adults on Thanksgiving day” by asking for gifts and money.”

“Others kept the tradition alive. The Madison Square Club for Boys and Young Men, for instance, put on Ragamuffin Parades in an attempt to bring order to the occasion. The 1940 parade, according to the library blog, featured more than 400 children and touted the group’s motto: American boys do not beg.”

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.

ANSWER KEY

Category: History | Tags:

The 9/11 Museum: Memorial or Theme Park?

On September 11, 2001 the World Trade Center in New York City was attacked. At least 3,000 people died that day. In commemoration, The National September Eleventh Memorial Museum is opening with a ceremony led by  President  Obama. There are mixed feelings about the new memorial.The following excerpt provides a detailed description of the new monument along with the objections from several families of 9/11 victims.   

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

The exterior skin of the museum’s irregularly shaped entry pavilion is banded with alternating stripes of polished and matte finish stainless steel.which meet an angular wall of clear glass. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

The exterior skin of the museum’s irregularly shaped entry pavilion is banded with alternating stripes of polished and matte finish stainless steel.which meet an angular wall of clear glass. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

Excerpt: The 9/11 Story Told at Bedrock…By Holland Cotter, The New York Times

After a decade marked by deep grief, partisan rancor, war, financial boondoggles and inundation from Hurricane Sandy, the National September 11 Memorial Museum at ground zero is finally opening ceremonially on Thursday, with President Obama present, and officially to the public next Wednesday. It delivers a gut-punch experience — though if ever a new museum had looked, right along, like a disaster in the making, this one did, beginning with its trifurcated identity.

Was it going to be primarily a historical document, a monument to the dead or a theme-park-style tourist attraction? How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains, still being added to? How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts? How many theme parks bring you, repeatedly, to tears?

The “Survivors’ Stairs” were an escape route used by many people on 9:11. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

The “Survivors’ Stairs” were an escape route used by many people on 9:11. (Floto+Warner for TIME).

Because that’s what the museum does. The first thing to say about it, and maybe the last, is that it’s emotionally overwhelming, particularly, I expect, for New Yorkers who were in the city on that apocalyptic September day and the paranoia-fraught weeks that followed, but almost as certainly for the estimated two billion people around the globe who followed the horror unfolding on television, radio and the Internet.

Anguished, angry questions about the museum, raised by families of some of the 2,983 people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center, have been widely reported. Debates over purpose, propriety and protocol are still in the air. At times, they have threatened to derail the project, or delay it indefinitely.

A teddy bear, a flag proclaiming “We will survive,” and a model of the twin towers are among the objects collected from a post-Sept. 11 vigil that are now on display at the 9:11 Memorial Museum. Photo- The New York Times.

A teddy bear, a flag proclaiming “We will survive,” and a model of the twin towers are among the objects collected from a post-Sept. 11 vigil that are now on display at the 9:11 Memorial Museum. (Floto+Warner for TIME)

While the accompanying National September 11 Memorial — two granite basins of cascading water that fill the twin tower footprints — is viewable from a street-level plaza, the museum is almost entirely subterranean. The bulk of it, some 10,000 square feet of gallery space, is 70 feet below ground, where the foundations of the towers met raw Manhattan schist…The drama starts, low key, on the plaza level with an aboveground entry pavilion midway between the memorial fountains. Designed by the Norwegian architectural firm Snohetta, it’s a glass box set at a sharp, dizzy tilt, like a tipping building or a listing ship…Among other things, the fraught global politics of Sept. 11 and the World Trade Center are hinted at here in an astonishing quotation, emblazoned on a wall, by Minoru Yamasaki, the architect of the towers, in which he declares the buildings “a monument to world peace.” 

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open  to the public May 21. Photo- Boston.com

The National September 11 Memorial Museum will open to the public May 21. Photo- Boston.com

Suffice it to say, not everyone bought this utopian gloss. To many people, these quarter-mile-high structures were at best two cold, giant vertical bars of silver bullion, at worst obscene gestures of capitalist might. ..You emerge from the corridor’s close, oppressive aural cloud onto a platform overlooking a yawning space and an archaeological monolith: a 60-foot-high exposed section of the World Trade Center’s slurry wall. This thick, foundational barrier of poured concrete, laid before construction began in 1966, was, and is, the bulwark between the trade center and the Hudson River. When the twin towers collapsed, there was fear that the wall would give, flooding the site. It didn’t give. It cracked, but held, and was quickly claimed as an emblem of indomitability and resilience. Read more.”

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 clip.

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

KWL Chart

The K-W-L chart is used to activate students’ background knowledge of a

topic in order to enhance their comprehension skills.

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart from Michigan State University to list the information they already know about the events of September 11,  2001.  Later in the Post-Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading copy

 

II. While Reading Tasks

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 Chart for assistance.

  1. After a decade marked by deep grief,  the National September 11 Memorial Museum opening  on Thursday.
  2. The new museum looked like a disaster in the making, beginning with its trifurcated identity.
  3. How many historical museums are built around an active repository of human remains?
  4. It’s emotionally overwhelming for those who were in the city on that apocalyptic September day.
  5. Was it going to be primarily a historical document or  a monument to the dead?
  6. How many cemeteries have a $24 entrance fee and sell souvenir T-shirts?
  7. A descent into darkness is the stuff of suspense.
  8. On the plaza level there is an aboveground entry pavilion midway between the memorial fountains.
  9. It cracked, but held, and was quickly claimed as an emblem of indomitability and resilience.
  10. Still, within its narrow perspective, maybe because of it, the museum has done something powerful.

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

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.

  1. The article states, “At times, they have threatened to derail the project, or delay it indefinitely. But the work inched forward, and the museum that emerged is true to its initial and literally fundamental goal: to tell the Sept. 11 story at ground zero bedrock.” Restate this idea using your own words.
  2. What are some of the protests the families of some victims have against the museum?
  3. After reading the article make a list of your personal reasons for liking or disliking the new museum.
  4. What are the most important ideas in this article?

3-2-1-Writing Activity

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down at least three new ideas they’ve learned about 9-11 from the reading. Ask them to write down two things they did not understand in the reading. Then have them write one thing they would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity. 

IV. Listening Activity   

Video Clip: September 11th Memorial Museum Dedication Today 9/11 Families Disgusted!

Video Link                  

While Listening Questions

 

Sentence  Fill-ins

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose from the options presented.

  1. It’s expected to be an emotional/emotion  day tomorrow at the dedication of the National September 11, Memorial Museum.
  2. Thousands of artificial/artifacts will be on display some of them sparking controversy.
  3. Seven stories below ground/grown zero and its as if September 11, 2001 just happened.
  4. It was never much doubt/dubious  a memorial museum would be built after 9/11.
  5. For 13 years, three longer than planned, agreements/arguments have slowed down the progress of the National September 11, Memorial Museum.
  6. Many 9/11 families are angry  that thousands of unidentified body parts/parks are being stored this far under ground.
  7. Another corner/concern is a six-minute video called  “The Rise of Al-Qaeda”.
  8. An Interfaith clergy advisory/advises committee found most of the exhibits in the museum to be inspirational, but said they had a problem with the film.
  9. Twenty-four dollars per ticket, six-figure salaries for museum executives, and trinkets/tickets on sale at inflated prices are all criticisms the museum’s management faces.
  10. It’s unlikely the critics will be silenced anytime soon, but despite it all, for now at least, the US has a new focus/focal  for mourning those lost on 9/11.

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of the  National September 11, Memorial Museum changed in any way? If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Explain why some of the families are upset with the museum.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the museum representatives, or family members.

Related Article: 9/11 Museum Opens to a Somber Crowd By Stephen Farrell, May 21. 2014-New York Times.

ANSWER KEY: The National September 11, Memorial Museum

Nelson Mandela Showed Us “What is Possible”

In Johannesburg, South Africa, many people (both black and white) are gathered near the hospital where  the former South African President and activist Nelson Mandela lie in critical condition. Mandela is known as the “heart” of the eradication of the apartheid movement and we celebrate his life and his philosophy. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle are  visiting South Africa.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key.

Hero- Nelson Mandela photo credit- Imgfave.

Hero- Nelson Mandela photo credit- Imgfave.

Excerpt: Obama Meets With Mandela Family as Vigil Continues By Michael D. Shear, The New York Times

“President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old former president of South Africa, delivering his respects in a private meeting Saturday with Mandela’s family even as South Africans gathered at the former president’s home to express their emotional bond him.

Nelson Mandella 1961. Photo- Retronaut.

Nelson Mandella 1961. Photo- Retronaut.

The presidential limousine slipped past a gate at the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory Saturday afternoon, leaving the media behind as Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela’s relatives before heading to a town-hall meeting with students in Soweto. In statement after the meeting, Mr. Obama said he had also spoken by phone with Graça Machel, Mr. Mandela’s wife, who remained by his bedside.

I expressed my hope that Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones, Mr. Obama said. I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa, and in inspiring people around the world — including me. That’s a legacy that we must all honor in our own lives.

A steady stream of mostly white well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks clustered under trees outside the closed gates. One note, left under a tree and address to Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name, said: Madiba, We drove across town without having to get permission. We live where we can, not where we are told to. All because of you and other heroes. Thank you, Lucien, Joelene, Ava and Luke…

Nelson Mandela enjoying his 89th birthday  at the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in Johannesburg. Photo- Denis Farrell:AP.

Nelson Mandela enjoying his 89th birthday at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund in Johannesburg. Photo- Denis Farrell:AP.

White House officials said the decision not to bring the American president and his entourage to Mr. Mandela’s bedside at a hospital in Pretoria was made “out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort and the family’s wishes.” The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two men together, offering a generational tableau of the first black leaders in both countries. Mr. Obama said as he flew to South Africa on Friday that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country…

Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela met in person in 2005. Photo David Katz. NYT

Barack Obama and Nelson Mandela met in person in 2005. Photo David Katz. NYT

“Nelson Mandela showed what is possible and the people of South Africa have shown what’s possible when a priority is placed on constitutions and rule of law and respect for human dignity and that all people are treated equal, Mr. Obama said.” Read more…

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Photo credit-Allsparkfireworks.

Statue of Liberty in New York City. Photo credit-Allsparkfireworks.

To All of Our Readers: A Glorious 4th of July!~ESL Voices~

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

Language Skills: Reading, writing, speaking, 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 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 Nelson Mandela  through discussions, and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Stimulating background knowledge

Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about  Nelson Mandela.  Next, have students look at the picture(s)  from the post and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Debrief as a class and list these ideas on the board.  Try this great brainstorming chart by Kootation.com to assist students.

Great Brainstorming chart from Kootation.com

 

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 or thesaurus for assistance. Have the students write sentences using each word. They  will find this Word Map by Education Oasis useful.

 Word Chart By Education Oasis

Sentences

  1. Nelson Mandela, the ailing 94-year-old is the  former president of South Africa.
  2. Mr. Obama said. “I also reaffirmed the profound impact that his legacy has had in building a free South Africa.”
  3. The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  4.  Well-wishers gathered outside that home Saturday, leaving flowers or inscriptions on small colored rocks.
  5. Mrs. Machel, making a rare public appearance was flanked by security guards.
  6. The decision not to bring the American president to Mr. Mandela’s bedside was made out of deference to Nelson Mandela’s peace and comfort.
  7. Mr. Obama said that he does not need a “photo-op” while he is in the country.
  8. Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago for a chronic lung infection.
  9. Mr. Obama plans to salute Mr. Mandela’s life with a visit to Robben Island, the prison where the iconic South African leader spent 18 years in a tiny cell.
  10.  Mr. Zuma noted the symbolism  saying that Mr. Obama and Mr. Mandela are  the first black presidents of  their countries.

Reading Comprehension

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. Nelson Mandela is the former president of South Africa.
  2. Mr. Obama, accompanied by the first lady Michelle, met for about 25 minutes with Mr. Mandela.
  3. Winnie Mandela is Mr. Mandela’s wife.
  4. The Centre of Memory hopes to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  5. A steady stream of mostly  African well-wishers gathered outside Mandela’s home Saturday.
  6. Mr. Mandela  spent 18  months in a tiny cell in Robben Island.
  7. Mr. Mandela will leave a fortune to South African charities.
  8. Mr. Obama said that his top priority for the African continent was to help the governments  to establish more stable and transparent democracies.
  9. Many Americans fear that an eruption of violence will occur after  Mandela’s death.
  10. Diana Anderson,is a  member of the African Party who arrived outside Mr. Mandela’s house.

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. In statement  Mr. Obama said he had also spoke by phone with Graça Machel.
  2. Mr. Mandela’s wife remained by his bedside.
  3.  Madiba draws peace and comfort from the time that he is spending with loved ones.

II.

  1.  The Centre of Memory will be the institution that seeks to keep Mr. Mandela’s legacy alive after he dies.
  2. One note, left under a tree  was addressed to “Madiba,” Mr. Mandela’s clan name.
  3. We drove across town without have to get permission.

III. 

  1. Mr. Mandela has been ill since being admitted to the hospital three weeks ago.
  2. His condition turned critical.
  3. The White House had originally hoped to spotlight the two man together.

 

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. After, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the discussion topics.

  1. The article states that “ President Obama decided against a personal visit with Nelson Mandela.” Since this will probably be the last opportunity to see Mandela, do you think Obama should have tried to obtain a meeting with him? Provide reasons for your answers.
  2. Nelson Mandela is known (and loved) primarily for his fight against apartheid in South Africa, and for improving race relations and human rights for all people. Do you think the people of South Africa and in other parts of the world will try to maintain his legacy after his death? Provide reasons for your answer.
  3. According to the article President Obama stated, “…that he does not need “a photo-op” while he is in the country.” Rephrase this comment into your own words.
  4. Many South Africans fear an “erruption” of violence after Mandela’s death. Provide reasons why people might become violent.
  5. Explain what you think are the most important ideas in this article and why.
  6. Choose one of the following topics to research and present to the class.
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Apartheid
  • Winnie Mandela
  • Evelyn Ntoko Mase
  • Graça Machel Mandela
  • The African National Congress
  • pacifist movement
  • Robben Island

IV. Listening Activity

Video Clip: Nelson Mandela a Mini Biography

Introduction: A short documentary about Nelson Mandela and his legacy. Credit: Nelson Mandela Foundation.

While Listening Exercise

Sentence  Fill-ins -Multiple Choice  

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video. They are to choose from the options presented.

1. Nelson Mandela was born___

a. July 18, 1918.
b. July 19, 1918.
c. July 16, 1918.

2. At the age of ___Mandela began his British education.

a. six
b. eight
c. seven

3. It was his ___who gave him the name Nelson.

  1. a. father
  2. b. mother
  3. c. teacher

4. It was in ___that Nelson was confronted with the reality of a racially divided South Africa.

  1. a. 1941
  2. b. 1942
  3. c. 1841

5. Nelson began meetings with of the___

  1. a. African Liberal Committee (ALC)
  2. b. African National Congress (ANC).
  3. c. African Literary Congress (ALC).

6. Mandela was___because he publicly spoke out against Apartheid.

  1. a. awarded
  2. b. arrested
  3. c. reprimanded

7. In the 1990s Mandela was released from prison at age___, and the ANC was declared a legal organization.

  1. a. 61
  2. b. 70
  3. c. 71

8. In 1993 the ___was awarded to Mandela for ending apartheid.

  1. a. The Golden Wreath
  2. b. Nobel Peace Prize
  3. c. The African Prize of Peace

9. Mandela was elected as the ___ of South Africa at the age of 75.

  1. a. president
  2. b. congressman
  3. c. senator

10. It was the first time that Africans had voted in more than___years.

  1. a. 400
  2. b. 200
  3. c. 300

Vodeo Link

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

Directions:Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

1. After listening to this video has your personal idea of  Nelson Mandela changed in any way?  If yes, describe in what way.  If no, describe your original opinion.

2. Did  you learn new information about Mandela?  Discuss what you’ve learned.

3.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask Mr. Mandela if you had the opportunity. Share your responses with the class.

 

ANSWER KEY: Nelson Mandela

 

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