Category Archives: History

“Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy”

“In the rearview mirror, the victories of a trailblazing feminist. On the road ahead, the threat of an entrenched and powerful minority.” The New York Times, Editorial Board

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Excerpt: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Legacy By The Editorial Board, New York Times

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died Friday at the age of 87, will forever have two legacies.

A memorial to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a Harvard Law School alumna, sprung up at the Law School this week. Credit- Owen A. Berger

The one Americans could be focusing on right now is the one of legal trailblazer: Justice Ginsburg, the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court, paved the way for women’s equality before the law, and for women’s rights to be taken seriously by the courts and by society.

Joe Biden welcomes Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court in 1993.

As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases at the Supreme Court in the 1970s, eventually persuading an all-male bench to apply the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause to sex-based discrimination.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former President Barack Obama

The other legacy of Justice Ginsburg’s that the country is now urgently forced to confront is the cold political reality that she died in the final weeks of a presidential campaign, at a moment when Trump and McConnell  appear to be dead-set on replacing her with someone who would obliterate much of the progress she helped the country make. The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.

Justice Ginsburg received her B.A. at Cornell University

“During an inspiring, humorous and highly candid talk to more than 420 people Sept. 18, [ 2014] Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shared how Cornell shaped her journey to the U.S. Supreme Court.”-Credit: Cornell University

 

The justice…attended Harvard Law, where she was famously one of only nine women in her class of hundreds. She was also among the first women to serve on its esteemed journal, the Harvard Law Review….Yet Ginsburg would leave Harvard Law after her second of three years…Ginsburg transferred to Columbia –she would eventually be recognized at Harvard. In 2011, the university awarded her an honorary degree, a rare honor… The Boston Globe

Justice Ginsburg graduated from Columbia Law School. Photo credit- Columbia Law School

1993: Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59 addresses a Columbia Law School Women’s Association panel of colleagues and former students who gathered to honor her…

The revered Supreme Court justice maintained deep ties throughout her life to Columbia Law School, where she graduated tied for first in her class and later became the first woman to be a tenured member of the faculty. Columbia Law School

Senate Republicans, who represent a minority of the nation, and a president elected by a minority of the nation, are now in a position to solidify their control of the third branch of government. The Supreme Court, with another Trump appointee, could stand as a conservative firewall against the expressed will of a majority of Americans on a range of crucial issues…Defending her decision not to retire when President Barack Obama could have picked her replacement, she said, “There will be a president after this one, and I’m hopeful that that president will be a fine president.” She never anticipated…Trump, whom she called a “faker” during a 2016 interview. She shouldn’t have said it, but she was right…The future of the court now rests in the hands of McConnell, the man who has done more damage to the court’s standing than perhaps anyone in modern American history…But perhaps a few Republican senators will take the quickened pulse of the nation and consider the case to postpone resolving Justice Ginsburg’s replacement.”

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

March 15, 1933, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.— September 18, 2020, Washington, D.C.

During an interview with MSNBC Justice Ginsburg was asked “how she’d like to be remembered. Her response:

“Someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability. And to help repair tears in her society, to make things a little better through the use of whatever ability she has. To do something outside myself. Cause I’ve gotten much more satisfaction for the things that I’ve done for which I was not paid.” ~Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg~( The Notorious R.B.G.)

Joe Biden speaks on the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

 

Democratic Presidential contender Joe Biden was visibly shaken when he delivered a statement offering his condolences over the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who passed away Friday after several bouts with cancer. [September, 2020]

Ginsburg is known for her court opinions and it was to her legacy that Biden began by paying tribute.

In a statement delivered just hours after her death, Biden said, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg was not only a giant in the legal profession but a beloved figure…She practiced the highest American ideals as a justice: equality and justice under the law…Ruth Bader Ginsberg stood for all of us.”~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~(via CNN).

An image of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Ruth Bader Ginsburg is projected onto the New York State Civil Supreme Court building in Manhattan, New York City, U.S. after she passed away September 18, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Kelly

RELATED:

The Biography of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

10 quotes that help define the legacy of Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Why Justice Ginsburg was referred to as The Notorious R.B.G.

 

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. https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/how-to-vote-2020/?cid=rrpromo

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

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 to list the information they already know about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about her.

Advanced K-W-L chart.Intervention for Reading

 

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. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg left her legacy for the American people.
  2. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  3. In the rearview mirror, we see the victories of a trailblazing feminist.
  4. On the road ahead of us there is the threat of an entrenched minority.
  5. As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases at the Supreme Court.
  6. Justice Ginsburg noted that there are Inherent differences between men and women.”
  7. She also stated that she would not tolerate the denigration of  women or men.
  8. Justice Ginsburg noted that the way women were treated in the military was unconstitutional.
  9. Presently, the current administration wishes to obliterate much of the progress she helped the country make.
  10. The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.

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. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87.
  2. Justice Ginsburg will forever had two legacies.
  3. As an attorney she argued, and won, multiple cases.

II

 

  1. Justice Ginsburg  sat on the bench of the Supreme Court.
  2. Justice Ginsburg was the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court.
  3. She had once been rejected for jobs at top New York law firms.

III

  1. The court now faces a serious crisis of legitimacy.
  2. She faced down multiple bouts of cancer.
  3. Justice Ginsburg refusing to retire.

Reading ComprehensionFill-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 wordlist provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.

The other ___of Justice Ginsburg’s that the ___is now urgently forced to ___is the cold political ___that she ___in the final weeks of a presidential___, at a moment when Trump and McConnell, the ___majority leader, appear to be dead-set on replacing her with someone who would ___much of the ___she ___the country make.

WORD LIST: helped, progress, obliterate, Senate, died, reality, campaign, legacy, country, confront, 

III. Post Reading Activities

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

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. Who was Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg?
  2. The article speaks of the two legacies of Ruth B. Ginsburg. What are they?
  3. According to the article, on which of  Ms. Ginsburg’s legacies should Americans be focusing?
  4. In the 1970s as an attorney, which Amendment did Justice Ginsburg persuade an all-male bench to apply to a case?
  5. What was the Virginia Military Institute’s policy towards women in 1996?
  6. Justice Ginsburg stated the following, “Inherent differences between men and women, we have come to appreciate, remain cause for celebrationbut not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual’s opportunity.” What did she mean by this statement?
  7. What did Ruth Ginsberg call Trump during a 2016 interview with CNN?  Do you agree or disagree with her comment? Please provide a reason for your opinion.
  8. The article refers to “the two troublesome justices” already appointed by Trump.  Who are they? Why are they considered troublesome?
  9. The article states, “…Republicans have shown little willingness to place principle above party, or to place the long-term interests of the nation above short-term political victories.”  Can you provide examples (or one current example) of long-term interests’ of this nation?
  10. What new information have you learned from reading this article?

Writing/Speaking Activity:

Directions:Place students in groups and have each group list 3questions they would like to pursue in relation to the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

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

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

New Year’s Celebrations!

“Celebrating the start of the New Year has been practiced for at least four thousand years. The following article reviews the history,  significance, and common traditions of this festive, and meaningful holiday.” History.com

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

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

Excerpt: The History of New Year’s Celebration–History.com

“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).

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.

New Year Celebration, Tendillas Square, Spain

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.

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 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.

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. the scoop.

 

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.

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

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.)

Chinese New Year, Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong. Photo-NBC News

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.”

WISHING EVERYONE A SAFE AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate -Advanced

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

Time: approximately 2 hours.

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

 

Vocabulary: Word Inference

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

Vocabulary Organizer by Against the Odds

 

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

Reading Comprehension Check

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. The article 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.”
  2. 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.
  3. Discuss the types of foods you like to eat on New Year’s Day and the significance of the food.
  4. 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.
  5. What new ideas have you learned from this article? Discuss them with group members and the class.

ANSWER KEY

NOTE: Happy New Year Banner Courtesy Vector Logo.

 

Category: History, Holidays, Social Issues | Tags:

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: