Category Archives: Political Issues

The World of Art and Politics

“Somewhere along the I-95 in Philadelphia, a billboard spells out two words in Trump’s campaign font: Pardon Me. This is just one of the challenging artist-designed billboards that have gone up across the US this week as part of the 50 State Initiative, arguably the country’s largest public art project. The crowdfunded spectacle allows artists to have their say – and perhaps their influence – ahead of the midterm elections.” N.Sayei, The Guardian

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Zoë Buckman – Grab ’Em by the Ballots in upstate New York. Photograph- LightWork : For Freedoms

Excerpt: ‘All art is political’: behind America’s most ambitious public art project ever By Nadja Sayei, The Guardian

‘One guy wrote us and said: ‘I see this ‘Pardon Me’ billboard every day on my way to work, can you tell me what this means?’ said Wyatt Gallery, the billboard director at For Freedoms, the New York organization behind the project. ‘He asked: ‘What side are you on? Are you pro-Trump or anti-Trump?’ People can’t figure out what side we’re on, or if there is a side. It makes people think more and to reach out and ask us.’

Christopher Myers – Mayflowers in Rockland. Photograph- Center For Maine Contemporary Art

The goal, according to the For Freedoms co-founder Eric Gottesman, is to make ‘anti-partisan’ statements on the billboards, alongside art exhibitions, installations and public programs to deepen what he calls ‘civic participation’.

Occupy.com

‘It’s not just voting, it’s about using our voices to speak up about the things we feel strongly about,’ said Gottesman. ‘We believe all art is political, so when artists get engaged, the conversation changes. It’s important for artists’ voices not to be marginalized or only to be seen in these elite institutions, but be more at the center of public life.’

Paula Crown – Hurt People Hurt People in Los Angeles. Photograph- Paula Goldman

Each billboard is emblazoned with the For Freedoms logo, which is how people find them online. ‘People look us up or call the billboard company to inquire what the billboards mean,’ said Gallery. ‘That’s a huge sign of success, that people are willing to take that step.’

THIS STORY HASN’T BEEN WRITTEN YET in Raleigh. Photograph- TianranQin : Jeffrey Gibson

Luis Jacob, a Canadian artist, is showing a billboard in Vermont entitled Land Acknowledgement, which reads Abenaki, the name of the tribe based in the region. ‘This piece engages the politics of indigenous land sovereignty on colonized territory,’ said Jacob, who teaches art at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Us Is Them with Wyatt Gallery, NewOrleans, LA, 2016. Photograph- Wyatt Gallery : For Freedoms

As a response to Jacob’s billboard, a member of the Vermont Commission on Native American Affairs contacted the artist. ‘He said he found the artistic concept behind the image compelling,’ said Jacob, ‘and hoped the project would help build connections between the Abenaki community, artists and institutions, such as VCFA, to improve relations.’

Sanford Biggers, Just Us (West Virginia). Photo courtesy of For Freedoms.

Truthout

Many of the billboards are along highways of rural areas. In a way, they catch people off guard while driving, often a time of solitude or reflection. But the billboards are intentionally timed to coincide with the midterm elections and ultimately, they could change the way Americans look at art, politics and the role of advertising in public space.”

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 political billboards. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately,com

 

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. This is America’s most ambitious public art project.
  2. The crowdfunded spectacle allows artists to have their say.and perhaps their influence.
  3. Each billboard is emblazoned with the For Freedoms logo.
  4. Some find the artistic concepts behind the images beautiful.
  5. The billboards are intentionally timed to coincide with the 2018 midterm elections.
  6. When artists get engaged, the conversation changes.
  7. It’s important for artists’ voices not to be marginalized.
  8. This piece engages the politics of indigenous land sovereignty.
  9. We want to add more nuance in the kind of conversation we have in public about these issues.
  10. People are taking notice as to what these billboards mean in the context of what’s happening today.

 

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.

There are more than 50 ___designed by ___, which will be up through the end of November. More than 200___and 400 artists across the ___will be hosting talks, ___and exhibits related to ___art in ___with the organization.

WORD LIST:  institutions, political, partnership, billboards, country, projects,  artists,

 

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.

Some of the/them billboards are/is specific to/too certain cities. ‘Some artists felt/feeling like a certain part of the country wood/would make sense,’ said Gallery. ‘Others wanted/wants to be/being as close to the Mexican border as possible, or in/on certain regions. We tried to/two honor those wishes to create a/an dynamic conversation.’

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

  1. The article states, It’s not just voting, it’s about using our voices to speak up about the things we feel strongly about…We believe all art is political, so when artists get engaged, the conversation changes.” Do you agree that all art is political? Provide reasons for your answer.
  2. It also states, “People look us up or call the billboard company to inquire what the billboards mean,” said Gallery. “That’s a huge sign of success, that people are willing to take that step.” Explain why Gallery thinks this is a sign of success”
  3. Overall, are political billboards by artists helpful to potential voters? Provide reasons for your answer.

Group Projects

What’s The Message?

Directions: In groups, have students choose 3 or 4 of the billboard signs presented in the article. Then have them discuss what they think the message is for each billboard. Share answers with the class.

Create Your Own Billboards

Directions: In groups, have students create their own billboards on any topic they like. Group members may use the web for additional information. Have students draw and color their billboards. After, all billboards can be shared by the class or the school.

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

Tammy Duckworth: Military Leader, U.S. Senator, Activist, Mom and Amputee

“Illinois Senator Ladda Tammy Duckworth owns a great pair of legs. They’re painstakingly painted by an artist to match the skin tone of her arm—and the second toe on one foot is longer than the first, just like her own used to be. But Duckworth can’t stand them. ‘When I see myself wearing those legs in a mirror, I see loss. But when I see this’—she gestures toward the steel-and-titanium prosthesis attached to her thigh above her right knee—’I see strength. I see a reminder of where I am now.” R. Johnson, Vogue

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

U.S. congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth (D-IL). Photo- WorldEcomonicForumjpeg

Excerpt: Senator Tammy Duckworth on the Attack that Took Her Legs—and Having a Baby at 50-Rebecca Johnson, Vogue Magazine, October, 2018

“Same thing with her wheelchair. “People always want me to hide it in pictures. I say no! I earned this wheelchair. It’s no different from a medal I wear on my chest. Why would I hide it?’

Women can be mothers and productive members of society simultaneously, if given the opportunity. NBCNews

She is sitting in the chair, a souped-up Segway that she received from a veterans’ group, in a small office close to the floor of the U.S. Senate… There are so many firsts attached to Tammy Duckworth—she’s the Senate’s first member to give birth while in office, its first member born in Thailand (to an American father and a Thai mother of Chinese descent), and, of course, its first female amputee.

It’s that last distinction that tends to overwhelm all the others. As a wounded veteran with a Purple Heart, she has introduced or cosponsored bills protecting the rights of veterans—and she’s been fearless in confronting the president over military and foreign affairs.

Last January, when [Trump] accused the Democrats of holding the military hostage over immigration, it was Duckworth who took to the Senate floor, declaring in a now-historic speech, ‘I will not be lectured about what our military needs by a five-deferment draft dodger.’

Vice President Joe Biden administers the Senate oath of office to Sen. Tammy Duckworth-Photo- Chicago Sun-Times

When I started to ask Duckworth a question about the accident that took her legs, she quickly corrected me. ‘It wasn’t an accident; those suckers were trying to kill me.’ Of course! I apologized, but she told me not to worry. It happens all the time. While she was sedated at Walter Reed hospital, fighting for her life, the doctors and nurses around her also kept referring to ‘the helicopter accident.’ But she was sure they’d been attacked. She was the senior officer onboard that day; if it was an accident, it was her fault…Training to become a helicopter pilot, Duckworth, the only woman in her class, knew the risks going in. When helicopters are hit, there’s no ejecting to safety…’I am no hero,’ she says.

Duckworth flew Black Hawks to serve her country. Photo- St. Louis Post-Dispatch

‘The guy who carried me out of there? He’s the hero.’ It’s been fourteen years since the attack, but even now, when she talks about it, there’s a catch in her throat that’s contagious. If it had been Vietnam or any other American war, she would have died, but within 20 minutes she’d arrived at the combat hospital in Baghdad, well within the so-called golden hour when surgeons can save a life…One day, a call came to Walter Reed from Illinois senator Dick Durbin, asking if there were any wounded veterans from his state who would like to attend the State of the Union. Duckworth volunteered. That night Durbin shook her hand, gave her his card, and said she should call if she needed anything.

So she did. Not for herself but for other veterans who needed things, like missing pension payments. Durbin was impressed by her tenacity but also by the way she carried herself. ‘I couldn’t believe what a positive attitude she had.’ A few months later, when Illinois’s longtime congressman Henry Hyde announced he was retiring, Durbin asked her to consider running…’I remember thinking maybe this could be my new mission,’ Duckworth says. ‘I always wanted to help vets, and this could just be widening that field.’

In the Hollywood version of Duckworth’s life, she would have won that first race. She did not… Six years later, she ran again and won. Four years later, she ran against the Republican who had won Barack Obama’s old seat in the Senate and won that race too. When she took the oath of office, Durbin says, there wasn’t a dry eye in the chamber…The arrival of Maile has made Duckworth a celebrity in the Senate. ‘How is that baby?’ asks Senator Dianne Feinstein as Duckworth rolls into an elevator following a vote on the Senate floor.

President Barack Obama introduces Senator Tammy Duckworth. Youtube December 17, 2014

Last spring, Duckworth introduced the Friendly Airports for Mothers Act, to compel large and medium airports applying for a grant from the Department of Transportation to include a lactation area on-site. She was also responsible for getting the Senate to pass a resolution allowing children under the age of one onto the Senate floor…’I am overwhelmed. Who isn’t? The average American mom is tired. So many of us are numb from the trauma of having a president who acts the way he does.’But when you’re in a position to make a difference, it’s hard to stay home watching, say, immigrants being separated from their children, especially if you are the child of an immigrant.

So she’s gearing up for fresh battles over immigration, over Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court (she’ll vote no).

‘So it doesn’t matter if I am tired,’ she tells me. ‘I am going to show up every day and fight. If that means I have to crawl to get a vote, I am going to do it.’ Pragmatic, economical, and hopeful. What more could you want in a politician?”

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about Senator Tammy Duckworth. Next, have students look at the pictures in the text and generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Regroup as a class and list these ideas on the board. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine.

 

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. Her legs are painstakingly painted by an artist.
  2. A steel-and-titanium prosthesis is attached to her thigh.
  3. Duckworth is the first female amputee.
  4. Senator Duckworth called Trump a five- deferment draft dodger.
  5. When helicopters are hit, there’s no ejecting to safety.
  6. Tammy, then in high school, took a series of low-paying jobs to keep the family afloat.
  7. Duckworth volunteered to help veterans.
  8. Durbin was impressed by her tenacity.
  9. She’s gearing up for fresh battles over immigration.
  10. Senator Duckworth is described as being pragmatic, economical, and hopeful

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

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

On ___12, 2004, then-36-year-old ___Tammy Duckworth was flying a ___to her base in Iraq, some 50 miles north of___. The___had been___, a grocery run, as she later ___it, though nothing about that time or place was routine.Attacks on the___were so___, its residents had nicknamed it ‘Mortaritaville.’

WORD LIST: common, November, base, mission, described, routine,Captain, Baghdad, Black Hawk,

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. Hawks travel in pairs, and a second helicopter had landed nearby.
  2. She might be military, but she leaned liberal.
  3. I was so lucky my parents was married and I had an American passport.

 

II

  1. Attacks on the base was common.
  2. She and her three crew members were lucky.
  3. Her copilot  assumed she was dead.

 

III

  1. “I am no hero,” she says.
  2. A few days after that, she were at Walter Reed Hospital.
  3. Duckworth would have made an appealing poster girl.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

 

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

  1. Do you think Senator Duckworth is brave? Explain why.
  2. Do you think that Senator Duckworth should run for president  in 2020? Explain why or why not.
  3. Can you name other women in politics who are also have young children?
  4. As a group think of several questions that you would like to ask Senator Duckworth. Share your questions with the 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

Is Brett Kavanaugh Believable?

“Brett Kavanaugh unequivocally denies allegations of sexual misconduct two women have made against him But [the] Supreme Court nominee has gone beyond simply denying those allegations about his behavior 30 years ago. In the process, Kavanaugh has deepened questions about his present-day credibility – a bedrock requirement for the lifetime job he now seeks.” J. Harwood, CNBC News

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Congrats to Brett Kavanaugh on getting to be angry. Photo- Mashable

Excerpt: Brett Kavanaugh is hard to believe by John Harwood, CNBC News

“In an interview with Fox News, Kavanaugh all but denied even participating in the raucous party culture of elite private schools he attended. Instead, he portrayed himself as dutiful and devout.

‘I went to an all-boys Catholic high school,’ explained Kavanaugh, now a federal appeals court judge. ‘I was focused on academics and athletics, going to church every Sunday at Little Flower, working on my service projects, and friendship – friendship with my fellow classmates, and friendship with the girls from the local all-girls Catholic schools.’

Kavanaugh acknowledged attending parties where, with the drinking age then at 18, ‘seniors were legal and had beer there.’ Never, he insisted, had he become so inebriated as to subsequently forget his actions.

Dr. Christine Blasey Ford gives her opening statement. Photo- NewsLocker

He didn’t stop there. Kavanaugh denied not just sexual misconduct, but having sex at all during high school and ‘for many years thereafter.’

The judge’s self-description strains credulity in multiple ways.

One Yale classmate promptly spoke up to say Kavanaugh once told him a contradictory story about his sexual experience. Another recalled Kavanaugh’s penchant for becoming ‘incoherently drunk.’

An angry, emotional Kavanaugh. Photo- NBC News

That matches public evidence from Kavanaugh’s high school days. Kavanaugh’s friend and Georgetown prep football teammate, Mark Judge, wrote a memoir entitled ‘Wasted’ that described a hard-drinking milieu involving a character identified as ‘Bart O’Kavanaugh.’

Nor does Kavanaugh’s pious current account line up with his Georgetown Prep yearbook. Among his activities, it lists ‘100 Kegs or Bust’ and Beach Week Ralph Club – biggest contributor… Kavanaugh inspired doubts about his truthfulness before the misconduct allegations surfaced.

Kavanaugh Gave a Messy, Angry performance. Photo- Elle

He evaded questions about whether he’d join other Republican-appointed justices to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade abortions rights decision, even though he emerged as a Supreme Court prospect from a conservative vetting process designed to ensure that he will…’Judge Kavanaugh has repeatedly made misleading and at times false statements,’ Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein said earlier this month.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. A bedrock requirement for  a Supreme Court Justice is honesty.
  2. Kavanaugh denied even participating in the raucous parties.
  3. He portrayed himself as dutiful and devout.
  4. Some people become  so inebriated they forget their actions.
  5. His friend told  a story that contradicted the original one.
  6. Mark Judge, wrote a memoir entitled ‘Wasted’.
  7. Kavanaugh acknowledged attending parties where beer was served.
  8. The judge’s self-description strains credulity.
  9. A classmate recalled Kavanaugh’s penchant for becoming incoherently drunk.
  10. Kavanaugh paints a pious picture of himself.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

Reading Comprehension

Fill-ins

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

Kavanaugh___ knowledge of the___that, as a Bush White House___, he had been using ___Democratic intelligence in ___strategy to ___judicial nominees. A Senate Republican aide had ___it from Senate Democratic ___files.

WORD LIST: computer, purloined, confirm, plotting, stolen, aide, disclaimed, fact,

 

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.

Time/Thyme and again, Kavanaugh appear/appears to have/has misled the Senate over/under oath. Republicans rejected/reject those earlier Democratic credibility/credible complaints as simple partisanship. Now, seek/seeking to shield himself/his from his female accusers, Kavanaugh has/have invited new ones.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

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.

Team Debate

Directions: Divide students into  two teams for this debate. Both teams can use the article  as their source of information or sources from the Web.

Team A will list five reasons for why they believe Brett Kavanaugh is truthful.

Team B will list  five reasons  why they believe Brett Kavanaugh is not truthful.

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 great Pros and Cons Scale organizer  from Freeology

 

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: Political Issues | Tags:

From American Detention Centers to Jail

“As 17-year-olds they were asylum seekers. On their 18th birthdays they became criminals” Editorial Board, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- The Cut

Photo- wsj.com

Excerpt:  Coming of Age in American Detention-The New York Times Editorial Board

In the fall of 2017, Wilmer Ramirez had reason to be hopeful. After he trekked from Guatemala and spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Arizona, his application for ‘special immigrant juvenile status,’ a designation that would make him eligible for lawful permanent residency, was pending. What’s more, a family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him, meaning they would submit themselves to the Office of Refugee Resettlement for approval and take him in once they were approved. The only thing between him and freedom, then, was a little more paperwork. But when he turned 18, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials came to the shelter, placed him in handcuffs, and carted him off to a nearby jail.

He hadn’t done anything wrong. The officials were just following the rules. When children become adults, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, turns them over to the Department of Homeland Security, which places them in ‘adult detention,’ a term that usually means county jail.

Exact numbers are difficult to come by, but roughly 1,000 18-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017, according to Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, who have filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the practice.

The transfer from shelter to jail can be abrupt; it often happens at midnight on detainees’ 18th birthday and typically cuts them off from any relationships they might have established, including with caseworkers and counselors.

There are many things wrong with this policy. There is no dark magic that turns teenagers into criminals on their 18th birthday, even if they were born outside the United States. Given the damage that incarceration can do to young adults, every alternative should be pursued before turning teenage asylum seekers over to adult detention.

And, as the Ramirez lawsuit indicates, the procedure itself may be illegal. Federal law requires ICE to place children and teenagers in the least restrictive setting possible, even after they turn 18…Yearlong stays are not uncommon, and cases of 500 days or more have been reported. As those numbers grow, the entire shelter system (some 100 facilities scattered across the country) is nearing capacity.

The best of those shelters may feel like havens to children who fled extreme poverty or violence, and faced incredible risks to make it across the border.

The worst shelters are dens of abuse and neglect. At either end of the spectrum, the children themselves face tedium, a lack of freedom and profound uncertainty, especially when their 18th birthday approaches… Health and Human Services officials have said that the longer stays are an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of improved safety precautions: It takes time to verify that prospective sponsors are who they claim to be, and to ensure that these already vulnerable and traumatized minors won’t be subjected to abuse once they leave the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

That argument withers under scrutiny. Yes, the threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it. But it’s difficult to see how incarcerating teenagers for the crime of turning 18 protects them more than, say, releasing them to a willing sponsor who has cleared a basic but thorough background check…They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country — or in any other. We have the ways and means to provide that protection and support. We just need the will and the decency.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


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


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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

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

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Many young children were asylum seekers.
  2. Wilmer Ramirez trekked from his home in Guatemala.
  3. Officials are angling to pull out of longstanding judicial agreements.
  4. Ramirez helps other 18-year-olds over their incarceration.
  5. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  6. There should be a law against the indefinite detention of migrant children.
  7. They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country.
  8. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  9. That argument withers under scrutiny.
  10. Stricter requirements have succeeded in scaring off prospective sponsors.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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. Wilmer Ramirez was from Cuba.
  2. He spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Boston.
  3. A family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him.
  4. When Ramirez turned 18, he was placed in a nearby jail.
  5. He stole from a store in the neighborhood.
  6. Approximately 1,000  5-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017.
  7. According to the article, the number of migrant children who face jail as they ‘age out’ of youth shelters is climbing.
  8. Ramirez attended college in Boston MA.
  9. The threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it.
  10. More than 200,000 migrant children have entered the United States in the past six years.

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.

Stricter requirements have/has succeeded in/on scaring off/under prospective sponsors, many out/of whom/who are undocumented themselves/theirselves or who have undocumented relatives. But there/their fear does not necessarily speak to/too their fitness as guardians.

There/Their are other options, in/out any case: Immigration advocates, including Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, has/have proposed releasing teenagers like Mr. Ramirez to/two sponsors, with ankle monitors if need be, or to/too group homes or shelters for/four young adults.

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

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

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Ask/Answer  Questions

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions 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.

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.  Review the responses as a class. Note: For the lower levels allow more time for this writing activity.

ANSWER KEY

Obama Is Back and Stronger Than Ever!

“Former President Barack Obama issued a scorching critique of his successor Friday, blasting Trump’s pattern of pressuring the Justice Department, his policies and reminding voters that the economic recovery — one of Trump’s favorite talking points — began on his watch.” PBS News Hour

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Former US president Barack Obama speaks at the University of Illinois. Photo-Prothom Alo

Excerpt:Biggest threat to democracy isn’t Trump but ‘indifference,’ Obama says, -PBS News Hour

“Obama’s speech at the University of Illinois was delivered less than two months before midterm elections that could determine the course of Trump’s presidency. The remarks amounted to a stinging indictment of political life in the Trump era. ‘It did not start with  Trump,’ Obama said. ‘He is a symptom, not the cause. He’s just capitalizing on resentments that politicians have been fanning for years.’

Outside The Beltway -2018

Noting the history of former presidents avoiding the rough and tumble of politics, Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of Trump was something of a departure from tradition. But he said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse…’appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do — that’s an old playbook,’ he said. ‘It’s as old as time. And in a healthy democracy, it doesn’t work.’But, Obama added, when there is a vacuum in democracy, ‘other voices fill the void. A politics of fear and resentment and retrenchment takes hold.’

Barack Obama is back on the campaign trail. LA Times

Obama called Trump ‘the symptom, not the cause’ of division and polarization in the U.S…Even as he has largely remained out of the spotlight, Obama made clear he’s paid close attention to the steady stream of headlines chronicling the Trump administration and said the news is a reminder of what’s at stake in the November midterm elections. ‘Just a glance at recent headlines should tell you this moment really is different,’ Obama said. “The stakes really are higher…’This is not normal.’Obama, reacting to the op-ed account, said ‘that’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.’

Barack and Michelle Obama are hitting the campaign trail in 2018. Photo- Matt McClain:The Washington Post

‘The claim that everything will turn out OK because there are people inside the White House who secretly aren’t following the president’s orders, that is not a check,’Obama said.  ‘I’m being serious here. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work. These people aren’t elected. They’re not accountable.’

Obama also jabbed Trump on the issue the current president frequently heralds as one of his greatest achievements: The strong economy. Obama reminded the audience that the economic recovery began during his administration and defended his handling of the 2008 economic collapse.

Obama to Join Midterm Battle. New York Times

‘When you hear how great the economy’s doing right now, let’s just remember when this recovery started,’ he said…Meanwhile, Michelle Obama is also stepping up her political involvement ahead of the November midterm election. She will headline voter registration rallies in Las Vegas and Miami later in September as part of a week of action byWhen We All Vote,the new nonpartisan organization that she co-chairs.”

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

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 former U.S. President Barack Obama .Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

KWL Chart from Creately,com

 

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. Obama’s speech was delivered less than two months before midterm elections.
  2. The remarks amounted to a stinging indictment of political life in the current president’s era.
  3. He is a symptom, not the cause.
  4. He’s just capitalizing on resentments from some politians.
  5. Obama acknowledged his sharp critique ofthe current president was something of a departure from tradition.
  6. Former president Obama said the political moment required a pushback and called for better discourse.
  7. Mr. Obama was especially stern in his condemnation of Trump’s pattern of pressuring law enforcement officials.
  8. To call on the attorney general to protect members of our own party from prosecution is simply wrong.
  9. That’s not how our democracy is supposed to work.
  10. The speech was a preview of the argument that Obama is likely to make throughout the fall.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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.

Next week, Obama plans/plan to campaign inn/in Ohio for Richard Cordray, the Democratic nominee for/four governor, and Ohio Democrats. Obama’s campaign active/activity will continue threw/through October and will include fundraising/fundraiser appearances, according to an Obama adviser. The adviser/advisers was not authorized to discuss Obama’s thinking publicly and spoke/speak on condition of anonymity. While the form/former president will be visible/visibly throughout the general election, the adviser said that Obama will not be a daily presence/present on the campaign trail.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

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

I

  1. The event was streamed under the University.
  2. Obama acknowledged his sharp critique of the administration.
  3. The political moment required a pushback.

 

II

  1. There are many people of good will across the political spectrum.
  2. Obama have largely remained out of the spotlight.
  3. Take a glance at recent headlines.

 

III

  1. He said the situation was not normal.
  2. Them people aren’t accountable.
  3. Obama made the economy great during his time in office.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

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

Who or What is the article about?

Where does the action/event take place?

When does the action/event take place?

Why did the action/event occur?

How did the action/event occur?

Group Writing/Speaking Activity

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

 

1-Minute Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 1 minute to write down one new idea they’ve learned from the reading. Ask them to write down one thing they did not understand in the reading.Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Political Issues | Tags: