Category Archives: Political Issues

Justice Sonia Sotomayor Strongly Challenges The Travel Ban

“Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., reading for the majority on Tuesday morning, spoke clinically. Justice Stephen G. Breyer followed, working his way through his dissent mildly and analytically.Then it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s turn. Steely and unwavering, she began: ‘The United States of America is a nation built upon the promise of religious liberty. Our founders honored that core promise by embedding the principle of religious neutrality in the First Amendment. ‘The crowded courthouse fell silent.” C. Edmondson, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Photo-C-span

Excerpt: Sonia Sotomayor Delivers Fiery Dissent in Travel Ban Case by By Catie Edmondson The New York Times

“In upholding [Trump’s] ban on travel from several predominantly Muslim countries, Justice Sotomayor continued, the Supreme Court had failed to “safeguard that fundamental principle.’

For the next 20 minutes, she remained resolute as she delivered an extraordinarily scorching dissent, skewering the court’s decision and condemning the ban as ‘harrowing’ and ‘motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.’

The remarkable dissent was delivered by a woman who has championed her own upbringing as an example of the American dream. Justice Sotomayor, whose parents moved from Puerto Rico during World War II, was raised in a housing project in the Bronx. Her father did not speak English and her first language was Spanish. But determined to become a judge, she would go on to attend Princeton University and become the Supreme Court’s first Latina justice.

Justice Sotomayor once said that ‘personal experiences affect the facts that judges choose to see.’ She again drew upon that idea in her dissent on Tuesday, in which she accused the majority of ‘ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent and turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering the proclamation inflicts upon countless families and individuals, many of whom are United States citizens.’

That was the crux of the Justice Sotomayor’s damning conclusion: The president’s ban is ‘inexplicable by anything but animus,’ and to argue anything else is to divorce oneself from the facts…

But one of her most striking decisions was to repeat the words of the president himself. Citing more than a dozen instances in which Mr. Trump tweeted or issued anti-Muslim sentiments, it was his words, not her own, that rang out from the bench…The conservative justices, staring unblinkingly ahead, remained stone-faced…In another powerful passage, Justice Sotomayor drew parallels between the decision and Korematsu v. United States, the 1944 ruling that upheld the detention of Japanese-Americans during World War II.

‘As here, the government invoked an ill-defined national security threat to justify an exclusionary policy of sweeping proportion,’ she said. ‘As here, the exclusion was rooted in dangerous stereotypes about, inter alia, a particular group’s supposed inability to assimilate and desire to harm the United States.’

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

 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. Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s speech was both Steely and unwavering.
  2. The ban affects several predominantly Muslim countries.
  3. For the next 20 minutes, she remained resolute.
  4. Justice Sotomayor’s remarkable dissent was described as scorching. 
  5. She said that the ban was motivated by hostility and animus toward the Muslim faith.”
  6. Justice Sotomayor accused the majority of ignoring the facts and misconstruing our legal precedent.
  7. That was the crux of the Justice Sotomayor’s conclusion.
  8. The court voted 5 to 4, with the more conservative justices in the majority.
  9. At one point she stated that Trump’s policy now masquerades behind a facade of national security concerns.
  10. The conservative justices, staring unblinkingly ahead, remained stone-faced.

 

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.

The ___voted 5 to 4, with the more ___justices in the ___and with Justice Breyer ___his own dissent. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg___ Justice Sotomayor’s.

WORD LIST:  joined,conservative, majority, court,writing,

 

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. Justice Sotomayor choose her words carefully.
  2. Her most striking decision was to repeat the words of the president himself.
  3. She continued down the list for minutes, reading one example after another.

 

II

  1. The crowded courthouse fall silent.
  2. Justice Sotomayor was raised in a housing project in the Bronx.
  3. She accused the majority of ignoring the facts, misconstruing our legal precedent.

III

  1. She  stated that Trump had never disavow any of his statements regarding Islam.
  2. The government invoked an ill-defined national security threat to justify an exclusionary policy.
  3. Justice Sotomayor continued that our nation has done much to leave its sordid legacy behind.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups  and  have each group compose a letter or note to a  person mentioned in the article telling her/him their thoughts on the topic. Share the letters 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

The Departure of Justice Kennedy = A Dark Future for This Country…Vote!

“If the last few days hadn’t been dispiriting enough for those who believed the Supreme Court could still stand for reproductive freedom, equal rights for all Americans, a check on presidential power, a more humane criminal justice system and so much more, Wednesday afternoon brought the coup de grâce… Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement… It sends a stark message to the tens of millions of Americans who have long turned to the court for the vindication of many of their most cherished rights and protections: Look somewhere else. That place is the ballot box. So show up and vote.” The New York Times Editorial Board

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image: People For The American Way

Excerpt: Kennedy Is Gone.  Now Vote. NYT Editorial Board

“In the absence of a Supreme Court majority that will reliably protect human dignity, universal equality and women’s right to control their own bodies, it is up to Americans who cherish these values to elect politicians at every level of government who share them.

TED ideas-TED talks

Justice Kennedy, who was nominated to the court by President Ronald Reagan and confirmed in 1988, defended these values, however imperfectly. He was the last in a line of Republican-appointed justices who moderated some of the reactionary tendencies on the court, which has now had a majority of Republican appointees for nearly half a century. All of those justices were confirmed in the days before ultraconservative activists hijacked the nomination process and ensured that only faithful right-wing ideologues would get a nod… Once [Trump] names his second pick and the Senate confirms that person, you can forget about new or enhanced protections for gays and lesbians, or saving the last shreds of affirmative action at public universities.

womensmarchmn.com

Longstanding precedents are now at extreme risk. Foremost among these is a woman’s right to choose to have an abortion under Roe v. Wade, which was preserved solely on the strength of Justice Kennedy’s vote… Even this scenario, of course, assumes the continued longevity of Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who provide an essential counterweight to the court’s conservative wing, but who are 79 and 85, respectively, and have endured their share of health problems…For those who face the future in fear after Wednesday, there are no easy answers — but there is a clear duty.

Do not for a moment underestimate the importance of getting out and voting in November. Four years ago, only 36 percent of Americans cast ballots in the midterm elections. Had more people showed up, the Senate may well have remained in Democratic control, Mitch McConnell would not be the majority leader and Judge Merrick Garland would now be Justice Garland. In the days and months ahead, remember this.”

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

 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. Kennedy’s retirement is a dispiriting event in U.S. history.
  2. Wednesday afternoon brought the coup de grâce.
  3. You can forget about new or enhanced protections for many groups.
  4. The courts have an opportunity to further erode the wall between church and state.
  5. States now have the green light to  promote the rights of corporations over individuals.
  6. Justices Stephen Breyer and Ruth Bader Ginsburg provide an essential counterweight to the court’s conservative wing.
  7. The Supreme Court operates as a crucial check in a democracy based on majority rule.
  8. Mitch McConnel knows he has an open road to confirming whomever he and the Federalist Society want on the bench.
  9. Consider a few of Justice Kennedy’s most significant majority opinions.
  10. Kennedy’s opinions could sometimes be vague.

 

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.

Justice Kennedy, who, ___far from an ___justice — his ___could be ___and confusing, his jurisprudential commitments often unpredictable — emphasized the ___principles of ___and ___to a degree not in ___among the court’s four other conservatives.

WORD LIST: opinions, ideal, equality, dignity, basic, while,     vague,   evidence

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.

He spoke/speak out forcefully on the need/needs to fix/fixes the nation’s broken/break criminal justice system, voting to strike/stroke down excessive sentence/sentences for juveniles and the intellectually disabled and to force/make states to shrink their overcrowded prisons.

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Why is Justice Kennedy’s leaving the Supreme Court upsetting to so many people?
  2. In your opinion, which groups in the U.S. would be the most concerned about losing Justice Kennedy?  Provide reasons for your answers.
  3. How is the government organized in the United States? In your opinion is this a fair government system for all people?
  4. Why is it important for everyone to vote this November?

Note for help: visit  Federal Government of The United States- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_government_of_the_United_States

Group Project: Creating Voting Posters

Directions: Look at the posters presented in the reading. Each group is to think about a message they would like to send to people about the importance of voting.  After, design a “VOTE” poster for November 2018.  Share and explain your posters with the class. Maybe place the posters around your school or neighborhood.

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:

The Plight of Migrant Children and The Effect on American Kids

“The kids showed up in our driveway on a Tuesday afternoon. The boy wore a backpack full of diapers for his sister; she wore neon-pink tennis shoes and wouldn’t let go of his hand. Their case worker gave me some paperwork and was gone before I had time to process the thought: Now I’m a foster mom… I’ve tried not to read the headlines about migrant children being separated from their parents. Their panic was palpable. Mine probably was, too.” J. Cummins, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: If It Can Happen to Them, Why Can’t It Happen To Us? By Jeanine Cummins, The NYT

“The little one didn’t sleep so much as lose consciousness in moments when her small body demanded a break from her otherwise ceaseless crying. This happened with no discernible pattern. My two biological daughters, then 7 and 3, watched with concern as her cries turned to whimpers and then sloped into the ragged breath of sleep. She could nod off anywhere except in her crib: at swimming lessons, at the dinner table, sprawled on the kitchen floor…We may have been experienced parents, but we were inexperienced at parenting a traumatized child. I didn’t know how to change the diaper of a baby who was afraid of me. I didn’t know how to comfort a child who became frantic when I tried to touch her.

Metro

During the months that followed, the crying diminished and the children began to trust us. We tried to provide a safe, stable home for them. We gave them clothes, toys, grandparents. We laughed at their jokes and cried with them when visiting their parents was difficult. We loved them.

And yet we were, inherently, part of their trauma. Their parents were, for the moment, unable to provide a safe home for them. But even when it’s necessary, removing children from their parents causes acute distress. I witnessed that suffering. It lived in my home.

Photo- Vic News

My older daughter began having nightmares that ‘the people’ would take her away from us and give her to another family. She was inconsolable. ‘If it could happen to them,’ she asked with the clear-eyed logic of a 7-year-old, “why can’t it happen to us?’

I told my kids this kind of separation happens only to children whose parents don’t do the right thing. But now it’s happening to people who are behaving exactly as good parents should. To parents who endure inconceivable hardship to get their children to this country, precisely in order to protect them. They come from places of violence and poverty and they travel, in some cases, thousands of miles carrying their children on their backs, all in the hopes of providing those children with a chance at safety. Their perseverance is the very model of parental sacrifice… Republicans are ostensibly the party of Christian family values.

Image Dallas Morning News

Their leader is making a mockery of those values at our borders, separating even asylum-seekers from their children, and then using those children to force migrants into voluntary departure…Now I understand that it’s not always merit-based, who gets to keep their kids and who doesn’t. It can be arbitrary — a matter of unlucky geography — even in 2018, even in the United States of America. My daughter was right to be afraid.”

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

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions:  Have students  examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. After they examine the photos, ask students to create a list of  words and  ideas  that they think might be related to this article. 

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. The little one didn’t sleep so much as lose consciousness.
  2. Attempting to remove her sneakers provoked hysteria.
  3. We were inexperienced at parenting a traumatized child.
  4. We were inherently part of their trauma.
  5. My older daughter began having nightmares.
  6. The little girl  was inconsolable.
  7. It is too easy to imagine a little girl shrieking in her new foster mother’s kitchen.
  8. Their perseverance is the very model of parental sacrifice.
  9. Republicans are ostensibly the party of Christian family values.
  10. Where is our righteous Christian outrage?

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. The kids showed up in our driveway on a  Friday afternoon.
  2. My two biological daughters, then 7 and 3, watched with concern as her cries turned to whimpers.
  3. Our neighbors came over to meet the new children.
  4. We may have been experienced parents, and  we were experienced at parenting a traumatized child.
  5. I didn’t know how to comfort a child who became frantic when I tried to touch her.
  6. My younger daughter began having nightmares.
  7. The social worker visited often.
  8. I tried telling her that it happens only to parents who don’t, or can’t, take care of their children.
  9. During the months that followed, the crying diminished and the children began to trust us.
  10. My husband  is not an immigrant.

Grammar:Using Adjectives  to describe pictures    

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

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

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements from the article. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. “I told my kids this kind of separation happens only to children whose parents don’t do the right thing. But now it’s happening to people who are behaving exactly as good parents should.”
  2. “In immigration court, migrants are being told that the best way to see their kids again is to plead guilty, to return to whatever they’re running from. And yet even if they do just that, some parents still don’t get their children back.”
  3. “Would you prefer to keep your children in a dangerous place or risk losing them in a place you can only hope will be safer?”

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

Biden The 2020 Candidate for President? There’s Still Hope!

“If the election were held today, Joe Biden would crush [Trump]. Almost any other Democrat — including one named Generic Democrat — would also beat the man who runs an administration of kooks, quacks, criminals, drunks, wife-beaters and grifters.” T. Egan, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Joe Biden-youtube

Excerpt: To Beat Trump, Build A Better Biden By Timothy Egan, The New York Times

“Sadly, there remains a sizable constituency for incompetency on this scale — the look-the-other-way evangelicals, the get-yours-while-you-can corporate class, the-ditch-your-principles Republican office holders. They’re with Stupid, no matter how much Trump debases the office. But you can’t beat nothing with better-than-nothing.

Quick: What are Democrats for? Continuity With Change? Stronger Together? A Better Deal? Two of those are actual slogans of the national party, and one is from the feckless politician on ‘Veep.’

Surprisingly, the Democrats are thinking big for once. The ideas being tossed around are risky enough to be called bold: a guaranteed-jobs program, universal health care, a public option for banking, free community college.

But the best-known carriers of that message have problems. Nancy Pelosi is toxic in many a targeted red-to-blue district. Chuck Schumer sounds too much like a party hack. The presidential contenders all have weaknesses… People were sick of it in 2006 — when Democrats won the House in part on campaigning against the ‘culture of corruption.’

Joe Biden- I’m leaving the door open | Boston Herald

They were sick of it in 2016, when Hillary Clinton could not shake the stink of big finance-connected profiteering. And they are sick of it today, when more than half of Trump’s cabinet has engaged in questionable behavior…Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook showed some promise until we all realized that social media had been weaponized to destroy democracy.

The entrepreneur Mark Cuban? Haven’t we had enough of a reality show star playing at being president? This gets you to the bench of elected officials. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, the junior senator from New York, is a whirlwind of Big Ideas of late… She is coldbloodedly #MeToo, having shoved her former colleague Al Franken and the Clintons under the bus. And she has gotten ahead of the one-note socialist Senator Bernie Sanders on the idea of a job guarantee for everyone who wants to work. Sanders himself will be 79 on Election Day 2020 and is not getting any less cranky.

But don’t overlook the enthusiasm generated by the Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke or Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana. They’ve stood up for the basic right of health care, and against the wrong of more tax cuts for the rich — foundational positions favored by a majority of the country.

Former Vice President Joe Biden talks about his family and his life, Monday night at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor. Photo-detroitnews

Another prospect is the Senate’s resident vegan, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. He’s got some Wall Street problems and is less populist than the mood of the country… That’s where Biden comes in, and why he cleans up against Trump in early matchups. The problem is that he will be 77 on Election Day…But maybe the current Biden is built to last, with just enough septuagenarian strut to end the dark age of Trump.”

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:

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Place students in groups, ask students to think about what they already know about Joe Biden.  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.

Brainstorming chart by UIE

 

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. There’s a sizable constituency for Joe Biden.
  2. The look-the-other-way evangelicals are still present.
  3. Nancy Pelosi is toxic in many voting districts.
  4. We need a guarantee that jobs will be available for everyone.
  5. Another prospect is  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey.
  6. But don’t overlook the enthusiasm generated by the Texas Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke.
  7. Some candidates wouldn’t need a slogan.
  8. Many rookie politians will attempt to run for the presidency in 2020.
  9. There are a vast number of voters that suffer from economic anxiety.    
  10. Biden has just enough septuagenarian strut to win.

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.

Another ___is  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey…In the same ___is the rookie ___Kamala Harris of California. She’s sharp,___, with the right balance of ___and intellect. But how would a California liberal play in Scranton, Pa.? A new study suggests that ___of cultural ___was a greater driver for Trump voters than economic anxiety — identity politics for aging___males.

WORD LIST: ego, displacement, prospect, white, Senator, class, dynamic, fear,

 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. That’s where Biden come into the race.
  2. The problem is that he will be 77 on Election Day.
  3. There is that fear of cultural displacement.

II

  1. Surprisingly, the Democrats are thinking big for once.
  2. The ideas being tossed around is risky.
  3. The presidential contenders all have weaknesses.

III

  1. All candidates would need to be ethically clean.
  2. It might help if candidates was not from the political class.
  3. Surprisingly, the Democrats are thinking big for once.

 

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

Directions: Place students in groups and have them  discuss the following statements. Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. The article states: “If you were to go into a lab and create a perfect candidate for 2020, along with a popular policy prescription for this anxious decade, what would that look like?”
  2. In your opinion is Joe Biden the right candidate to run in 2020? Provide reasons for your answer.
  3. In your opinion what are the qualities that make a good  presidential candidate?

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

Category: Political Issues | Tags:

“Justice Ginsburg Urges New Citizens to Make America Better”

“Bedecked in a multicolored collar that reflected the diversity of the 201 new citizens before her, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg presided over a naturalization ceremony on Tuesday at the New-York Historical Society, treating her rapt audience to a history lesson, one crackling with life and liberty.” L. Robbins, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, associate justice of the Supreme Court, center. Credit Chang W. Lee:The New York Times

Excerpt: “Justice Ginsburg Urges New Citizens to Make America Better”  By Liz Robbins, The New York Times

“Justice Ginsburg told them that her own father arrived in this country at 13 with no fortune and no ability to speak English, and yet, she would soon be administering the oath of citizenship to them as a member of the highest court in the land.

Across the packed rows of seats at the historical society’s Upper West Side theater sat people from 59 countries, with first names like Islam, Hussein, Kazi, Angie and Sunday, and with professions as diverse as pastors and pediatric cancer doctors. Two men from Guinea sat in the third row and learned they were both named Mamadou Alpha Diallo, both taxi drivers.  ‘We are a nation made strong by people like you,’ Justice Ginsburg said.

Justice Ginsburg and new citizens. NYT

It seemed only appropriate that the Brooklyn-born jurist known by her fans as the Notorious R.B.G. (a play on the rapper Notorious B.I.G.) delivered her remarks at the oldest museum in the city. Justice Ginsburg, 85, is believed to be the first Supreme Court justice to take part in a naturalization ceremony in New York in recent years, even though the court does not keep detailed records of officiating appearances.

President Barack Obama embraces Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the President’s State Of The Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 20, 2015

‘Because I’ve seen her on the news and the wonderful things she has done for people and now getting to see her live, I had tears coming down my eyes,’ said Sunday Aito, 50, originally from Nigeria.

Despite the contentious climate surrounding immigration — and who gets admission to the country — Justice Ginsburg made no mention of the Trump administration in her remarks. The Supreme Court will hear arguments this year about the legality of [Trump’s] travel ban; in a December Supreme Court decision that allowed the third version to continue during the legal challenges, both Justices Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented…Justice Ginsburg acknowledged that the United States was at its outset an imperfect union, and is still beset by poverty, low voting numbers and by the ‘struggle to achieve greater understanding of each other across racial, religious and socio-economic lines.’

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

She urged its newest citizens to vote and to foster unity. ‘We have made huge progress, but the work of perfection is scarcely done,’ she said.”

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 Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.  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

 

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. She would soon be administering the oath of citizenship.
  2. It seemed only appropriate that the Brooklyn-born jurist presided over the ceremony.
  3. Despite the contentious climate surrounding immigration the president was not mentioned.
  4. After officiating at the ceremony, she spoke with participants.
  5. To preside over a naturalization ceremony at the historical society was Justice Ginsburg’s idea.
  6. Many green card holders are studying for the naturalization test.
  7. Justice Ginsburg proved inspirational to men and women.
  8. She is a champion of women’s rights and equality.
  9. Ambati is a pediatric cancer specialist at a Cancer Center.
  10. Yusif Abubakari, 42, born in Ghana, was struck by Justice Ginsburg’s humbleness.

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.

As a ___of women’s rights and___, Justice Ginsburg proved ___to men and women in the audience. Pranitha Mantrala, 35, a ___originally from___, said the message was clear: “I think we can achieve anything.” She became a ___along with her___, Srikanth Ambati, 38, who is a___cancer specialist at Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “It meant a lot for me, especially her ___coming from such a___, and her going into such a high profession,” Dr. Mantrala said. “It’s adorable.”

WORD LIST:  citizen,  pediatric, husband,  equality, India, inspirational, background, champion, physician,  parents,

 

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. Justice Ginsburg will mark her 25th year  in the bench in August.
  2. To preside over a naturalization ceremony at the historical society was Justice Ginsburg’s idea.
  3. She said that she had read a New York Times article about the program.

II

  1. The Citizenship Project offers free classes to green card holders.
  2. Justice Ginsburg was careful to present this nation as one that are heavily into self-improvement.
  3. Justice Ginsburg acknowledged that the United States was at its outset an imperfect union.

III

  1. She urged it’s newest citizens to vote and to foster unity.
  2. As a champion of women’s rights and equality, Justice Ginsburg proved inspirational to men and women in the audience.
  3. “May God bless her and give her more life and prosperity.”

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 and have them  discuss the following questions about the United States government. Students may explore information on the web.  Afterwards, have the groups share their thoughts as a class. To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

The U.S. government has three branches—the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch. The government was set up this way so no one person would have too much power. With three branches, each branch balances out the others.

  1. Name and describe the powers for each branch of government.
  2. Under which branch of government does Justice Ruth Ginsburg preside?
  3. How many supreme court justices are there?
  4. The article states, Despite the contentious climate surrounding immigration — and who gets admission to the country — Justice Ginsburg made no mention of the Trump administration in her remarks. The Supreme Court will hear arguments this year about the legality of President Trump’s travel ban.” From this comment who has the authority to admit (or deny) immigrants into the U.S.?

 

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