“Teenagers are campaigning, debating, running fact checks and forming party-based coalitions (hype houses). One of them called it cable news for young people.” By T. Lorenz, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
“As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations about social media and the 2020 presidential election, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.
Teenagers in America — many of them too young to vote — are forming political coalitions on TikTok to campaign for their chosen candidates, post news updates and fact check opponents. They are sharing real-time commentary for an audience that is far more likely to watch YouTube videos than turn on a cable news channel.
In a sense, these TikTok users are building short-form TV networks, each with a cast of talking heads. On TikTok they’re called hype houses, named after the high-powered influencer collab house in Los Angeles. These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones represented by group accounts.
There are conservative-leaning houses… and liberal ones…There are also bipartisan houses, for users who love discourse, and undecided houses, for those who aren’t sure what or whom they love… In recent months, content on TikTok has been getting more political.
Many users are campaigning hard, especially because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3. ‘I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote’ Izzy, 17, said…Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election. Those who can’t have been taking political action in other ways, especially on social media.”
Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden Laces Into Trump for Fanning ‘Flames of Hate’
“In a speech in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden assailed [Trump’s] handling of the protests over police brutality and racial justice: “Donald Trump has turned this country into a battlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears… Is this who we want to be? Is this what we want to pass on to our children and our grandchildren? Fear, anger, finger pointing, rather than the pursuit of happiness? ~ Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden~ June 3, 2020
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: Ask students to think about what they already know about the topic. Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article. Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.
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.
- As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.
- Young people are forming political coalitions on TikTok.
- These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones.
- There are conservative-leaning houses.
- There are liberal houses on TikTok.
- There are also bipartisan houses.
- Like YouTube’s commentators any of these creators have sought to replicate their success on TikTok.
- TikTok has struggled to prevent conspiracy theories from spreading.
- Many on TikTok debunk false theories.
- For many members of political hype houses, tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.
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.
- Teenagers are campaigning, debating.
- They are sharing real-time commentary.
- These TikTok users is building short-form TV networks.
- Their are bipartisan houses for users who love discourse.
- TikTok is cable news for young people.
- TikToks run a maximum of 60 seconds.
- Many users are campaigning hard because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3.
- For many tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.
- Political TikToks often rely on popular trends and dances.
Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers
Directions: Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to see if they can identify the speakers.
- “I do feel like TikTok is cable news for young people.”
- “I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote.”
- “A lot of political stuff is on Facebook and Twitter, but Gen Z isn’t really into that stuff.”
- [referring to the misinformation on the platform.] “Knowing that one million impressionable teens have seen this video and chosen to believe or not believe it.”
- “Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election.”
III. Post Reading Activities
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.
- Are you a member of TikTok, Facebook or any other social media platform?
- If yes, what information do you provide? If no, would you consider becoming a member of any media platform?
- In your opinion, do you think teens getting involved in politics at an early age is a good idea? Provide reasons for your answer.
- Describe ‘Duetting’ on TikTok.
- What is a main concern for the majority of the members on TikTok?
- After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned.
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.
Group Project Create An Online Video Using TikTok
Directions: Have students go to the TikTok site and see if they can create a short video.Ultimate Tik Tok Guide – How to Tik Tok & How to Make a Tik Tok Video that Gets Likes
CNN and Sesame Street are refocusing their second town hall to address racism.
The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families’ will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET.