Category Archives: Science

Warning: COVID-19 Is Not Over Yet

“In a now-viral video, hundreds of students and teachers gathered to welcome two Ukrainian children, refugees of war, on their first day of school in Naples, Italy…But there was also this sign that their well-being will be paramount in their new school — every student, teacher, and staff member wore a face mask. So did the two children.” R. Graham, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2022

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Omicron BA.2 Variant Represents Rising Share of U.S. Covid-19 Cases -WSJ-MARCH 22, 2022

Excerpt: No, COVID Isn’t Over, By Renee Graham, The Boston Globe, March 19, 2022

“This was an unintentional but pointed reminder: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over…Businesses nationwide have dropped proof-of-vaccination requirements for customers. Those home COVID tests that were impossible to find in December (and were exorbitantly expensivewhen available) are plentiful again on drugstore shelves.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical adviser, hasn’t been a regular on TV in weeks. And with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vicious invasion of Ukraine dominating headlines, cable news stations’ once-daily parade of medical professionals has been supplanted by retired generals and foreign policy experts…Americans moving on from COVID doesn’t mean COVID has moved on from us… Waning vaccine immunity remains a concern. Pfizer and BioNTech are seeking emergency authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a second booster shot for those 65 and older…What other countries are enduring will find its way here. We’ve seen this pattern before, and the CDC is already reporting an uptick of COVID-19 in wastewater samples nationwide.

‘Everybody wants to return to normal, everybody wants to put the virus behind us in the rearview mirror, which is, I think, what we should aspire to,’ Fauci said recently. Even if the virus seems to be subsiding here, he warned, ‘we have gone in the right direction in four other variants’ only to have COVID come roaring back again with horrific results.’

COVID is still here, but what seems to be all but gone is the leadership on every level to do everything possible to eradicate it.”

RELATED ARTICLE:

The BA.2 subvariant of Omicron accounts for over half of new U.S. coronavirus cases, the C.D.C. estimates. By Adeel Hassan, The New York Times, March 30, 2022

“The highly contagious Omicron subvariant known as BA.2, which led to a surge of coronavirus cases in Europe, is now the dominant version of the virus in new U.S. cases, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday.”

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 60 minutes.


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 of 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. Hundreds of students and teachers gathered to welcome two Ukrainian children, refugees of war.
  2. It was a stirring moment to watch this brother and sister, who had lost so much in their homeland, being embraced in a new country.
  3. But there was also this sign that their well-being will be paramount in their new school as every person present  wore a face mask. So did the two children.
  4. This was an unintentional but pointed reminder: The COVID-19 pandemic is not over.
  5. When Hawaii ends its indoor mask mandate on March 26, it will be the last state to do so.
  6. Those home COVID tests that were impossible to find in December (and were exorbitantly expensive  when available) are plentiful again.
  7. With the invasion of the Ukraine the daily  feedback by medical professionals has been supplanted by retired generals and foreign policy experts.
  8. At his recent State of the Union speech where most in attendance were unmasked, President Biden took a cautious victory lap. 
  9. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 66 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
  10. Vaccination rates have flatlined.

Vocabulary Cluster By Learnnc.org

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.

Yet what we keeping/keep hearing is/are that we’re/were getting back to normally/normal. And this is what ‘normal’ looks like — at less/least 1,000 people a day/days perishing from COVID; American vaccine/vaccinated interest that has/have fallen off a cliff; and persistent vaccine inequality/equality and lack of access around the world.

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.

Waning___ immunity remains a___. Pfizer and ___are seeking emergency___ from the ___Administration for a second___ shot for those ___and older. That recommendation will probably extend to ___people as well, because existing ___protection was not as___ when ___became the dominant___.

WORD LIST: Omicron, robust, vaccine, younger, 65, Food and Drug, authorization, booster, vaccine, concern, BioNTech,  variant

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. Were you or someone you know affected by COVID-19?
  2. Do you believe that COVID-19 and the variants are gone and we can now get back to a normal life?
  3. What does  a “normal” life means to you?
  4. In Naples, Italy how did everyone know that COVID-19 was still present?
  5. According to the article which state will be the last to  end its indoor mask mandate?
  6. What other signs are there that people feel that the COVID-19  pandemic is over?
  7. Who is Dr. Anthony Fauci? Why is he important to the U.S.?
  8. Who made the following statement and why? Thanks to the progress we’ve made in the past year, COVID-19 no longer need control our lives,.”
  9. Approximately how many people have died from the virus world wide? According to the article, how many Americans will have died by the end of April 2022?
  10. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approximately what percentage of Americans have been vaccinated?
  11. What is the name of the newest subvariant? Why is the variant considered more dangerous than the others?
  12. After reading this article, have any of your views about COVID-19 changed? Have your ideas about what is “normal” changed? Why or why not?
  13. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

Climate Change: We’re Running Out of Ways to Adapt

“Delay means death’: We’re running out of ways to adapt to the climate crisis new report shows. Here are the key takeaways.” R. Ramirez, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Dead almond trees lie in an open field after they were removed by a farmer because of a lack of water to irrigate them, in Huron, California, in July 2021. The authors say drought has put a hard limit on adaptation for almond growing. CNN

Excerpt: Delay Means Death By Rachel Ramirez, CNN February 28, 2022

“Climate change is on course to transform life on Earth as we know it, and unless global warming is dramatically slowed, billions of people and other species will reach points where they can no longer adapt to the new normal, according to a major report published Monday.

The UN-backed report, based on years of research from hundreds of scientists, found that the impacts from human-caused climate change were larger than previously thought. The report’s authors say these impacts are happening much faster and are more disruptive and widespread than scientists expected 20 years ago.

Bleaching of the coral reefs around French Polynesia in 2019 CNN

The authors point to enormous inequities in the climate crisis, finding that those who contribute the least to the problem are the worst affected, and warn of irreversible impacts if the world exceeds 1.5 degrees Celsius of global warming.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres called the report ‘an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,’ and he warned that ‘delay means death.’

A flood defense wall being constructed on the east side of Manhattan in New York City on December 11, 2021.

He also said that “current events” showed the world was too reliant of fossil fuels, calling them ‘a dead end,’ in an apparent reference to the Ukraine conflict and energy crisis…Warming beyond 1.5 degrees could have irreversible consequences…And some changes may be permanent, even if the planet cools back down…With every extreme event, ecosystems are being pushed more toward so-called tipping points beyond which irreversible changes can happen, according to the report…And although the natural world has adapted to changing climates over millions of years, the pace of human-caused global warming is pushing many of the planet’s most critical systems — like rainforests, coral reefs and the Arctic — to the brink. More extreme weather doesn’t just affect humans, it is causing mass die-offs in plants and animals.

A man works in the Swiss Alps at the Rhone Glacier in October 2021, which is partially covered with insulating foam to prevent it from melting due to global warming. CNN

‘What we really wanted to show is that ecosystems and all sectors of human society and human well-being fundamentally depends on water,’ Tabea Lissner, a scientist at Climate Analytics and an author on the report, told CNN… Decision makers also need to be intentional in helping the most disadvantaged communities and countries, so no one gets left behind in the process.”

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 60 minutes.


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 of 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. Unless global warming is slowed, billions of people and other species will die.
  2. Scientists, found that the impacts of climate change were larger than previously thought.
  3. Scientists  say these impacts are happening much faster and are more disruptive and widespread than 20 years ago.
  4. The facts are undeniable.
  5. This abdication of leadership is criminal.
  6. The world’s biggest polluters are guilty of arson of our only home.
  7. Warming beyond 1.5 degrees could have irreversible consequences.
  8. Scientists have warned for decades warming needs to  stay below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.
  9. Greenhouse gas emissions will push warming to 1.5ºC.
  10. With every extreme event, ecosystems are being pushed more toward tipping points.

 

 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. At warming of 2 degrees, as many as 18% of all land species will be at high risk of extinction.
  2. Coral reefs in much locations are already beyond tipping points.
  3. We’re running out of ways to adapt.

II

  1. Adaptation are finding ways to live with the change.
  2. A lot of the world’s resources goes toward reducing greenhouse emissions.
  3. The report focuses on the interconnectedness between the Earth’s ecosystems and humans.

III

  1. Humans fundamentally depend on water.
  2. The people who is least responsible are the most affected.
  3. As the climate crisis advances, more people will be forced to relocate.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.

  1. This person called the report “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership,” and he warned that “delay means death.”
  2. “At warming of 2 degrees, for example, as many as 18% of all land species will be at high risk of extinction, according to the report. At 4 degrees, 50% of species are threatened.”
  3. We have seen that the vast majority of climate finance goes towards mitigation rather than adaptation…So although adaptation is taking place, there is not enough funding, and it is not a high priority, which are then leading to these limits.”
  4. “What we really wanted to show is that ecosystems and all sectors of human society and human well-being fundamentally depends on water.”
  5. “We live in an unequal world…The losses are inequitably distributed among communities, especially those communities that have historically been disadvantaged from decision-making, and now we’re seeing some of that inequality manifest as well in the choices we make to adapt.”
  6. “as climate change worsens, more indigenous people will lose the land, water and biodiversity they depend on.
  7. “When the Earth doesn’t become farmable, the dependence in the livelihood that communities have on farming and on production of food, not only will the incomes be lost, but that food security will be lost.”

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. The following article is about the climate change crisis we are currently experiencing.Have you noticed any changes in the weather in your area in the past two years? For example, does it seem warmer or colder than usual? Does it snow more or less? Are the days getting warmer? Has there been any change in the plant or animal life in your area?
  2. What will happen to the earth if warming goes above 1.5 degrees Celsius?
  3. According to scientists, even if the planet cooled down can the damage be undone?
  4. Explain the ‘lowest emission scenario’.
  5. Provide examples of what will happen if ecosystems are pushed more toward so-called tipping points.
  6. What are researchers saying about coral reefs?
  7. According to the article not only does extreme weather affect humans, what other damage does it cause?
  8. Which people are the most affected by drastic climate change?
  9. Where in the U.S. is water shortage at dangerous levels?
  10. As the climate crisis advances, what happens to the people who depend on farming for survival?
  11. List three new ideas  that you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention.  Share your responses with your class.

ANSWER KEY

Medical Heroes Fighting the Coronavirus For Us…And Dying

“Millions of health care workers are running to where they are needed, sometimes risking their lives.” D. Berwick, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: They Don’t Hide From the Coronavirus, They Confront It  By Donald M. Berwick, The NYT

‘I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon bombing,’ my daughter said. She was a newly minted physician on the day the bombs went off seven years ago, when the police rolled a man on a stretcher into her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled onto the floor and someone began to wipe it away. ‘Don’t bother,’ the officer said, ‘there is a lot more where that came from.’

ICU medical staff with patients-credit- Washington Post

When she tells that story, my daughter always mentions the dread she felt. How many more victims would arrive, and when?

Now, she faces a similar sense of dread, as demand for Covid-19 care could swamp her hospital and patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.

Exhausted medical caregivers sleep when [and where] they can.

As the world writhes in the grip of Covid-19, the epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring: millions of health care workers running to where they are needed, on duty, sometimes risking their own lives. I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help at such a global scale.

Welsh doctors and nurses urge people tp help contain the virus-credit- www.itv.com

Intensive care doctors in Seattle connect with intensive care doctors in Wuhan to gather specific intelligence on what the Chinese have learned: details of diagnostic strategies, the physiology of the disease, approaches to managing lung failure, and more.

Dozens of healthcare workers are shown on a flight from China to the Philippines. Credit-globalnews.

Health care workers-Credit- CNN

A Wuhan Doctor on the Front Lines-credit-Medscape

The three-page, single spaced document, full of lessons, circulates immediately and widely through social media platforms, a gem borne of pure, professional commitment…And city by city, hospitals mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge: bring in retired staff members, train nurses and doctors in real time, share data on supplies around the region, set up special isolation units and scale up capacity by a factor of 100 or 1000…Think about such adaptations and agility going on all across our nation and the world.

A team of doctors and nurses prepare themselves before heading out to their designated residential areas to check on residents. credit- National Review

A coronavirus prayer. credit-americanmagazine.org

Good people taking the load in a time of crisis…We are witnessing professionalism in its highest form, skilled people putting the interests of those they serve above their own interests…’How are you doing?’ I asked my daughter by phone from the safety of my house. ‘A little scared,’ she said. Then, ‘Gotta go…’ Patients were waiting.”

Credit- healthcareequalityconsulting.com

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: Have  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. I’m having flashbacks to the Boston Marathon.
  2. She was a newly minted physician.
  3. Many people dread the Coronavirus.
  4. Demand for Covid-19 care could swamp many hospitals.
  5. Patients who could have been saved may die as the ventilator supply runs out.
  6. Hospitals prepare for the deluge of patients coming their way.
  7. The Covid-19 epidemic has revealed something majestic and inspiring.
  8. I have never before seen such an extensive, voluntary outpouring of medical help.
  9. Intensive care units are over crowded.
  10. Medical Care people have a sense of commitment to their jobs.

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

Directions: The following sentences are from the news article.For each sentence choose the correct preposition from the choices listed. Note that not all prepositions listed are in the article.

Some Prepositions: at,as, across, around,by, during,for, from, in, into,of, on,to, over,off, through, up,with, since

She was a newly minted physician ___the day the bombs went ___seven years ago, when the police rolled a man ___a stretcher___her hospital’s emergency department. His blood had spilled___the floor and someone began to wipe it away.

The Journal ___the American Medical Association, even while moving its staff home ___social distancing, sets new records___speeding helpful scientific studies, peer reviewed, ___the web.

 

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.

On Tuesday, ___Bill de Blasio of___asks for___ medical personnel to join the city’s___; 24 hours later, 1000 new volunteers have signed up. Northwell Health, a 23-hospital ___in___, figures out how to add 1,500 beds, if needed, by___space.

WORD LIST: repurposing,NewYork City, Medical Reserve Corps, Mayor,  New York,  retired, system,

 

III. Post Reading Activities

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

Cerebral Chart by Write Design

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/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. In your opinion are the doctors, nurses and other medical personnel heroes? Why?
  2. What are some of the ways hospitals are mobilize creatively to get ready for the possible deluge?
  3. What did the mayor of New York City do to help hospital medical personnel?
  4. Can you think of other times in the U.S. or other countries when medical personnel were considered heroes?
  5. Are there people in other fields you would consider heroes?
  6. What ideas have you learned after reading this article?

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas  you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

Photo Activity for speaking or Writing

Directions: Have students study the photos then choose one to write a paragraph about.

If possible, here are a few questions students might answer:

How does this person/people look to you? For example, tired, sad, happy, hopeful, bored, etc.

What do you think they are thinking about? 

Thank You Cards Activity

Students could create “Thank You” cards of their own and send them to hospitals where medical personnel can receive the cards.

ANSWER KEY

 

How We Can Achieve Social Unity, With Social Distancing

“To combat the coronavirus, Americans need to do more than secure their own safety.” E. Klinenberg, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A discarded medical glove on a subway grate in midtown Manhattan in New York City on Tuesday.Credit…Damon Winter:The New York Times

Excerpt: We Need Social Solidarity…By Dr. Eric Klinenberg, The New York Times

“Social distancing — canceling large gatherings, closing schools and offices, quarantining individuals and even sequestering entire cities or neighborhoods — seems to be the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.

Some of the homeless people who camp near Washington’s Union Station feel isolated as foot traffic has decreased. (Michael S. Williamson:The Post)

Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.  What’s more, it’s insufficient to protect the older, sick, homeless and isolated people who are most vulnerable to the virus. They need extra care and attention to survive, not society’s back.

I learned this firsthand while studying another recent health crisis, the great Chicago heat wave of 1995. In that event, as in so many other American disasters, social isolation was a leading risk factor and social connections made the difference between life and death.

Tents of one of the many homeless men and women are set up at Dupont Circle in Washington. (Astrid Riecken for The Post)

In Chicago, social isolation among older people in poor, segregated and abandoned neighborhoods made the heat wave far more lethal than it should have been. Some 739 people died during one deadly week in July, even though saving them required little more than a cold bath or exposure to air-conditioning. There was plenty of water and artificial cooling available in the city that week. For the truly disadvantaged, however, social contact was in short supply. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises by communicating clearly and honestly with the public and providing extra service and support to those in need…It’s chilling, how familiar this seems. And it’s disturbing, how little we’ve heard about helping the people and places most threatened by the coronavirus, about the ways in which, amid so much isolation, we can offer a hand.

Coronavirus concerns empty public spaces around the world-Boston Globe

In addition to social distancing, societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity, or the interdependence between individuals and across groups.

A Flowershop Offeres Free Flowers To everyone.

This an essential tool for combating infectious diseases and other collective threats.

Solidarity motivates us to promote public health, not just our own personal security. It keeps us from hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school…Social solidarity leads to policies that benefit public well-being, even if it costs some individuals more. Consider paid sick leave.

A Brookline Principal reads bedtime stories to her young students

When governments guarantee it (as most developed democracies do), it can be a burden for employers and businesses. The United States does not guarantee it, and as a consequence many low-wage American workers, even in the food service industry, are on the job when they’re contagiously ill.”

Related Articles:

5 Ways to Help Your Community Combat Coronavirus (While Still Social Distancing)

“Instead of isolating, you can help your neighbors and community in these ways.” By Ria Misra, The New York Times

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 the Coronavirus.  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 Map by rentonschools.us

 

 

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 people are kept in quarantine.
  2. Entire cities or neighborhoods are being sequestered.
  3. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.
  4. Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.
  5. What’s more, it’s insufficient to protect the older, sick, homeless.
  6. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises.
  7. Amid so much isolation, we can offer a hand.
  8. Societies have often drawn on another resource to survive disasters and pandemics: social solidarity.
  9. Societie have also drawn upon the interdependence between individuals and across groups.
  10. We should not be hoarding medicine, toughing out a cold in the workplace or sending a sick child to school.

 

 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. Social distancing  seems to be the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  2. But it’s a crude and costly public health strategy.
  3. We need to protect the older, sick, homeless and isolated people.

II

  1. Good governments can mitigate damage during health crises.
  2. Its chilling, how familiar this seems.
  3. It’s disturbing, how little we’ve heard about helping the people.

III

  1. Societies have often drawn on social solidarity to survive disasters.
  2. Solidarity motivates us to promote public health.
  3. Solidarity is a essential tool for combating infectious disease

 

Reading Comprehension

True /False/NA-Statements

Directions: Review the following statements from the reading.Ifa statement is true they mark it T. If the statement is  not applicable, they mark it NA. If the statement is false theymarkit F and provide the correct answer. 

  1. The Coronavirus is only in China and the U.S.
  2. Social distancing and canceling large gatherings,  is not the best way to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
  3. Keeping people separated seems to be a crude and costly public health strategy.
  4. Shuttering shared spaces and institutions means families lose child care, wages and social support.
  5. Young people who are most vulnerable to the virus.
  6. The author references  another health crisis that occurred in New York.
  7. According to the author, solidarity is an essential tool for combating infectious diseases.
  8. Social solidarity leads to people being lonely.
  9. The scientists expect the coronavirus to be over in 3 months.
  10. The United States does not guarantee paid sick leave, and as a consequence many low-wage American workers, even in the food service industry, are on the job when they’re contagiously ill.

 

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 Questions for Comprehension /Writing

  1. How has the coronavirus outbreak affected you, your friends, family and community?
  2. Do you feel that we need more compassion and solidarity during this crises?
  3. Name several  good things that solidarity motivates us to do for others.
  4. According to the article who are the most vulnerable people?
  5. It’s stated that, “As Covid-19 spreads, we’ll continue to see more people asked to work remotely or from home, more school closings, more canceled events, and other measures associated with social distancing.”
  6. Do you have  plans of how you intend to remain in touch with family and friends. In addition, make a list of things you, your friends and family could do to help others in need.
  7. After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned about the Coronavirus situation. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideas you’ve learned about the topic from the reading,  two things  that  you did not understand in the reading, and one thing you  would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

5 People Who Made Positive World Changes in 2019

“In a year of many dispiriting headlines, Fixes still found the better angels of human nature at work.” T. Rosenberg, The New York Times

Note: Fixes is a column from the New York Times that looks at solutions to social problems and why they work.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Excerpt: Five Who Spread Hope in 2019-By Tina Rosenberg, The New York Times

“O.K. so Time magazine has Greta Thunberg. But many other individuals also changed the world for the better in 2019. Here, for a second year, is a list of five whose contributions Fixes wrote about.

Scott O’Neill fights tropical disease.

Scott O’Neill, director of the World Mosquito Program, with a cage of Wolbachia-carrying mosquitoes in his Melbourne laboratory. Credit- Shaney Cameron

There’s a new weapon in the fight against mosquito-borne diseases.

Before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe epidemics of dengue fever. Now, the disease is endemic in 100 countries, infects 400 million people a year and is intensifying rapidly.

Like Zika and chikungunya, dengue is spread by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, and no workable vaccine or cure has been found.

The normal public health response to mosquitoes is attack: spray pesticide, eliminate breeding grounds and help people ward off their bites. But these strategies have failed to control dengue. The world is desperate for something new. Scott O’Neill leads a team that is doing just the opposite — adding millions of mosquitoes to areas affected by disease. Professor O’Neill directs the World Mosquito Program, which is based at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia.

The mosquitoes the program releases are infected with Wolbachia bacteria, which block their ability to transmit disease. Wolbachia occurs naturally in most insect species and is harmless to vertebrates and humans. When enough Wolbachia-infected mosquitoes are released, they take over the whole population…In Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Wolbachia zones had 76 percent fewer cases of dengue than other areas. Wolbachia has also led to reductions in disease in Brazil and Vietnam.

Kimberly McGrath heals trafficked children.

Kimberly McGrath coordinates foster care services at the Citrus Health Network in Hialeah, Fla. Credit- Maria A. Cardona for The New York Times

What happens to a child who is exploited commercially for sex? Kimberly McGrath is changing the answer to that question. Historically, trafficked children have been arrested for solicitation and sent to juvenile court…’The core understanding was that these were defiant, rebellious youth who would rebel in a family,’ Dr. McGrath said. In 2013, Florida officials asked Dr. McGrath, who coordinates foster care services at the Citrus Health Network in South Florida, to come up with a different response.

She started from the premise that these children were not defiant criminals. A vast majority had been abused, which made them more susceptible to the manipulations of traffickers. And they had never gotten help to recover from that abuse.

Dr. McGrath and her colleagues looked at what had worked for other traumatized children and adapted it to trafficked children. They educated not just therapists and social workers, but also foster parents…’When foster parents are equipped and prepared to deal with their special needs, children thrive in family-based environments,’ she said. “They really are just traumatized kids.’

Dr. Dixon Chibanda transforms global mental health care.

Dr. Dixon Chibanda turned benches into destinations for therapy. Credit- Markus Schreiber:Associated Press

Depression occurs everywhere. By some measures, it’s the world’s most debilitating disease. But treatment is not everywhere. Even in New York City, less than 40 percent of people with depression get treatment. In poor countries, it’s closer to zero percent.

So what can be done in places with no public mental health care and only a tiny number of mental health professionals? As with medical care, the answer is training nonprofessionals. Every health clinic in Harare, Zimbabwe, has a ‘friendship bench‘ in its yard. It’s an ordinary wooden bench. Seated on it is a community health worker with a few weeks’ training in problem-solving therapy. Patients go to the bench, talk to the health worker about their problems and come up with possible solutions. They go home and try them, and return.

The friendship bench was invented in 2006 by a psychiatrist, Dixon Chibanda, after a patient committed suicide. He had asked her to come see him at Harare Central Hospital, but she lived in another city and didn’t have bus fare.

Dr. Chibanda decided to bring treatment for depression to Harare’s health clinics. At first he wanted to train nurses and put offices inside the buildings, but the nurses had not enough  time and clinics had not enough space. But what seemed like a setback is what has allowed the program to spread.

Now, there’s a bench in the yard of every government-run health clinic in Harare, and the practice is spreading throughout Zimbabwe and to other African countries. In a different form, the strategy has also reached New York. Research shows that friendship benches are effective at treating depression.

Dr. Rebekah Gee makes medicines affordable.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s health secretary. Credit- Tom Williams:CQ Roll Call, via Associated Press

Louisiana is doing two things no other state is doing about hepatitis C, which kills more Americans than all other infectious diseases combined. One is that the state is suddenly treating more people.

Hep C is curable — but the drugs are astronomically expensive. Even the cheapest generic version in the United States costs $24,000 for a course of treatment. (In India, the same drug is $550.) Because of the price, state Medicaid programs ration the drugs. In 2018, Louisiana treated 1,200 people… Louisiana could do that because of the second innovation: The drugs were made a lot less expensive. In July, the state began buying hep C medicines in a new way. Just as you pay Netflix a flat fee for all you want to watch, Louisiana now pays Asegua Therapeutics $58 million per year for all the hep C medicine the state can use.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, Louisiana’s secretary of health, adopted the scheme from Australia, where it has allowed Australia to treat seven times as many patients for the same money. Louisiana is the first state in America to do the same. The State of Washington is about to start as well. Other states are likely to follow.

Phil Keisling deepens democracy.

Illustration by Jeffrey Henson Scales; photographs by Marcin Jastrzebski and Digiphoto:iStock, via Getty Images

There’s a lot of attention, and rightly so, paid to Republican efforts to suppress voting. But there’s also a movement in both parties to expand voting. It abandons the traditional polling booth in favor of voting at home

It’s one of the most effective ways to increase turnout — possibly the best way.

Increasingly, other states are following the path first set by Oregon, which mails every voter a ballot. Voters fill it out at their leisure and mail it in or drop it off at a ballot center.

In next year’s elections, all voters in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Utah and Hawaii will vote at home. California will soon follow. Large parts of North Dakota and Nebraska vote at home. In last year’s midterms, 69 percent of all votes in the West were cast by voters who received ballots in the mail.

Phil Keisling was Oregon’s secretary of state, in charge of elections, when Oregon began home voting in 1998. Now he leads the Vote at Home Institute.

The institute asserts that it saves taxpayers money (some election officials disagree). It argues that because the approach uses paper ballots, it’s secure against hacking… Home voting probably doesn’t affect turnout in big elections. But it does in local elections, races at the end of the ballot, ballot propositions and judicial elections.

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.

Pre-reading Exercises

 

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Have  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. Before 1970, only nine countries had experienced severe epidemics of dengue fever.
  2. The normal public health response to mosquitoes is attack: spray pesticide.
  3. What happens to a child who is exploited?
  4. Historically, trafficked children have been arrested for solicitation.
  5. Depression occurs everywhere.
  6. So what can be done in places with no public mental health care?
  7. Louisiana is doing two things no other state is doing about hepatitis C.
  8. Hepatitis C kills more Americans than all other infectious diseases combined.
  9. There’s a lot of attention, and rightly so, paid to Republican efforts to suppress voting.
  10. Increasingly, other states are following the path first set by Oregon, which mails every voter a ballot.

Source: New Oxford American Dictionary   

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

Many other individual also changed the world for the better in 2019.

The normal public health response to mosquitoes is attack.

The mosquitoes the program releases are infected with Wolbachia bacteria.

II

The friendship bench was invented in 2006.

There’s a bench in the yard of every government-run health clinic in Harare.

Louisiana is treating more people for hepatitis C.

III

Because of an price, state Medicaid programs ration their drugs.

In next year’s elections, all voters in Oregon, Colorado, Washington, Utah and Hawaii will vote at home.

Turnout for these elections can be in the single digits.

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article. The first group to correctlyidentify all of the speakers wins.

  1. “People who understand dengue and live in transmission areas are horrified and scared.”
  2. “Now we know they really are just extremely traumatized youth.”
  3. I started to realize that psychiatry in an institution is not the way to go. We have to take it to the community.”
  4. “Why couldn’t we change health care in this country?”
  5. “For millions of citizens, especially those with uncertain work schedules, family obligations and other daily demands, the traditional polling place has now become the most powerful voter suppression tool of all.”

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions/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. Which of the profiles do you find most inspiring or heartwarming? Why?
  2. Do they make you more hopeful and optimistic about the world?
  3. Do they inspire you to make a difference? How?
  4. Have you observed other ordinary heroes of 2019 in the news?In your community? Describe them.
  5. What qualities make it possible for individuals to affect change?
  6. Do you think you made a positive difference in the lives of others in 2019? Explain how.
  7. Has anyone made a difference in your life this past year? 

 

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