Category Archives: Social Issues

The Women and Children on Skid Row

“To capture the specific horror of Los Angeles’ homeless crisis, one just needs to enter the 50-block perimeter of downtown known as Skid Row. The sidewalks have disappeared, buried beneath endless rows of sagging tents and what spills from them: stuffed animals, clothing, a bicycle tire, blankets, condoms and hypodermic needles. The residents of Skid Row walk in the street, especially the women… dodging cars that speed up just to get through this place.” G. Hillard, NPR

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

A pink umbrella peeks through a collapsed tent home on L.A’s Skid Row. NPR

Excerpt: Women Of LA’s Skid Row Tell Their Stories Through The Anger, Despair On Their Faces By  Gloria Hillard, NPR

“LAPD Officer Deon Joseph has been working on these streets for 20 years…Joseph says there’s no difference between day and night anymore. Most of the crime happens out of sight, in the tents, which have been taken over by the gangs.‘Whenever I see a new face, especially a woman, I tell them the rules: don’t borrow money from anybody because once you do that you are bought and paid for, he says.

A mentally ill homeless woman cries out while holding a pay phone after running through several blocks of downtown Los Angeles, yelling and screaming. (Jae C. Hong:AP)

In the evening homeless women stake out their spots on Skid Row in front of the closed Downtown Women’s Center. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News:SCNG)

Just like the new condos five blocks away, the sidewalks have become expensive real estate. Joseph says the landlords are the gangs. In order to stay on the block, he explains, one woman here was forced by the Grape Street Crips to give up her entire Social Security check every month… ‘They are you or me divided by circumstance,’ says Georgia Berkovich, of the Midnight Mission. ‘A catastrophic illness in the family that depletes their savings…Financial issues and the lack of affordable housing are increasingly impacting women.

A homeless women and her children walk to their Skid Row shelter. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News:SCNG)

 

No one never imagines they’ll end up on these streets, Berkovich says. ‘First you would stay with friends and then you’d stay with family and maybe you’d wear out your welcome and you say ‘we’ll just stay in our car.’

A [homeless] woman dances near the entrance of the LAPD’s Central Station before hitting the Skid Row streets screaming. (Photo Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News:SCNG)

The next step, Berkovich says, is usually a shelter. But most of the shelters are full. So, you get a tent. ‘But now the drug dealers and pimps have taken over your tent,’ she continues.

Victoria Evans, a former bus driver who ended up homeless after caring for her daughter and then surviving two bouts of cancer. Evans now has a culinary degree and works. Sarah Reingewirtz,

Many of the women on the street pull suitcases behind them. Joyce Robles is one of them. She’s wears a heavy camouflage jacket on this very hot day. Robles, 51, says her husband passed away about three years ago. She has been living on the streets for two. ‘I’ve been raped, I’ve been stabbed,”‘she says, “it’s been hard out here for me.’

LAPD Officer Deon Joseph

You can guess how long people have been here by the anger or despair on their faces, their clothing, the way they walk.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

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. 

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

II. While Reading Activities

Word Inference

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

  1. Many women show despair on their faces.
  2. Los Angeles is in the middle of a homeless crisis.
  3. Most of the crime happens in the tents.
  4. Just five blocks away the new condos are being built.
  5. One woman had to give up her entire Social Security check every month.
  6. They are you or me divided by circumstance.
  7. Sometimes  a catastrophic illness in the family depletes their savings.
  8. Lack of affordable housing  is one issue that is increasingly impacting women.
  9. When the shelters are full women are forced to live in tents.
  10. Many women say that the shelter is only temporary.

Vocabulary Organizer by Against All Odds

 

Reading Comprehension

Word -Recognition

Directions: Students choose the correct word to complete the sentences taken from the article. They are to choose from the options presented.

Greer and her party/partner, who is deaf/deer, thought life/lie would be easier/easily for them in Los Angeles. They were dripped/dropped off at the Greyhound station just blocks/boats away. They had never heard of Skid Row.  After a couple of days on the street/straight they were grateful a shock/shelter took them in.

 

 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. We just got here from Louisville like three month ago.
  2. They say the shelter is only temporary.
  3. One hopes that is true.

 

II

  1. Deon Joseph has been working on these streets for 20 years.
  2. A few feet away a woman is trying to clean up the litter  on front of her tent.
  3. I know it’s too old to be down here, but things happen.

 

III

  1. Many of the woman on the street pull suitcases.
  2. Joyce wears a heavy camouflage jacket.
  3. She has been living on the streets for two years.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. Is there a large population of homeless people in your city or your country?
  2. Are there many women and children who are homeless?
  3. Are there shelters  for  homeless people? 
  4. What is being done to help the homeless?
  5. With your group members think of ways citizens can help homeless people.

 

3-2-1-Writing

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

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues | Tags:

Mali Spider-Man Saves Young Child!

“The 4-year-old boy seemed to be suspended from a balcony. An adult standing on a nearby balcony seemed powerless to help. Disaster seemed the only possible outcome.Then, to the nimble rescue on the streets of Paris on Saturday evening, came a young man whom some French people have started to call the Spider-Man of the 18th referring to the arrondissement of Paris where the episode unfolded. With a combination of grit, agility and muscle, the man hauled himself hand over hand from one balcony to another, springing from one parapet to grasp the next one up. A crowd that had gathered before he began his daring exploit urged him ever upward…” A. Breeden and A. Cowell, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key

Mamoudou Gassama Paris Spiderman

Excerpt: Paris ‘Spider-Man’ Saves Young Boy. Cue Debate on Migrants.By Aurellen Breeden and Alan Cowell, The New York Times

“Finally, after scaling four balconies, the man reached the child and pulled him to safety. And suddenly, an act of individual courage and resourcefulness began to play into Europe’s fraught and polarized debate about outsiders, immigrants and refugees.

The man, identified as Mamoudou Gassama, 22, is a migrant from Mali, a troubled former French colony in northwest Africa, who journeyed through Burkina Faso, Niger and Libya before making the dangerous Mediterranean Sea crossing to Italy and arriving in France in September, without documentation. 

Mamoudou Gassama with French President Macron Photo- Al Bawaba

On Monday, after his heroic rescue of the boy, he met with President Emmanuel Macron. Now, he will get the requisite documentation to live legally in France. ‘I told him that in recognition of his heroic act he would have his papers in order as quickly as possible,’ Mr. Macron said in a statement on Facebook after meeting with Mr. Gassama at the Élysée Palace in Paris.

Mr. Gassama will be one of a lucky few in a country with increasingly tight immigration rules and a generally skeptical attitude toward migrants who are seeking primarily economic benefits. In 2017, only five people were granted residency papers for “exceptional talent” or ‘services rendered to the community,’ according to statistics from the French Interior Ministry. In 2016, there were six.

Mr. Macron said in his statement that the Paris firefighters were ‘eager to welcome’  Mr. Gassama into their ranks. He added that he had invited Mr. Gassama to apply for French citizenship, ‘because France is built on desire, and Mr. Gassama’s commitment clearly showed that he has that desire.’ 

True to the words of French President Emmanuel Macron that African Spiderman, Mamoudou Gassama, would be employed as a firefighter in France, …

 In Paris, makeshift encampments of migrants under bridges and in parks are regularly evacuated by the police, only to grow again. ‘When they are in danger, we give asylum, but not for economic reasons,’ Mr. Macron said of immigrants, according to the news agency. ‘But in your case, you did something exceptional.’

This was not the first time in recent years that France celebrated an immigrant’s heroism. In January 2015, 24-year-old Lassana Bathily was widely praised for hiding customers in a cold-storage room after a gunman attacked a kosher supermarket near the Porte de Vincennes, in eastern Paris.

Lassana Bathily receives the medal of courage Center Simon-Wiesenthal.

As France struggled to cope with the terrorist attacks at the supermarket and at the offices of the satirical news weekly Charlie Hebdo, his actions provided much needed solace. Mr. Bathily, a Muslim from Mali, was granted French citizenship later that month, and he currently works at Paris City Hall…The boy saved by Mr. Gassama was alone in the apartment while his father went grocery shopping, said François Molins, the Paris prosecutor. The boy’s mother was not in Paris at the time.

Mr. Molins told the BFM television news channel that the father had taken a long time to return home because he had decided to play the smartphone game Pokémon Go as he was leaving the store. The father was taken into police custody on Sunday, and an investigation has been opened for “failure to meet parental obligations.” A conviction on that charge carries a sentence of up to two years in prison. The parents have not been identified, as is customary in French criminal inquiries.”

 

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. Finally, after scaling four balconies the man reached the child.
  2. With a combination of grit, agility and muscle, the man hauled himself from one balcony to another.
  3. A crowd that had gathered urged him ever upward.
  4. Mamoudou Gassama, 22, is a migrant from Mali.
  5. After his heroic rescue of the boy, he met with President Emmanuel Macron.
  6. In Paris, makeshift encampments of migrants are regularly evacuated by the police.
  7. Mr. Macron said that when  immigrants are in danger, France gives them asylum.
  8. Many people admire the bravery of Mamoudou Gassama.
  9. The boy’s father  is devastated because he realizes what he did.
  10. The father will be charged with neglect.  A conviction on that charge carries a sentence of up to two years in prison.

Color Vocabulary Map by Enchanted Learning

 

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.

I ___the ___of Mamoudou Gassama, said Raphaël Glucksmann, the ___editor of a left-leaning literary review, in a post on Facebook. And I ___of a ___where it wouldn’t be necessary to___ a ___to save the ___of a child, at the ___of one’s own life, to be treated like a___being when you are a migrant.

WORD LIST:admire,human,scale, bravery, building, risk, country, dream, life, managing,

 Grammar Focus: 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.

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

I told him that ___recognition___ his heroic act he would have his papers ___order as quickly as possible.

___Monday, sitting ______Mr. Macron ___one ___the palace’s many gilded rooms, Mr. Gassama, wearing jeans and a short-sleeved shirt, told the French president ___the rescue.

Mr. Macron himself has taken a tough approach ___immigrants.

 

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 questions.  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. What makes  a man or woman a hero?
  2. Have you ever been a hero to someone?   If yes, explain why.
  3. Describe what you think the character of a hero should be.
  4. Do you think sports figures, actors, or rock groups are heroes?  Explain why or why not.

    5. The article states, ” [President] Macron said in his statement that the Paris firefighters were ‘eager to welcome’ Mr. Gassama into their ranks. He added that he had ‘invited Mr. Gassama to apply for French citizenship, ‘because France is built on desire, and Mr. Gassama’s commitment clearly showed that he has that desire.’ The article further states, “Some, including groups that help undocumented migrants, criticized the government as hypocritical for praising Mr. Gassama while pushing to deport others like him, calling Mr. Macron’s Élysée invitation a public relations stunt. ‘I admire the bravery of Mamoudou Gassama,’ said Raphaël Glucksmann, the managing editor of a left-leaning literary review, in a post on Facebook. ‘And I dream of a country where it wouldn’t be necessary to scale a building to save the life of a child, at the risk of one’s own life, to be treated like a human being when you are a migrant. 

    In your opinion, did Mamoudou Gassama get the reward he deserved?  Explain your answers.

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: Social Issues

Ex-Prisoners And The Tough Road Back to Society!

“In California, known for decades as one of the nation’s most avid jailers, the trajectory of law and order is shifting. Through litigation, legislation and a series of ballot initiatives, the state’s prison population has dropped 25 percent over the past decade… Those who have family tend to find their way. But long stretches behind bars leave many without support.” J. Rodriquez and N. Bernstein, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Former gang member Alfred Medina Jr., who served 17 years for drug-related crimes, lives at a residence for ex-prisoners in Los Angeles. The CSM

“Gretchen Newby, executive director of the Stockton-based nonprofit Friends Outside, which provides support to prisoners and their families, said the city was experiencing a ‘cluster effect’…It’s common to come out with untreated illness, chronic conditions due to age and neglect,’ Ms. Newby said. ‘How are they going to live?’ Friends Outside case managers work to answer this question, lining up job interviews and transitional housing.

Many ex-felons without a familial support system wind up homeless. Some of them live in this encampment called the Trenches. Credit Joseph Rodriguez for The New York Times

The roughly 600,000 men and women who leave incarceration nationwide each year are the long tail of the nation’s prison boom. Finding housing tops the list of challenges they face, followed by getting and keeping a job. These practical barriers are compounded by internal obstacles. Researchers report high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as histories of abuse and neglect among prisoners. These early wounds are compounded by the violence, humiliation and bone-deep isolation of the prison experience.

Jesse De La Cruz spent nearly three decades in and out of prison and now holds a doctorate in education. Credit Joseph Rodriguez for The New York Times

‘It’s a lot of work to unravel the garbage I created,’ said Jesse De La Cruz, who spent three decades in and out of California prisons. Former prisoners, he said, are expected to ‘change everything they’ve done all their lives in three months. It doesn’t work that way.’

Carl Adkisson a recovering drug addict, writes in his bunk bed at the Amity Foundation house. Tony Avelar:The Christian Science Monitor

David Eng was fortunate in this regard. He was sentenced to 17 years to life for second-degree murder…After 28 years, he left prison with the support of a handful of family members and friends. A brother in Stockton offered him a place to stay. A year and half later, he has a car, a new wife and a job helping other returning prisoners get on their feet at Fathers and Families, a Stockton nonprofit.

Alfred Taylor, a convicted murderer who served 41 years in prison, watches television at the Francisco Home-Leighton house. CSM

Mr. Eng is part of a wave of newly released lifers pouring out of California’s prisons — nearly 4,500 since Gov. Jerry Brown took office in 2011, compared with a handful a decade earlier…Results are typically measured in terms of recidivism, defined as a return to prison within the first three years out. Those who manage to stay free past this milestone — roughly half — are considered success stories.There is some logic to this form of accounting: The longer you are out, the more likely you are to stay out.”

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. What does the outside life look like after a long stint in prison?
  2. California has been known for decades as one of the nation’s most avid jailers.
  3. Photographer Joseph Rodriguez has been documenting crime and punishment in California for years.
  4. Many inmates come out with chronic conditions due to age.
  5. A good number of women also leave incarceration each year.
  6. Humiliation and bone-deep isolation of the prison leave scars.
  7. Mr. Eng is part of a wave of newly released lifers pouring out of California’s prisons.
  8. Many lifers work hard to gain parole.
  9. Abstinence plays a major role in getting a parole.
  10. Fathers and Families is a Stockton nonprofit.

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. There are  roughly 600,000 men who leave incarceration nationwide each year.
  2. Many prisoners have family support.
  3. Some prisoners have family members in jail with them.
  4. Researchers report high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as histories of abuse and neglect among prisoners.
  5. Gretchen Newby is the executive director of the Stockton-based nonprofit Friends Outside.
  6. She loves her job.
  7. It’s common for prisoners to come out in good health.
  8. Jesse De La Cruz spent three decades in and out of California prisons.
  9. Jesse De La Cruz holds a doctorate in prison life.
  10. David Eng was sentenced to 17 years to life for second-degree murder.

 

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.

Mr. Eng describe/described a childhood marked/make by drugs and neglect. At 5 years old, he said, he witnessed/witnesses  his mother’s murder. This kind of early trauma is widespread behind/under bars, according to Daniel Silva, 60, who spent/spends 39 years in California’s prison/prism system. Mr. Silva was still locked up when he began to develop the curriculum for the Self-Awareness and Recovery program, which runs/run healing/heating circles inside several California prisons.

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 Have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask any person mentioned in the article. Groups share questions 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

Category: Social Issues | Tags:

Japan’s Kyoto University Welcomes First African President

“On a beautiful spring Sunday during cherry blossom season, the new president of Kyoto Seika University welcomed students for the start of the Japanese school year. ‘You have left your home,’ he told the 770 first-year and graduate students gathered in a gym on the hilly campus. ‘But this is also your home.’ In Bamanankan — the lingua franca of his native Mali…Dr. Sacko, who is believed to be the first African-born president of a Japanese university, segued elegantly into fluent Japanese, invoking Hannah Arendt, Edward Said, Eleanor Roosevelt and the Malian writer Amadou Hampâté Bâ.”  M. Rich, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: In Homogeneous Japan, an African-Born University President, By Motoko Rich, The New York Times

“In this island country that is sometimes less than welcoming to immigrants, Mr. Sacko is an outlier. A resident for 27 years, he obtained Japanese citizenship 16 years ago and worked his way up through the ranks of a Japanese institution.

With a declining population, Japan is being forced to confront its traditional resistance to taking in foreigners…Obtaining Japanese citizenship is extremely difficult. Since 1952, just over 550,000 people have managed to naturalize as Japanese citizens, most of them ethnic Koreans whose families have lived in Japan for several generations since the colonial occupation of Korea. Dr. Sacko says he believes Japan needs to allow in more outsiders, simply as an act of self-preservation.

‘Japanese people think they have to protect something,’ he said during an interview in English before a reception recently to celebrate his appointment. But, ‘someone who has a broad view from outside on your culture can maybe help you objectively improve your goals,’ he said, occasionally interrupting the interview to greet his guests, switching effortlessly between English, French and Japanese.

Dr. Sacko, the eldest son of a customs officer and homemaker, grew up in Bamako, the capital city of Mali. A strong student, he won a scholarship from the Malian government to attend college abroad.

Dr. Oussouby Sacko.

He had never been anywhere other than the neighboring country of Senegal. With 13 other students from Mali, he was assigned to study in China and landed in Beijing in 1985 to study Mandarin before embarking on a degree in engineering and architecture at Southeast University in Nanjing.

On a vacation to Japan after obtaining his undergraduate degree in 1990, Dr. Sacko found himself enchanted by what he observed as strong community ties and the hospitality toward guests. Although he had begun graduate studies in China, he was frustrated that a government minder always shadowed him when he conducted field research in local villages.

Dr. Sacko moved to Osaka, Japan, for six months of language lessons before enrolling in a master’s degree program at Kyoto University…  Dr. Sacko said he had hoped to return to Mali someday, but after a military coup in 1991, his employment options were limited. As he pursued a doctorate in Japan, he worked to understand a culture where people can say the exact opposite of what they mean. ‘You don’t always catch things from the meanings of the words,’ he said. ‘You have to go deeper.’

Along the way, there were some misunderstandings. After hosting a few parties at his apartment, his neighbors remarked that he and his friends always seemed happy and that they were envious. Dr. Sacko urged them to join his next party. Instead, they called the police. ‘The police said, ‘You are too noisy,’ Dr. Sacko recalled.  ‘And I said ‘But my neighbors like that!’

Dr. Sacko’s appointment could help Kyoto Seika appeal to more foreign students at a time when many Japanese universities are struggling to maintain enrollment.

‘He deeply understands Japanese culture and the way of thinking,’ said Emiko Yoshioka, a professor of art theory whom Dr. Sacko appointed as vice president at Kyoto Seika. ‘But he also is able to poke fun at the fact that he is a foreigner.’

In a practical sense, Dr. Sacko’s appointment could help Kyoto Seika appeal to more foreign students at a time when many universities across Japan are struggling to maintain enrollment.

Already, 20 percent of its student body comes from abroad, much higher than the 4 percent overall ratio of foreign students in Japanese higher education. Dr. Sacko said he hoped to raise Kyoto Seika’s level to 40 percent within a decade…Dr. Sacko said he had not experienced racism in Japan but said he was treated differently simply because he does not look Japanese. Despite his Japanese citizenship, for example, he says he is automatically routed to lines for foreigners at the airport when he returns from trips abroad. ‘It’s not because you’re black,’ he said. ‘It’s because you’re different.’

He said he considered it his mission to foster differences beyond race. When recruiting Ms. Yoshioka as vice president, he told her he wanted her for the job because she was a woman and a single mother.”

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. 

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

 

II. While Reading Activities: Word Inference

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

  1. There has been a decline in population in Japan.
  2. Students were amazed when the African-born president segued elegantly into fluent Japanese.
  3. Mr. Sacko is an outlier.
  4. Dr. Sacko found himself enchanted by Japanese culture.
  5. There was a military coup in Mali in 1991.
  6. He pursued a doctorate in Japanese culture.
  7. Along the way, there were some misunderstandings.
  8. But he also is able to poke fun at the fact that he is a foreigner.
  9. Many universities across Japan are struggling to maintain enrollment.
  10. Dr. Sacko said that it was his mission to foster differences beyond race.

 

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.

In___with___, he was often ___to take___, which helped him improve his ___comprehension and ___ability. At night, he watched___television shows and socialized with ___classmates.

WORD LIST:  Japanese,  listening, Japanese, minutes,  asked, colleagues, meetings, writing,

 

 Grammar Focus: 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.

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

Dr. Sacko says he believes Japan needs ___allow ___more outsiders.

Many Korean families have lived___ Japan___ several generations.

___13 other students___ Mali, he was assigned___ study ___China and landed ___Beijing___ 1985___ study Mandarin.

Dr. Sacko  went ___a vacation ___Japan ___obtaining his undergraduate degree ___1990.

Dr. Sacko moved ___Osaka, Japan, ___six months___language lessons___ enrolling ___a master’s degree program ___Kyoto University

 

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 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.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Social Issues

Meet Capt. Tammie Jo Shults: A Real American Hero!

“About 20 minutes after takeoff on Tuesday, Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was steering a Southwest Airlines plane toward cruising altitude, generally considered the safest part of a flight. But then the left engine exploded. The blast hurled debris into the side of the plane. A passenger window shattered. The cabin depressurized. A woman was partly sucked outside the plane. Passengers panicked and flight attendants sprang into action.In the cockpit, Shults remained calm as she steadied the aircraft, Flight 1380. ‘Southwest 1380 has an engine fire,’ Shults radioed to air traffic controllers, not a hint of alarm in her voice. “Descending.” M. Haag, The Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Captain Tammie Jo Shults. —photo- Kevin Garber

Excerpt:  Who is Tammie Jo Shults? By Mathew Haag, The Boston Globe

In an instant, Shults found herself in a situation most pilots face only during training: having to land a plane after an engine goes out.”

For the next 40 minutes, she displayed what one passenger later called ‘nerves of steel,’ maneuvering the plane, which had been on its way from La Guardia Airport in New York to Dallas Love Field, toward Philadelphia for an emergency landing.

In the seats behind her, passengers sent goodbye text messages to loved ones, tightened oxygen masks around their faces and braced for impact. Flight attendants frantically performed CPR on the critically injured passenger, who later died at a hospital.

But Shults, 56, was in control. She learned to fly as one of the first female fighter pilots in the Navy three decades ago, piloting the F/A-18 Hornet in an era when women were barred from combat missions.

At 11:20 a.m., Shults steered the plane, a two-engine Boeing 737, to a smooth landing on Runway 27L at Philadelphia International Airport. The left engine looked like it had been ripped apart.

‘This is a true American hero,’ Diana McBride Self, a passenger, wrote in a Facebook post. ‘A huge thank you for her knowledge, guidance and bravery in a traumatic situation. God bless her and all the crew.’

She enrolled in Navy flight school in Pensacola, Florida, in 1985 — the start of a decade of groundbreaking service…She flew the F/A-18 Hornet, the twin-engine supersonic fighter jet and bomber. After flight school, in 1989, she was assigned to the Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 34 in Point Mugu, California. During the Gulf War, her squadron was led by the first female air commander in the Navy.

Shults later became a pilot with Southwest Airlines, as did her husband, Dean M. Shults. Southwest Airlines declined to comment about her on Wednesday.

After her name started to appear in news reports on Tuesday, fellow female fighter pilots started to message one another about Shults. Christine Westrich, who flew the F/A-18 in the Marine Corps in the late 1990s, said she was struck by her service.

‘She is undoubtedly a pioneer, being a Hornet driver well before the combat exclusion law was lifted,’ Westrich said in an interview. “She kicks ass in my book.”

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. In the cockpit, Shults remained  very calm.
  2. Shults radioed to air traffic controllers for help.
  3. passengers tightened oxygen masks around their faces.
  4. Flight attendants frantically performed CPR on the critically injured passenger.
  5. One passenger said that Tammy had nerves of steel.
  6. Another passenger said that she was awesome.
  7. The pilot remained clam in a traumatic situation.
  8. She then spent about a year in reserves before leaving the military in 1994.
  9. The blast hurled debris into the side of the plane.
  10. The cabin depressurized.

Color Vocabualry Map by Enchanted Learning

 

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.

While ___still make up a small ___of commercial pilots, Shults took up___ when there were far fewer in the ___and when women were often told to find other careers.

At her___year at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas, she attended an ___event and spotted a woman in a piloting class, she told an alumni publication.

WORD LIST:  Air Force,  junior, industry, flying, percentage, women,

 

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.

But desperate/despite her accomplishments, she come/came up against the limits/limited  placed on women in the military. She left activity/active service on March 31, 1993 — two days before the Navy asked the Clinton administration to/about open combat/combative assignments to women. She then spent about a year in reserves before left/leaving the military in 1994, reaching the rank/rankle of lieutenant commander.

 

III. Post Reading Activities

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Directions: Place students in groups and have them discuss the following questions.

  1. Have you ever been in a plane when something went wrong with the engine? Describe your experience.
  2. Why do you think the pilot Tammie Jo Shults was able to guide the plane to safety in a calm manner?
  3. If you were on that plane  as a passenger what would you reaction have been? Would you have remained calm?
  4. Have you ever considered training to become a pilot? If so, explain why.
  5. Each group compose a letter or note to any  person mentioned in the article telling them your 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

Category: Social Issues | Tags: