Category Archives: Social Issues

New Remote Learning Classes For Older Adults

“New online tools and an array of remote classes and programs are ramping up education and training for adults.” K. Hannon, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2021

Image- James Yang-The New York Times

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt:  Remote Learning Isn’t Just for Kids, By Kerry Hannon, The New York Times, Feb. 9, 2021

“Deb Livingston, a former business consultant, was always curious and eager to learn just about anything. ‘When the pandemic hit, I was confined at home and found myself diving into online exploration,’ said Ms. Livingston, 61. She discovered GetSetUp, an interactive website that delivers virtual education to older adults. Even former chief executives like Jeff Mihm, a Miami resident who led Noven Pharmaceuticals, sometimes need a new life direction… The internet has empowered adult learners by providing new online tools to ramp up education and training. ‘The need for workers to keep pace with fast-moving economic, cultural and technological changes, combined with longer careers, will add up to great swaths of adults who need to learn more than generations past — and faster than ever,’ said Luke Yoquinto, a research associate at the M.I.T. AgeLab… By 2034, the number of adults age 65 and older will outnumber those under the age of 18, according to the Census Bureau. ‘That growth of older age demographics will translate to new demand for enrichment in the form of digital education,’ Mr. Yoquinto said… Virtual learning has become “the great equalizer,” said Gene O’Neill, the chief executive of the North American Veterinary Community, which provides continuing education for veterinarians around the world. ‘Because of virtual learning, veterinary professionals everywhere, even in remote, undeveloped countries, can learn from the world’s most renowned leaders and virtually participate in conferences,’ he said…Ms. Livingston’s goal was to improve her skills so she could become a paid teacher on the GetSetUp platform, which offers classes — all taught via Zoom by teachers older than 50 — on skills from professional development to technology, health, wellness and hobbies like photography…There are three membership levels, starting at free and topping out at $20 a month for unlimited access.”

 

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.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine  any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

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. Deb Livingston was a former business consultant.
  2. When the pandemic hit, she  was confined at home.
  3. She discovered GetSetUp, an interactive website.
  4. Mr. Mihm decided to return to school empowered because of the pandemic.
  5. Ms. Livingston’s goal was to improve her skills.
  6. A nonpartisan group supporting entrepreneurship, found that more than 25 percent of new entrepreneurs were ages 55 to 64.
  7. GetSetUp, for example, offers courses on running an e-commerce marketplace.
  8. The good news, is the level of sophistication of online education.
  9. I love that I can help others keep their zest for life and help myself in the process.”
  10. After resigning from his corporate post, Mr. Mihm, 55, decided to go back to school.

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.

“The good news, though/tho, is/are the level of sophistication  on/of online education is increasing and/an more access is coming/come to rural communities,” Mr. Kamber said. It’s a breve/brave new world of learning/learn for people, an/and that gives/give me hop/hope. For Ms. Livingston, that means continuing to take/took and/an teach classes at/ate GetSetUp.

“Learning at/on any stage of life is/are what stimulates creativity and joy,” she said. “So much energy emerges/emerge from connecting the dots, having ‘aha’ moments and gaining skill/skills. I love that I can help other/others keep their zest/rest for life and help myself in the process.”

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “When the pandemic hit, I was at home and found myself diving into online exploration.”
  2. I have a love of learning, and it was an opportunity to step back, study and explore.”
  3. “The need for workers to keep pace with fast-moving economic, cultural and technological changes, combined with longer careers, will add up to great swaths of adults who need to learn more than generations past — and faster than ever.”
  4. “Virtual learning has become “the great equalizer.”
  5. “The traditional way of designing training and reskilling is a long, drawn-out program where you get a certificate or a degree. By the time you get that certificate, the skill is already outdated. We’re changing that model.”
  6. “I really wanted to create a program that would be able to get older adults to use technology and give them the kinds of training and support in environments where they could succeed.”

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. Why did Ms. Livingston begin  exploring online education courses?
  2. What new information did Ms. Livingston learn from her online classes?
  3. According to the article, how has the internet empowered adult learners?
  4. According to the Census Bureau, what will happen to the number of people 65 and older in 2034?
  5. Why is adult education referred to as ‘the Wild West’ of education technology?
  6. According to Mr. Yoquinto, what are two reasons older adults are taking more online classes?
  7. Why is virtual learning considered to be ‘the great equalizer’?
  8. Describe the ‘GetSetUp’ platform.
  9. What does the acronym OATS stand for?
  10. In addition to learning new skills, what are older adults doing with new  the new information they have learned?

 

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

Students and Faculty Say ‘NO’ to Exam Surveillance Tools

“Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years, but its use exploded as the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to quickly transition to remote learning… Invasive test-taking software has become mandatory in many places, and some companies are retaliating against those who speak out.”T. Feathers and J. Rose, vicemagazine (9/2020)

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- 9to5mac.com

EXCERPT: Students Are Rebelling Against Eye-Tracking Exam Surveillance Tools, By Todd Feathers/Janus Rose.

“As a privacy-minded computer science student preparing to start his first year at Miami University, Erik Johnson was concerned this fall when he learned that two of his professors would require him to use the digital proctoring software Proctorio for their classes. The software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators—webcams monitor eye and head movements, microphones record noise in the room, and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse, scrolls up and down on a page, and pushes keys. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious for later viewing by the class instructor.In the end, Johnson never had to use Proctorio. Not long after he began airing his concerns on Twitter and posted a simple analysis of the software’s code on Pastebin, he discovered that his IP address was banned from accessing the company’s services.

image- edsurge.com

He also received a direct message from Proctorio’s CEO, Mike Olsen, who demanded that he take the Pastebin posts down, according to a copy of the message Johnson shared with Motherboard. Johnson refused to do so, and is now waiting to see if Proctorio will follow up with more concrete legal action, as it has done to other critics in recent weeks.

His case is just one example of how college campuses are revolting against the use of digital proctoring software, and the aggressive tactics employed by proctoring companies in response to those efforts.

In recent weeks, students have started online petitions calling for universities across the world to abandon the tools, and faculty on some campuses, like the University of California Santa Barbara, have led similar campaigns, arguing that universities should explore new forms of assessment rather than subjecting students to surveillance…Proctoring companies cite studies estimating that between 50 and 70 percent of college students will attempt some form of cheating, and warn that cheating will be rampant if students are left unmonitored in their own homes….’Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education,’ Scott MacFarland, the CEO of ProctorU, another proctoring vendor, wrote in an email to Motherboard…Students’ and educators’ objections to exam proctoring software go beyond the privacy concerns around being watched and listened to in their bedrooms while they take a test.

As more evidence emerges about how the programs work, and fail to work, critics say the tools are bound to hurt low-income students, students with disabilities, students with children or other dependents, and other groups who already face barriers in higher education…’They aren’t taking into consideration people from underprivileged communities,’Alamri said. ‘This sort of online exam is really measuring a person’s generationalwealth and not their knowledge of the law.’

 

NOT RELATED, BUT FUN TO WATCH:

Smithsonian’s Pandas in the Snow!

Feb. 1, 2021:  Slides, somersaults and pure panda joy. Happy snow day from Giant Pandas Mei Xiang and Tian Tian!  ~Smithsonian’s National Zoo ~

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: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine the photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be helpful.

Pre-reading chart by J. Swann

 

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. The software turns students’ computers into powerful invigilators.
  2. Webcams monitor eye and head movements and algorithms log how often a test taker moves their mouse.
  3. The software flags any behavior its algorithm deems suspicious.
  4. Johnson  discovered that his IP address was banned from accessing the company’s services.
  5. In recent weeks, students have started online petitions.
  6. Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years.
  7. Proctoring companies cite studies estimating that between 50 and 70 percent of college students will attempt some form of cheating.
  8. Some believe cheating on college exams is escalating.
  9. The system measures suspicion levels as students take exams.
  10.   Other proctoring companies have also been litigious when faced with criticism. 

 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. Students and educator object to exam proctoring software.
  2. Law students around the country are organizing to fight against the use of any kind of digital proctoring.
  3. Oregon, and Wisconsin have already scrapped their upcoming bar exams as a result of student pressure.

II

  1. Other states, including New York, are fumbling for solutions as deadlines for the exams quickly approach.
  2. In their petition, the students say the used of ExamSoft discriminates against people of color.
  3. The California bar exam would require test takers to verify their identity with facial recognition checks.

III

  1. They aren’t taking into consideration people from underprivileged communities.
  2. If a student looks away from the screen more than their peers they are flagged for an abnormality.
  3. in general, students and faculty are worried about the spread of proctoring tools on campuses.

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1.  “If my professors weren’t flexible, I’d be completely unable to take exams.”
  2. “We’re supposed to be protecting our students.”
  3.  “Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education.”
  4.  “It just seems to me that this mock exam is reading the poor lighting as my skin color.”
  5.  “These coders are defining, mathematically, the ideal student body: how often it does, or doesn’t do, these certain attributes, and anything outside of that ideal is treated with suspicion.”
  6.  “Each academic department has almost complete agency to design their curriculum as far as I know, and each professor has the freedom to design their own exams and use whatever monitoring they see fit.”
  7. After this person began sharing Proctorio training videos and documents that explained the company’s abnormality methodology on Twitter, the videos were removed from YouTube, and Proctorio filed for a court injunction to prevent  this person from sharing its training material.

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. . Why was Erik Johnson against using  the digital proctoring software Proctorio for their classes?
  2. On which media site did Johnson air his concerns?
  3. In general, how do the faculty feel about using forcing students to endure surveillance during exams?
  4. Algorithmic proctoring software has been around for several years, so what caused this sudden explosive need to use it now?
  5. According to the proctoring companies, what percentage of college students will attempt to cheat?
  6. What is the concern about allowing students take exams in their homes? Do you agree with this statement? Why are why not?
  7. According to Scott MacFarland, “Any plan that calls for schools to just ‘stop using’ proctoring will make cheating more common than it already is, escalating a severe threat to all higher education.”  Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Please provide a reason for your answer.
  8. According to the article, some programs hurt certain groups of people. Who are these groups and how are they hurt by Surveillance Tools during exams?
  9. Have you ever had to take an exam that used digital proctoring? If yes, what was it like? If no, would you be comfortable taking an exam with digital proctoring?

Free Writing Exercise

Directions: Allow students 5 minutes to write down three new ideas they’ve learned about the topic from the reading. They can write about something they did not understand. In addition, have students write something that they would have liked to see in the article.

.ANSWER KEY

Lesson Plan: The Little Match Girl By Hans Christian Andersen

“Hans Christian Andersen,(April 1805 – 4 August 1875), in Denmark usually called H.C. Andersen, was a Danish author. Although a prolific writer of plays, travelogues, novels, and poems, he is best remembered for his fairy tales. Andersen’s popularity is not limited to children; his stories express themes that transcend age and nationality. The Little Match Girl is among his most famous stories.” Wikipedia

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Han Christian Andersen

Early Life Andersen’s father, who had received an elementary school education, introduced his son to literature, reading to him the Arabian Nights.Andersen’s mother, Anne Marie Andersdatter, was an illiterate washerwoman. Following her husband’s death in 1816, she remarried in 1818.

Andersen was sent to a local school for poor children where he received a basic education and had to support himself, working as an apprentice to a weaver and, later, to a tailor. At fourteen, he moved to Copenhagen to seek employment as an actor.

Having an excellent soprano voice, he was accepted into the Royal Danish Theatre, but his voice soon changed.

A colleague at the theatre told him that he considered Andersen a poet. Taking the suggestion seriously, Andersen began to focus on writing.

He later said his years in school were the darkest and most bitter of his life. At one school, he lived at his schoolmaster’s home, where he was abused, being told that it was “to improve his character”. He later said the faculty had discouraged him from writing, driving him into a depression…”

The Little Match Girl is a short story by Hans Christian Andersen. The story, about a poor, dying child’s dreams and hope, was first published in 1845.

Source: Wikipedia 

The Little Match Girl [AUDIOBOOK] read by Ewan McGregor – GivingTales

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: intermediate-advanced

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

Time:  approximately 2  hours.

Objectives: Students will achieve a better understanding of the story The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen, through  learning literary devices and terms  (e.g., imagery, symbolism, protagonist, themes)  used for analyzing stories.  They will also learn how to  analyze the relationship between characters, and events in the story using these literary devices.

Reading Strategies: Students will make predictions based on the title; draw conclusions and make generalizations about what they have read by utilizing background knowledge, looking for the main ideas, making notes, highlighting or underlining specific information, and by answering discussion questions. They will learn new vocabulary through inference, highlighting unknown words, and using the dictionary.

Materials:

A copy of the story The Little Match Girl

Biography of Hans Christian Andersen.

Examples of  Components for Literary Analysis

I. Pre-Reading Activities

Directions: In groups have students read the brief biography of Hans C. Andersen. Have students focus on his childhood. Some highlights from the life of Hans Christian Andersen will help students make connections to the story.

Students should also know when the story was written: This story was written in the midst of the United States’ and Europe’s industrial revolution (1820-1870’s), during which child labor was commonplace, and there was no “safety net” for destitute children in poor health and homeless.

Source: History of Child Labor

Pre-reading Discussion Questions

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

  1. Have you ever seen underaged children selling items on the street in today’s society?
  2. Have you (or someone you know) ever had to sell items to get money to eat or pay rent? To help your family?
  3. Have you met people so poor they had to sell small items on the street?
  4. If you could help some people during the Christmas or New Years season would you?

 

Stimulating Background Knowledge

Prediction Organizer Charts

Directions: Students may use these reading charts by Pace High School as  pre-reading, while-reading and post-reading tools to aid their comprehension of the events and characters in the story.

Prediction Outcomes Chart

 

II. While Reading

Vocabulary Word Inference

Directions: Place students in groups and have them infer the meanings of the words in bold font taken from the story.

  1. No one had given her a single farthing.
  2. They were very large slippers, which her mother had hitherto worn.
  3. One slipper was nowhere to be found; the other had been laid hold of by an urchin.
  4. The poor little thing lost them as she scuffled away across the street.
  5. She did not venture to go home.
  6. Grandmother, told her that when a star falls, a soul ascends to God.
  7. She drew another match against the wall nd in the lustre there stood the old grandmother.
  8. Old grandmother, so bright and radiant, so mild, and with such an expression of love.
  9. And the matches gave such a brilliant light that it was brighter than at noon-day.
  10. No one even dreamed of the splendour in which, with her grandmother she had entered on the joys of a new year.

Reading Comprehension: Questions From the Story

  1. When does the story take place?
  2. Why were her slippers so large?
  3. Why didn’t she want to go home?
  4. Why did she light the first match?
  5. Why did she light the entire bundle of matches?
  6. What happened to the little girl at the end?
  7. What did the little girl see before she died?

Using Charts for Guidance

Directions: Use the following chart to help make predictions about the characters in the story

 

Character Prediction Chart

 

Questions forCharacter Analysis

From whose point of view is the story being told?

Who is the protagonist in this story?

Give a brief description of the following characters using the chart above:

The Father:What kind of man do you think he is?

The Mother: What do you think the mother was like?

The Grandmother: Describe the grandmother.

The Little Match girl: What kind of person is she?

 

Questions for Literary Analysis

  1.  What are some of  the themes in the story?
  2. Provide examples of how  Andersen uses imagery.
  3. Does  Andersen provide symbolism the story? How?

 

Questions For Reflection

  1. Do you think Andersen’s personal life affected his writing  this story of a poor matchstick girl? In what way?
  2. During the writing of this story, it was legal for underaged children to work. Can underage  children still work today? Why or why not?
  3. What  can kids who live in poverty today do to make money?
  4. How is what kids do today to earn money different (or the same) as the little matchstick girl?
  5. If you met the little Match girl how do you think you could help her?
  6. If you could speak to her father, what would you say to him?  What would you say to her grandmother? Her mother?
  7. How did the ending make you feel?  Is this how you expected the story to end? Why or why not?

Ideas for Writing Assignment

Write a story where the grandmother is still alive.

Write a story where the little girl’s mother is still alive.

Write an ending describing the father’s reaction when he discovers his daughter is dead.

Write a different ending for the story.

ANSWER KEY

The (Much Needed) Healing Power of Laughter

“Some enlightened doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping all of us to get through this seemingly never-ending pandemic: Try a little laughter.” R. Schiffman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Megan Werner uses ‘Irwin,’ a skeleton, to help defuse tensions in her therapy groups.Credit- Megan Werner

Excerpt:Laughter May Be Effective Medicine for These Trying Times, By Richard Schiffman, The New York Times

“Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis, said Dr. Michael Miller, a cardiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it…‘Having a good sense of humor is an excellent way to relieve stress and anxiety and bring back a sense of normalcy during theseturbulent times.’

Photo Credit- Medical News Today

Perhaps most relevant today, possessing a sense of humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances, said George Bonanno, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia University.

Try Laughing-Credit- Getty Images

‘Charlie Chaplin once said ‘In order to truly laugh you need to be able to take your pain and play with it,’ said Paul Osincup, the president of the Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor. Write down all of the most difficult and annoying things about quarantine,’Mr. Osincup recommends. Play with those. See if you can find any humor in your situation.

Photo credit- DLPNG

Megan Werner, a psychotherapist in private practice, uses a similar strategy in her work with at-risk youth in Fayetteville, Ark. During group therapy sessions, she has the teenage gang members she works with interact with ‘Irwin,’ a life-size Halloween skeleton, to encourage them to confront their dangerous lifestyle head-on.

‘Most of the time you try to deflate a painful situation,’ she said. ‘In my therapy work, it’s more like ‘let’s blow it up, let’s make it so absurd that we laugh about it.’

Mary Laskin, a nurse case-manager at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego, has been working with her chronic pain patients online, teaching them laughter exercises alongside practices designed to develop other positive mental states like gratitude and forgiveness. ‘This pandemic is like a tiger creeping toward us, a huge slow-motion stressor that makes the experience of pain worse. Humor helps my patients relax and release their grip on pain,’  she said…She recommends ‘laughter first-aid boxes,’ where they can stash joke books, funny toys and other props for this purpose.

Mary Laskin, a nurse case-manager, recommends a laughter first aid box for her patients.Credit- Courtesy of Mary Laskin

Humor can also serve to powerfully reaffirm one’s humanity in the face of illness or disability, said Dr. B.J. Miller, a palliative care physician in San Francisco who suffered a freak electrical accident in 1990 that cost him two legs and an arm.

B.J. Miller, a doctor and triple amputee, used his own experience to pioneer a new model of palliative care. Credit: NYT

After the accident, he said, most people — including medical staff members — viewed him as an object of pity. ‘There is a solemnity in how people look at you,’ he said. “You are essentially walled off from others.

The one exception, he recalled, were the men who scrubbed off his burned skin in the hospital. ‘It’s a terrible job, I mean you are inflicting reams of pain on someone to save their life,’ Dr. Miller said. ‘But this ragtag crew, they were freaking hilarious. One of them had a flask and was drinking during the procedure, they were cracking jokes the whole time.’ ‘It made me stronger because they were looking at me and saying this guy can handle the pain and he can also handle a joke — it made me feel like a human being again.’ Inspired by their example, Dr. Miller said, he uses every opportunity to bring a dose of comic relief into his own medical work. Increasingly, he sees his colleagues doing so as well.”

CNN Poll: Biden Wins Final Presidential Debate!

Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden answers a question during the debate [ with tRump] 2020. (Morry Gash / Associated Press)

“Joe Biden did a better job in the final debate on Thursday, according to a CNN Instant Poll of debate watchers. Overall, 53% of voters who watched the debate said that Biden won the matchup…”CNN

Beautiful photo of Presidential candidate Joe Biden and his wife Jill after the debate 2020. Courtesy CNN

Supporters of Joe Biden cheer as the Democrat’s motorcade passes en route to the final presidential debate in Nashville.(Carolyn Kaster : Associated Press)

 

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and 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. Some enlightened doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for helping us to get through this pandemic.
  2. Having a sense of humor is the key to helping us.
  3. Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis.
  4. Heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events.
  5. Having a good sense of humor helps during these turbulent times.
  6. Humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances.
  7. Most of the time you try to deflate a painful situation.
  8. Many health experts encourage people to actively cultivate the healing power of laughter.
  9. Humor can also serve to powerfully reaffirm one’s humanity in the face of illness.
  10. We must try to maintain our humanity during these challenging times.

 

 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. Having a good sense of humor are an excellent way to relieve stress.
  2. Doctors, nurses and therapists have a prescription for patients.
  3. Possessing a healthy sense of humor is also a stress reliever.

II

  1. Heightened stress magnifies the risk of cardiovascular events.
  2. Dr. Miller prescribes one good belly laughs a day for his patients.
  3. Ms. Laskin suggests that her patients treat humor as a discipline.

III

  1. Some kinds of joking is potentially destructive.
  2. Some hospitals have initiated formal humor programs.
  3. Some caregivers are also innovating ways to bring humor into their own practice.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. Humor is not just a distraction from the grim reality of the crisis, said  It’s a winning strategy to stay healthy in the face of it.”
  2. “…laughter has also been shown to reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline and increases the body’s uptake of the feel-good endorphins.”
  3. There also appear to be cognitive benefits from watching a funny video.”
  4. “Perhaps most relevant today, possessing a sense of humor also helps people remain resilient in the face of adverse circumstances.”
  5. “Write down all of the most difficult and annoying things about quarantine…See if you can find any humor in your situation.”
  6. During group therapy sessions, she has the teenage gang members she works with interact with “Irwin,” a life-size Halloween skeleton, to encourage them to confront their dangerous lifestyle head-on.”
  7. “This pandemic is like a tiger creeping toward us, a huge slow-motion stressor that makes the experience of pain worse. Humor helps my patients relax and release their grip on pain.”

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. There is an old saying that states, “Laughter is the best medicine”. Do you agree with this statement? Why or why not?
  2. During these difficult times do you feel like laughing? Why or why not?
  3. According to DR. Michael Miller what does laughter and a  good sense of humor do for us in general?
  4. What does Dr. Miller recommend we do at least once a day?
  5. According to Dr. Singh, why should we watch funny videos?
  6. Why is ‘possessing a sense of humor’ helpful in the face of adverse circumstances?
  7. What is the famous quote by Charlie Chaplin? Do you agree or disagree with this advice? Please explain provide reasons for your answers.
  8. What does Paul Osincup recommend we do with all the annoying things about the quarantine? In your opinion is this a good idea? Explain why or why not.
  9. Ms.  Laskin states, “Our health care system focuses on passive ways to manage pain like taking a pill or getting an operation…I encourage people to actively cultivate the healing power of laughter, which puts them back in the driver’s seat.” In your own words explain what she means.
  10. Why is it unusual for Dr. B. J. Miller to have a sense of humor?  If you were in his position do you think you could maintain a sense of humor?  Explain why or why?
  11. What new information have you learned from 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.

Extra Activities

Create a Laughter First-Aid Box

In the article  Mary Laskin, a nurse case manager, said she recommended “laughter first-aid boxes” for her patients, where they can stash joke books, funny toys and other props for this purpose.  Make a list of all the items you would place in your personal “Laughter First-Aid Box”  or create a physical box . Share your items with someone in your group.

ANSWER KEY

She’s 102 Years Old and Still Voting in 2020!

“Bea Lumpkin is 102 years old and has never missed an election as long as she’s been eligible to vote. Not even a global pandemic could stop her from voting in this one.” S. Andrew, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

“Lumpkin, a former Chicago public school teacher, dressed in personal protective equipment from head to toe to drop off her ballot for the 2020 presidential election at the mailbox last week. The Chicago Teachers Union, of which she was a member, shared the image.” CNN

Excerpt: Not even a global pandemic could stop this 102-year-old from voting in this election, By Scottie Andrew, CNN

“At her age, Bea’s at high risk for becoming severely ill if she contracted coronavirus. But she would never have missed her chance to vote. She urges every registered voter in the US to exercise their right, too.

Credit: US News

Credit:Vox

‘The most important reason to vote in this election is that there’s so much at stake, more than any other vote I’ve cast, because of the great challenge to the survival of our democracy,’ Lumpkin told CNN… Many of the issues Bea cares about are especially relevant in 2020: health care, racism and climate change among them…She’s also very over living through the pandemic, and she disagrees with the ways in which science has been undermined by the current U.S. president and other federal officials charged with leading the pandemic response.

Credit: Vox

‘I’m sick and tired of this pandemic, and we’ll never get rid of it unless we follow the experience of so many other countries, of the advice of science,’she said…A lifelong feminist, Bea encourages women to vote not only to mark that anniversary but to protect their rights…’There’s a possibility of correcting so many of the wrongs if we have an overwhelming vote for our democratic rights,’ she said… ‘I want to see everybody who’s coming out to vote to stay involved in the process — that’s the way we can make huge advances for working people,’ she said. She’s especially proud of American youth, whom she believes will fight for a fair future.”

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden has won the majority of elder voters. NYT

 

CNN Instant Poll: Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris Seen as Winner in a Debate that Matched Expectations

Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris waves as she arrives on stage for the vice presidential debate with Mike Pence on Wednesday, Oct. 7, at Kingsbury Hall on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. Julio Cortez/AP.

“More Americans said Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris did the best job in the vice presidential debate tonight, according to a CNN Instant Poll of registered voters who watched.”  J. Agiesta — CNN

Related: More than 4 million Americans have already voted [in the 2020 Election] suggesting record turnout. REUTERS

*A state-by-state guide to voting in the age of COVID-19  By Nathaniel Rakich and Julia Wolfe   NOTE:  “This page will be updated on a regular basis with the latest developments.” October 8, 2020

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: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and 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. Lumpkin, a former Chicago public school teacher, dressed in personal protective equipment.
  2. She dropped off her ballot for the 2020 presidential election at the mailbox last week.
  3. She urges every registered voter in the US to exercise their right, too.
  4. The most important reason to vote in this election is that there’s so much at stake.
  5. The retired educator knows better than most the value of voting.
  6. She’s also very over living through the pandemic.
  7. Her ballot was received within 48 hours of submission.
  8. It’s essential to vote this year to determine what that future will look like, she says.
  9. We don’t want to just restore what we had before.
  10. Bea has  great confidence in young people.

 

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.

Lumpkin, a form/former Chicago public school teach/teacher,dressed/dress in personal/personnel protective equip/equipment from head to toe to drop/dropped off her ballot/ballet for the 2020 presidential election at the mailbox last week….If she could voting/vote this year, so can anyone who’s/whose registered, she said. And the retired educate/educator knows/no better than/then most the value of voting.

Reading ComprehensionFill-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.

Women still have so many ___reasons to ___because in this___, all rights that___ have ___in the hundred-odd years I’ve been on earth — they’re all on the___, she said. But then, this fight for our is much older than we are — it’s even older than I am. ___by mail was___, she says.

WORD LIST: simple, Voting, line, won, women, rights, election, additional, vote, 

 

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. Do you believe that it is very important to vote in every election in the United States?  Why or why not?
  2. Is it important that older people have an interest in politics? Please explain why.
  3. Do you have older relatives or friends that is voting in this 2020 election?
  4. How does Bea feel about the way in which the current U.S. administration is handling the pandemic?
  5. Why is Ms. Lumpkin ‘a great respecter’ of the advances scientists have made since her birth?
  6. Why does Bea strongly encourage women to vote?
  7. Why does she encourage everyone to vote early?
  8.   
  9. Ms. Lumpkin states, “It’s essential to vote this year to determine what that future will look like.”  What does she mean by this?
  10. How does Bea feel about the future?
  11. How does Bea feel about American youth?

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