Category Archives: Social Issues

Recreational Cannabis Can Harm Children

“As more states legalize recreational cannabis, Wrigley and others are suing over look-alike THC treats. They’re protecting their brands — and also, they argue, your kids.” V. Safronova, The New York times, May 22, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Zombie Skittles, above, and their marijuana-infused doppelganger. The New York Times

 

Excerpt: Big Candy Is Angry By Valeriya Safronova ,The New York Times,May 22, 2021

“At first glance, the Skittles package appears to be just like the one sold in the candy aisle of a supermarket: It has block letters filled in with white, a flowing rainbow and a red candy that replaces the dot above the letter ‘ i.’

A closer look reveals some small differences: a background pattern of small, stylized marijuana leaves; a warning label; and numbers that reveal the amount of THC, the intoxicating substance in cannabis, in each piece of candy.

Fruity with a twist- Starburst Gummies, and a similar candy containing THC.

The images are included in a lawsuit that the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company, owned by the candy behemoth Mars Inc., filed in May against five companies for selling cannabis-infused edibles that look like our old friends Skittles, Starburst and Life Savers. Though the suit focuses on intellectual property rights, the plaintiffs also argue that the copycat products could lead people, particularly children, to mistakenly ingest drugs. A spokeswoman for Mars Inc. wrote in an email that the company is ‘deeply disturbed’ by the products…Many public health officials fret that without proper regulation, accidental ingestion cases will continue to rise among children as the availability of edibles grows. Some poison control centers have already observed this trend in their data.

Life is sweet- Sugar high (above) and actual high (below).

For example, there were 122 cases of exposure to THC for children under 5 in Washington State in the first nine months of 2020, compared to 85 for the same time period in 2019. The most common side effects reported included vomiting, lethargy and chest pain…The spread of legalization has brought more players and consumers into the edibles market. “Edibles are easy. They’re portable. You don’t have to find a space to step aside and smoke,” said Sean Arnold, a founder of Terradigm Consulting, which advises cannabis companies on licensing, infrastructure and product development…To parents of a certain age, the situation may bring to mind the 1983 public service announcement ‘We’re Not Candy,’ in which a barbershop quartet of singing pills on television advises children “to have a healthy fear of us.”

 

Rainbow Cookies

“A bakery lost a client when it made rainbow Pride cookies. So others bought every item in the shop.”  By Sydney Page, The Washington Post, June 9, 2021

When a small Southern bakery made rainbow-themed cookies to celebrate Pride Month, there was a swift backlash. On June 2, Confections, a tiny store in Lufkin, Tex., shared a photo on its Facebook page of heart-shaped rainbow sugar cookies with the caption, “More LOVE. Less hate. Happy Pride to all our LGBTQ friends! All lovers of cookies and happiness are welcome here.”

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. 

Pre-reading Organizer By Scholastic

 

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. More states are legalizing legalize recreational cannabis.
  2. Companies like Wrigley and others are suing over look-alike THC treats.
  3. A closer look at packaging reveals some small differences.
  4. A background pattern of small, stylized marijuana leaves is evident on one box.
  5. There are numbers that reveal the amount of THC, the intoxicating substance in cannabis, in each piece of candy.
  6. Five companies  are selling cannabis-infused edibles that look like our old friends Skittles and Starburst.
  7. At one point in time Big Candy was vilified as a primary source of refined sugar.
  8. Many public health officials fret that without proper regulation, accidental ingestion cases among kids will increase.
  9. Many edible companies operating in states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal try to follow the rules.
  10. The situation has become more and more egregious.

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.

Accidental consumption can/cans effect/affect anyone, but, Dr. Schauer said/say, ‘it have/has primarily impacted/impact  children/child because they can confused/confuse cannabis edible/edibles products with other edible products, because most edible/edibles look like candy or cookies/cookie or cake.’ She painted/pointed to reports compiled by poison control centers/center in/on Colorado and Washington, the too/two earliest states to legalize recreational cannabis use, in 2012.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “When companies like these create headlines for doing what we’ve purposely avoided at Wana, I feel anger and frustration.”
  2. “The situation has become more and more egregious…The cannabis companies cannot and should not be allowed to tarnish existing brands at will. It creates consumer confusion.”
  3. “The spread of legalization has brought more players and consumers into the edibles market. Edibles are easy. They’re portable.”
  4. “Ten years ago it was the luck of the draw if you bought a brownie…You didn’t know where you would wind up.”
  5. “There are three main aspects of a candy that can be protected by trademark and copyright laws… Take Hershey’s Kisses. You have the name Kisses, which is a trademark, the shape of the candy itself, which is both a trademark and trade dress, and the packaging, which is protected by copyright.”

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. What is your personal opinion on legalizing recreational cannabis?
  2. Why are states legalizing recreational cannabis?
  3. In viewing  a package of Skittles candy, what are the small differences on the outside wrapping?
  4. What has been the outcome of some previous lawsuits against filed by other candy companies?
  5. Do you agree with health officials that accidental ingestion among children will continue to rise? What evidence does the article provide?
  6. What problems has the spread of legalization of edibles created?
  7. According to Dr. Schauer what are some ways to reduce the risks of accidental ingestion by children?
  8. 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 that you would like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

How to Recharge from Burnout

Your inbox is an overflowing bucket of urgent requests. You are consistently asked to do more with less. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities, perpetually calculating the number of minutes left in the day…We’re all feeling a littlefried at work and home. But there are ways to stay sharp and recharge.” Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image- Rescuetime blog

Excerpt: How to Beat Burnout — Without Quitting Your Job, By Catherine Zuckerman, April 30, 2021

“Raise your hand if you’re completely burned out…You’re not alone. The pandemic has left many people fried from trying to juggle work, parenting, caregiving and other responsibilities without enough support.

Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout — specifically job burnout — is linked to a range of health problems, from irritability to cardiovascular disease. In 2019, burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon by the World Health Organization…Some, especially younger, workers are simply quitting. But for those who can’t or don’t want to quit, there are ways to beat burnout.

Kira Schabram is an assistant professor of management in the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington, where she studies how to mitigate burnout in employees. Past research has focused on finding ways to help employers reduce burnout among staff, she said, but hers focuses on what people can do for themselves… Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help reduce feelings of burnout, whether it is short-term or chronic…According to Dr. Schabram, burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling, and ‘not just a paycheck.’ Like teachers…No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help. Workplace cultures vary, butemployers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout, said Steven Azizi, an employment lawyer based in Los Angeles who specializes in representing workers in claims against their employers.”

 

Celebrating Gay Pride Month!

Lesbians in Ballet: ‘Has Anyone Like Me Ever Walked These Halls?’ By Siobhan Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

‘I want a Juliet and Juliet’

Two Juliets- Audrey Malek, left, and Cortney Taylor Key, rehearsing a duet with the choreographer Adriana Pierce. Credit- Yael Malka for The New York Times

“Ballet’s strict gender norms put pressure on women to conform. But dancers who don’t are finding they’re not alone.” S. Burke, The New York Times, June 1, 2021

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.

Pre-Reading: 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. Job burnout is very common among office workers.
  2. Though not a medical diagnosis, burnout is linked to a range of health problems.
  3. We’re all feeling a little fried at work and home.
  4. Burnout was officially recognized as a work-related phenomenon.
  5. Christina Maslach is  an emerita psychology professor.
  6. Job burnout includes feelings of exhaustion and inefficacy.
  7. Burnout is rampant today.
  8. Some employees fear that they may be targeted if they complain.
  9. Dr. Schabram’s research suggests that small, deliberate acts of compassion toward yourself and others can help.
  10. Burnout rates tend to be higher in people who view their work as a calling.

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. Raise you’re hand if you’re completely burned out.
  2. Your mind is constantly reshuffling priorities.
  3. You’re not alone.

II

  1. job burnout are linked to a range of health problems.
  2. Writing in a journal helps recharge the mind.
  3. Dr. Parangi realized she needed to do things that recharged her.

III

  1. No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.
  2. Letting others know your not OK is also key.
  3. In some places, if you’re not 150 percent, you’re seen as  weak or defective.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Burnout, is rampant today, partly because many workers feel they can’t say ‘no’ to their employers without being targeted, demoted or punished in some way.”
  2. “For a long time, the assumption was that when you reach burnout, others need to pull you out of it…employers are ultimately responsible for conditions that drive burnout, but…employees who cannot leave and are not getting support can still help themselves.”
  3. “It’s overwhelming…It’s a lot of layers of trauma without very many resources.”
  4. “I literally couldn’t move out of my chair. It took every last bit of energy for me to change out of my scrubs.”
  5. “No matter what your burnout feels like, it’s important to get help.Workplace cultures vary, but employers are legally bound to offer some form of protection for people who might be suffering from burnout.”

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design 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: 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 feel as if you’re completely burned out these days? Where do you feel the most stressed, at home, school, work or all three?
  2. What are some health issues related to burnout?
  3. Which organization declared burnout as work-related?
  4. Aside from exhaustion, what are some other feelings that define burnout?
  5. According to the article, why are some over-worked employees afraid to say “no” to employers?
  6. Discuss some of the ways to beat burnout. Can you think of other means to beat burnout that the article doesn’t mention?
  7. Why is it important to share your feelings with colleagues in the workplace?
  8. This article primarily  discusses burnout among office workers.Recently, there was an article in the news about tennis champ Naomi  Osaka who mentioned a need to preserve her mental health” during matches, which is why she declined to meet with the news media in between tennis matches. Do you think there is burnout among professional athletes?  What about students? Singers? Ballet dancers? What other professions or situations  can you think of that might cause a person to burnout?
  9. Discuss 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.
  10. Choose one profession in which you’re interested and write about the ways burnout can be avoided in that particular occupation.

ANSWER KEY

Are We Socially Awkward After Covid-19?

“You might have a knee-jerk reaction to withdraw sharply when someone goes to hug you. If so, this is a byproduct of your highly plastic brain having been trained to protect you from COVID over the past year but is something you have the agency to rescript with time.” L. Johnson, Popsugar, May 20, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- Popsugar

Excerpt: I’ve Really Missed People, but Has COVID Made Us Socially Awkward? By Lacey Johnson, Popsugar May 20, 2021

“For more than a year, many of us have felt alone, together. And no matter if our professions kept us home or on the front lines of the pandemic, I think we’ve all dealt with losing the daily rhythms, freedoms, and lifestyles that collectively defined us. Early in the pandemic, therapists reported an urgent rush of mental health crises in the midst of such swift change, isolation, and grief…Perhaps we didn’t realize how much we valued a friendly smile in an elevator or the sound of a barista shouting our latte order from across a noisy cafe…The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future from the privacy of our homes, feeling a lifetime away from many of the people we love most.

Image- Marc Rosenthal, The New York Times

There’s no question that the sudden, dispiriting changes that swept across our communities and social infrastructures have since dug their roots into our internal landscapes, too. In fact, the data has become clear: scientists have tracked a massive surge in depression… So as the world slowly begins to reopen, it raises an important question: after having spent so much time away from each other…logging into Zoom to celebrate a milestone birthday with friends, being counseled and consoled through apps, and keeping at least six feet of distance while roaming the produce aisle, what if it feels weird to engage with each other in real life again?

‘This summer is going to be lit!’ one of my friends said to me recently after I recited some items from my overzealous post-COVID bucket list.

The New York Times

But as the vaccine numbers continue to rise and America’s case numbers go down, allowing more American cities to swing open their social doors, others are grappling with mixed emotions about postpandemic reentry…we called upon the experts to explore ways that we might not yet realize we’ve changed, with guidance for how to be compassionate with ourselves and each other as we reenter the world… Dr. Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, said that as we slowly transition back into a pre-COVID pulse of life, we should prepare ourselves for some level of awkwardness and bouts of self-consciousness…Therapist Arien Conner, LCSW, and owner of Clear Path Counseling, said that, in the midst of our social reawakening, when we notice that someone appears uncomfortable, we might pause to give them empathy and patience within their respective comfort level… So once your city opens up and you feel it’s safe to roam about it, slide on your most fabulous attire and venture out for a swanky happy hour with your friends. Perhaps wander into a cozy poetry reading or trivia night.”

 

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 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. We’ve all dealt with losing the daily lifestyles that collectively defined us.
  2. We found ourselves craving lighthearted office banter, harmless gossip fizzy cocktails.
  3. Perhaps we didn’t realize how much we valued the sound of a barista shouting our latte order from across a noisy cafe.
  4. Since COVID-19 gripped America, it’s been a ruthless, scary, and consequential year.
  5. You might have a knee-jerk reaction to withdraw sharply when someone goes to hug you.
  6. It might seem weird to engage with each other in real life again.
  7. I made my overzealous post-COVID bucket list.
  8. Humans are a profoundly adaptive and resilient species.
  9. Some people saw their once-thriving business being swept clean.
  10. Others realized they couldn’t wait to monetize their ideas.

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. For more then a year, many of us have felt alone.
  2. We found ourselves craving lighthearted office banter.
  3. We didn’t realize how much we valued a friendly smile.

II

  1. It’s been a ruthless, scary, and consequential year.
  2. The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future.
  3. After the year-plus that we’ve had, it’s safe to say we deserve a celebration.

III

  1. Typically it take three to six months to form a habit.
  2. Humans are a profoundly adaptive and resilient species.
  3. For some individuals, the pandemic pointed them toward power they didn’t know they had.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “Typically it takes three to six months to form a habit, and this includes behavioral and thought habits.”
  2. You’ve likely been masking, social distancing, and closely following the reports for more than a year now, so your brain is naturally going to stop you from doing certain things you may have once done on a daily basis.”
  3. “… in the midst of our social reawakening, when we notice that someone appears uncomfortable, we might pause to give them empathy and patience within their respective comfort level.”
  4. “With few opportunities for socializing and outward distraction, we’ve each had a huge mirror held up in front of us.”
  5. “In my practice, I work mostly with women, and many of them started the pandemic by setting clear, firm boundaries around COVID for their immediate family’s safety.”
  6. “For some, their lockdown experience was hell in every way possible. For others, it was the transformative pause that they needed but never would have given themselves.”
  7. “We need to be mindful that our experience might look nothing like our colleague’s or neighbor’s.”
  8. “We found that the tremendous self-reflection experienced in the pandemic led Hinge users to reassess their priorities in love.”
  9. “According to our most recent research, 75 percent of Hinge daters are no longer looking for something casual but seeking a meaningful relationship.”

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. The article states, “The coronavirus pandemic left us fumbling with our uncertainties about the future from the privacy of our homes, feeling a lifetime away from many of the people we love most…In fact, the data has become clear: scientists have tracked a massive surge in depression.”  Did you miss being with certain family members and friends? Which ones? Did you experience depression during this time? Was there anyone close to help you?
  2. In your opinion, is it strange to engage with people again? Please explain why or why not.
  3. The author states that they have a “post-COVID bucket list.” Do you have a list of things you want to do this summer? What are they?
  4. Some people feel anxious about leaving their homes and meeting people. Have you or someone you know experienced these feelings?
  5. Write down 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.

ANSWER KEY

“How Children Read Differently From Books vs. Screens”

“Scrolling may work for social media, but experts say that for school assignments, kids learn better if they slow down their reading.” P. Klass, M.D., The New York Times, March 16, 2021

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Cristina Spanò, The New York Times

 

Excerpt: ByPerri Klass, M.D. The New York Times, March 16, 2021

“In this pandemic year, parents have been watching — often anxiously — their children’s increasing reliance on screens for every aspect of their education. It can feel as if there’s no turning back to the time when learning involved hitting the actual books. But the format children read in can make a difference in terms of how they absorb information.

Naomi Baron, who is professor emerita of linguistics at American University and author of a new book,“How We Read Now: Strategic Choices for Print, Screen and Audio,” said, ‘there are two components, the physical medium and the mind-set we bring to reading on that medium — and everything else sort of follows from that.’

Because we use screens for social purposes and for amusement, we all — adults and children — get used to absorbing online material, much of which was designed to be read quickly and casually, without much effort.

And then we tend to use that same approach to on-screen reading with harder material that we need to learn from, to slow down with, to absorb more carefully. A result can be that we don’t give that material the right kind of attention…Dr. Jenny Radesky, a developmental behavioral pediatrician who is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Michigan Medicine C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital in Ann Arbor, said that apps designed to teach reading in the early years of school rely on ‘gamification meant to keep children engaged.’ And though they do successfully teach core skills, she said, ‘what has been missing in remote schooling is the classroom context, the teacher as meaning maker, to tie it all together, helping it be more meaningful to you, not just a bunch of curricular components you’ve mastered.’

Any time that parents are able to engage with family reading time is good, using whatever medium works best for them, said Dr. Tiffany Munzer, also a developmental behavioral pediatrician at Mott Children’s Hospital, who has studied how young children use e-books.

However, Dr. Munzer was the lead author on a 2019 study that found that parents and toddlers spoke less overall, and also spoke less about the story when they were looking at electronic books compared with print books, and another study that showed less social back-and-forth — the toddlers were more likely to be using the screens by themselves…Dr. Radesky, who was involved in the research projects with Dr. Munzer, talked about the importance of helping children master reading that goes beyond specific remembered details — words or characters or events — so a child is ‘able to integrate knowledge gained from the story with life experience.’ And again, she said, that isn’t what is stressed in digital design. ‘Stuff that makes you think, makes you slow down and process things deeply, doesn’t sell, doesn’t get the most clicks,’ she said…Parents can help with this when their children are young, Dr. Radesky said, by discussing the story and asking the questions that help children draw those connections.”

Top 30 Free Printable Mother’s Day Coloring Pages

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

Compare/Contrast Chart

Directions: Have students list the similarities and differences between two things or ideas. Have students share their ideas with the class. The chart is from ReadWriteThink.org

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. Scrolling works for social media.
  2. The format children read in can make a difference in terms of how they absorb information.
  3. We use screens mainly for social purposes and for amusement.
  4. Many educators believe fervently in the value of reading print books to young children.
  5. Many apps and e-books have too many distractions.
  6. Reading apps are just a bunch of curricular components children have mastered.
  7. Apps have all these visually salient features which distracts from the core content.
  8. It should be the job of the software developers to design electronic books that encourage language and interactions.
  9. When kids enter digital spaces, they have access to an infinite number of platforms and websites.
  10. Professor Baron said that in an ideal world, children would learn how to read contiguous text for enjoyment.

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.

In/On elementary school their/there’s an/and opportunity to/too start a/an conversation about the advantage/advantages of the different media: It goes/go for print, gone/goes for an/a digital screen, goes for audio, goes for video, they all have/had their/there uses — we need two/to make kids aware/awareness that knot/not all media are best suited to/too all purposes.

Identify The  Speakers

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

  1. “there are two components, the physical medium and the mind-set we bring to reading on that medium — and everything else sort of follows from that.”
  2. “…apps designed to teach reading in the early years of school rely on gamification meant to keep children engaged.”
  3. “What has been missing in remote schooling is the classroom context, the teacher as meaning maker, to tie it all together, helping it be more meaningful to you, not just a bunch of curricular components you’ve mastered.”
  4. “In an ideal world, children would learn “how to read contiguous text for enjoyment, how to stop, how to reflect.”
  5. “Any time that parents are able to engage with family reading time is good, using whatever medium works best for them.”
  6. “With younger children it makes sense to stick with print to the extent that it is possible.”

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  prefer reading online or reading actual books? Why?
  2. In your opinion, which is better for young children, reading books or reading online? Why?
  3. According to the article what are the two main purposes for online reading?
  4. Why are print books better for parents and children?
  5. What is  dialogic reading?
  6. What is missing in online schooling for children?
  7. According to a 2019 study, what happens when parents and children read electronic books compared to reading print books?
  8. According to Dr. Radesky why is metacognition important for children to develop?
  9. After reading this article write down three new ideas you have learned about this  topic from the reading,  two things that you did not understand in the reading, and one thing that you would like to know that the article did not mention.

ANSWER KEY

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