Category Archives: Social Issues

How ‘Snowplow’ Parents Ruin Their Children’s Future

“Today’s ‘snowplow parents’ keep their children’s futures obstacle-free — even when it means crossing ethical and legal boundaries.”C.C.Miller and J.E.Bromwich, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Image-funandsmartparenting.com

Excerpt: How Parents Are Robbing Their Children of Adulthood, By Claire C. Miller and Jonah E. Bromwich, NYT

“Nicole Eisenberg’s older son has wanted to be a star of the stage since he was a toddler, she said. He took voice, dance and drama lessons and attended the renowned Stagedoor Manor summer camp for half a dozen years, but she was anxious that might not be enough to get him into the best performing-arts programs. So Ms. Eisenberg and others in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the affluent suburb where she lives, helped him start a charity with friends that raised more than $250,000 over four years.

‘The moms — the four or five moms that started it together — we started it, we helped, but we did not do it for them,’ Ms. Eisenberg, 49, recalled. ‘Did we ask for sponsors for them? Yes. Did we ask for money for them? Yes. But they had to do the work.’ She even considered a donation to the college of his choice. Ms. Eisenberg’s son was admitted to two of the best musical theater programs in the country, she said, along with nine more of the 26 schools he applied to.

What type of parent are you? image; straitstimes.com

College has been on their radar since her son was in diapers. ‘We’ve been working on this since he was 3 years old,’ she said. To apply, she said, ‘I had to take him on 20 auditions for musical theater. But he did it with me. I don’t feel like I did this. I supported him in it. I did not helicopter parent him. I was a co-pilot.’

Or was she, perhaps, a … snowplow parent?

Helicopter parenting, the practice of hovering anxiously near one’s children, monitoring their every activity, is so 20th century. Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities. Taken to its criminal extreme, that means bribing SAT proctors and paying off college coaches to get children in to elite colleges — and then going to great lengths to make sure they never face the humiliation of knowing how they got there.

College – LoveToKnow

Those are among the allegations in the recent college bribery scandal, in which 50 people were charged in a wide-ranging fraud to secure students admissions to colleges. According to the investigation, one parent lied about his son playing water polo, but then worried that the child would be perceived by his peers as ‘a bench warmer side door person.’ (He was assured that his son wouldn’t have to actually be on the team.)  Another, the charges said, paid someone to take the ACT for her son — and then pretended to proctor it for him herself, at home, so he would think he was the test-taker. The parents charged in this investigation, code-named Operation Varsity Blues, are far outside the norm. But they were acting as the ultimate snowplows: clearing the way for their children to get in to college, while shielding them from any of the difficulty, risk and potential disappointment of the process. In its less outrageous — and wholly legal — form, snowplowing (also known as lawn-mowing and bulldozing) has become the most brazen mode of parenting of the privileged children in the everyone-gets-a-trophy generation.

mrgray.id.au

It starts early, when parents get on wait lists for elite preschools before their babies are born and try to make sure their toddlers are never compelled to do anything that may frustrate them…Later, it’s writing them an excuse if they procrastinate on schoolwork, paying a college counselor thousands of dollars to perfect their applications or calling their professors to argue about a grade. Madeline Levine, a psychologist [said] ‘They’ve cleared everything out of their kids’ way,’ she said.

One [student] came home because there was a rat in the dorm room. Some didn’t like their roommates. Others said it was too much work, and they had never learned independent study skills. One didn’t like to eat food with sauce. Her whole life, her parents had helped her avoid sauce, calling friends before going to their houses for dinner. At college, she didn’t know how to cope with the cafeteria options — covered in sauce. If children have never faced an obstacle, what happens when they get into the real world? They flounder, said Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford.  Snowplow parents have it backward, Ms. Lythcott-Haims said: ‘The point is to prepare the kid for the road, instead of preparing the road for the kid.’

The destination at the end of the road is often admission to college.  But college admissions have become more competitive…’Increasingly, it appears any mistake could be fatal for their class outcome,’ said Philip Cohen, a sociologist studying parenting and inequality at the University of Maryland. The problem is: Snowplowing is a parenting habit that’s hard to break.

It begins early in the child’s life. Image: SlidePlayer

‘If you’re doing it in high school, you can’t stop at college,’ Ms. Lythcott-Haims said. ‘If you’re doing it in college, you can’t stop when it comes to the workplace.’

Learning to solve problems, take risks and overcome frustration are crucial life skills, many child development experts say, and if parents don’t let their children encounter failure, the children don’t acquire them… There are now classes to teach children to practice failing, at college campuses around the country and even for preschoolers. Many snowplow parents know it’s problematic, too. But because of privilege or peer pressure or anxiety about their children’s futures, they do it anyway.”

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  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. The boy attended the renowned school of acting.
  2. Many parents are anxious about their children.
  3. Bloomfield Hills, Mich.,  is an affluent suburb.
  4. She even considered a donation to the college of his choice.
  5. College has been on their radar since her son was in diapers.
  6. Bribing SAT proctors and paying off college coaches is illegal.
  7. Those are among the allegations in the recent college bribery scandal.
  8. The child would be perceived by his peers as “a bench warmer”.
  9. The parents were acting as the ultimate snowplows.
  10. It starts early, when parents get on wait lists for elite preschools before their babies are born.

 

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

Here is parents who have spent 18 years grooming their kids.

It’s a parent’s job to support the children.

If children have never faced an obstacle they will fail.

II

Some parents never let their children make mistakes or face challenges.

The point are to prepare the kid for the road.

Helicopter parenting is a term that came into vogue in the 1980s.

III

Parents spend more money on child rearing today.

There’s an constant monitoring of  what their kid is doing.

A college degree has become essential to earning a middle-class wage.

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 a new poll by The New York Times and Morning Consult of a ___representative group of ___of children ages 18 to 28, three-quarters had made___for their ___children, like for___ visits or haircuts, and the same share had reminded them of ___for school.

Sixteen percent of those with children in ___had texted or called them to ___them up so they didn’t sleep through a class or test. Eight percent had contacted a ___professor or administrator about their child’s ___or a ___they were having.

WORDLIST:  grades, college, wake, college,  nationally, adult, deadlines,  problem,  parents, appointments, doctor,

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. The article states, “Some affluent mothers and fathers now are more like snowplows: machines chugging ahead, clearing any obstacles in their child’s path to success, so they don’t have to encounter failure, frustration or lost opportunities.” What are your thoughts about snowplow parents?
  2. According to the description presented above, are your parents like this? Do you know of any parents who act like snowplows for their kids?
  3. If you were a parent  describe how you think you would act when it came to helping your child through high school and college.
  4. In your opinion, were the parents in the scandal wrong to “pay” to help their children  get admitted to colleges? Explain why or why not.

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

So You’ve Kondo-ed Everything…Now What?

“If the ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ Netflix show inspired you to throw out the things that don’t ‘spark joy,’ here’s what to do with what’s left.” The Wirecutter Staff, The New York Times

Marie Kondo on Netflix

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Excerpt: How to Tidy Up After You’ve Kondo-ed Everything, The Wirecutter Staff, The New York Times

“If, like us, you’re obsessed with ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,’ you’ve probably been inspired to sort through mountains of your clothes, books, and papers, and fill countless trash bags with everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy.’ But getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job. Now you have to figure out how to tidy what you keep. 

Professional organizer Beth Penn of Bneato Barauthor of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life, said, ‘Organizing isn’t something that you arrive at, it’s something that is an ongoing process, something that you are constantly working on.’

Ms. Marie Kondo

Here are some of the best tips we gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show, with expert advice to help you stay neat after you’ve purged.

Once you’ve whittled your belongings down to a manageable amount, give each item a place to live. On her show, Ms. Kondo teaches clients to put items in drawers in a single layer — food storage containers are stacked on their sides with their lids on, while clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed… Remember, only shop for organizers after you’ve finished your purge so you know exactly what you have left to store.

Should you Kondo your kids? theaustralian.com

Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents to include children in the task of folding laundry. ‘Like reading a book, it’s a habit to fold clothes with my children,’ she said. Children mimic their parents’ tidying tasks, and even when their work needs to be redone neatly, they enjoy being involved. Getting children involved also means respecting what belongings make them happy.

Belongings that have meaning can’t spark joy when they’re boxed up in the garage. Instead, Ms. Kondo encourages her clients to decorate with their photos and sentimental items so they can enjoy them every day… If most of your family photos are digital, declutter your photo files and create a photo book for the coffee table with the best of them.”

 

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

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

KWL Chart from Creately,com

 

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 fans are obsessed with Marie Kondo’s show.
  2. The article provides tips they  gleaned from Ms. Kondo’s show.
  3. You have to figure out how to tidy what you keep.
  4. Next, whittle your belongings down to a manageable amount.
  5. Clothing gets folded into tall, triangular soldiers, ready to be deployed.
  6. Ms. Kondo also likes to compartmentalize items in to small boxes.
  7. Ms. Kondo tells people to only shop for organizers after they’ve finished  their purge.
  8. Storage space under the sink will keep everything visible and accessible.
  9. Some kids might balk at your attempts to declutter their belongings.
  10. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with clutter.

 

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

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.

While Ms. Kondo relies/rely on/in found boxes like empty jewelry box/boxes or shoe boxes for organizing/organize small items, at Wirecutter we’ve/we’re found that/this the right tool for the/an job works/work even better to maximize space and/because keep tidbits organize/organized.

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. Marie Kondo teaches people how to cook Japanese dishes.
  2. Getting rid of unwanted things is only half the job.
  3. Marie Kondo’s show can be seen  on Hulu.
  4. Ms. Kondo’s show originated in Japan.
  5. Beth Penn is the  author of The Little Book of Tidying: Declutter Your Home and Your Life.
  6. The article provides some tips from Ms. Kondo’s show.
  7. Ms. Kondo strongly encourages parents not to involve children in the task of folding laundry.
  8. Erin Boyle is Ms. Kondo’s assistant.
  9. Ms. Kondo’s parents watch her show.
  10. Marie Kondo is married with two children.

ASK/ANSWER QUESTIONS

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to ask Ms. Kondo. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared as a class.

ANSWER KEY

Category: Culture, Social Issues

Green Chimneys: Where Animals Teach Children

“Eight-year-old Xander DeLeon could not have been more surprised…There were camels, a gigantic wingless emu, peacocks, miniature horses and donkeys as well as every conceivable breed of farm animal housed in the barns, cages and outdoor enclosures that dotted the campus of what might be his new school.” R.  Schiffman, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Xander right, and Catherine feed one of the farm’s pigs. Credti- D. Rios, NYT

Excerpt: Where Camels, Goats and Pigs Do the Teaching, By Richard Schiffman, The New York Times

“For his mother, Leslie DeLeon, that first visit to Green Chimneys, a school for special-needs children located on a former dairy farm outside in Putnam County, N.Y., seemed the answer to her prayers. He was like, ‘Oh, I can watch the chickens lay their eggs and sit on them,’ she recalled. ‘I was crying, because I knew that I had finally found the right place for my son.’

Before coming to Green Chimneys, Xander, who has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, felt overwhelmed at school. He would throw tantrums and often simply walk out of class at the Manhattan charter school that he attended. By 10 a.m. most mornings, the school would call Ms. DeLeon, a public-school teacher in Washington Heights, to ask her to pick up her son.

Now at Green Chimneys, Xander is getting A’s and B’s. ‘The school staff tell him that he won’t be able to work on the farm if he doesn’t continue to do well in school,’ Ms. DeLeon said. The prospect of being separated from his beloved goats has motivated Xander in ways his traditional school never could.

The Green Chimneys School for Little Folk was opened in 1948 by an animal-loving educator and philanthropist named Samuel B. Ross Jr. He pioneered the idea that emotionally challenged children could gain confidence and become socially adept by caring for animals…Yet psychologists have been slow to translate these insights into effective strategies for helping people in a therapeutic setting… ‘When you have traditional training as a psychologist, you never think about doing anything outside of the office,’ Dr. Klee [director of clinical and medical services at Green Chimneys] said.

For a fearful child, Dr. Klee has found that interacting with an animal can be a first step to relating successfully with others. Perhaps surprisingly, this kind of interaction works even with the least outdoorsy city kids. Most come from New York suburbs, and around 10 percent are from the city itself.

From left, camels Phoenix and Sage. Credit D. Rios for The New York Times

Public schools seem to be at their capacity in their ability to help children with special needs. Demand for programs like Green Chimneys has never been greater, she said, especially in New York City, when limits on reimbursing privately run schools for such services was lifted by the de Blasio administration in 2014.

With a staff-to-student ratio of 4 to 1 on the main campus and a level of individualized care that few schools can offer, Green Chimneys has become a beacon for children who are unable to function in a traditional school environment.

Every year there are about 1,000 referrals to Green Chimneys; last year, only 95 new students were admitted. It is also expensive. Tuition is $50,000 a year for day students, and considerably more for those who board. The school is partly funded by the New York State Education Department, which has licensed it to serve students from kindergarten through high school.

Once they are admitted, most students are eligible for the ‘Learn and Earn’ program, where they are assigned chores on the farm, working with the animals or tending garden plots in exchange for a small stipend.

Xander’s job is to feed the goats and clean their pens. ‘This is Snowflake, my favorite’ he said pointing to a cream-colored Saanen goat that had come to the gate to greet him. Not every child flourishes at the school. Those with severe learning disabilities and behavioral problems may struggle, and the average stay (two and a half years) is not always long enough to affect permanent changes in children.”

 

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:  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. DeLeon could not have been more surprised if he had walked up the gangplank into Noah’s ark.
  2. There were camels in pasture, a gigantic wingless emu, and shrieking peacocks on the dirt paths.
  3. Green Chimneys, a school for special-needs children.
  4. Xander has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia.
  5. He would throw tantrums and often simply walk out of class.
  6. Samuel B. Ross Jr. is a philanthropist who loves animals.
  7. Dr. Klee himself was skeptical that animals could be a part of therapy.
  8. Some students initially resisted the school.
  9. Many schools offer some kind of therapeutic program incorporating animals.
  10. Green Chimneys remains in the vanguard.

ELLteaching 2.0 vocabulary chart

 

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.

Dr. Morris and his/him team has/have been conducting research in/at Green Chimneys as part of/on an/a ongoing study into animal therapy. The researchers has/have installed cameras in/on the classrooms that record classes on/in a daily basis. They analyze the children’s/childrens behavior before and after they have been in/on the farm.

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.

Animal-assisted ___ is no longer___to Green Chimneys. Several ___in New York state, like the Orchard School, run by the nonprofit ___in Yonkers, and The Charlton School for___ in Burnt Hills, near ___ offer some kind of ___program incorporating animals.

WORD LIST: therapeutic, Schenectady, girls, Andrus, schools, unique, therapy,

Post Reading Activities

Discussion Questions for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. With your  group members list at least four  ways in which the Green Chimneys school helps children with special needs.
  2. Can you think of additonal ways the school could help special needs children?
  3. Have you ever visited a school like Green Chimney?  If yes, please describe your  experience.

 

Additional Activites

If possible have groups visit schools or areas where animals are available to the public.

Students can create  pictures, or collages, to show their understanding of  how schools such as Green Chimney operate.

 

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

“Dynamic Duos: Why Science Loves Twins”

“One of the broadest studies of twins in the United States suggests that our genes tend to influence the diseases that afflict us more than where we live, according to research published Monday in the journal Nature Genetics.” M. Nedelman, CNN

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Astronaut twins Mark (l) and twin Scott Kelly (r)-were subjects of experiments. NASA

Excerpt: Why science loves twins, M.Nedelman, CNN

“Using insurance claims data, researchers identified more than 56,000 pairs of twins and estimated the heritability of 560 diseases, finding that nearly a third of the variation in these conditions could be attributed to genetics, on average. Where people grew up was less contributory on the whole…’The relationship between genetics and environment in disease is incredibly nuanced,’ said study author Chirag Patel, assistant professor of biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School.

Scott Kelly (left) spent a year in space while his identical twin Mark (right) stayed on Earth as a control subject. Photo- NASA

Of the diseases the researchers looked at, 40% had a significant genetic component, and about 25% had an environmental one — though the strength of that relationship could be different for any given disease. For example, morbid obesity was found to be strongly influenced by genetics and the environment, Patel said.

‘You get people who are very deterministic, who say ‘it’s genes’ or ‘it’s environment.’ This shows it’s a mixture,’ said Jeffrey M. Craig, associate professor at the Deakin University School of Medicine and deputy director of Twins Research Australia. Craig was not involved in the new study.

Twin Plus Festival-Melbourne.weekendnotes.comjpeg.

As twin registries merge and incorporate big data, as in the new study, experts like Craig look forward to new stages of twins enriching science. ‘That’s one of the ways twin research is growing,’ he said.

About 33 in every 1,000 human births in the United States are twins, a rate that has climbed in recent decades as more women marry later and take fertility drugs or employ in vitro fertilization, factors that are known to increase the likelihood of multiple births. Identical twins are an even more exclusive club: roughly four in every 1,000 births. They are formed when a single fertilized egg splits in two, creating two embryos with the same DNA.

McClure Twins.

In more recent years, however, twins have revealed a genetic component to a number of outcomes such as epilepsy, religiosity, autism and mental health, according to experts. NASA even conducted its own twin study on how astronaut Scott Kelly’s gene expression changed after a year on the International Space Station, relative to that of his identical twin, Mark, who remained on Earth. Twins have also suggested that something outside the genetic code can explain why one identical twin might develop Type 1 diabetes or Parkinson’s disease and the other doesn’t.

Annual gathering in Twinsburg, Ohio. mirror.co.uk

One festival for twins has also become one big Petri dish for scientists: Twins Days, an annual event that brings thousands of twins to northeastern Ohio.

Year after year, a cluster of research tents invites twins to contribute to a potpourri of science. In past years, Procter & Gamble, the maker of Olay, has studied twins to better understand the aging process and its effect on skin.

The Los Angeles Police Department has looked at slight differences between twins’ fingerprints to improve its identification tools. Biometric researchers have photographed and recorded twins speaking in order to create better facial and voice recognition systems. The FBI has funded similar research there, as well.

Traditionally, researchers have studied identical twins versus fraternal controls. These sibling pairs share the same upbringing and environment, but identical twins share all their DNA and fraternal twins onlyabout half…There’s even research by twins, for twins — looking at their ‘special bond’ in order to best counsel them in therapy, Craig said.

Ayumichi twins.

But even though twin research long predates the discovery of the double helix, advancements in genetics have not replaced twins, who continue to unravel our most elusive traits.”

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 Activity: 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. The relationship between genetics and environment in disease is incredibly nuanced.
  2. Research found that nearly a third of certain conditions could be attributed to genetics.
  3. Obesity was found to be strongly influenced by genetics and the environment.
  4. More women marry later and take fertility drugs.
  5. Some women employ in vitro fertilization
  6. Identical twins are  a very exclusive class.
  7. Twins have also suggested that there is something outside the genetic code to explain various diseases.
  8. Biometric researchers have photographed and recorded twins speaking.
  9. One festival for twins has also become one big Petri dish for scientists.
  10. Traditionally, researchers have studied identical twins versus fraternal twins.

Word Map by Against the Oddstiff

 

Grammar Focus: Identifying Prepositions

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

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

Environment was less contributory ___the whole.

One ___the broadest studies___twins___ the United States takes place ___Ohio.

Roughly 33 ___every 1,000 human births___ the United States are twins.

Decades ago, there was very little acknowledgment___genetic influences ___children’s mental health.

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.

Our ___is whether some ___are ___and, if so, to what? Our ___is whether this is a ___determined trait. We like to ___genetically___twins to___that are no more ___than ordinary siblings.

WORD LIST:  similar,   twins,  compare, identical, taste-blind, question, genetically, people, interest,

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

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

  1. The article states, There’s also value in looking at children of twins and at twins raised apart…which could shed light on whether certain behaviors or disorders are likely to be passed down through parents’ genes versus their home environments.”  Provide examples that supports this statement.
  2. Are you a twin? If so describe how you and your twin behave differently (or the same) as other siblings.
  3. Would you like to be a twin? Explain why or why not.

 

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

From American Detention Centers to Jail

“As 17-year-olds they were asylum seekers. On their 18th birthdays they became criminals” Editorial Board, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- The Cut

Photo- wsj.com

Excerpt:  Coming of Age in American Detention-The New York Times Editorial Board

In the fall of 2017, Wilmer Ramirez had reason to be hopeful. After he trekked from Guatemala and spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Arizona, his application for ‘special immigrant juvenile status,’ a designation that would make him eligible for lawful permanent residency, was pending. What’s more, a family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him, meaning they would submit themselves to the Office of Refugee Resettlement for approval and take him in once they were approved. The only thing between him and freedom, then, was a little more paperwork. But when he turned 18, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials came to the shelter, placed him in handcuffs, and carted him off to a nearby jail.

He hadn’t done anything wrong. The officials were just following the rules. When children become adults, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, turns them over to the Department of Homeland Security, which places them in ‘adult detention,’ a term that usually means county jail.

Exact numbers are difficult to come by, but roughly 1,000 18-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017, according to Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, who have filed a class-action lawsuit challenging the practice.

The transfer from shelter to jail can be abrupt; it often happens at midnight on detainees’ 18th birthday and typically cuts them off from any relationships they might have established, including with caseworkers and counselors.

There are many things wrong with this policy. There is no dark magic that turns teenagers into criminals on their 18th birthday, even if they were born outside the United States. Given the damage that incarceration can do to young adults, every alternative should be pursued before turning teenage asylum seekers over to adult detention.

And, as the Ramirez lawsuit indicates, the procedure itself may be illegal. Federal law requires ICE to place children and teenagers in the least restrictive setting possible, even after they turn 18…Yearlong stays are not uncommon, and cases of 500 days or more have been reported. As those numbers grow, the entire shelter system (some 100 facilities scattered across the country) is nearing capacity.

The best of those shelters may feel like havens to children who fled extreme poverty or violence, and faced incredible risks to make it across the border.

The worst shelters are dens of abuse and neglect. At either end of the spectrum, the children themselves face tedium, a lack of freedom and profound uncertainty, especially when their 18th birthday approaches… Health and Human Services officials have said that the longer stays are an unfortunate but inevitable byproduct of improved safety precautions: It takes time to verify that prospective sponsors are who they claim to be, and to ensure that these already vulnerable and traumatized minors won’t be subjected to abuse once they leave the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.

That argument withers under scrutiny. Yes, the threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it. But it’s difficult to see how incarcerating teenagers for the crime of turning 18 protects them more than, say, releasing them to a willing sponsor who has cleared a basic but thorough background check…They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country — or in any other. We have the ways and means to provide that protection and support. We just need the will and the decency.”

 

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

NOTE: Lessons can also be used with native English speakers.

Level: Intermediate – Advanced


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


Time: Approximately 2 hours.


Materials: Student handout (from this lesson) and access to news article.


Objective: Students will read and discuss the article
with a focus on improving reading comprehension and improving oral skills. At the end of the lesson students will express their personal views on the topic through group work and writing.

I. Pre-Reading Activities

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions:  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. Many young children were asylum seekers.
  2. Wilmer Ramirez trekked from his home in Guatemala.
  3. Officials are angling to pull out of longstanding judicial agreements.
  4. Ramirez helps other 18-year-olds over their incarceration.
  5. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  6. There should be a law against the indefinite detention of migrant children.
  7. They deserve as much protection and support as teenagers born in this country.
  8. Many of the minors are traumatized by the experience.
  9. That argument withers under scrutiny.
  10. Stricter requirements have succeeded in scaring off prospective sponsors.

Word Map Education Oasis

 

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. Wilmer Ramirez was from Cuba.
  2. He spent several months in a youth migrant shelter in Boston.
  3. A family in Pennsylvania had agreed to sponsor him.
  4. When Ramirez turned 18, he was placed in a nearby jail.
  5. He stole from a store in the neighborhood.
  6. Approximately 1,000  5-year-olds were sent to such detentions in 2017.
  7. According to the article, the number of migrant children who face jail as they ‘age out’ of youth shelters is climbing.
  8. Ramirez attended college in Boston MA.
  9. The threat of trafficking is real, and protections are needed to guard against it.
  10. More than 200,000 migrant children have entered the United States in the past six years.

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.

Stricter requirements have/has succeeded in/on scaring off/under prospective sponsors, many out/of whom/who are undocumented themselves/theirselves or who have undocumented relatives. But there/their fear does not necessarily speak to/too their fitness as guardians.

There/Their are other options, in/out any case: Immigration advocates, including Mr. Ramirez’s lawyers, has/have proposed releasing teenagers like Mr. Ramirez to/two sponsors, with ankle monitors if need be, or to/too group homes or shelters for/four young adults.

III. Post Reading Activities

Graphic Organizers: Finding The Main Idea

Directions:  Have students use this advanced organizer from Enchanted Learning to assist them with  discussing  or writing about  the main points from the article.

Topic organizer. By Enchanted Learning

 

Discussion for Comprehension /Writing

Ask/Answer  Questions

Directions:  Place students in groups and have each group list 3  questions they would like to pursue in relation to  the article. Have groups exchange questions. Each group tries to answer the questions listed. All responses are shared 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