“The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is steamrolling its opponents, electrifying a campus that has seen more than a few athletic defeats.” T. Fuller, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2021
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: Underdog No More, a Deaf Football Team Takes California by Storm, By Thomas Fuller, The New York Times, Nov. 15, 2021
“The athletic program at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside, has suffered its share of humiliations and harassment over the years. There was the time that a visiting team’s volleyball coach mocked the deaf players.
And another time a hearing coach for the girls’ basketball team listened as opponents discussed how embarrassing it would be to lose to a deaf team.
It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, recently suffered seven straight losing seasons, leaving the school with the sinking feeling that opposing football teams came to the Riverside campus expecting an easy win.
No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore. This season, they are undefeated — the highest-ranked team in their Southern California division.
Through 11 games, they have not so much beaten their opponents as flattened them…Led by the school’s physical education teacher, Keith Adams, a burly and effervescent deaf man whose two deaf sons are also on the team, the Cubs are a fast and hard-hitting squad… The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher, with 22 touchdowns on the season.”
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: 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.
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.
- Many thought that the Cubs were the underdog team.
- The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is steamrolling its opponents.
- It did not help morale that the varsity football team, the Cubs, suffered seven straight losing seasons.
- No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore.
- Keith Adams is a burly and effervescent deaf man.
- Football is a richly audible experience.
- Friday night games at the Riverside campus are not totally silent, but they are not boisterous either.
- A sign-language interpreter hired by the school serves as an intermediary between the Cubs’ coaching staff and the game officials.
- Mr. Adams, who coached the team for two seasons has a philosophy that what might be thought of as a deficit can be an edge.
- Many teams try to use hand signals to call in plays, but they are no match for the Cubs.
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.
- It did not help morale that the team lost.
- No one is disparaging the Cubs anymore.
- Friday night was the second round on the playoffs.
- The quarterback doubles as the team’s leading rusher.
- The Cubs is a fast and hard-hitting squad.
- The Cubs’ excellence has lifted the school and the surrounding community.
- The coaches also say deaf players has heightened visual senses.
- The California School for the Deaf, Riverside, is the only all-deaf public school.
- Many players and staff use the word loneliness to describe how they felt in mainstream settings.
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.
The California School for the___ Riverside, is the only all-deaf___ school serving the southern half of the___. The team’s ___has given the___ and the surrounding community a lift.
For___ parents and___, the ___of the football team has been more than just an athletic ___. Many describe it as a sign that___children can be at their ___when they are ___in an all-deaf environment.
WORD LIST: together, best, deaf, triumph, success, players, school, success, state, Deaf, public, staff,
III. Post Reading Activities
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
- Are you a football fan?
- If you heard that the members of a winning football team were deaf, what would be your first reaction?
- How does the team confuse opponents?
- Even before winning the division championship games, how do the team members feel about themselves?
- Who serves as an intermediary between the Cubs’ coaching staff and the game officials?
- How does Keith Adams think about being deaf in football?
- Why don’t the Cubs need to huddle like other teams?
- According to the coaches, what advantage do the Cubs have over other football teams?