Children With Disabilities Will Suffer More This Covid-19 Summer

“The kids who most need social interaction this summer won’t be getting it.” H. Levine, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Credit- Keith Negley, NYT

Excerpt: As the Country Opens Up, Children With Disabilities Are Getting Left Behind, By Hallie Levine, The New York Times

“My 12-year-old daughter, Jo Jo, blossoms over the summer. For her, it’s a time for camp, pool trips with friends, bonfires… Last summer, she began going to the salon for monthly manicures…These events are a rite of passage for any preteen, but they’re particularly important for Jo Jo.

She has Down syndrome, which means she has an extra 21st chromosome that has led to overall developmental delays. For her, these regular social interactions are crucial. But this summer will be dramatically different. Like all kids, she’s been stuck at home since mid-March. Over the last couple weeks, many of those kids have started venturing out, meeting up for bike rides and beach excursions or other outdoor activities. Their parents talk about sending them to day camp, and setting up unofficial ‘quarantine bubbles.’

But Jo Jo and her two neurotypical brothers — Teddy, 10, and Geoffrey, 9 — remain at home, probably for the rest of the summer. Jo Jo is at high-risk for Covid-19 complication… Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled intellectual disability as a high risk condition for flu.

An intellectual disability itself isn’t a risk factor for Covid-19 but kids with developmental disabilities often have other underlying medical conditions that could be… In addition, many kids with intellectual disabilities depend on in-person physical, occupational and speech therapy year round to prevent regression. For example, Lisa Kinderman, a psychologist in Seymour, Ill., is grappling with whether it’s safe to resume physical therapy for her daughter, Lija. A 6-year-old with cerebral palsy, Lija cannot walk or talk and has been hospitalized twice in the last year for respiratory ailments…Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19, especially as we’re still learning so much about this disease in kids, stressed Brian Skotko, M.D., director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital.But there are a few things parents can do to get a ballpark sense of risk.

He suggested using your child’s past experience with infections as a guide for how they might experience Covid-19. If a child like Jo Jo has come down with flu or pneumonia in the past but recovered without urgent medical care or hospitalization, then ‘you should feel more comfortable gradually re-entering the community, he said. For each step, talk it over with your pediatrician…Social distancing can be equally tricky. ‘Wearing masks, staying at least six feet apart from others, being able to tolerate a Covid-19 test — these may all eventually be required for kids to resume school or other activities,’ Skotko said. These are challenging for any child, let alone one with intellectual disabilities. One way to teach these concepts is through social stories, individualized short stories that pair simple language with pictures often used for children with social-communication disorders such as autism.

Skotko also recommended teaching social distancing through color coded circles for older kids.  For example, red for strangers, orange for people you would normally wave to, green and yellow for casual and close friends, and blue for people it’s OK to hug, like parents or siblings.

“I have almost a blind faith in crisis in the American people getting it right”  ~Democratic Presidential Leader Joe Biden~

Latest Presidential General Election Polls 2020:

“Joe Biden’s lead against Trump in the 2020 election is growing wider, polls show — With the 2020 election now less than five months away, polls show former Vice President Joe Biden pulling further ahead of [Trump].”  Kevin Breuniger, CNBC June ,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.

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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions: Ask students  what they already know about people with disabilities.  Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the topic of the article.  Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine

 

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. Monthly manicures  are a rite of passage for any preteen.
  2. The author’s daughter has Down syndrome.
  3. Some children are born wth extra chromosomes.
  4. Kids have started venturing out, meeting up for bike rides and beach excursions or other outdoor activities.
  5. Studies suggest that death rates from pneumonia were up to 5.8 times higher in 2017 among those with intellectual disabilities.
  6. Some kids like JoJo take medicine that suppresses their immune system.
  7. The immune system is vital to every person alive.
  8. It’s very tough for the author  to gauge if any activities — even outdoor ones — are safe for Jo Jo or her brothers.
  9. Many physicians will meet with medically fragile kids first thing in the morning.
  10. Parents of  intellectually challenged children must grapple with  explaining the COVID-19 to them and why it prevents them from doing fun activities.

 

Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. C D C has labeled intellectual disability as a high risk condition for flu.
  2. A typical virus hits her hard.
  3. This winter she test positive for the flu.

 

II

  1. Gone to the salon for monthly manicures is fun.
  2. For her, these regular social interactions are crucial.
  3. But this summer will be dramatically different.

III

  1. We have to brought the world to her.
  2. Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19,
  3. There are a few things parents can do to get a ballpark sense of risk.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. Weighing when, and how, to re-enter the community without putting your child at risk is so much harder.”
  2. “What’s just a mild cold for a typical kid lands Lija in the I.C.U.”
  3. Unfortunately, there’s no way to gauge a child’s risk of Covid-19, especially as we’re still learning so much about this disease in kids.”
  4. That doesn’t mean you should neglect routine medical care, especially with underlying medical diseases that need to be monitored. In addition, “the usual childhood diseases are still around.”
  5. Masks can be particularly challenging, because many kids with intellectual disabilities have sensory processing issues that make it hard for them to tolerate a mask on their face.”
  6. “You don’t want to make this all about the child with the more complex medical needs, because you don’t want to ramp up anxiety, or even resentment.”

 

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. Dr. Brian Skotio names some things parents can do to tell if there are risks for infection for certain activities. What are they?
  2. What is one activity  that JoJo’s mom won’t let her do  right now? Why?
  3. Name one thing that doctors cannot check virtually with a patient.
  4. In what ways can the concept of social distancing be taught to children with intellectual disabilities?
  5. According to Leah Booth, why is wearing a mask a special problem for many kids with intellectual disabilities?

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

Teens Get Creative During COVID-19

“Throughout the country, school closures, remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience. Many are dealing with grief, trauma and loss… For teenagers, there are deep losses, but some are finding bright spots as well.”  A. Homayoun, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Photo- cnbc.com

 

Excerpt: Some Teenagers Are Creating New Rituals in the Pandemic, By Ana Homayoun, The New York Times

“It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families and racial minorities, and some students will experience significant learning loss.

At the same time, some previously overscheduled and sleep-deprived students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress around completing schoolwork, and more time for simple activities like reading on the front porch, spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family… In a normal school year, Zachary Jones, 17, of Durham, N.C., would see his life ‘swallowed by baseball.’  But Zachary no longer rushes from school to practice to starting homework at 8:30 p.m., and finds that he now has an entire day to do my homework with quality…To regain control at a time of uncertainty and despair, some students are discovering more purposeful ways to channel their energy. Juliette Fore, 16, of Alexandria, Va., initially found quarantine to be a major adjustment.

Photo- economictimes.indiatimes.com

She worried about the health of her 85-year-old grandfather, who lives with her parents and three siblings. When she heard reports of a worldwide increase in domestic violence during lockdown, she started a campaign to gather donations for House of Ruth, a Washington, D.C.-area shelter for victims of abuse…Right before Easter, she and her family delivered two minivans full of donations to the shelter…For Lexi Weintraub, 17, from Irvington, N.Y., in Westchester County, creating new rituals with friends and family has helped diminish the disappointment of a truncated senior year…At home, her mom recently began a nightly tradition to capture memories that might otherwise be forgotten in the middle of a pandemic.”

Democratic Presidential candidate, Joe Biden speaks via video link as family and guests attend the funeral service for George Floyd at The Fountain of Praise church Tuesday, June 9, 2020, in Houston. David J. Phillip-Washingtontimes   

“Now is the time for racial justice. That’s the answer we must give to our children when they ask why. Because when there is justice for George Floyd, we will truly be on our way to racial justice in America,” ~ Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden~

TODAY WE MARCH — TOMORROW WE VOTE!

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 the 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: 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. Throughout the country remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience.
  2. It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted   low income families.
  3. Students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress.
  4. Teens are spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family.
  5. Many teenagers say this newfound flexibility has helped them stay focus.
  6. Before school went online, Sydney was in the dance ensemble for the spring musical.
  7. Some students are able to continue participating in extracurricular activities.
  8. To regain control at a time of uncertainty and despair, some students are discovering ways to channel their energy.
  9. One student is a self-described extrovert.
  10. Creating new rituals has helped diminish the disappointment of a truncated senior year.

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.

Her friends has/have started/start driving separately on/to a/an parking lot by/bye the Hudson River and tunes/tuning into/onto the same radio station in there/their respective cars while watching/watch the sun set.

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. “We had probably the best team in our school’s history,”
  2. “Our teachers are really accessible if we have a question, But it’s been difficult. Our learning has kind of been put on hold.”
  3. “I personally don’t like doing math at 8:30 in the morning.”
  4. “The corrections are harder to apply because the teacher isn’t right there with you.”
  5. “I would say the project helped with my coping because it gave me something to really focus on.”
  6. At home, her mom recently began a nightly tradition to capture memories that might otherwise be forgotten in the middle of a pandemic.

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 has been your experience taking online classes so far?
  2. The article states, Many teenagers say this newfound flexibility and fewer outside obligations mean getting more sleep…Zachary no longer rushes from school to practice to starting homework at 8:30 p.m., and finds that he now has ‘an entire day to do  his homework with quality.” Are your able to spend more quality time completing your assignments since the quarantine?
  3. What are  your greatest struggles adjusting  to this new confinement?
  4. The article states, Some students are able to continue participating in extracurricular activities using Zoom and other online tools.” Do you participate in  extracurricular activities using online tools?  What are they?
  5. The article describes how Juliette Fore, 16, started a campaign to gather donations for House of Ruth, a Washington, D.C.-area shelter for victims of abuse.Have you’ve begun any new activities since you’ve been home? If yes, what are they? If no, are you interested in starting new activities?
  6. Do you think you’ve changed in any way due to confinement?   If yes, describe how?
  7. Do you feel closer to your family?
  8. After reading this article name something new that you’ve learned. Discuss what you’ve learned with your group members and share as a class.

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. 

ANSWER KEY

TikTok Teens Prepare For 2020 Presidential Election!

“Teenagers are campaigning, debating, running fact checks and forming party-based coalitions (hype houses). One of them called it cable news for young people.” By T. Lorenz, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

TikTok Teens Get Political-

 

Excerpt:The Political Pundits of TikTok By Taylor Lorenz, The New York Times

“As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations about social media and the 2020 presidential election, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.

Teenagers in America — many of them too young to vote — are forming political coalitions on TikTok to campaign for their chosen candidates, post news updates and fact check opponents. They are sharing real-time commentary for an audience that is far more likely to watch YouTube videos than turn on a cable news channel.

In a sense, these TikTok users are building short-form TV networks, each with a cast of talking heads. On TikTok they’re called hype houses, named after the high-powered influencer collab house in Los Angeles. These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones represented by group accounts.

There are conservative-leaning houses… and liberal ones…There are also bipartisan houses, for users who love discourse, and undecided houses, for those who aren’t sure what or whom they love… In recent months, content on TikTok has been getting more political.

Many users are campaigning hard, especially because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3. ‘I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote’ Izzy, 17, said…Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election. Those who can’t have been taking political action in other ways, especially on social media.”

Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden Laces Into Trump for Fanning ‘Flames of Hate’

“In a speech in Philadelphia, Mr. Biden assailed  [Trump’s] handling of the protests over police brutality and racial justice:  “Donald Trump has turned this country into a battlefield riven by old resentments and fresh fears… Is this who we want to be? Is this what we want to pass on to our children and our grandchildren? Fear, anger, finger pointing, rather than the pursuit of happiness? ~ Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden~ June 3, 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

Stimulating background knowledge: Brainstorming

Directions:  Ask students to think about what they already know about  the topic.  Next, have students generate ideas or words that may be connected to the article.  Students can use a brainstorming chart for assistance.

Colorful Brainstorming chart from Live It Magazine.

 

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. As Twitter and Facebook continue to dominate conversations, TikTok is quietly becoming a political force.
  2. Young people are forming political coalitions on TikTok.
  3. These political houses are not physical homes, but virtual, ideological ones.
  4. There are conservative-leaning houses.
  5. There are liberal houses on TikTok.
  6. There are also bipartisan houses.
  7. Like YouTube’s commentators any of these creators have sought to replicate their success on TikTok.
  8. TikTok has struggled to prevent conspiracy theories from spreading.
  9. Many on TikTok debunk false theories.
  10. For many members of political hype houses, tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.

 

 Grammar Focus: Structure and Usage

Directions: The following groups of sentences are from the article. One of the sentences in each group contains a grammatical  error. Students are to identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.

I

  1. Teenagers are campaigning, debating.
  2. They are sharing real-time commentary.
  3. These TikTok users is building short-form TV networks.

II

  1. Their are bipartisan houses for users who love discourse.
  2. TikTok is cable news for young people.
  3. TikToks  run a maximum of 60 seconds.

III

  1. Many users are campaigning hard because they may not be of voting age in time for Nov. 3.
  2. For many tamping down on misinformation is a top concern.
  3. Political TikToks often rely on popular trends and dances.

 

Reading Comprehension: Identify The  Speakers

Directions:  Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article to  see if they can identify the speakers.

  1. “I do feel like TikTok is cable news for young people.”
  2. I feel like I am making an impact on the election even though I can’t vote.”
  3. “A lot of political stuff is on Facebook and Twitter, but Gen Z isn’t really into that stuff.”
  4. [referring to the misinformation on the platform.] “Knowing that one million impressionable teens have seen this video and chosen to believe or not believe it.”
  5. “Many members of Gen Z will be voting for the first time in the 2020 presidential election.”

 

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. Are you a member of TikTok, Facebook or any other social media platform?
  2. If yes, what information do you provide? If no, would you consider becoming a member of any media platform?
  3. In your opinion, do you think teens getting involved in politics at an early age is a good idea? Provide reasons for your answer.
  4. Describe ‘Duetting’ on TikTok.
  5. What is a main concern for the majority of the members on TikTok?
  6. After reading this article name at least one thing new that you’ve learned.

 

3-2-1-Writing

Directions: In 5 minutes to write down three new ideasyou’ve learned about the topic from the reading,two thingsthatyou did not understand in the reading, and one thing youwould like to know that the article did not mention. Review the responses as a class.

ANSWER KEY

 

Group Project Create An  Online Video Using TikTok

Directions: Have students go to the TikTok site and see if they can create a short video.Ultimate Tik Tok Guide – How to Tik Tok & How to Make a Tik Tok Video that Gets Likes

 

CNN and Sesame Street are refocusing their second town hall to address racism.

The show will talk to kids about racism, the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families’ will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET.

The Importance of Play for Children During Social Distancing

“Parents across the globe are scrambling to fill their kids’ time, trying to become home school teachers and meet their schools’ variousrequirements. But maybe we need to let children play more instead.” L. R.McRobbie, The Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

The Boston Globe

 

Excerpt: No summer camp, no problem. The value of play during a pandemic — By Linda R. McRobbie, The Boston Globe

“States are starting to re-open, but parents facing the end of the school year are at loose ends, not knowing whether camps, summer schools, pools, and playgrounds will be open after the school year ends. Though the prospect of a summer of agonized choruses of “I’m bored!” might be more daunting than a summer of more social distancing, we might actually find ourselves confronted by something we desperately need: An opportunity to play.

Play is difficult to define, at least according to the academics who study it. Broadly speaking, it’s an activity that is directed by the individual or at least of their own volition, that is intrinsically enjoyable, personally meaningful, engaging, and most importantly, fun. Kids, of course, know play when they see it. And they know that play has value, even if adults don’t always remember that…Research demonstrates that it fosters development of emotional regulation and executive function — things like problem solving, focusing on a task, paying attention, and making sense of our experience of the world. Very recent research — out just this month — also indicates that how much access small children have to play is an indicator of their own sense of wellbeing. Play is so essential, so integral to normal development and positive mental health, that it is enshrined in the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child. (However, Wales is the only country that protects that right by law.)

And yet, American playtime is dwindling. Since at least the early 1980s, if not before, child development experts have warned that diminished playtime — and the freedom that entails — is having adverse effects on American children…But the abrupt closure of many schools in March meant that all of a sudden, kids had a lot more undirected, unstructured time, time to not worry so much about achievement and to play. And though this silver lining is perhaps only visible if you squint hard enough, it’s a silver lining nonetheless, because play is even more valuable during periods of stress…And as terrifying as the prospect of a summer of no organized fun seems, remember: It’s all right to let children be bored. “Kids figure out how to play all the time and actually, the figuring it out is building life skills.”

Related:

Sesame Street’s Grover On Coping During Coronavirus: Just For Kids

By C. Turner and A. Kamenetz, NPR

Courtesy of Sesame Workshop

“Kids have lots of questions about staying home right now. When can I go out to see my friends again? When will this be over? To answer them (and have a little fun), NPR’s Life Kit reached out to Sesame Street’s beloved monster, Grover, to speak directly to kids.”

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his wife, Jill Biden, at a veterans memorial in Wilmington, Del. May 25, 2020. Credit- Erin Schaff:The New York Times

“What gives me hope is when I see somebody do just the little things they didn’t have to do, to go out of their way,” ~Joe Biden~

UPDATED ARTICLE:

5 Ways White People Can Take Action in Response to White and State-Sanctioned Violence –

A portrait of George Floyd is seen as part of a memorial for him Wednesday near the site of his arrest. AP Photo:Jim Mone

“On Monday evening, George Floyd was murdered by Minneapolis police. Video surfaced of a white police officer holding his knee to Floyd’s neck for eight minutes while Floyd pleaded with police saying “I can’t breathe.” Floyd became unresponsive and died shortly after at Hennepin County Medical Center…In this moment, we know there are thousands of white people who are looking for direction and a way to show up alongside Black communities and communities of color. Welcome. You are needed. Here are a few ways to start showing up — not just in words but in action.”  READ  HERE – MEDIUM.COM

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.

 Predictions: Using a Pre-reading Organizer

Directions: Havestudents to examine the title of the post and of the actual article they are about to read.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. Play is a very important factor in child development.
  2. Many parents are at loose ends as summer nears.
  3. Parents dread the agonized choruses of “I’m bored!”
  4. Having bored children can be more daunting.
  5. Children need the opportunity to play.
  6. Play is an activity by an individual and of their own volition.
  7. Play, is a necessary component of building social bonds.
  8. Play is essential to positive mental health.
  9.  In America,  playtime is dwindling.
  10. The abrupt closure of many schools in March meant that  kids had a lot more undirected, unstructured time.

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.

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

In the early part___ the 2000s, governmental policies prioritized literacy and numeracy skills ___less easily tested skills, such___social-emotional ability, despite warnings ___early childhood education experts and bodies such ___the American Academy___Pediatrics. Average recess time in America — unstructured time___children___ engage___ the kind ___play they want — has shrunk ___just 25 minutes, far less than most other countries___ the world.

 

Reading Comprehension

Identify TheSpeakers

Directions:Have students read the following quotes from speakers in the article tosee if they can identify the speakers.

  1. “Play, she says, is a necessary component of building social bonds, first with parents and caregivers and then with other adults and peers.”
  2. “But play, by its very nature, also prepares individuals to deal with uncertainty and “feel comfortable with risk-taking.”
  3. “Play can also help clarify precisely what those negative emotions are about. Kids can be terrible communicators, but play is their medium.”
  4. “However, none of us should read too much into what we see in children’s play. . . interpreting children’s play is very fraught.”

III. Post Reading Activities

WH-How Questions

Directions: Have students use theWH-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: Havestudents 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 are parents suddenly worried about summer?
  2. Are you a parent? Do you have the same concerns as the parents in this article? Why or why not?
  3. How do academics define “play”?
  4. According to Laura Huerta Migus, why is playing necessary for building social bonds?
  5. According to researchers play fosters what other important developments for children?
  6. According to the article, since the 1980s playtime has been diminishing in America. What are some of the reasons for this?
  7. What kind of effect is reduced play having on American children? Do you agree with this statement? Why/why not?
  8. In the article there are ways to allow children to have fun especially during this time of social distancing from their playmates. Name some of the ways.
  9. Can you think of other ways to make fun things for children to play?
  10. 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.

ANSWER KEY

Boston Dynamic’s Robot Dog Has Joined the Fight Against COVID-19

“A Boston hospital is using Spot, the dog-like robot of Internet fame, to screen for coronavirus.”H. Bray, The Boston Globe

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Spot, a four-legged robot, is being tested at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a way to treat some COVID-19 patients. Boston Dynamics

 

Excerpt:The Robot Dog that helpsHospitalsscreen for coronavirus –ByHiawatha Bray, The Boston Globe

“At Brigham and Women’s Hospital, the first encounter a potentially infected person might have is not with a doctor or nurse swathed in protective gear, but with a talking, animal-like robot that looks like it might have wandered off the set of ‘Star Wars.’

Spot, the agile walking robot from Waltham-based Boston Dynamics, gained Internet notoriety for showing off its dance moves on YouTube.

But now it’s going to work in the real world, striding into the danger zone, armed only with an iPad. The robot is posted just outside the hospital, not so much as a sentinel, but asan intake worker that will help doctors safely interview people who fear they may have been infected with the coronavirus.

Research scientist Hen-Wei Huang talked about Spot the robot during a demonstration at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.CRAIG F. Walker-Boston Globs

‘This collaboration is really looking at how we can do all the things we do as emergency medicine physicians, but at a distance,’ said Peter Chai, an emergency medicine doctor at the Brigham.

The yellow-and-black Spot robot, which resembles a large dog, is positioned inside a big white tent set up in front of the hospital’s main entrance as a triage area for potential COVID-19 cases.

It is fitted with an iPad that displays a physician located safely inside the hospital who can use the device’s camera to see the patient’s physical condition.

The doctor can talk to the patient through the built-in microphone and a mounted speaker, asking standard diagnostic questions.

The physician is also able to remotely control Spot, directing the machine to move around for a better perspective of the patient.

The Brigham began real-world trials of the system last week, with a handful of patients who had agreed in advance to the robotic interviews.

Michael Perry, Boston Dynamics’ vice president of business development, said that as early as February the company began receiving inquiries from hospitals worldwide. ..There are already lots of wheeled robots trundling through hospitals, delivering meals and medications…The current version of Spot is only good for conducting interviews. But the Brigham will soon deploy an upgraded model with cameras that can measure a patient’s respiration rate and body temperature, with no need to make physical contact. And Boston Dynamics isn’t hogging the technical innovations. The company said it is giving its medical hardware and software designs at no charge to any robotics company that cares to use them.”

Related News Articles: “Spot, a four-legged robot, has been sent to Singapore to remind people about social distancing guidelines.” F.  Gans, The Boston globeThis Waltham-built, dog-like robot is crawling through Singapore to remind people about social distancing, By Felicia Gans- The Boston Globe

Spot, a four-legged robot, has been sent to Singapore to remind people about social distancing guidelines. Boston Globe

Boston Dynamics

Website www.bostondynamics.com

Boston Dynamics is an American engineering and robotics design company founded in 1992 as a spin-off from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Boston Dynamics is best known for the development of a series of dynamic highly-mobile robots, including BigDog, Spot, Atlas, and Handle.

Watch “UpTown Spot”  and his famous dance moves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kHBcVlqpvZ8

VOTE 2020

Democratic Presidential Candidate Joe Biden -2020

“I promise you this: A Biden Administration will listen to scientists and heed their advice — not silence 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

 Predictions: Analyzing headings and photos

Directions: Examine the titles of the post and the actual article.  Examine the 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: 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. Boston Dynamics  produces robot dogs.
  2. At Brigham and Women’s Hospital the first encounter a patient might have is with a  robot dog.
  3. Usually medical personnel is swathed in protective gear.
  4. Spot, the agile walking robot  is from Waltham-based Boston Dynamics.
  5. Spot gained Internet notoriety for showing off its dance moves on YouTube.
  6. But now it’s going to work in the real world, striding into the danger zone, armed only with an iPad.
  7. The robot is posted just outside the hospital, not as a sentinel, but as an intake worker.
  8. This collaboration is  helping emergency medicine physicians but at a distance.
  9. The yellow-and-black Spot robot, is positioned inside a triage area for potential COVID-19 cases.
  10. The doctor can talk to the patient through the built-in microphone asking standard diagnostic questions.

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.

Perry said/say the hospitals needed something/some different. Many had/has set/sit up their COVID triage areas outdoors, in/on lawns or in/on parking lots. On/In such uneven surfaces, traditionally/traditional robotics doesn’t make cents/sense, he said. We need/needs something that can handle this/those difficult terrain. Enter Spot, the latest in/on a long series of/on legged robots develop/developed by Boston Dynamics.

Identify The  Speakers

Directions: Place students in groups. Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Members are to identify the speakers from the article.

  1. “This collaboration is really looking at how we can do all the things we do as emergency medicine physicians, but at a distance.”
  2. “The Brigham began real-world trials of the system last week, with a handful of patients who had agreed in advance to the robotic interviews. They’re loving it so far.”
  3. “…as early as February the company began receiving inquiries from hospitals worldwide. Was it possible to use a Spot robot to conduct triage interviews?”

 

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.  To reinforce the ideas, students can write an essay on one of the topics mentioned.

  1. Have you ever encountered a robot in your everyday activities?
  2. Which hospital is using the robotic dog?
  3. Where was Spot built?
  4. What was the first thing Spot was known for?
  5. According to Boston Dynamics, why wouldn’t a regular robot work in the triage areas  outdoors?
  6. Was Spot the first robotic dog Boston Dynamics built?
  7. Doctors at Brigham have been working on remote diagnostic sensors with engineers from what other institute?
  8. What small items can Spot deliver to infected patients?  In what ways does this small task help the medical personnel?
  9. In your opinion, what other helpful tasks might Spot be programmed to perform in the future?
  10. According to Farah Dadabhoy  how are the patients reacting to Spot?
  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.

ANSWER KEY