Tag Archives: children

The Elementary School Where Students Cope With Parents’ Addiction

“About half of the student body at one Ohio elementary school has witnessed drug use at home. Educators spend time every day teaching the children how to cope.” D. Levin, The New York Times

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key

Students at Minford are encouraged to pick a color that represents an emotion Credi A. Schukar for The NYT

Excerpt: Inside the Elementary School Where Drug Addiction Sets the Curriculum — By Dan Levin, The New York Times

“Inside an elementary school classroom decorated with colorful floor mats, art supplies and building blocks, a little boy named Riley talked quietly with a teacher about how he had watched his mother take ‘knockout pills’ and had seen his father shoot up ‘a thousand times.’

Riley, who is 9 years old, described how he had often been left alone to care for his baby brother while his parents were somewhere else getting high. Beginning when he was about 5, he would heat up meals of fries, chicken nuggets and spaghetti rings in the microwave for himself and his brother, he said. ‘That was all I knew how to make,’ Riley said.

Riley — who is in foster care and who officials asked not be fully identified because of his age — is among hundreds of students enrolled in the local school district who have witnessed drug use at home.  Like many of his classmates at Minford Elementary School, Riley struggles with behavioral and psychological problems that make it difficult to focus, school officials said, let alone absorb lessons.

The school offers clothing, including shoes, to its students. Credit A. Schukar for The NYT

‘If you’re worried about your parents getting arrested last night, you can’t retain information,’ said Kendra Rase Cram, a teacher at Minford Elementary who was hired this past academic year to teach students how to cope with trauma.  Over the past nine months, she led several classes a day, and met every week in one-on-one sessions with up to 20 students who have experienced significant trauma.

Indeed, the classroom is becoming the battleground in the war against drug addiction where the next generation will be saved or lost in Ohio, which in 2017 had the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the country… Minford Elementary is not like typical schools. At this small campus in rural southern Ohio, there is a dedicated sensory room stocked with weighted blankets, chewable toys and exercise balls. Children who were born dependent on drugs, as well as others with special needs, can take time to jump on a trampoline or calm down in a play tunnel, sometimes several times each day…In this county, long considered ground zero in Ohio’s opioid epidemic, nearly 9.7 million pills were prescribed in 2010 — enough to give 123 to each resident, the highest rate in the state, according to official statistics. Over the years, as opioid prescriptions have fallen, many drug users have moved on to heroin and fentanyl.

In Scioto County, nearly 9.7 million pills were prescribed in 2010 —Credit A. Schukar for The NYT

In Minford, the town’s school district is in many ways on the front lines of the crisis, the effects of which began appearing in classrooms about a decade ago, said Marin Applegate, a psychologist for the Minford school district. 

‘My preschool teachers just started screaming, ‘We have these kids, their behavior is off the wall and none of the traditional measures are working,’ said Ms. Applegate, who at the time worked with the state’s Department of Education. As drug users shifted from painkillers to heroin, and then to fentanyl, the county’s schools struggled to handle the fallout from parental addiction and abject poverty… Students at Minford Elementary have endured a range of abuse and neglect, county and school officials said. Some children have worn the same clothes for several consecutive days, and some have arrived on campus covered in bedbug bites. Parents have shown up after school high on heroin, school officials said, or have forgotten to pick up their children at all. In play-therapy sessions, some young students have drawn pictures of people cooking meth.

 

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. Riley told a teacher how he had watched his mother take ‘knockout pills‘.
  2. He had seen his father ‘shoot up‘ a thousand times.
  3. Riley who is 9 years old is in foster care.
  4. Kendra teaches children how to cope with trauma.
  5. Minford Elementary has  a drug prevention curriculum.
  6. There are exercises to teach students how to cope with the consequences of an opioid epidemic.
  7. Four kindergartners lost parents to fatal overdoses.
  8. There is a sensory room stocked with weighted blankets, and exercise balls.
  9. Children can also jump on a trampoline to calm down.
  10. The roads leading to Minford, in Scioto County, wind past picturesque horse farms.

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.

Riley has/have fallen/fell in love on/with reading, and especially loves/love the/a Harry Potter books. He say/said he can relate to/at the boy wizard who have/had a tough childhood. ‘We’re/Were similar,’ he said. ‘It made myself/me happy that Harry knows/know how it feels.’

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. The elementary school is located in New York City.
  2. Riley, is 9 years old and described how he had to care for his baby brother.
  3. According to the article Riley lives on his own.
  4. Last academic year, four kindergartners won prizes for spelling.
  5. Minford Elementary has a sensory room stocked with weighted blankets, chewable toys.
  6. In 2017  Boston had the second highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the country.
  7. Kendra Rase Cram is  a teacher at Minford Elementary.
  8. Mike DeWine is another teacher at the school.
  9. At the school, children can take time to jump on a trampoline or calm down in a play tunnel.
  10. As a way to help the children express their feelings, each child picks a color that symbolizes an emotion.

Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve seen your parents getting high? What was your reaction?
  2. Have you ever been in a situation where you were tempted to take drugs?
  3. Why do you think parents get high in the first place? (e.g., for recreation, stress etc.)
  4. In your opinion, should parents who are addicted to drugs have their children taken away?  Please explain why or why not?
  5. When you have children, what will you tell them about the drugs? If you have children, do you speak to them about drug use? What do you tell them?
  6. The teachers at this school and others like it are doing a wonderful job of helping the children. Can you think of  additional ways to help both parents and children in theses situations?

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

Category: Education | Tags: ,

Medical Marijuana: Last Hope Cure for Children?

In Colorado marijuana has become a major part of social life since it was declared legal for recreational use last year. The once illicit drug has the spotlight once again as a treatment for young children with epilepsy. According to many parents the strain known as Charlotte’s Web has greatly reduced seizures in their children.

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post  with Answer Key.

The miracle plant. CNN

The miracle plant. CNN

Excerpt: Medical marijuana refugees: ‘This was our only hope’ By Saundra Young, CNN

“They’ve come from as far away as Australia and Canada, or as close as Oklahoma. They are of different backgrounds and ages, but they’ve all moved to Colorado for the same thing: medical marijuana to treat their sick children. Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old. I had never seen a seizure before,” says her mother, Paula Lyles. We took her to the hospital. The doctors said that would probably be the only one she’d have and sent us home.

But when Jordan was 18 months old, the seizures began in earnest. It was Dravet syndrome, a severe form of epilepsy characterized by uncontrolled, continuous seizures. Jordan was put on a combination of three anti-seizure medications.

Marisa Kiser was drawn to Colorado in the hopes of relieving seizures suffered by her 19-month-old son, Ezra. NYT.

Marisa Kiser was drawn to Colorado in the hopes of relieving seizures suffered by her 19-month-old son, Ezra. NYT.

But “the drugs take her personality away. The side effects of the cure are horrible, Lyles says…She’d heard about the healing properties of cannabis, but Lyles lived in Ohio, where medical marijuana is not legal… So six months ago, after talking to doctors and reading studies on medical marijuana, Lyles packed up her daughter and moved to Colorado, leaving her engineer husband and 25-year-old daughter Lindsay behind.

Doing so allowed Jordan to be treated with a strain of medical marijuana that’s high in cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical in cannabis thought to have medicinal properties, and low in tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot that gets users high.

The strain is called Charlotte’s Web. It’s named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado Springs. Charlotte also has Dravet syndrome; after being on seven medications with no success, she began taking marijuana in an oil form. Her seizures were drastically reduced — from 300 a week to two or three a month. About 3 million people in the United States have epilepsy, according to the American Epilepsy Society. Of those, a third have treatment-resistant seizures.

Little Vivian is crippled with seizures. CNN

Little Vivian is crippled with seizures. CNN

We desperately need new treatments, and we need more research to get those treatments, says Dr. Amy Brooks-Kayal, vice president of the group. Dr. Edward Maa, chief of Denver Health’s Comprehensive Epilepsy Program, discovered one-third of his patients were using medical marijuana without his knowledge. Although concerned about its long-term safety, he immediately became more interested in cannabis as a potential treatment. He says he’s shocked at the number of families that move to Colorado — just to get this medicine for their children.”  Read more…

ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post

Level: Intermediate – Advanced

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

Time: Approximately 2 hours.

Materials: Student handouts (from this lesson) access to news article, and video.

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

I. Pre-Reading Activities

The K-W-L Chart

Directions: Have students use the KWL chart to list the information they already know about medicinal marijuana for children or adults. Later in the Post- Reading segment of the lesson, students can fill in what they’ve learned about the topic.

New K-W-L Chart from Read Write Think

II. While Reading Activities

Vocabulary

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 by Freeology  for assistance.

  1. Parents want  medical marijuana to treat their sick children.
  2. Jordan had her first seizure at 6 months old.
  3. She had a severe form of epilepsy.
  4. She’d heard about the healing properties of cannabis.
  5. There are several organizations run by marijuana dispensary owners.
  6. I had a twinge in my heart because I knew it was the right thing to do.
  7. We’ve been able to reduce her pharmaceuticals by 50%.
  8. We desperately need new treatments.
  9.  There are anecdotal reports that  marijuana derivatives seem to be effective.
  10. The fact that it’s Schedule I is arbitrary at this point.

vocab Freeology

Reading Comprehension

 Fill-ins

Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article have them complete the following paragraphs taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided (which are not in the correct order) or provide their own terms to create new information. Students are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary words.

“Over the___ eight months, more than 100___have moved to ___looking for ___to save their children’s lives, ___to the Realm of Caring. The organization is run by the Stanley family — medical marijuana growers and ___owners who ___a strain of cannabis high in CBD and low in THC.

The strain is called___. It’s named after 7-year-old Charlotte Figi of Colorado Springs. Charlotte also has Dravet syndrome; after being on___medications with no success, she began taking___in an ___form. Her___ were drastically reduced — from 300 a ___to two or three a month.”

 WORD LIST
marijuana, Colorado, Charlotte’s Web, week, pioneered, seizures, last, dispensary, oil, families, seven, according,  medicine,

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. They’ve come from as far away as Australia and Canada.
  2. They is of different backgrounds and ages.
  3. They’ve all moved to Colorado for the same thing.

II.

  1. We took her to the hospital.
  2. The doctors sent us home.
  3.  Jordan was 18 months old, when an seizures began in earnest.

III.

  1. The medications took she speech away for two weeks.
  2. We desperately need new treatments.
  3. One parent knows about side effects.

 

Reading Comprehension Check

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/Writing Exercise

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

  1. The article states, “Even in the 20 states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is legal, the federal government classifies cannabis is a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no accepted medical value and a high potential for abuse. Others in that category: heroin, LSD and ecstasy.” Restate this comment using  your own words.
  2. Although the article states the “addictive “quality is taken out of medicinal marijuana do you think there’s a possibility that a child might still become addicted? Explain why.
  3. Why is the medicine  called Charlotte’s Web.
  4. According to the article not all cases using Charlotte’s Web were successful. ““One parent who knows about side effects is Nicole…Their son was diagnosed with Dravet syndrome just before turning 3. He’d had seizures since he was 11 months old. He’s tried several diets, supplements — pretty much you name it, we’ve tried it…but it didn’t work. But neither did marijuana…It never helped his big seizures. In fact, they kept getting worse… They were getting worse before we started cannabis, but cannabis did not help them. Since they stopped the cannabis more than a year ago, Nicole says her son is doing much better.”  In view of this information, if your child had epilepsy would you give them medical marijuana as a cure? Provide reasons for your answer.
  5. If you were sick would you be willing to try the cure yourself? Why or why not?

IV. Listening Activity   

Video ClipMedical marijuana in Maryland for kids?

‘Lawmakers in the 2014 listened to testimony from parents who want their children’s medical issues treated with marijuana.”

  While Listening Activities

Correct Word Choice

Directions: Students listen for the correct word or phrase to complete the sentences taken from the video.

  1. Legislators heard testimony/tests from families who could benefit from medical marijuana.
  2. Families suffer because they can’t get it in a style/state where they live.
  3. They say it’s just not adults that can benefit/benefitted.
  4. Logan is a vibrant active 4 year old exception/except he has epilepsy.
  5. He has ten to twenty/twin seizures every single day.
  6. Gail met with severe/several doctors about Logan’s epilepsy.
  7. They say/saying marijuana could help.
  8. Logan takes other drugs/drinks for the epilepsy, but those have harsher side effects.
  9. Mimi was in a cab/car accident that gave her a stroke.
  10. Now Mimi has seizures/sizes every day.

Video Link

Post-Listening Activities

Questions for Discussion

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

  1.  Did  you agree with everything that  the speakers said?  Discuss which comments  you agreed with and which ones you tended not to agree with.   Explain why.
  2.  With your group members, make up questions that you would like to ask the parents, doctors, and other  speakers.

 ANSWER KEY: Medical Marajuana