“Goats in Wales; coyotes in San Francisco; rats, rats, everywhere: With much of the world staying home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence of people would keep them away.” S. Garcia, The New York Times
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: When Humans Are Sheltered in Place, Wild Animals Will Play, Sandra E. Garcia, The New York Times
“Under the cover of night, in their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.
On Thursday evening, a herd of Great Orme Kashmiri goats galloped through the desolate streets of the small town looking for food. Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.
‘They are very mischievous,‘ Andrew Stuart, a Llandudno resident who spotted the goats, said in an interview. ‘They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.’
Luckily for the goats, there weren’t many humans around.
More than a billion people worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments, socially distancing themselves from one another to avoid the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 43,000 lives globally, including 2,300 in Britain…But with the country under lockdown because of the coronavirus, the goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town and hopped right to it. In the video Mr. Stuart recorded, the goats can be seen running down the middle of a street.
‘They were just racing through the town,’said Mr. Stuart, who called a nonemergency police line. ‘They are in town because it is so quiet, because hardly anyone is about.’
There is also hardly anyone outside in San Francisco — except for the coyotes.
Residents in San Francisco have been under orders to practice social distancing for two weeks, leaving their homes only to buy groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks. The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars, according to Deb Campbell, a spokeswoman for San Francisco Animal Care and Control…
Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior in seeking new food sources, said Jim Fredericks, chief entomologist at the National Pest Management Association…Ever since Louisiana imposed a lockdown, causing restaurants to shut down, the rats in New Orleans are almost certainly wondering where the usual French Quarter crowds — and their trash — have gone.This moment of desperation for the rodents can become an opportunity for communities trying to control the pest population, since rats are more likely to be lured by traps and baits, Dr. Fredericks said.
Dr. Riegel and her team are taking advantage of that…New York City is known for its large population of already brazen rats, including the notorious Pizza Rat. There has not been a change in behavior from pests in the city, according to Katy Hansen, the spokeswoman for the Animal Care Centers of NYC…
But there is a possibility that with the absence of people, and their trash, New York rats become even more brazen in their search for food, as a gang of macaques did in Lopburi, Thailand, last month.
The macaques are usually fed by tourists who visit the ancient city, but with an 85 percent drop in tourism, the monkeys became more aggressive in their search for food.
Humans can easily forget that the cities and towns they call home and frequently visit are also home to wild animals, like the Great Orme goats.”
ADDITIONAL TEACHING SITES FOR STUDENTS
“The aim of this site is to provide a resource for students to practice English in an engaging and fun way. Other similar sites are more geared towards providing teachers with resources to give to their students, but the intention this site is to be a resource that language learners can use independently…The games are aimed at a relatively low level of English, with pretty much all the content being around elementary level. A lot of the vocabulary content would probably even be more introductory or pre-elementary level.” ~Owen Dwyer~
Coronavirus COVID-19 Vocabulary
“This glossary of terms related to coronaviruses and COVID-19 in particular is intended for learners of English though it may be of interest to a wider audience. In times of crisis, knowing and understanding the terminology involved may help alleviate some of the fears and even panic that such times breed.”
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: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the title of the post and the actual article. Examine each of the photos, Describe what you see in the photo? Notice the background.What do you think the animals are wondering?
Next, create a list of words and ideas that you and your group members think might be related to this article.
II. While Reading Activities
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.
- The goats trotted into Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales.
- Some goats got their fill from hedges, others climbed building walls.
- They are very mischievous.
- People worldwide are staying at home under guidance from their governments.
- People are getting a glimpse of what animals do when they are left alone.
- The Great Orme goats’ descendants are wild animals that roam and forage in the large park.
- The goats saw an opportunity to get a whiff of their neighboring town.
- People should only go out to get groceries, go to pharmacies and participate in other essential tasks.
- In San Francisco, the streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city.
- Social distancing has not increased wild animals’ populations, but it does seem to have changed their behavior.
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,
Goats in Wales; coyotes___San Francisco… With much___the world staying home___prevent the spread___the coronavirus, animals have ventured out where normally the presence ___people would keep them away.
Under the cover___night,___their feathered, silken, cream-colored coats, they trotted ___Llandudno, a seaside town in Wales… The goats live ___Great Orme Country Park,___Conwy, Wales. They were a gift___Queen Victoria.
Identify The Speakers
Directions: Hand out the following quotes from speakers in the article. Group members are to identify the speakers from the article.
- “They seem a bit wary of humans, they wouldn’t go past me at one point and were very cautious.”
- “The streets have been left to the coyotes, which seem to be venturing farther into the city because there are so few cars.”
- “What we are also seeing is that they are looking for food in places they had not before.”
- “Animals are opportunistic and feed off trash… The restaurants [were] producing a lot of trash, and right now, a lot of that is just gone.”
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
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.
- According to the article what effects do less people in the cities have on the wild life?
- Are there any wild animals native to your area? Which ones?
- Have you seen more wild animals since people have been sheltered? Which ones?
- In your opinion, do the animals in the photos seem hostile, friendly or afraid?
- Why would wild animals venture into cities when people are not present?
- According to Jim fredericks, what has changed in wild animals since humans have been sheltered?
- What are the residents in Louisiana going to do about the rat infestation?
- Unlike Louisiana what problem does New York City have with their rats?
Group Activity: Research and Writitng
Directions: With group members Choose several wild animals (goats, coyotes, rats, turkeys etc.) and research the animal. Write a brief report on your animal. Provide information such as where did the animals originate, what is their normal diet, how do they act around people (think about the monkeys in Thailand)
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.