Answer Key: First Lady Michelle…

First Lady Michelle Obama: The Force Behind the Power

I. Pre-Reading Tasks

A. Prediction

Students’ choice.

B.  Stimulating Background Knowledge

Pre-reading Discussion Questions

Students’ choice.

II. While Reading Tasks

1.  Word Inference

  1. fuming verb [ intrans. ] feel, show, or express great anger : he is fuming over the interference in his work.
  2. even-keeled characterized by stability or consistency; Fig. to remain cool and calm. (Originally nautical.)
  3. fathom verb [ trans. ] [usu. with negative ] understand (a difficult problem or an enigmatic person) after much thought : he could scarcely fathom the idea that people actually lived in Las Vegas | [with clause ] he couldn’t fathom why she was being so anxious.
  4. insular adjective. ignorant of or uninterested in cultures, ideas, or peoples outside one’s own experience : a stubbornly insular farming people.
  5. strategic adjective. • carefully designed or planned to serve a particular purpose or advantage : alarms are positioned at strategic points around the prison.
  6. motivator noun. in this case a person who stimulates (someone’s) interest in or enthusiasm for doing something : I’m going to motivate kids to study civics.
  7. charmer noun. a person with an attractive, engaging personality.
  8. canny adjective. having or showing shrewdness and good judgment, esp. in money or business matters : canny shoppers came early for a bargain.
  9. force noun. a person or thing regarded as exerting power or influence : he might still be a force for peace and unity.
  10. turnaround noun. an abrupt or unexpected change, esp. one that results in a more favorable situation : it was a remarkable turnaround in his fortunes.
  11. anxious adjective.  experiencing worry, unease, or nervousness, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome : she was extremely anxious about her.
  12. conventional adjective. based on or in accordance with what is generally done or believed : a conventional morality had dictated behavior.
  13. groundbreaking adjective. breaking new ground; innovative; pioneering.
  14. subtly adverb– subtle adjective. • making use of clever and indirect methods to achieve something : he tried a more subtle approach.
  15. acclimated verb [ intrans. ] (usu. be acclimated) become accustomed to a new climate or to new conditions : it will take a few days to get acclimated to the altitude.
  16. appease verb [ trans. ] pacify or placate (someone) by acceding to their demands : amendments have been added to appease local pressure groups. See note at pacify .
  17. rallied verb ( -lies, -lied) [ intrans. ]  • come together in order to support a person or cause or for concerted action : The players on the team rallied behind their captain.
  18. buoying verb [ trans. ] (often be buoyed) cause to become cheerful or confident : the party was buoyed by an election victory.
  19. warning verb.   give someone forceful or cautionary advice about their actions or conduct : they warned people not to keep large amounts of cash in their
  20. stemwinder noun. informal an entertaining and rousing speech : the speech was a classic stem-winder for all present to enjoy.
  21. embarrassed adjective. embarrass verb [ trans. ]  cause (someone) to feel awkward, self-conscious, or ashamed : she wouldn’t embarrass either of them by making a scene.






New Oxford American Dictionary


B. Questions for Comprehension  True / False

T- The first lady, however, could not fathom how the White House had allowed the crucial seat, needed to help pass the president’s health care legislation and the rest of his agenda, to slip away, several current and former aides said.

F- Mr. Obama’s advisers were too insular and not strategic enough…

F- The first lady never confronted the advisers directly… that was not her way…

T-…they found out about her displeasure from the President.

F- The Michelle Obama of January 2012 is an expert motivator and charmer, a champion of safe causes like helping military families and ending childhood obesity…

T- Mrs. Obama is a supportive but often anxious spouse, suspicious of conventional political thinking…

F- She was sometimes harder on her husband’s team than he was, eventually urging him to replace them…

T- A Harvard-trained lawyer, she had given up her career for what initially seemed to her a shapeless post…

F- Mrs. Obama often found herself caught in an internal debate about how the Obamas should look and live, travel and entertain.

F- Michelle Obama never wanted to be the kind of first lady who interfered with West Wing business… And yet as the administration hit obstacle after obstacle in 2010… Mrs. Obama made it clear that she thought her husband needed a new team, according to her aides.

T- Mrs. Obama gave a party for his 50th birthday, warning guests not to leave early…

T-  …the first lady describe her version of Barack Obama: a tireless, upright leader who rose above Washington games, killed the world’s most wanted terrorist and still managed to coach his daughter Sasha’s basketball team.

C. Grammar Focus

Identifying Parts of Speech


Answers: was, fuming,   lost,   refusing,  dwell,  lash out (phrasal verb), fathom, allowed,   needed,    help,    pass ,  slip away (phrasal verb),  said.

III. Post Reading Tasks

A. Reading Comprehension Check

Using organizers-students’ choice.

B.   Writing

Have students share their essays with the class.

IV. Listening Activity

Video Title: The First Lady: A New Funding for Military Families

A. Pre-Listening tasks

Questions for background knowledge

Students’ choice.

B. While-Listening Task (Sentence Fill-ins)

  1. advice, develop their initiatives.
  2. what’s working,  what can be improved.
  3. guidance,  insight,
  4. The Queen, The Pope.
  5. Fort Bragg,  and Fort Hood.
  6. The Aircraft Carrier USS  Eisenhower,  and the Hospital ship Comfort.
  7. The Hospital ship Comfort.
  8. Commander Dorothy Stratton, director of the SPARS,  during  WW II.
  9. …both of his legs, finished a half  marathon.
  10. … listen to those concerns and needs of military people, share what she learns with military leaders, work hard to insure that the concerns and needs actually lead to real change in Washington.
  11. Coaching little league,  running the PTA,   making Christmas special for kids with Toys for Tots,   volunteering at church and hospitals, mentoring young people and being role models.