“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
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.
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
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
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.
- Throughout the country remote learning and quarantine are redefining the American teen experience.
- It’s clear that this pandemic has disproportionately impacted low income families.
- Students are surprised to find more time for sleep, less stress.
- Teens are spending time outdoors or having a leisurely dinner as a family.
- Many teenagers say this newfound flexibility has helped them stay focus.
- Before school went online, Sydney was in the dance ensemble for the spring musical.
- Some students are able to continue participating in extracurricular activities.
- To regain control at a time of uncertainty and despair, some students are discovering ways to channel their energy.
- One student is a self-described extrovert.
- 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.
- “We had probably the best team in our school’s history,”
- “Our teachers are really accessible if we have a question, But it’s been difficult. Our learning has kind of been put on hold.”
- “I personally don’t like doing math at 8:30 in the morning.”
- “The corrections are harder to apply because the teacher isn’t right there with you.”
- “I would say the project helped with my coping because it gave me something to really focus on.”
- 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.
- What has been your experience taking online classes so far?
- 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?
- What are your greatest struggles adjusting to this new confinement?
- 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?
- 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?
- Do you think you’ve changed in any way due to confinement? If yes, describe how?
- Do you feel closer to your family?
- 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.
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.