“This week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was yet another grim reminder that in the U.S., where civilians own nearly 400 million firearms, children are more likely to die from gun violence than in any other high-income country.” L. Wamsley, NPR, May 28, 2022
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
The U.S. is uniquely terrible at protecting children from gun violence, By Laurel Wamsley, NPR, May 28, 2022
The killing of 19 fourth-graders and two adults at Robb Elementary School has unleashed an outpouring of grief and sadness across the nation.
It has also, once again, spurred many to ask why the United States has failed to make any significant changes to its gun laws following the horrendous mass shootings that now happen with regularity.
Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook Elementary, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School: All are names seared into the nation’s memory for the terrible violence that took the lives of students there.
But the dangers young people face from firearms in America go well beyond school shootings, which account for only a fraction of all gun-related deaths. Whether it’s the gun violence they face in their neighborhoods, or suicide or accidents at home when guns are left unsecured, the threat to the nation’s children and teenagers is not only bad, but worsening…Guns are now the leading cause of death among young people in the U.S.
For decades, car crashes were the leading cause of death for Americans ages 1 to 19. But the gap between car crash deaths and firearms deaths began to steadily narrow in recent years. In 2020, gun violence overtook car accidents to become the No. 1 cause of death for U.S. children and adolescents. Guns are now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S. Deaths per 100,000 children and adolescents (1 to 19 years old)…Many guns come from inside the home
In 2012, the shooter at Sandy Hook used his mother’s guns to kill her and 26 children and school staff members. In the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the shooter used his father’s guns.
Research published last year and funded by the National Institute of Justice (a program of the U.S. Justice Department) suggests that’s very much the norm. The analysis examined mass shootings that took place from 1966 to 2019 and found that over 80% of mass shooters at K-12 schools stole guns from family members.”
Excellent Lesson Plan Resources From The New York Times Learning Network
“Using Times reporting and Opinion pieces, we offer teachers ideas and materials for addressing this tragedy in the classroom.” By The Learning Network, May 25, 2022
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 60 minutes.
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: Examine the title of the post and of the actual article. Next examine any photos. Write a paragraph describing what you think this article will discuss. A pre-reading organizer may be used.
II. While Reading Activities
Directions: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- This week’s massacre in Uvalde, Texas, was yet another grim reminder that gun violence in the U.S. is out of control.
- It has also, once again, spurred many to ask why the United States has failed to make any significant changes to its gun laws.
- Former schools shootings are still seared into the nation’s memory for the terrible violence that took the lives of students.
- The dangers young people face from firearms in America go well beyond school shootings, which account for only a fraction of all gun-related deaths.
- Guns are now the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in the U.S.
- When the total number of firearm deaths are counted, the U.S. ranks second in the world, after only Brazil.
- Five years ago, just under 4,000 children and teens up to the age of 17 were killed or injured by gun violence.
- In the 2018 shooting at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the shooter used his father’s guns.
- Most people killed by gun violence don’t die in mass shootings.
- Youth suicide using guns is rising
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. Identify the sentence (1, 2, or 3 ) from each group that contains the grammatical error.
- In the U.S. children is more likely to die from gun violence than in any other high-income country.
- The killing of 19 fourth-graders has unleashed an outpouring of grief and sadness across the nation.
- The threat to the nation’s children and teenagers is not only bad, but worsening.
- The firearm-related death rate in the U.S. ranks 32nd on the world.
- One factor in America’s high level of gun deaths is the massive number of guns in the country.
- The numbers of gun-related deaths and injuries are climbing.
- So far in 2022, at least 653 children and teens in the U.S. has been killed by guns.
- The highest rates for gun-related deaths are among people ages 15 to 34.
- Most people killed by gun violence don’t die in mass shootings.
Reading Comprehension Fill-ins
Directions: Place students in groups and after they have read the entire article, have them complete the following sentences taken from the article. They can use the words and terms from the list provided, or provide their own terms. They are to find the meanings of any new vocabulary.
Many___ come from inside the___.In 2012, the ___at Sandy Hook used his ___guns to kill ___and 26 children and school___members. In the 2018 ___at Santa Fe High School in Texas, the___used his ___guns.
WORD LIST: mother’s, shooter, father’s, shooting, staff, guns, home, shooter, her,
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: 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.
- According to the article in what other situations are children in this country facing gun violence?
- What was the leading cause of death among young children 40 years ago?
- What is the leading cause of death among young children today? Why?
- According to the article, compared to other countries, where does the United States stand in relation to gun violence?
- What seems to be one of the main reasons for the high number of gun deaths in the U.S.?
- At the K-12 schools, where do 80% of the mass shooters get their guns?
- According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where do most of the firearm deaths of people occur?
- List three new ideas that 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. Share your responses with your class.
- Group members make a list of ideas that might help protect children and other people from future gun violence in this country. Share your ideas with the class.