“All three crew members of a fishing boat named Bing Bing were rescued after a woman working from home saw the vessel capsize off Scituate, Mass. “She saved our lives,” one survivor said.” N. Vigdor,The New York Times,Feb. 4, 2022
ESL Voices Lesson Plan for this post with Answer Key
Excerpt: A Sinking Boat Caught Her Eye During a Zoom Call, By Neil Vigdor,The New York Times,Feb. 4, 2022
“On a very clear day, Pam Harght can see Boston from her third-floor home office, which is roughly 30 miles to the southeast, but her eyes darted away from a Zoom call with her boss on Tuesday to the sea…A commercial fishing boat named Bing Bing that had been combing the choppy seas near Scituate, Mass., for surfclams had rolled over and partially disappeared, the authorities said…At that point, Ms. Harght said she excused herself from the meeting and called 911, figuring that surely others must have seen the overturned vessel and had already contacted emergency responders. But there was no one else, according to John P. Murphy, Scituate’s fire chief, who said on Friday that Ms. Harght had played a pivotal role in facilitating the rescue of all three of the boat’s crew members from the 42-degree waters of Massachusetts Bay…“She saved our lives,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her calling, nobody would have found us and nobody would have known.”
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: Analyzing headings and photos
Directions: Examine the titles of the post and of the actual article. Examine any 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: Try to infer the meanings of the words in bold taken from the article. You use a dictionary, thesaurus, and Word Chart for assistance.
- Pam eyes darted away from a Zoom call with her boss on Tuesday to the sea.
- A commercial fishing boat named Bing Bing had been combing the choppy seas near Scituate, Mass.
- Ms. Harght, 38 started working from home during the pandemic.
- Seconds later, the boat just vanished.
- The crew members, who were in the water for 45 minutes, were experiencing hypothermia.
- They also had ingested diesel fuel and were clinging to a hose from the boat.
- It is likely that part of the boat’s equipment for dredging caught on something, causing the vessel to overturn.
- Mr. Roderick, 50, a father of four from New Bedford, Mass. began to weigh his mortality.
- Mr. Roderick said that his chest was sore from treading water.
- Monte Rome, the owner of Intershell International, said that it was serendipitous that Ms. Harght had been watching.
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.
- Over a very clear day, Pam Harght can see Boston.
- Ms. Harght, lives in Marshfield, Mass.
- A commercial fishing boat had been combing the choppy seas.
- Ms. Harght started working from home during the pandemic.
- The crew members were in the water for 45 minutes.
- Chief Murphy said that all three men were expected to recover.
- All three crew member of a fishing boat were rescued.
- Ms. Harght, excused herself from the meeting and called 911.
- All three crew members had ingested diesel fuel.
Reading Comprehension: Identify The Speakers
Directions: Read the following quotes from the speakers in the article. Then identify the speakers.
- “My boss is in L.A. Thirty seconds later, the boat just vanished. That’s when my jaw just dropped.”
- “She must have just looked up at the right time. The stars were aligned for these gentlemen being alive today.”
- “I was thinking about my children. In my imagination, I was never going to make it home. It was ice-cold water out. It was terrifying.”
- “It was serendipitous that Ms. Harght had been watching and that the hose acted as a float.”
III. Post Reading Activities
Directions: Have students use this advanced organizer from Write Design to assist them with discussing or writing about the main idea and points from the article.
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.
- Have you ever saved someone’s life? If yes please describe the incident.
- Do you know of other stories where someone saved another person’s life or had their life saved?
- How did Ms. Harght see the sinking boat?
- Where does Ms. Harght’s boss live?
- What caused Ms. Harght to work from home?
- What did Ms. Harght do after she saw the boat vanish?
- How many crew members were there on the boat?
- How many of the men recovered?
- According to Chief Murphy what caused the boat to capsize?
- Why didn’t the men use their cell phones?
- 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.