Current Events Round-Up: The Olympics

I love when the Olympics roll around! It’s so much fun to watch all the athletes compete, and I love hearing about sportsmanship and determination. Below are a list of articles and stories that you can use in your ESL classroom if you want to discuss the Olympics! I’ve been talking about it all week with my students, and they are very interested!

There are so many fun things to do with the Olympics in an ESL class. I asked my communication class to discuss which Olympic sports they don’t know anything about, and then had them do some quick research and explain to the class what the rules of the sport are, and how you play it. This was extremely entertaining, and we’re still not quite sure about how curling is played and won!

Most of these stories are appropriate for low-intermediate through advanced ESL classes. For some, you may need to edit for vocabulary if you’d like to use it in the classroom.


Current Events Round-Up: Friday the 13th

Want to read about Friday the 13th in your ESL class today? Here are some links to a few different news stories about Friday the 13th. Reading/talking about Friday the 13th is a really fun way to discuss superstitions across cultures with your students. Whenever I bring up this topic in my class, my students are very eager to share their favorite superstitions!

If you want to listen to some spooky music while talking about Friday the 13th, check out NPR’s Superstitious Playlist!


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Current Events: The Burning Problem of China’s Garbage

Hey all! It’s been kind of a slow news week (well, not really, but I haven’t been able to find a news event that ESL students might be able to understand and relate to without a ton of background knowledge on US politics), so here’s another one-off story from NPR. I’ve adapted the original article for vocabulary and readability. The story is interesting, and I’ve found that many students enjoy talking about the environment.

Click here for the lesson plan “The Burning Problem with China’s Garbage”


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Current Events: The Wings on the Bus

Today’s current events is a little different – instead of doing a normal round-up of related news stories, I chose one news story from NPR and based a short lesson plan on it. I will do another current events link round-up later in the week. I thought this little article was too cool to pass up, though!


This article from NPR is a charming story of how students from a small island in Lake Erie get to school every day on an airplane. I think students will find this article entertaining, and it is very easy to read. Because of this, the lesson plan is designed for low-intermediate, or even high-beginner readers. There are several pre-reading discussion questions, an active reading activity, a very simple vocabulary matching exercise, true or false questions, and a short research/extension activity.

Click here for the current events lesson plan ‘The Wings on the Bus’

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Happy Monday!

Current Events Round-Up: Travel Ban

As an ESL instructor in the US, I work with students from a wide variety of languages and backgrounds, and it’s been an incredibly depressing weekend as far as tolerance and inclusivity go. I’m sure everyone in the US has heard about the Muslim/Middle East travel ban and the resulting protests at airports around the country. This is a really worthwhile topic to cover with your students, especially if you’re in the US and you have students who are affected by this and afraid to travel. This is also a good time to introduce the idea of the US Constitution, since the word ‘constitutional’ comes up in these articles quite a bit. I’ve compiled a list of articles from the past weekend that are accessible to students from low-intermediate to academic ESL students.


 


The Lesson: This lesson is based on an article similar to the last one on the list about MoMA changing some of their famous paintings to ones from artists that are from the countries affected by the travel ban. The article is not very long, but some of the vocabulary is difficult so it would work best for high-intermediate to academic students. This lesson includes pre-reading discussion questions, an active reading annotating activity, vocabulary in context, post-reading questions, and a research/extension activity at the end.

Click here for the ESL current events lesson ‘MoMA Takes a Stand’

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Current Events Round-Up: The Women’s March

I think the most dominant news story over this past weekend, even more popular than the Inauguration, was the Women’s March in Washington DC and other cities around the world. So I rounded up a collection of articles about the Women’s March, and they range in difficulty from low-intermediate to academic.

Since today is my first teaching day of the semester, I didn’t have much time to put together a lesson plan for this current events round-up. However, I think you’ll have plenty of material to use if you want to cover the Women’s March in class!

Happy Monday!

Current Events Round-Up: The Inauguration

Hey all! We’re coming up on the Inauguration (this Friday, right?) so I thought I’d throw together some links to articles related to the Inauguration. Also, I know that yesterday was MLK day which seems like it would make a great current events lesson, but I know there are already several ESL lessons about MLK out there, so I thought I’d pick something different!

As usual, the articles range in difficulty from low-intermediate to academic. The Inauguration is a topic that might require a lot of background info and cultural explanation, so make sure you include extra time in your lesson for discussion!

 


 

The Lesson Plan: This plan is based on the first article above…I wanted to choose an unbiased article examining the transition of leadership so that students with all views can discuss the Inauguration. This lesson plan includes pre-reading discussion questions, an active reading summary activity, vocabulary synonyms, and post-reading short answer questions.

Click here for the lesson plan ‘How the Permanent White House Staff Welcomes a New First Family’

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Current Events Round-Up: Golden Globe Awards

Hey everyone! I’m back from my winter hiatus with the first current events round-up of the year! Unfortunately, since I am just back from hiatus, I didn’t put together a lesson plan for this current events list. However, I figured most instructors might still be on break, especially if you teach at a university like I do (our semester doesn’t start until next week).

For this week’s round-up, I picked a pop culture news item from this weekend: the Golden Globes. As usual, these articles range in ability from low-intermediate to academic. I haven’t included any video links, but it might be fun to show some of the movie trailers to students and have them do short discussions on their opinions of the movies, whether they’ve seen them or not, and what they think the movie is about.

Happy Monday!

Current Events Round-Up: 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Last Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Not only did this attack result in America’s involvement in WWII, but it also resulted in a wave of anti-Japanese sentiment in the United States. This lead to thousands of Japanese around the United States being put in internment camps, and with the current anti-Muslim feelings around the country, as well as the idea of a national registry for Muslims, I thought it would be worthwhile for ESL students to analyze how this historical event relates to the current political climate.

If you teach an intermediate class, you could just stick to looking at Pearl Harbor from a purely historical standpoint – what happened, who was involved, what were the results? However, if you teach an advanced or academic class, I suggest having students compare and contrast the political climate post-Pearl Harbor with the current political climate.

Here are some different news articles around the web relating to the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. These links range in skill level from low-intermediate (who can usually read the NPR articles) to advanced or academic.

For teachers that want to compare and contrast anti-Japanese sentiment with current anti-Muslim sentiment:


The lesson plan is based on an NPR article that details the life of a woman who had lived in a Japanese internment camp. The article, however, does not actually address the reasons for Japanese internment camps, so you might want to start with one of the articles above, or a video about Japanese internment camps (there are a few short ones on Youtube). This lesson plan contains pre-reading discussion questions, and active reading activity on annotating, a vocabulary section, and post-reading short answer questions. There’s also an extension activity which might be more appropriate for advanced classes.

Click here for the lesson plan: A Japanese-American Reflects on The Lessons of Internment Camps

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Current Events Round-Up: Fake News Stories

In a new weekly post, I’d like to give you some resources for one current event topic that has been in the news (including social media). I’ll include several links to different news stories about the topics, and include at least one lesson plan that you can download and use in your class with very little prep.

These posts would be good for a recurring current events reading project – I’ve done a ‘Tuesday News-day’ project in several different reading classes. You can present a ready-to-go news article for students to read and analyze, or have students find their own articles to share with classmates.

This morning I woke up to news that a man had opened fire in a pizza shop because he so strongly believed in a conspiracy theory about Hillary Clinton. Because fake news is so prevalent on the internet and social media, and because current students do not know when news is fake or not, I thought that fake news might be a good place to start for the current events round-up. Below are a few links to news stories relating to fake news, and finally there’s a short lesson plan on how to recognize fake news stories. These links range in skill level from low-intermediate (who can usually read the NPR articles) to advanced.

The Lesson Plan: This is a lesson plan on learning to recognize fake news articles. Part of this is understanding the bias behind certain websites or organizations. This is difficult for American students, let alone international students. I would recommend making bias-recognition a regular part of class, especially if you are teaching a reading or writing class, so students can start to understand this in their IEP classes before moving on to university classes where they will be expected to be able to analyze sources. This lesson plan is most appropriate for intermediate and advanced readers. The majority of the words in the article (78%) are K-1 and K-2 words (words found within the 1000 and 2000 most commonly used words), but the length may be a bit difficult for low-intermediate readers.

Click here for the lesson plan ‘How to Recognize a Fake News Story’

Fake News Story

 

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Happy Monday!