Current Events: Skiing on Mars

Hello everyone! I hope you had a lovely spring break (if you get one)! I was hoping to come back to sunshine and warm weather after spring break, but so far it’s just been rain and snow. Oh well! This week’s current events lesson plan is centered on snow/weather, so I hope you enjoy!

This week’s article is very short, and has a limited vocabulary. It is best for an elementary or low-intermediate ESL reading class. Like most of my lessons, this is prepared specifically for a college-level ESL reading class in the US, but it can easily be adapted to many other situations! It’s free to download – just click on the link below to download the lesson from Gumroad. Enjoy, and feel free to leave a comment if you use this lesson in class!


Click here to download this free ESL lesson!

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Current Events: Mail by Mule

Have you ever wondered how mail is delivered to people who live in remote or inaccessible locations? Check out this article about mail, mules, and the Grand Canyon to find out more!

Click here for the free lesson plan ‘Mail by Mule’!

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This lesson plan is specifically written for a college level, intermediate reading class, but can be adapted for many other uses!


This isn’t actually a current article…it dates from 2016, but Smithsonian Museums posted the article on their Twitter today, and I loved the content! I think this is a fun read, and I learned something new about how mail is delivered in the US!

Most Anticipated Releases: February 2018

There are so many good books coming out this year, and I want to share a few that might be fun to read with your ESL students! While I haven’t read any of these yet, I look forward to all of them and think they might be appropriate for a variety of ESL or EFL classrooms.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments or through email (eslliteraturelessonplans@gmail.com). What books are you looking forward to reading in February?

Note: Most of these are being released in the US. If you are located outside the US and are interested in these books, you will have to check with publishers in your country.


A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena29451548

Sixteen-year-old Zarin Wadia is many things: a bright and vivacious student, an orphan, a risk taker. She’s also the kind of girl that parents warn their kids to stay away from: a troublemaker whose many romances are the subject of endless gossip at school.  You don’t want to get involved with a girl like that, they say. So how is it that eighteen-year-old Porus Dumasia has only ever had eyes for her? And how did Zarin and Porus end up dead in a car together, crashed on the side of a highway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? When the religious police arrive on the scene, everything everyone thought they knew about Zarin is questioned. And as her story is pieced together, told through multiple perspectives, it becomes clear that she was far more than just a girl like that.

This beautifully written debut novel from Tanaz Bhathena reveals a rich and wonderful new world to readers. It tackles complicated issues of race, identity, class, and religion, and paints a portrait of teenage ambition, angst, and alienation that feels both inventive and universal

This book looks incredibly fascinating, and I can’t wait to see how the story plays out. I haven’t read the book, but my students usually tend to like contemporary novels because they can connect with the characters.

35297380American Panda by Gloria Chao

At seventeen, Mei should be in high school, but skipping fourth grade was part of her parents’ master plan. Now a freshman at MIT, she is on track to fulfill the rest of this predetermined future: become a doctor, marry a preapproved Taiwanese Ivy Leaguer, produce a litter of babies.

With everything her parents have sacrificed to make her cushy life a reality, Mei can’t bring herself to tell them the truth–that she (1) hates germs, (2) falls asleep in biology lectures, and (3) has a crush on her classmate Darren Takahashi, who is decidedly not Taiwanese.

But when Mei reconnects with her brother, Xing, who is estranged from the family for dating the wrong woman, Mei starts to wonder if all the secrets are truly worth it. Can she find a way to be herself, whoever that is, before her web of lies unravels?

I have already shared the title and premise of this book with a few students, and they seemed very interested. One has even preordered it! I can’t wait to get into this book – I think it will work well for an ESL reading class!

34506912The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

This is a graphic novel and looks SO GOOD. I love that it’s a fairy tale, but also deconstructs traditional gender norms. My students are very interested in talking about LGBTQ topics, so this may be a big hit in class!

25797017Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein by Jennifer Roy

At the start of 1991, eleven-year-old Ali Fadhil was consumed by his love for soccer, video games, and American television shows. Then, on January 17, Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein went to war with thirty-four nations lead by the United States.

Over the next forty-three days, Ali and his family survived bombings, food shortages, and constant fear. Ali and his brothers played soccer on the abandoned streets of their Basra neighborhood, wondering when or if their medic father would return from the war front. Cinematic, accessible, and timely, this is the story of one ordinary kid’s view of life during war.

I’m very intrigued by the premise of this book. I think it’s based on a true story (from the co-author). I may end up using this one for a future reading guide, depending on the content. I really enjoy books based on actual historical events.

The Serpent’s Secret by Sayantani DasGupta32618983

MEET KIRANMALA: INTERDIMENSIONAL DEMONSLAYER

(But she doesn’t know it yet.)

On the morning of her twelfth birthday, Kiranmala is just a regular sixth grader living in Parsippany, New Jersey… until her parents mysteriously vanish later that day and a rakkhosh demon slams through her kitchen, determined to eat her alive. Turns out there might be some truth to her parents’ fantastical stories—like how Kiranmala is a real Indian princess—and a wealth of secrets about her origin they’ve kept hidden.

To complicate matters, two crushworthy Indian princes ring her doorbell, insisting they’re here to rescue her. Suddenly, Kiran is swept into another dimension full of magic, winged horses, moving maps, and annoying, talking birds. There she must solve riddles and slay demons all while avoiding the Serpent King of the underworld (who may or may not want to kill her) and the rakkhosh queen (who definitely does) in order to find her parents and basically save New Jersey, her entire world, and everything beyond it…

This book looks like great fun, and I know my students always love a story with a lot of action and adventure!

Current Events: Active Volcano in the Philippines

There is currently an active volcano in the Philippines that might possibly erupt. What are people doing to stay safe? What are the dangers of living near a volcano? Read through this article and worksheet to learn more about this situation.

Edit: I wrote this article yesterday, when the volcano was threatening to erupt, but it looks like it has erupted after all. Check out an update here from NPR.


Click here for this free current events lesson plan!

Volcano

Current Events: False Ballistic Missile Warning Shakes Hawaii

This past week, all people living in Hawaii were sent a notification on their phone and through the news. This notification said that there was an incoming missile, and that all Hawaiians should look for shelter. There was actually no missile, so why was this notification sent? How did the people of Hawaii react? Read through this lesson plan and article to learn more about this event!

This lesson is best suited for a college-level intermediate ESL reading class. Depending on your class, this lesson runs about 30 minutes.


Click here for this free current events lesson plan!

(On Gumroad, you have to put in a dollar amount, so just put in $0 in this box, and you’re good to go!

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Current Events: Oprah for President 2020?

After receiving a prestigious award at the Golden Globes on Sunday night, many Americans are calling for Oprah to run for president in 2020. Is this a good idea, or not?

This lesson features an article from CNN edited for ESL learners, with some pre-reading questions, vocabulary preview, an active reading activity, vocabulary follow-up, post-reading questions, and a long answer question.

This lesson is best suited for a college-level intermediate ESL reading class. Depending on your class, this lesson runs about 30 minutes.

The lesson is free, so when you click the link, just make sure to type ‘0’ in the price box.


Click here for the free lesson plan ‘Current Events: Oprah for President 2020?’

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Remember, if you liked this lesson plan and have used it in class, please consider a small donation on Ko-fi so I can continue creating free content!

Warcross: ESL Teaching Guide

516zrvqj44l-_sx332_bo1204203200_Warcross by Marie Lu was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017, and it met all of my expectations! I LOVED this story, and thought it was a very fun and exciting read!

If you are teaching an ESL high-intermediate to advanced reading class this upcoming semester, consider using Warcross. The book takes place in a world where a virtual reality game (called Warcross) is so popular that 90% of the world’s population play the game in some way. The book tells the story of Emika Chen, a hacker who accidentally glitches herself into the opening game of the international Warcross championship tournament. If you have students like mine (mostly 18-21 years old, from Asian countries), they will definitely connect with the video game obsessed characters and virtual reality story line! There’s a lot of action, a little bit of romance, and plenty of topics that will lend themselves well to classroom discussion.

Warcross is an especially great book is you are considering gamifying your classroom this semester. There are a lot of concepts in the book that lend itself really well to gamifying, and I’ve written some suggestions in the teaching guide. Having a video game-themed semester sounds like a fun way to get students actively involved in learning English!

Click here for a sample of Warcross: ESL Teaching Guide

Click here to purchase the full, 18-page teaching guide!

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A Wrinkle in Time: An ESL Teaching Guide

Hope you guys are all having a Merry Christmas, if you’re celebrating! I’ve been on winter break for about a week now, and have been working hard on a new teaching guide!


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As a kid, A Wrinkle in Time was one of my all time favorite books to read, so you can bet that I am SUPER excited about the new movie coming out in March! This upcoming semester I happen to be teaching a reading class that is the perfect level for reading A Wrinkle in Time, and I can’t wait to introduce this childhood fave to my students. I’m planning on scheduling out the chapters so that we finish the novel right around the time the movie comes out, and I’m going to plan a field trip for us all to see it together!

Since I love this book so much, I’ve put together an ESL Teaching Guide for A Wrinkle in Time. Use this guide with an intermediate-level ESL class to support a class read-through of the novel. This guide contains vocabulary, comprehension questions, and writing/discussion questions for each of the 12 chapters in the novel. It also includes some suggestions for pre-reading and post-reading activities. It is written specifically for a university level intensive English program (since that is where my expertise is), but can be adapted for almost any other scenario.

It is my first paid guide, and is available from Gumroad for only $8 (which is definitely a steal since it saves you from having to write any quiz questions or come up with new activities…I’ve done it all for you)! My hope is to bring you a mix of quality free and paid content in the new year! As always, feel free to leave feedback via comments or email me at eslliteraturelessonplans@gmail.com. Enjoy!

 


Click here to purchase A Wrinkle in Time: ESL Teaching Guide

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Current Events: California Fires Leave Many Homeless

I’ve written a current events lesson based on the fires that are currently wreaking havoc across California. I’m hoping that through this lesson, students gain more awareness of natural disasters in the US and around the world, and figure out how they can help people in need.

This is definitely a lesson for more advanced students – the article is from the New York Times and has not been edited at all. The reading is long (about three pages), and features some advanced, academic vocabulary.

Click here for the free ESL current events lesson: California Fires Leave Many Homeless.


Remember, if you liked this lesson plan and have used it in class, please consider a small donation on Ko-fi so I can continue creating free content!

Current Events: National Coming Out Day

Today, October 11th, is National Coming Out Day in the US. I’ve written up a quick current events lesson plan on what National Coming Out Day is, and why it’s important for LGBTQ people in the United States. This activity includes pre-reading questions, an active reading activity, some vocabulary words, and post-reading questions.

Click here for the free ESL lesson plan ‘National Coming Out Day’


If you liked this lesson plan and have used it in class, please consider a small donation on Ko-fi so I can continue creating free content!