Hands-on English current events activity for March, 1999

Latest update: March 17, 1999

Note: You are welcome to print, copy and use this activity with your students. However, please don't re-publish it anywhere without permission.


ESL reading & discussion activity:

Joe DiMaggio, A Baseball Legend

This story contributed by Jill Kramer, ESL instructor at the Columbus Literacy Council in Columbus, Ohio. (Thank you, Jill!)

To the instructor:

Here is a story about the life of Joe DiMaggio, which we hope your students will enjoy reading. If you know anything about baseball, you know that it's a sport in which numbers are important. And so, appropriately, this story and the activities also focus on numbers.

The story is provided in two forms--both as complete text, and as a listening text with some of the numbers missing. For beginning and intermediate students, you can give them the incomplete text and have them fill in the numbers as they listen to the story.

Following the story are some comprehension questions, a re-telling exercise, and two follow-up activities including an interview and a writing topic.

We hope you and your students enjoy these activities!
--The Editor


Joe DiMaggio, A Baseball Legend

Americans love baseball and baseball stars. Many people were sad when Joe DiMaggio died on March 8, 1999. He was considered "the greatest living baseball player".

Joe played for the New York Yankees baseball team for 13 years. His nickname was the "Yankee Clipper." Why did people call him this? 'Clip' the ball sometimes means 'hit', and he was a very good hitter. But 'Yankee Clipper' is also the name of a beautiful sailing ship. To the people watching him play, DiMaggio looked smooth and graceful, like a ship.

Joe DiMaggio was born on November 25, 1914 in Martinez, California. His father was an immigrant from Italy, a fisherman. But Joe loved baseball. He became a professional player, first in San Francisco then in New York.

He arrived in New York in May 1936 at the age of 21. He quickly became a great player. He made many records. His most famous record was a 56 game hitting streak. That means, he hit at least one ball in every game, for 56 games. Although this was a long time ago, in 1941, many people alive today still remember it.

During World War Two Joe volunteered for the Army for two and a half years. He then returned to baseball. At the age of 37 DiMaggio retired. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married in January 1954. Marilyn Monroe was a famous movie star. They divorced after one year.

Joe DiMaggio died at the age of 84 in Hollywood, Florida. He died of lung cancer.


Listen to the story. Write in the numbers you hear.

Joe DiMaggio, A Baseball Legend

Americans love baseball and baseball stars. Many people were sad when Joe DiMaggio died on March _____, 1999. He was considered "the greatest living baseball player".

Joe played for the New York Yankees baseball team for _____ years. His nickname was the "Yankee Clipper." Why did people call him this? 'Clip' the ball sometimes means 'hit', and he was a very good hitter. But 'Yankee Clipper' is also the name of a beautiful sailing ship. To the people watching him play, DiMaggio looked smooth and graceful, like a ship.

Joe DiMaggio was born on November ______, 1914 in Martinez, California. His father was an immigrant from Italy, a fisherman. But Joe loved baseball. He became a professional player, first in San Francisco then in New York.

He arrived in New York in May 1936 at the age of _____. He quickly became a great player. He made many records. His most famous record was a _____ game hitting streak. That means, he hit at least _____ ball in every game, for _____ games. Although this was a long time ago, in 1941, many people alive today still remember it.

During World War _____ Joe volunteered for the Army for _____ and a half years. He then returned to baseball. At the age of _____ DiMaggio retired. Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe were married in January 1954. Marilyn Monroe was a famous movie star. They divorced after ______ year.

Joe DiMaggio died at the age of _____ in Hollywood, Florida. He died of lung cancer.



Questions about the story:

1. Why was Joe famous?

 

2. What team did he play for?

 

3. What was his nickname?

 

4. How long was his famous hitting streak?

 

5. How many years did he play?

 

6. When and where was he born?

 

7. Who did he marry?

 

8. How did Joe DiMaggio die?

 

9. Name two other sports that are popular in America.

 


Retell the story.

Here are six important dates and numbers in Joe DiMaggio's life. Look at the numbers and tell the story.

November 25, 1914

May 1936, age 21

1941, 56 games

1951, age 37

January 1954

March 8, 1999, age 84


Interview.

Talk to an American who is older than 70. Do they remember listening to baseball when they were young? What can they tell you about Joe DiMaggio?

 

Writing.

Write a conversation between young Joe, who wants to play baseball, and his father, who is a fisherman.

 


Editor's note: I'd be very interested to hear what you and your students thought of this activity! Thank you! We welcome teaching suggestions.--Anna Silliman.

 



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