Teacher feedback about the Hands-on English current events activities:

Occasionally we hear from our readers with an interesting story or some good ideas about how they used these lessons with their students.We pass these along to you for inspiration!

March 17, 2001--Tax lesson useful in Family Literacy class

"Thank you for providing such a simple, useful lesson. My Family Literacy class, which includes ABE/GED and ESL students, worked through it yesterday. I'd like to comment that while I've always appreciated Hands-on English for ESL learners, I never before used it with such a diverse class. I think the reason it fit so well with this particular class is that we usually do whole and small group work around current events issues (usually newspaper), math and graphs, and family issues. Many learners are currently focused on Social Studies, too. This lesson covered them all in language simple enough for everyone to tackle.

"I think we need more, more, more materials like this for low level ESL and ABE learners. Having such lessons on the web in this format is an added bonus."

Thanks again, --Lora Zangari, Lancaster, PA


March 16, 2001--Tax lesson follow up!

"As a culminating activity for intermediate to high level students, I ask the students to form groups, 3 or 4 students per group. Each group has the task of:
1. deciding which level of government they want to be (federal, state, or local),
2. creating a new project that is needed on that level,
3. creating a new funding source to pay for it, ie, a new tax, and
4. explaining its idea to the class and responding to questions objecting to the proposal.

"One of my favorite responses was the group that decided that a new jail was needed and that the prisoners would have to pay room and board while incarcerated."

--Marilyn Kwitkin, Plainview, NY


August 22, 2000--Students as judges!
Here's an idea for a follow-up activity on the
Olympics theme:

"I videotape and show the short program for ice skating (winter) and gymnastics (summer) for 3 or 4 performances. We then have a discussion using comparisons and superlatives to discuss various aspects of a performance; i.e., costume, number of tricks, tumbles, etc. Students rate these and then compare their scores to the actual judging.
"This year, ballroom dancing will be an event and this lends itself to this activity very well."
--Marilyn Kwitkin, Plainview, NY

August 11, 2000--Amazing coincidence!

"Our church offers free conversation groups during the summer and I used your Olympic Torch Relay activity last night. It was a wonderful topic - our students are extremely diverse, usually I have no two from the same country, though several may speak Russian or Spanish, but it was wonderful because they all could connect with this topic and everyone could 'take part.' :)

"The reading material was good - not too difficult and yet interesting. My students really enjoyed talking about the motto and creed and expressing different opinions on whether they were true or not.

"Probably the most interesting part of the evening came when I asked each to share who their favorite athlete was. My Tajikistan student began to share that she had a neighbor who became a gymnast and won a gold medal for their country. Then my Chinese student shared that she, too, had a neighbor who had won China's very first gold medal for diving in 1984. There were 8 of us in the class, and though none of us had ever been to an Olympic game, two of us had neighbors who'd won a gold medal. We all thought this was remarkable!

"Thanks so much for the fantastic idea!"

--Tiffany Mathias in Reston, VA

If you have stories or experiences to share, please feel free to send the editor an email: Thank you!

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