Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swine Flu: The Lesson

Lesson of the Day: Swine flu and a pseudo-debate about vaccines
Video of the day: here is a NY Times lesson plan (not the one I used) about swine flu. The video is embedded.
Idioms of the Day: "in the air" "in full regalia" "to keep ___ at bay"
Lunch: Grilled pork with sauce and sesame leaves (no, thanks), cabbage kimchi, radish kimchi, rice, spicy seafood soup (yes, please - though I still have no idea how to dissect shellfish with chopsticks).
Highlight So Far: a student-generated pun! See below.

Kids Say the Darnedest Things:

1. A kid in 2-3's example to show she understands what "to keep someone at bay" means. "For example, you are at the bar. Suddenly, an ugly woman comes to you. And she says, 'can I sit here?' Then, you answer, 'Well, I have to go now.' You keep her at bay." Nice.

2. Cartoon drawing of a pig smiling and crying at the same time, next to a cartoon drawing of an H1N1 bacterium. Pig's thought bubble: "I don't have responsible for this pandemic!"

3. From one of my favorite students (who already knew all the idioms) - "When a spring popped up from my ball point pen, my friend said, 'hey look! Spring is in the air!'"
It's the first time I've heard one of my students make a pun! I can't tell you the joy that this brought me. On the other hand, if you're reading this blog, you probably know me well enough to imagine :)

More detailed explanation of my lesson plan (copied from/cross posted on the ETA forums):

Swine Flu and a Pseudo-Debate

Post by KayeD09 » Tue Oct 20, 2009 12:12 pm
So this morning, my coteacher informed me that a student was diagnosed with swine flu. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean school is cancelled. In fact, I'm pretty sure if the kids transformed into actual swine, that would not deter this school from show-must-go-on-ing. But it's all the kids could talk about. So I scrapped my original lesson plan for the day and took an hour to put this together. It actually went really well. So here goes:

Oct 20, 2009 [T]
G2 Swine Flu Lesson Plan

Introduce lesson: Today we're going to talk about the new influenza. What are some other names for H1N1? (Ss will call out "swine flu," "H1N1," write these on the board).
Many people are worried about swine flu. Why? What are some reasons people are worried about swine flu? (Wait for answers and respond to them).
One reason people are worried about swine flu is that it is the same type of virus as the 1918 Spanish Influenza (I was surprised to find that my students had read an article and watched a documentary about the 1918 epidemic - this next part might be more lecture-y in schools where the kids can't participate).
Why was the 1918 flu so scary? (Ss: Many people died, it spread quickly, the virus mutated, there was no cure, healthy people died, etc.) Then I did a mini-lesson on the Spanish flu, shamelessly cribbed from wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1918_flu_pandemic I'm at a science high school, so my kids geeked out the '05 gene sequencing , which was cool. I wasn't really teaching new information so much as using the subject as a vehicle to get them showing off what they knew, and therefore speaking English.
Most people in America are not as worried about swine flu as people in Korea are. When I first got to Korea, I was so surprised to see ajummas with masks everywhere! In New York, you might see one person with a mask on the subway. Maybe. But here, I am surprised if only see one person with a mask.
We are going to watch a video from the New York Times about fighting swine flu in New York City (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/ ... u-vaccine/. In case anyone wants to use it, the link leads to an LP from the Times, but its not an ESL LP. The video is embedded).

OK the rest is explanation so I'm ditching the italics. I paused the video to explain idioms/vocab words: "in the air" "in full regalia" "to keep something at bay," "to take precautions" and "metaphorical." I gave examples for each one and had them guess the meaning. For "to take precautions" I wrote "precaution" on the board and took a different marker and drew a line separating "pre" and "caution." Prefixes are in the govt education standards sometime in middle school, so high school kids should see what you're getting at. I also paused the video when the woman spoke very quickly or with poor diction, and just repeated what she'd said and asked Ss to paraphrase.

After the video finished, I gave students 3 minutes to write at least one complete sentence about something they'd learned. They could define an idiom or vocab word, talk about cultural differences in the USA and Korea re: swine flu, say something about the 1918 flu, or whatever. I walked around the room helping/correcting/waking up students.

Then I handed out articles to groups of 4 students. Half the room got the NY Times "Nothing to Fear but the Flu Itself" and half got "Swine Flu Vaccine Propaganda in NY TImes' Lesson for 6th Graders" (having trouble copy-pasting the links for some reason, but google, they'll be easy to find). They had to write down 2 arguments made by their article. I reminded them that analyzing English articles on science would be something they'll be doing a lot of, and that they can talk about the NY Times article in their college interviews. Then I asked each team to say a point made by their article. They didn't know they had different articles until we wrote their points on the board. In 2 of the 3 classes I've had so far, that sort of tricked them into having a debate as they each defended their article. Then they had about 1 minute left in class to say whether they thought getting a vaccine was a good idea (writing that down on the same piece of paper as the "what did you learn" sentence) which I collected and will correct and return.

It went pretty well, and my coteacher, who usually isn't in the classroom for my lessons, said she was really impressed by the lesson and I appeared well-prepared. So good luck, and, uh, don't get swine flu.

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