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TeachNet Disseminator Grant      << Back to all Grant Winners

The New York Times Is For Everyone

Subject: English/Health/Science

Grade Level: 10-11

Materials: LCD projector, laptop, speakers, Internet connection

About: Students read, take notes on, and discuss articles from the New York Times website, analyze graphics linked to articles, view streaming video on the Times website. gain an undertstanding of why some diseases persist in developing countries when they have been eradicated in the developed world, analyze information and create solutions to problems of public health, and gain preparation for Regents Task I (Listening to Non-fiction and Note-taking) and Task II (Reading Non-Fiction for Information and Understanding).

Teachers may choose to give students a final web-based exam testing the skills learned OR have students use the Internet to research epidemics. NOTE: Only activity questions for Day 4 and the crossword puzzle for Day 3 are provided here (for lack of space). Other activity questions are readily avaiable.

An underlying aim of this unit is to demystify the New York Times: to show students that the issues and means of presentation in this renowned newspaper are diverse and engaging. After this unit, I hope students will return to NYTimes.com on their own without feeling overwhelmed. Moreover, I wish to broaden their perception of “English class.” Beyond reading literary texts, English is about informing the self, reading critically, and making connections. As such, this unit supports student learning in Geography, Health, Science, and Mathematics.

Lessons can be easily adapted to a 45-minute class. However, an important goal of this unit is the systematic, rigorous, and in-depth study of non-fiction, including strategies for reading, interpreting, and analyzing information. The aim is to teach active reading explicitly and systematically, as many students come to English class without the skill of close reading or the habit of re-reading when information is difficult.

 Objectives
Students will comprehend non-fiction articles using proven strategies such as highlighting and marginal note-taking.
Students will analyze informational graphics and statistical data.
Students will write about non-fiction with accuracy, clarity, and complexity.
Students will organize information (cause and effect, chronology and sequence, comparison and contrast, etc.).
Students will orally express their opinions about real-world issues, using the texts and their own experiences to justify, explain, or elaborate on their feelings.

Websites
Base website for entire series
http://nytimes.com/ref/health/2006_BRINK_SERIES.html
Video 1: Series Overview
http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_story=77549ceb1b1ae1777e43d4eedfaf7bcff47b0a31
original article: Lymphatic Filariasis (with links to graphics "life cycle" and "range")
http://nytimes.com/2006/04/09/world/americas/09lymph.html?ex=1188446400&en=64ae790529c64ca5&ei=5070
Video 2: Lymphatic Filariasis
http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_story=32104f44d5f69967fbc2085764716626c6cf2db8
unedited article: Guinea Worm (with links to graphics "life cycle" and "range")
http://nytimes.com/2006/03/26/international/africa/26worm.html?ex=1188446400&en=43fdbcf0595dce42&ei=5070
Video 3: Guinea Worm
http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_story=0e0ae4d492941154cd5b8daa3c84b1f8f19c4743
unedited article: Blinding Trachoma (with links to graphics "life cycle" and "range")
http://nytimes.com/2006/03/31/world/africa/31blind.html?ex=1188446400&en=7e58e6735b1012c8&ei=5070
Video 4: Blinding Trachoma
http://video.on.nytimes.com/index.jsp?fr_story=9bc8316667e5f3d7898a94fd1efdb11bddb7c011

Standards
As listeners and readers, students will collect data, facts, and ideas; discover relationships, concepts, and generalizations; and use knowledge generated from oral, written, and electronically produced texts.
10,11
English
Students read and listen to written and electronically produced texts and relate texts to their own lives, and develop an understanding of the diverse social, historical, and cultural dimensions the texts and performances represent.
10, 11
English
As listeners and readers, students analyze experiences, ideas, information, and issues presented by others using a variety of established criteria.
10,11
English
Students use oral and written language for effective social communication with a wide variety of people.
10,11
English

Day 1: Introducing the New York Times Series “Diseases on the Brink”
Objectives
Materials
LCD projector
speakers
laptops
highlighters
Procedures
Introduce the title of the series “Diseases on the Brink” and brainstorm its meaning.
Distribute activity sheet based on NYTimes.com video; give students explicit directions for understanding handouts.
Play the video once, directing students to look and listen for an overall understanding.
Play the video again, directing student to take brief notes on important information. Pause the video at specific intervals to allow time for students to write and process information.
Place students in groups of three, directing them to share information they’ve noted so far and find out what information they missed.
Play video a third time, pausing at specific intervals so students can write. Make pauses short enough that students can record information but are forced to be very quick in getting just the essential ideas.
Students answer activity questions individually.
Discuss the questions and answers as a class. Allow for different answers to analytical questions.
Discuss the upcoming series “Diseases on the Brink,” asking students what kind of information they expect to learn from any article on a disease. Record student responses, modeling bullet-point notation.
The final list should include: causes of the disease, method of transmission, symptoms, social, emotional and economic effects, challenges in fighting the disease, and statistics.
Homework
Assessment
Activity questions and class notes as part of portfolio assessment

Day 2: Lymphatic Filariasis
Objectives
(see unit objectives)
Materials
LCD projector and laptops
Student copies of New York Times article “Beyond Swollen Limbs, A Disease’s Hidden Agony” (adapted for classroom use)
poster-size version of article and graphics for whole-class modeling and discussions
Student world map (individual copies)
Procedures
Tell students the first disease “on the brink” to be studied is lymphatic filariasis and elicit the meaning of “disease on the brink.”
Distribute adapted version of New York Times article “Beyond Swollen Limbs, A Disease’s Hidden Agony.”
Mini-lesson on active reading for newspaper articles. Rather than lecturing, elicit ideas from the class. You may ask, “What’s the first thing you would do when you’re reading this article?”
Read-aloud of article. The teacher models fluent reading through pausing, intonation, and stress.
After the first few paragraphs, stop and ask the class what important information they’ve read so far. Guide them in thinking of how these details fit into categories. Tell them to refer to their predictions for articles on diseases. Elicit answers to the question, “What kind of information has the article given so far?”
On the poster-size version, model how to make marginal notes. For example, the first few paragraphs told them the physical symptoms and countries affected.
Continue reading the article in chunks, so students can make marginal notes. After each pause, ask students what marginal notes they made, asking them to quote from the article to prove their point.
Teach students how to highlight effectively. Place students in groups of three and direct them to highlight no more than about 12 lines they've all agreed are important.
Direct students to turn to the graphic accompanying the article. They should access the graphics from their own laptops on nytimes.com. You may also provide printouts of the graphics. This will followed by class discussion.
Students access NYTimes.com video on lymphatic filariasis on their laptops. After viewing, ask students to write about their impressions. The prompt may be “What parts of the video struck/ intrigued/disturbed you and why?" View and discuss as a class.
Homework
Assessment
Class notes and student copy of article (with highlighting and marginal notes) for portfolio assessment/Comprehension Questions: Graphic/Quiz

Day 3: Guinea Worm (3)
Objectives
(see unit objectives)
Materials
LCD projector, laptops and speakers
student copies of New York Times article “Dose of Tenacity Wears Down Horrific Disease” (adapted for classroom use)
highlighters
student world map (individual copies)
Procedures
see Day 2
Distribution of article and predictions on content
Read-aloud of article as students make marginal notes
Interpreting and responding to the graphics
Student viewing of and written response to NYTimes.com video (if individual laptops are not available, one laptop will do for the whole class)
Quiz
Vocabulary review using mw.com
Homework
Assessment
Student copy of article (with highlighting and marginal notes) for portfolio assessment/Crossword puzzle based on article/Comprehension Questions: Graphic/Quiz

Day 4: Blinding Trachoma
Objectives
(see unit objectives)
Materials
LCD projector, speakers and laptops
student copies of New York Times article “Preventable Disease Blinds Poor in Third World” (adapted for classroom use)
poster-size version of article, graphics and data from The Economist
student world map (individual copies)
Procedures
see day 2
Distribution of article and predictions on content
Read-aloud of article as students make marginal notes
Interpreting and responding to the graphics
Student viewing of and written response to NYTimes.com video (if individual laptops are not available, one laptop will do for the whole class)
Quiz
Vocabulary review using mw.com
Homework
Assessment
Student copy of article (with highlighting and marginal notes) for portfolio assessment/Comprehension Questions: Article (Group Work)/Comprehension Questions: Graphic/Comprehension Questions: Video

Day 5: Final Assessment: Internet-based Exam or Research Project
Objectives
Students show their level of proficiency in reading comprehension, marginal note-taking, and highlighting (article).
Students show their level of proficiency in listening comprehension (video).
Students show their level of proficiency in comprehension of graphics.
Students show their level of proficiency in analysis of statistics.
Students show their level of proficiency in essay writing.
Materials
Student copies of article (edited version) “Slowly Africa Starts to Care for AIDS Children”
LCD projector, speakers and laptop, and exam essay prompt
Original unedited article with link to Graphic: http://nytimes.com/2006/03/08/international/africa/08lesotho.html?ex=1188446400&en=b75531a2dd5d8cbc&ei=5070
Video: http://nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2006/03/04/international/20060305_LESOTHO_FEATURE.html
Procedures
Students read and respond to article and graphic.
Teacher plays NYTimes.com video (play up to three times, with pauses). Students respond to video.
Students write an organized, well-developed essay. This is an “open-book” test; students may refer to their portfolio of articles and class work.
Alternative Assessment: Group Research and Presentations Website: http://nytimes.com/learning/teachers/lessons/19990317wednesday.html?searchpv=learning_lessons
Students use the Internet to investigate the effects epidemics have on individuals and societies, then create informational posters to present their findings to the class. Among The New York Times Learning Network’s suggestions are: polio, cholera, Ebola, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, influenza, mad cow, bubonic plague, smallpox, tuberculosis. Teacher should prepare list of websites for each disease.
Homework
Assessment

Antonesha Harris

amh250@yahoo.com

Bronx Leasdeship Academy
1710 Webster Avenue
Bronx, NY 10462

Antonesha has been teaching English since the fall of 2004 through the Teaching Fellows program. She enjoys getting her students excited about complicated texts.


Important documents for this lesson plan.

diseases on the brink_blinding trachoma_edited.doc
trachoma_article comprehension questions.doc
trachoma_comprehending graphics.doc
trachoma_video comprehension questions.doc
guinea_worm_article_crossword.doc

 

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