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Friday December 24, 2004
The US dollar fell to a new-time low of $1.3486 against the euro earlier amid new concerns about the strength of the US economy. The greenback has weakened continuously since September due to concerns over trade, low levels of consumer spending, an increasingly mammoth budget deficit, and the prospect of more federal cash being pumped into Iraq. This is also of prime concern in Euroland where strong euro is hurting their exports. French finance minister said there could be world “economic catastrophe” unless measures are taken to stem the rising euro. However, European Central Bank President, controller of the 12-nation currency will not yet take action and intervene in the currency market to halt the dollar’s slide. The dollar has lost 63 percent against the euro since October 2000, when it was just 82 cents. Analysts believe the Euro will continue to grow stronger. Adrian Hughes of HSBC said, “I can see it finishing the year around $1.35 and we can see that it's going to be a steady track upward for the euro/dollar in 2005, finishing the year around $1.40.”
POSSIBLE WARM UPS / COOL DOWNS
1. CHAT: Talk in pairs or groups about the dollar / the euro / your country’s currency / international money markets / US economy / your country’s economy / …
2. DOLLAR BRAINSTORM: Brainstorm any words students associate with the dollar and write them on the board. In pairs students have to put them into categories (of their own choosing), swap partners and then explain their categories. Ask each other questions about the words.
3. MY ECONOMY: Talk about the economy of your country and how important Euroland and America are.
4. 2-MINUTE DEBATES: Students face each other in pairs and engage in the following (for-fun) 2-minute debates. Students A are assigned the first argument, students B the second. Rotate pairs to ensure a lively pace and noise level is kept:
1. WORD SEARCH: Students look in their dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … of the words ‘dollar’, and ‘euro’.
2. HEADLINE: Put the article headline on the board for students to talk about / predict / speculate. Pairs / groups formulate and present their own guesses as to the contents of the report.
3. TRUE / FALSE: Students look at the headline and predict whether they believe the following statements are true or false:
(a) The outlook for the US economy is bright. T / F
4. PHRASE MATCH: Students match the following phrases based on the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):
WHILE READING ACTIVITIES
1. GAP-FILL: Put the missing words under each paragraph into the gaps.
Dollar hits all-time low against Euro
2. TRUE/FALSE: Students check their answers to the T/F exercise.
3. PHRASE MATCH: Students check their answers to the phrase match exercise.
4. QUESTIONS: Students make notes for questions they would like to ask the class about the article.
5. VOCABULARY: Students circle any words they do not understand. In groups pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find the meanings.
POST READING IDEAS
1. GAP-FILL: Check the answers to the gap-fill exercise.
2. QUESTIONS: Students ask the discussion questions they thought of above to their partner / group / class. Pool the questions for all students to share.
3. VOCABULARY: As a class, go over the vocabulary students circled above.
4. STUDENT-GENERATED DOLLAR SURVEY: Pairs/Groups write down 3 questions based on the article. Conduct their surveys alone. Report back to partners to compare answers. Report to other groups / the whole class. Back in pairs students discuss their findings.
5. DOLLAR DISCUSSION: Students ask each other the following questions based on the article:
(a) Are you interested in the plight of the dollar?
1. VOCAB EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or the Google search field to build up more associations / collocations of each word.
2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find more information on Homo floresiensis. Share your findings with your class next lesson.
3. DOLLAR/EURO INFO: Create a poster tracking the changing exchange rates between the dollar and euro, including reasons for particular slides.
4. LETTER TO GEORGE: Write a letter to US President George W. Bush telling him what should be done about the sliding dollar.
TRUE / FALSE:
(a) The outlook for the US economy is bright. F