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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on Dangerous Driving and Britney Spears

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Britney Spears admits baby driving mistake


Date: Feb 11, 2006
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:48 - 212.4 KB - 16kbps)

 
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THE ARTICLE

Pop singer Britney Spears has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again, this time for driving her SUV with her four-month-old son seated on her lap. While she has admitted how reckless and dumb her actions were, she has apportioned a considerable amount of blame on the paparazzi. She said the celebrity-obsessed photographers hound her to the extent that she feels she is constantly escaping their attentions. Ms Spears claimed she instinctively put her son between her and the steering wheel in an attempt to avoid a waiting “pack” of “aggressive” cameramen. The media agency that took the pics rebutted her claims, saying: “These pictures were taken in a very peaceful context, in which photographers exhibited no aggressive behavior.”

Spears may face prosecution for violating traffic safety laws. California regulations require children to be secured in a child-safety seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 27 kg. A police spokesperson said Ms. Spears would have been fully aware of the legalities and repercussions of her recklessness. He said a deputy sheriff had already paid a visit to Spears’ Malibu home at the request of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family services, who are apparently up in arms at the irresponsible and “downright dangerous” example set by the singer. They said it is quite routine to report incidents where a child has been endangered due to a failure to properly restrain them in a car. The matter is now pending with the LA Police Department.

WARM-UPS

1. CELEBRITIES: Write down the name of some celebrities who have broken the law. Talk about these in pairs / groups. What punishment did they receive? Was it the same as a “normal” person would get? Do you think famous people get treated differently under the law?

2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, decide which of these topics or words are most interesting and which are most boring.

Pop singers / headlines / SUVs / recklessness / paparazzi / steering wheels / photos / traffic safety laws / child car seats / sheriffs / Los Angeles / setting good examples

Have a chat about the topics you liked. For more conversation, change topics and partners frequently.

3. CAR SAFETY: Which of these points are subject to traffic laws in your country? Would you like to see any of them tightened up?

  • Child seats
  • Children sitting in the front
  • Smoking in a car and children
  • Speed and children
  • Stickers to warn other drivers
  • The number of children in a car
  • Seat belts
  • Other

4. OPINIONS: Do you agree with these opinions on celebrities and the law?

  1. Celebrities should be treated exactly the same as everyone else under the law.
  2. Celebrities have a duty to set a good example to others.
  3. Famous people are under different pressures and should be treated differently.
  4. Too many celebrities get away with crimes because they are rich and famous.
  5. Celebrity lawbreakers should get bigger punishments to set an example.
  6. Famous people should work to encourage us to keep to the law.
  7. Britney Spears had no excuse to break the law by putting her son on her lap.

5. HEADLINES: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word “headlines”. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

6. HOUNDED: You are a famous star. Everyone in the street recognizes you. The paparazzi constantly follow you and photograph your every move. Talk to the other “stars” in the class about being famous. What do you think of the paparazzi? In what ways is your life not normal?


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Look at the article’s headline and guess whether these sentences are true (T) or false (F):

a.

Britney Spears allowed her baby son to steer her car at 80 kph.

T / F

b.

Ms. Spears has admitted her actions were reckless and dumb.

T / F

c.

Ms. Spears said she was afraid of a hound owned by a photographer.

T / F

d.

A photo agency said it took pics of Ms. Spears in a peaceful manner.

T / F

e.

In California, children up to the age of six must use child seats in cars.

T / F

f.

Los Angeles police visited Ms. Spears at her home after the incident.

T / F

g.

A family group has called Ms. Spears’ actions “upright dangerous”.

T / F

h.

The LA Police Department said the matter is now fully resolved.

T / F

2. SYNONYM MATCH: Match the following synonyms from the article:

a.

reckless

flouting

b.

hound

repudiated

c.

instinctively

awaiting action

d.

rebutted

demonstrated

e.

exhibited

thoroughly

f.

violating

foolhardy

g.

repercussions

intuitively

h.

up in arms

consequences

i.

downright

harry

j.

pending

angry

3. PHRASE MATCH: Match the following phrases from the article (sometimes more than one combination is possible):

a.

hit the headlines

of her recklessness

b.

she has admitted how reckless

no aggressive behavior

c.

apportioned a considerable

of aggressive cameramen

d.

avoid a waiting pack

a visit to Spears’ Malibu home

e.

photographers exhibited

with the LA Police Department

f.

Spears may face prosecution

amount of blame on the paparazzi

g.

the legalities and repercussions

for the wrong reasons again

h.

a deputy sheriff had already paid

arms at…

i.

up in

and dumb her actions were

j.

The matter is now pending

for violating traffic safety laws

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the gaps in the text.

Britney Spears admits baby driving mistake

Pop singer Britney Spears has hit the ________ for the wrong reasons again, this time for driving her SUV with her four-month-old son seated on her ________. While she has admitted how reckless and ________ her actions were, she has ________ a considerable amount of blame on the paparazzi. She said the celebrity-obsessed photographers hound her to the ________ that she feels she is constantly escaping their ________. Ms. Spears claimed she instinctively put her son between her and the steering wheel in an attempt to avoid a waiting “________” of “aggressive” cameramen. The media agency that took the pics rebutted her claims, saying: “These pictures were taken in a very peaceful ________, in which photographers exhibited no aggressive behavior.”

 

 

extent
dumb
context
apportioned
headlines
attentions
lap
pack

Spears may face prosecution for ________ traffic safety laws. California regulations require children to be ________ in a child-safety seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 27 kg. A police spokesperson said Ms. Spears would have been fully ________ of the legalities and repercussions of her recklessness. He said a deputy sheriff had already ________ a visit to Spears’ Malibu home at the request of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family services, who are ________ up in arms at the irresponsible and “downright dangerous” example set by the singer. They said it is quite ________ to report incidents where a child has been endangered due to a failure to properly ________ them in a car. The matter is now ________ with the LA Police Department.

 

paid
routine
secured
pending
apparently
violating
restrain
aware

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Britney Spears admits baby driving mistake

Pop singer Britney Spears has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again, this time for driving her SUV with her four-month-old son ________ on her lap. While she has admitted how reckless and _____ her actions were, she has ______________ a considerable amount of blame on the paparazzi. She said the celebrity-obsessed photographers _______ her to the extent that she feels she is constantly escaping their attentions. Ms Spears claimed she instinctively put her son between her and the steering wheel in an attempt to _______ a waiting “pack” of “aggressive” cameramen. The media agency that took the pics __________ her claims, saying: “These pictures were taken in a very peaceful context, in which photographers __________ no aggressive behavior.”

Spears may face prosecution for __________ traffic safety laws. California regulations require children to be __________ in a child-safety seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 27 kg. A police spokesperson said Ms. Spears would have been fully aware of the __________ and repercussions of her recklessness. He said a deputy sheriff had already paid a visit to Spears’ Malibu home at the request of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family services, who are __________ up in arms at the irresponsible and “__________ dangerous” example set by the singer. They said it is quite routine to report incidents where a child has been endangered due to a failure to properly _______ them in a car. The matter is now ___________ with the LA Police Department.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

1. WORD SEARCH: Look in your dictionaries / computer to find collocates, other meanings, information, synonyms … for the words ‘matter’ and ‘pending’.

  • Share your findings with your partners.
  • Make questions using the words you found.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

2. ARTICLE QUESTIONS: Look back at the article and write down some questions you would like to ask the class about the text.

  • Share your questions with other classmates / groups.
  • Ask your partner / group your questions.

3. GAP FILL: In pairs / groups, compare your answers to this exercise. Check your answers. Talk about the words from the activity. Were they new, interesting, worth learning…?

4. VOCABULARY: Circle any words you do not understand. In groups, pool unknown words and use dictionaries to find their meanings.

5. STUDENT “CHILD SEAT” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about holidays and sick days.

  • Ask other classmates your questions and note down their answers.
  • Go back to your original partner / group and compare your findings.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

6. TEST EACH OTHER: Look at the words below. With your partner, try to recall exactly how these were used in the text:

  • hit
  • reckless
  • amount
  • hound
  • pack
  • peaceful
  • face
  • aware
  • paid
  • arms
  • downright
  • pending

DISCUSSION

STUDENT A’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student B)

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. Do you like Britney Spears?
  3. What do you think of celebrities who break the law?
  4. What are the laws regarding child safety and cars in your country?
  5. Do you think the laws should be stricter?
  6. What punishment do you think Britney Spears should receive?
  7. What punishment should people receive if children are injured or killed because they are not in child seats in an accident?
  8. What do you think of the paparazzi?
  9. Do you think the photographers are to blame in any way in this story?
  10. Do you think celebrities should show more patience with the media?

STUDENT B’s QUESTIONS (Do not show these to student A)

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What do you think about what you read?
  3. Would you like to be very famous and be followed by photographers?
  4. Do you think child safety seats are essential every time?
  5. Do you think it is right for stars and celebrities to get preferential treatment under the law?
  6. What other laws would you like to see passed to protect children in cars?
  7. Do you think cars should be automatically fitted with seats to protect children?
  8. Do you think it is becoming safer or more dangerous to drive a car?
  9. Do you think you would have acted similarly if you were Britney Spears?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

AFTER DISCUSSION: Join another partner / group and tell them what you talked about.

  1. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  2. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  3. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  4. What did you like talking about?
  5. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

CHILD SAFETY: In pairs / groups, think of new laws to make it safer for children to be in cars. Create the penalties for people breaking these laws.

 

LAW

PENALTY

Child seats

 

 

Children sitting in the front

 

 

Smoking in a car and children

 

 

Speed and children

 

 

Stickers to warn other drivers

 

 

The number of children in a car

 

 

Seat belts

 

 

Change partners / groups. Tell each other your laws and penalties. Give each other feedback on them.

Return to your original partner(s) and share what you heard from your earlier partner(s).

Conduct a class survey to find out what the most common laws and penalties were.

HOMEWORK

1. VOCABULARY EXTENSION: Choose several of the words from the text. Use a dictionary or Google’s search field (or another search engine) to build up more associations / collocations of each word.

2. INTERNET: Search the Internet and find information on previous occasions on which Britney Spears has hit the headlines. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. SURVEY: Conduct your own “child seat” survey among your family and friends. Report your findings to your partner(s) in your next class. Did you all write about similar things?

4. CAR SAFETY: Write an essay on your thoughts about car safety and children. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. F

d. T

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

reckless

foolhardy

b.

hound

harry

c.

instinctively

intuitively

d.

rebutted

repudiated

e.

exhibited

demonstrated

f.

violating

flouting

g.

repercussions

consequences

h.

up in arms

angry

i.

downright

thoroughly

j.

pending

awaiting action

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

hit the headlines

for the wrong reasons again

b.

she has admitted how reckless

and dumb her actions were

c.

apportioned a considerable

amount of blame on the paparazzi

d.

avoid a waiting pack

of aggressive cameramen

e.

photographers exhibited

no aggressive behavior

f.

Spears may face prosecution

for violating traffic safety laws

g.

the legalities and repercussions

of her recklessness

h.

a deputy sheriff had already paid

a visit to Spears’ Malibu home

i.

up in

arms at…

j.

The matter is now pending

with the LA Police Department

GAP FILL:

Britney Spears admits baby driving mistake

Pop singer Britney Spears has hit the headlines for the wrong reasons again, this time for driving her SUV with her four-month-old son seated on her lap. While she has admitted how reckless and dumb her actions were, she has apportioned a considerable amount of blame on the paparazzi. She said the celebrity-obsessed photographers hound her to the extent that she feels she is constantly escaping their attentions. Ms. Spears claimed she instinctively put her son between her and the steering wheel in an attempt to avoid a waiting “pack” of “aggressive” cameramen. The media agency that took the pics rebutted her claims, saying: “These pictures were taken in a very peaceful context, in which photographers exhibited no aggressive behavior.”

Spears may face prosecution for violating traffic safety laws. California regulations require children to be secured in a child-safety seat until they are at least 6 years old or weigh 27 kg. A police spokesperson said Ms. Spears would have been fully aware of the legalities and repercussions of her recklessness. He said a deputy sheriff had already paid a visit to Spears’ Malibu home at the request of the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family services, who are apparently up in arms at the irresponsible and “downright dangerous” example set by the singer. They said it is quite routine to report incidents where a child has been endangered due to a failure to properly restrain them in a car. The matter is now pending with the LA Police Department.

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Copyright © 2006 by Sean Banville