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Date: August 31, 2008
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: 1:59 - 932KB - 64kbps
Online Test: Recreate the text
  
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Breaking News English.com's e-Book

Related materials from ESL Discussions.com on the U.S. Election and Sarah Palin.
Related materials from FamousPeopleLessons.com on Sarah Palin and John McCain.

THE ARTICLE

McCain picks female running mate

The U.S. presidential campaign took a surprise turn on Friday night with John McCain’s selection of his running mate. McCain, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday, picked the little-known governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to run as his vice-president. Many view McCain’s choice as a huge gamble, while others see it as a wise selection. Democrats immediately accused McCain of double standards. He has spent the whole summer attacking Barack Obama for being too young and inexperienced. Sarah Palin, at 44, is even younger than Obama and has almost no political experience. She served as mayor of a town in Alaska with a population of less than 10,000, and has spent 18 months as Alaskan governor. In November, she could be one step away from the most powerful job in the world.


 
 

John McCain explained to Republican delegates why he chose Palin: "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain told 15,000 supporters. Palin seemed to be a popular choice with conservatives. She is pro-life, a working-class mother of five and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She is also prepared to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected seas. Republicans will be hoping she can attract many female voters. It is the first time the Republican Party has chosen a woman to run for the White House. Palin now has to convince Americans she’s up for the job of vice-president. Only one month ago, she asked in a televised interview: “What is it exactly that a VP does every day?"


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. ELECTIONS: Walk around the class and talk to other students about elections. Change partners often. After you finish, sit with your partner(s) and share your findings.

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

 

U.S. Presidents / campaigns / birthdays / gambles / double standards / inexperience / explanations / politics / popular choices / working class / voters / televised interviews

Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.

3. RUNNING MATES: What kind of people would you like to be your partner? Complete the table below. Write your reasons why. Change partners and share your ideas.

Partner

What they need

Why?

In marriage

 

 

In business

 

 

In English class

 

 

With my hobby

 

 

When travelling

 

 

Other _________

 

 

4. AND THE WINNER IS…: Students A strongly believe John McCain will be the next U.S. President; Students B strongly believe Barack Obama will be the next U.S. President. Change partners again and talk about your roles and conversations.

5. WHAT’S IMPORTANT?: What’s important for the leader of a country? Rank the following in order of importance. Change partners to share and discuss your ranking.

_____  Intelligence

_____  Charisma

_____  Experience

_____  Knowledge of foreign affairs

_____  Energy

_____  Ideas

_____  Good looks

_____  Support from the military

6. CAMPAIGN: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word ‘campaign’. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

U.S. presidential candidate John McCain has found a jogging partner.

T / F

b.

Sarah Palin has political experience in the state of Alaska.

T / F

c.

McCain believes his rival Barack Obama is too young to be President.

T / F

d.

Sarah Palin has around eighteen years of political experience.

T / F

e.

John McCain told Americans Sarah Palin is exactly who the USA needs.

T / F

f.

Sarah Palin is not in favour of abortion.

T / F

g.

Sarah Palin is a conservationist who wants to protect all the oceans.

T / F

h.

Palin said on TV she knew everything about the vice-president’s job.

T / F

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

1.

turn

a.

ready

2

selection

b.

criticizing

3.

gamble

c.

just

4.

attacking

d.

fans

5.

served

e.

choice

6.

exactly

f.

win over

7.

supporters

g.

worked

8.

prepared

h.

change of direction

9.

attract

i.

persuade

10.

convince

j.

risk

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

1.

The U.S. presidential campaign took

a.

standards

2

the little-

b.

for oil

3.

accused McCain of double

c.

I need

4.

She served as

d.

many female voters

5.

she could be one

e.

a surprise turn

6.

She's exactly who

f.

for the job

7.

Palin seemed to be a popular

g.

mayor of a town in Alaska

8.

prepared to drill

h.

step away

9.

she can attract

i.

known governor of Alaska

10.

convince Americans she’s up

j.

choice with conservatives

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words into the gaps in the text.

The U.S. presidential campaign took a surprise __________ on Friday night with John McCain’s selection of his running mate. McCain, who was __________ his 72nd birthday, picked the little-known governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to __________ as his vice-president. Many view McCain’s choice as a huge __________, while others see it as a wise selection. Democrats immediately accused McCain of __________ standards. He has spent the whole summer attacking Barack Obama for being too __________ and inexperienced. Sarah Palin, at 44, is even younger than Obama and has almost no political experience. She __________ as mayor of a town in Alaska with a population of less than 10,000, and has spent 18 months as Alaskan governor. In November, she could be one __________ away from the most powerful job in the world.

 

double
run
step
turn
young
gamble
celebrating
served

John McCain explained to Republican delegates why he __________ Palin: "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me __________ the same old Washington politics of me first and country __________," McCain told 15,000 supporters. Palin seemed to be a popular choice with conservatives. She is pro-life, a working-class __________ of five and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She is also prepared to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected __________. Republicans will be hoping she can attract many female voters. It is the first time the Republican Party has __________ a woman to run for the White House. Palin now has to convince Americans she’s up for the __________ of vice-president. Only one month ago, she asked in a televised interview: “What is it __________ that a VP does every day?"

 

seas
 
fight
mother
exactly
chose
chosen
job
second

LISTENING:  Listen and fill in the spaces.

The U.S. presidential campaign _______________ turn on Friday night with John McCain’s selection of his running mate. McCain, _________________ his 72nd birthday, picked the little-known governor of Alaska Sarah Palin _______________ vice-president. Many view McCain’s choice as a huge gamble, while others _______________ selection. Democrats immediately accused McCain of double standards. He has spent the whole summer attacking Barack Obama ________________ and inexperienced. Sarah Palin, at 44, is even younger than Obama and has almost no political experience. She _______________ of a town in Alaska with a population of less than 10,000, and has spent 18 months as Alaskan governor. In November, she could _________________ from the most powerful job in the world.

John McCain explained to Republican delegates _______________ Palin: "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country _______________ me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain told 15,000 supporters. Palin _______________ popular choice with conservatives. She is pro-life, a working-class mother of five _______________ member of the National Rifle Association. She is also prepared to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected seas. Republicans will be hoping _______________ many female voters. It is the first time the Republican Party has chosen a woman to run for the White House. Palin now has to convince Americans _______________ job of vice-president. Only one month ago, she asked in a televised interview: “What _______________ a VP does every day?"


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

vice

president

 

 

 

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

  • turn
  • celebrating
  • huge
  • summer
  • served
  • one step
  • delegates
  • fight
  • pro
  • oil
  • chosen
  • interview

STUDENT ELECTION SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about elections in the table. Do this in pairs. Each student must write the questions on his / her own paper.

When you have finished, interview other students. Write down their answers.

STUDENT 1

_____________

STUDENT 2

_____________

STUDENT 3

_____________

Q.1.

Q.2.

Q.3.

Q.4.

Q.5.

  • Now return to your original partner and share and talk about what you found out. Change partners often.
  • Make mini-presentations to other groups on your findings.

ELECTION DISCUSSION

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

a)

What did you think when you read the headline?

b)

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘U.S. President’?

c)

Have you been following the U.S. Presidential campaign?

d)

What do you think of John McCain?

e)

Do you think McCain choosing Sarah Palin is a safe bet or huge gamble?

f)

Do you think John McCain is too old to be president?

g)

What do you think of McCain for accusing Barack Obama of being too young and inexperienced?

h)

What do you think of Sarah Palin’s qualifications to be vice-president?

i)

If McCain becomes president and then dies, Palin would be America’s leader. What do you think of this?

j)

What do you know about Sarah Palin?

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

Do you think Sarah Palin is exactly who John McCain needs?

c)

Do you think Washington politics will change if McCain and Palin win the election?

d)

Would you vote for McCain and Palin?

e)

Do you think Barack Obama should have chosen Hillary Clinton as his running mate?

f)

Would a woman vice-president change anything in America?

g)

Do you think Sarah Palin will do well during the election campaign?

h)

What exactly is it a VP does every day?

i)

Are American elections similar to your country’s elections?

j)

What questions would you like to ask John McCain and Sarah Palin?

LANGUAGE

The U.S. presidential campaign took a surprise (1) ____ on Friday night with John McCain’s selection of his running mate. McCain, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday, picked the (2) ____ -known governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to run as his vice-president. Many view McCain’s choice as a huge (3) ____, while others see it as a wise selection. Democrats immediately accused McCain of double standards. He has spent the (4) ____ summer attacking Barack Obama for being too young and inexperienced. Sarah Palin, at 44, is even younger than Obama and has almost (5) ____ political experience. She served as mayor of a town in Alaska with a population of less than 10,000, and has spent 18 months as Alaskan governor. In November, she could be one (6) ____ away from the most powerful job in the world.

John McCain explained to Republican delegates why he chose Palin: "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same (7) ____ Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain told 15,000 supporters. Palin seemed to be a popular choice with conservatives. She is (8) ____ -life, a working-class mother of (9) ____ and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She is also prepared to drill for oil in Alaska’s (10) ____ seas. Republicans will be hoping she can attract many female voters. It is the first time the Republican Party has chosen a woman to run for the White House. Palin now has to convince Americans she’s (11) ____ for the job of vice-president. Only one month ago, she asked in a (12) ____ interview: “What is it exactly that a VP does every day?"

Put the correct words from the table below in the above article.

1.

(a)

turn

(b)

turn off

(c)

turned

(d)

turns

2.

(a)

tiny

(b)

little

(c)

small

(d)

miniscule

3.

(a)

gambler

(b)

gambling

(c)

gamble

(d)

gaming

4.

(a)

most

(b)

every

(c)

all

(d)

whole

5.

(a)

non

(b)

never

(c)

none

(d)

no

6.

(a)

stair

(b)

chair

(c)

step

(d)

ladder

7.

(a)

old

(b)

elderly

(c)

antique

(d)

senior

8.

(a)

grow

(b)

pro

(c)

so

(d)

fro

9.

(a)

fifth

(b)

quintet

(c)

five

(d)

fivesome

10.

(a)

protected

(b)

protect

(c)

protection

(d)

protector

11.

(a)

by

(b)

with

(c)

down

(d)

up

12.

(a)

televise

(b)

televised

(c)

televising

(d)

televisions

WRITING: 

Write about the U.S. Presidential election for 10 minutes. Correct your partner’s paper.

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

_____________________________________________________________________________

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 out more about the nominees for the U.S. Presidential election. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. PRESIDENTS: Make a poster about some previous Presidents of the USA. What are the key features and selling points? Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. McCAIN VERSUS OBAMA: Write a magazine article about the rivalry between McCain and Obama. Include imaginary interviews with both politicians.

Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Write down any new words and expressions you hear from your partner(s).

5. LETTER: Write a letter to John McCain. Ask him three questions about Sarah Palin. Make three suggestions on what he should do to win the U.S. Presidential election in November. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

6. DIARY / JOURNAL: You are running for president of your country. Write about one day in your campaign. What do you think of your rivals? Read your entry to your classmates in the next lesson.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. F

e. T

f. T

g. F

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

turn

a.

change of direction

2

selection

b.

choice

3.

gamble

c.

risk

4.

attacking

d.

criticizing

5.

served

e.

worked

6.

exactly

f.

just

7.

supporters

g.

fans

8.

prepared

h.

ready

9.

attract

i.

persuade

10.

convince

j.

win over

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

The U.S. presidential campaign took

a.

a surprise turn

2

the little-

b.

known governor of Alaska

3.

accused McCain of double

c.

standards

4.

She served as

d.

mayor of a town in Alaska

5.

she could be one

e.

step away

6.

She's exactly who

f.

I need

7.

Palin seemed to be a popular

g.

choice with conservatives

8.

prepared to drill

h.

for oil

9.

she can attract

i.

many female voters

10.

convince Americans she’s up

j.

for the job

GAP FILL:

McCain picks female running mate

The U.S. presidential campaign took a surprise turn on Friday night with John McCain’s selection of his running mate. McCain, who was celebrating his 72nd birthday, picked the little-known governor of Alaska Sarah Palin to run as his vice-president. Many view McCain’s choice as a huge gamble, while others see it as a wise selection. Democrats immediately accused McCain of double standards. He has spent the whole summer attacking Barack Obama for being too young and inexperienced. Sarah Palin, at 44, is even younger than Obama and has almost no political experience. She served as mayor of a town in Alaska with a population of less than 10,000, and has spent 18 months as Alaskan governor. In November, she could be one step away from the most powerful job in the world.

John McCain explained to Republican delegates why he chose Palin: "She's exactly who I need. She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of me first and country second," McCain told 15,000 supporters. Palin seemed to be a popular choice with conservatives. She is pro-life, a working-class mother of five and a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association. She is also prepared to drill for oil in Alaska’s protected seas. Republicans will be hoping she can attract many female voters. It is the first time the Republican Party has chosen a woman to run for the White House. Palin now has to convince Americans she’s up for the job of vice-president. Only one month ago, she asked in a televised interview: “What is it exactly that a VP does every day?"

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - a

2 - b

3 - c

4 - d

5 - d

6 - c

7 - a

8 - b

9 - c

10 - a

11 - d

12 - b

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