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ESL / EFL Lesson Plan on J.K. Rowling - by Sean Banville

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October 1, 2009

PRINT:  13-Page Class Handout
LISTEN: MP3 (2:16 - 1,090KB)
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‘Witch’ Link Denies JK Rowling Top US Award

Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed out on getting a top American honour because US politicians believed she had a link to witchcraft. Matt Latimer, a top speech writer for George W. Bush, has said in a new book that the world famous author was rejected for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest award given to any civilian in the USA. It recognizes people who have added a lot to world culture. The claims that Rowling was snubbed are in Mr. Latimer’s new book, called ‘Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor’. In it, he criticizes top US officials for their "narrow thinking”, that led to a decision not to honour JK Rowling. The Bush administration also decided not to award the medal to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August, 2009.


JK Rowling is the best selling author in the world. She has sold over 400 million books and has won numerous awards for her writing. She has a following of perhaps a billion fans worldwide. Her personal fortune is estimated to be around $800 million. Before she struck upon the idea for Harry Potter, Rowling was a struggling teacher. She taught students in Portugal to learn English. Her life changed overnight with the success of her first novel. The recent news that George W. Bush officials believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft is not the first time she has upset American conservatives. In 2007, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly attacked her for saying that the Harry Potter character Dumbledore was gay. He said she was trying to play with the minds of U.S. kids.


 
 

WARM-UPS

1. HARRY POTTER: Walk around the class and talk to other students about Harry Potter. Change partners often. Sit with your first 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.

 

witches / top honours / world culture / new books / speechless / narrow thinking / best selling authors / fortunes / things changing overnight /success / mind games

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

3. MY AWARDS: What awards should you get right now? Complete this table. Talk about what you wrote with your partner(s). Change partners and share what you heard.

 

What kind of award

Why I got it

English

 

 

Friendship

 

 

Original ideas

 

 

Son / Daughter

 

 

Hobby

 

 

Helping

 

 

4. J.K ROWLING: Students A strongly believe J.K. Rowling is one of the most important writers ever; Students B strongly believe she’s just average.  Change partners again and talk about your conversations.

5. AND THE WINNER IS…: Who would you give a prize to? Talk about these with your partner(s).

  • for English
  • for teaching
  • a world leader
  • a movie star
  • for technology
  • for caring
  • for a great idea
  • for being extra special

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


 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if  a-h  below are true (T) or false (F).

a.

Top U.S. officials believed J.K. Rowling was connected to witchcraft.

T / F

b.

George W. Bush called J.K. Rowling a witch in a new book.

T / F

c.

A top speech writer lost his voice because Rowling did not win a prize.

T / F

d.

The speech writer said U.S. officials weren’t so broad-minded.

T / F

e.

Nobody is selling as many books as J.K. Rowling at the moment.

T / F

f.

It is estimated that J.K. Rowling has about 100,000,000 fans.

T / F

g.

J.K. Rowling used to be an English teacher in Europe.

T / F

h.

A U.S. news anchor was angry after Rowling said Harry Potter was gay.

T / F

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

1.

honour

a.

lost for words

2

link

b.

give

3.

snubbed

c.

promoted

4.

speechless

d.

guessed

5.

award

e.

wealth

6.

numerous

f.

connection

7.

fortune

g.

angered

8.

estimated

h.

ignored

9.

encouraged

i.

privilege

10.

upset

j.

many

3. PHRASE MATCH:  (Sometimes more than one choice is possible.)

1.

missed out on getting a

a.

teacher

2

she had a link

b.

overnight

3.

the world famous author

c.

thinking

4.

narrow

d.

author in the world

5.

…that led to a decision not

e.

top American honour

6.

the best selling

f.

minds of U.S. kids

7.

She has a following of perhaps

g.

to witchcraft

8.

Rowling was a struggling

h.

to honour JK Rowling

9.

Her life changed

i.

a billion fans

10.

trying to play with the

j.

was rejected

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

Harry Potter author JK Rowling ____________ out on getting a top American honour because US politicians believed she had a ____________ to witchcraft. Matt Latimer, a top speech writer for George W. Bush, has said in a new book that the world famous author was ____________ for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest award given to any ____________ in the USA. It recognizes people who have added a lot to world culture. The claims that Rowling was ____________ are in Mr. Latimer’s new book, called ‘Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor’. In it, he ____________ top US officials for their "____________ thinking”, that led to a decision not to honour JK Rowling. The Bush administration also decided not to ____________ the medal to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August, 2009.

 

 

 

criticizes
link
award
rejected
missed
snubbed
narrow
civilian

JK Rowling is the best selling author in the world. She has sold over 400 million books and has won ____________ awards for her writing. She has a following of perhaps a billion fans worldwide. Her ____________ fortune is estimated to be around $800 million. Before she ____________ upon the idea for Harry Potter, Rowling was a ____________ teacher. She taught students in Portugal to learn English. Her life changed ____________ with the success of her first novel. The recent news that George W. Bush officials believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft is not the first time she has ____________ American conservatives. In 2007, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly attacked her for saying that the Harry Potter character Dumbledore was gay. He said she was trying to ____________ with the ____________ of U.S. kids.

 

 

struck
numerous
upset
play
struggling
minds
personal
overnight

LISTENING – Listen and fill in the gaps

Harry Potter author JK Rowling _______________ getting a top American honour because US politicians believed she _______________ witchcraft. Matt Latimer, a top speech writer for George W. Bush, has said in a new book that the world famous author was _______________ Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest award _______________ civilian in the USA. It recognizes people who have added a lot to world culture. The claims that Rowling _______________ in Mr. Latimer’s new book, called ‘Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor’. In it, he criticizes top US officials for their "narrow thinking”, that _______________ not to honour JK Rowling. The Bush administration also decided not to award the medal to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August, 2009.

JK Rowling is the best selling author in the world. She has sold over 400 million books and has __________________ for her writing. She has a following of perhaps a billion fans worldwide. Her _______________ estimated to be around $800 million. Before _______________ the idea for Harry Potter, Rowling was a struggling teacher. She taught students in Portugal to learn English. Her life changed overnight _________________ her first novel. The recent news that George W. Bush officials believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft is not the first __________________ American conservatives. In 2007, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly attacked her for saying that the Harry Potter character Dumbledore was gay. He said she was trying to play _________________ U.S. kids.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

witch

craft

 

 

 

  • 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:

  • missed
  • speech
  • highest
  • snubbed
  • narrow
  • died
  • best
  • numerous
  • personal
  • success
  • upset
  • minds

STUDENT HARRY POTTER SURVEY

Write five GOOD questions about Harry Potter 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.

HARRY POTTER 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 ‘witch’?

c)

What do you think about this story?

d)

Do you think JK Rowling should get such an important medal?

e)

Are you surprised George W. Bush’s advisors believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft?

f)

Would you like to read Matt Latimer’s book?

g)

What medals, awards and prizes have you won?

h)

What is witchcraft?

i)

Do you think George W. Bush’s administration was ever narrow minded?

j)

What has JK Rowling added to world culture?

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

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

a)

Did you like reading this article?

b)

What do you think of Harry Potter?

c)

Do you think reading Harry Potter will make kids turn to witchcraft?

d)

Would you like to be able to do magic?

e)

Why do you think Harry Potter is so popular?

f)

What kind of novel would you like to write?

g)

How big is Harry Potter in your country?

h)

Do you have any favourite Harry Potter books or characters?

i)

What do you think of the fact that JK Rowling said Dumbledore was gay?

j)

What questions would you like to ask JK Rowling?

LANGUAGE – MULTIPLE CHOICE

Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed (1) ____ on getting a top American honour because US politicians believed she had a link to witchcraft. Matt Latimer, a top   (2) ____ writer for George W. Bush, has said in a new book that the world famous author was (3) ____ for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest award given to any civilian in the USA. It recognizes people who have added a lot to world culture. The claims that Rowling was (4) ____ are in Mr. Latimer’s new book, called ‘Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor’. In it, he criticizes top US officials for their "narrow (5) ____”, that led to a decision not to honour JK Rowling. The Bush administration also decided not to (6) ____ the medal to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August, 2009.

JK Rowling is the (7) ____ selling author in the world. She has sold over 400 million books and has won numerous awards for her writing. She has a (8) ____ of perhaps a billion fans worldwide. Her personal fortune is estimated to be around $800 million. Before she (9) ____ upon the idea for Harry Potter, Rowling was a struggling teacher. She taught students in Portugal to learn English. Her life changed overnight (10) ____ the success of her first novel. The recent news that George W. Bush officials believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft is not the first time she has (11) ____ American conservatives. In 2007, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly attacked her for saying that the Harry Potter character Dumbledore was gay. He said she was trying to play with the (12) ____ of U.S. kids.

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

1.

(a)

in

(b)

off

(c)

up

(d)

out

2.

(a)

speech

(b)

speak

(c)

spoken

(d)

speaking

3.

(a)

injected

(b)

rejected

(c)

ejected

(d)

dejected

4.

(a)

snobby

(b)

snipped

(c)

snubbed

(d)

snapped

5.

(a)

thoughtful

(b)

think

(c)

thinking

(d)

thinker

6.

(a)

prize

(b)

award

(c)

medal

(d)

honour

7.

(a)

most

(b)

fast

(c)

must

(d)

best

8.

(a)

following

(b)

follows

(c)

followers

(d)

followed

9.

(a)

sucked

(b)

struck

(c)

socked

(d)

smacked

10.

(a)

in

(b)

over

(c)

as

(d)

with

11.

(a)

upped

(b)

upper

(c)

upset

(d)

uptight

12.

(a)

minds

(b)

eyebrows

(c)

ankles

(d)

shoulders

WRITING

Write about Harry Potter 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 Harry Potter. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.

3. HARRY POTTER: Make a poster about Harry Potter. Include your favourite characters. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?

4. WITCH: Write a magazine article about why JK Rowling did not win the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Include imaginary interviews with JK Rowling and a senior Bush advisor (who said she was linked to witchcraft).

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 JK Rowling. Ask her three questions about Harry Potter. Give her three suggestions for the story of a new Harry Potter book. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a.

T

b.

F

c.

F

d.

T

e.

T

f.

F

g.

T

h.

F

SYNONYM MATCH:

1.

honour

a.

privilege

2

link

b.

connection

3.

snubbed

c.

ignored

4.

speechless

d.

lost for words

5.

award

e.

give

6.

numerous

f.

many

7.

fortune

g.

wealth

8.

estimated

h.

guessed

9.

encouraged

i.

promoted

10.

upset

j.

angered

PHRASE MATCH:

1.

missed out on getting a

a.

top American honour

2

she had a link

b.

to witchcraft

3.

the world famous author

c.

was rejected

4.

narrow

d.

thinking

5.

…that led to a decision not

e.

to honour JK Rowling

6.

the best selling

f.

author in the world

7.

She has a following of perhaps

g.

a billion fans

8.

Rowling was a struggling

h.

teacher

9.

Her life changed

i.

overnight

10.

trying to play with the

j.

minds of U.S. kids

GAP FILL:

“Witch” link denies JK Rowling top US award

Harry Potter author JK Rowling missed out on getting a top American honour because US politicians believed she had a link to witchcraft. Matt Latimer, a top speech writer for George W. Bush, has said in a new book that the world famous author was rejected for the Presidential Medal of Freedom. This is the highest award given to any civilian in the USA. It recognizes people who have added a lot to world culture. The claims that Rowling was snubbed are in Mr. Latimer’s new book, called ‘Speechless: Tales of a White House Survivor’. In it, he criticizes top US officials for their “narrow thinking”, that led to a decision not to honour JK Rowling. The Bush administration also decided not to award the medal to Senator Edward Kennedy, who died in August, 2009.

JK Rowling is the best selling author in the world. She has sold over 400 million books and has won numerous awards for her writing. She has a following of perhaps a billion fans worldwide. Her personal fortune is estimated to be around $800 million. Before she struck upon the idea for Harry Potter, Rowling was a struggling teacher. She taught students in Portugal to learn English. Her life changed overnight with the success of her first novel. The recent news that George W. Bush officials believed Harry Potter encouraged witchcraft is not the first time she has upset American conservatives. In 2007, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly attacked her for saying that the Harry Potter character Dumbledore was gay. He said she was trying to play with the minds of U.S. kids.

LANGUAGE WORK

1 - d

2 - a

3 - b

4 - c

5 - c

6 - b

7 - d

8 - a

9 - b

10 - d

11 - c

12 - a

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