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My 1,000
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Date: Jul 9, 2005

Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)

Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening

Audio: (1:28 - 173.2 KB - 16kbps)

1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

 

THE ARTICLE

Sheep are generally not known for their intelligence. This was verified in the Turkish village of Gevas, Van province yesterday, when 450 of the woolly creatures followed each other in jumping to the deaths. The Turkish newspaper Radikal reported on Friday that almost a third of a flock of 1,500 sheep incomprehensibly tried to jump across a 15-metre ravine. Naturally their long-jump skills were not up to the leap and, one after another, they plunged to their deaths into the chasm below.

Stunned shepherds were left as helpless onlookers, unable to prevent their animals’ nonsensical suicide mission. The lemming-like incident is a financial calamity for the village, which has calculated it has lost up to $100,000. Villager Umit Ozalan said he was distraught with grief. He said: “This is a catastrophe. I am financially ruined. I always thought sheep had some grey matter between their ears. I have lost all of my respect for sheep.” Mr. Ozalan said he would switch to chicken farming.

WARM-UPS

1. I’M A SHEEP: Everyone in the class is now a sheep. Introduce yourself to the other sheep in the class and talk about your sheep lives. What do you do every day? What do you worry or get stressed about? What do you think about humans keeping you in fields or dogs chasing you? Don’t you get fed up with eating grass all the time?

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

Sheep / intelligence / wool / Turkey / long jump / shepherds / $100,000 / catastrophes / chicken farming

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

3. SHEEP: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with sheep. Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.

4. SHEEP OPINIONS: In pairs / groups, talk about how far you agree with these opinions about sheep.

  1. Sheep are very intelligent creatures.
  2. Sheep make wonderful pets.
  3. Sheep are dangerous.
  4. Sheep are among the most useful animals in the world.
  5. Sheep have wonderful, stress-free lives.
  6. Lamb is the most delicious meat around.
  7. Being a shepherd and looking after sheep is a relaxing and enjoyable job.
  8. The world would be in big trouble without sheep.

5. FARMING: Imagine you are farmers. In pairs / groups, talk about the advantages and disadvantages of raising the following animals on a farm. Which animal would you choose?

  • Sheep
  • Cows
  • Chickens
  • Pigs
  • Ducks
  • Ostriches
  • Snakes
  • Other

 
 

BEFORE READING / LISTENING

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

a.

Sheep are very well known for having high IQs.

T / F

b.

450 sheep in Turkey copied each by leaping to their deaths.

T / F

c.

The long jump skills of the sheep were not good enough.

T / F

d.

The sheep plunged to their deaths into a chasm.

T / F

e.

The shepherds tried to help the sheep jump.

T / F

f.

The sheep were chasing lemmings.

T / F

g.

The incident has brought financial ruin to the village.

T / F

h.

A shepherd said he would abandon sheep in favor of pigs.

T / F

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

a.

intelligence

dumbfounded

b.

verified

unfathomably

c.

creatures

frantic

d.

incomprehensibly

IQ

e.

plunged

catastrophe

f.

stunned

beasts

g.

onlookers

brain

h.

calamity

bystanders

i.

distraught

plummeted

j.

grey matter

proven

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

a.

generally

their deaths

b.

woolly

mission

c.

a flock of

matter

d.

their long-jump skills were not

creatures

e.

plunged to

with grief

f.

helpless

up to the leap

g.

nonsensical suicide

onlookers

h.

financial

not known for

i.

distraught

1,500 sheep

j.

grey

calamity

WHILE READING / LISTENING

GAP FILL: Put the words in the column on the right into the correct spaces.

Sheep suicides cause financial ruin

Sheep are ________ not known for their intelligence. This was ________ in the Turkish village of Gevas, Van province yesterday, when 450 of the ________ creatures followed each other in jumping to the deaths. The Turkish newspaper Radikal reported on Friday that almost a third of a ________ of 1,500 sheep ________ tried to jump across a 15-metre ________. Naturally their long-jump skills were not ________ the leap and, one after another, they ________ to their deaths into the chasm below.

 

 

flock
verified
plunged
ravine
generally
incomprehensibly
up to
woolly

________ shepherds were left as helpless ________, unable to prevent their animals’ ________ suicide mission. The lemming-like incident is a financial ________ for the village, which has calculated it has lost up to $100,000. Villager Umit Ozalan said he was ________ with grief. He said: “This is a catastrophe. I am financially ruined. I always thought sheep had some ________ matter between their ________. I have lost all of my respect for sheep.” Mr. Ozalan said he would ________ to chicken farming.

 

 

ears
calamity
onlookers
distraught
switch
stunned
grey
nonsensical


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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 gap fill. 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 SHEEP SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about sheep.

  • 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:

  • generally
  • woolly
  • Turkish
  • flock
  • skills
  • plunged
  • helpless
  • nonsensical
  • calculated
  • distraught
  • ruined
  • grey

 DISCUSSION

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

  1. What did you think when you saw this headline?
  2. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  3. What is your general opinion of sheep?
  4. Would you choose to have a sheep as a pet?
  5. How intelligent do you think sheep are?
  6. Do you think the life of a sheep is an easy one?
  7. Why do you think sheep always follow each other?
  8. What do you think sheep think about all day?
  9. What do you think is the biggest dream for a sheep?
  10. Do you think sheep are dangerous in any way?

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

  1. Did you like reading this article?
  2. What did you think about what you read?
  3. Do you feel sorry for the shepherds?
  4. Do you think a shepherd’s life is a good one?
  5. Why do you think the sheep jumped to their deaths?
  6. Do you think sheep farming is a risky business?
  7. What is your favorite farmyard animal and why?
  8. Do you have any respect for sheep?
  9. What do you think of the phrase, “grey matter between their ears”?
  10. Did you like this discussion?

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

  1. What question would you like to ask about this topic?
  2. What was the most interesting thing you heard?
  3. Was there a question you didn’t like?
  4. Was there something you totally disagreed with?
  5. What did you like talking about?
  6. Do you want to know how anyone else answered the questions?
  7. Which was the most difficult question?

SPEAKING

SHEEP COUNSELING:

You are a sheep counselor. It is your job to provide help for stressed sheep. You have to train some new sheep counselors. In pairs / groups, create an information sheet for new counselors about what kinds of things makes sheep stressed and how to help the sheep overcome their stress.

 

  STRESSFUL THINGS

  HOW TO DEAL WITH STRESS

Life on the farm
 

 

 

Dogs
 

 

 

Other sheep
 

 

 

Rumors about kebabs, mint sauce and dinner tables
 

 

 

Weather
 

 

 

Other
 

 

 

After you have finished, change partners and tell each other about your worksheets. Give each other advice on how to improve your worksheets.

Return to your original partners and incorporate the advice you received into revising your original worksheets.

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

Sheep suicides cause financial ruin

Sheep are generally not ______ ___ their intelligence. This was ________ in the Turkish village of Gevas, Van province yesterday, when 450 of the ______ ________ followed each other in jumping to the deaths. The Turkish newspaper Radikal reported on Friday that almost a third of __ ______ __ 1,500 sheep incomprehensibly tried to jump across a 15-metre ______. Naturally their long-jump skills were ___ __ __ ___ leap and, one after another, they _______ to their deaths into the ______ below.

Stunned shepherds were left as ________ _________, unable to prevent their animals’ ___________ suicide mission. The lemming-like incident is a financial ________ for the village, which has calculated it has ____ __ __ $100,000. Villager Umit Ozalan said he was __________ with grief. He said: “This is a catastrophe. I am financially ruined. I always thought sheep had some ____ ______ between their ears. I have lost all of my _______ ___ sheep.” Mr. Ozalan said he would ______ __ chicken farming.

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 more information on sheep. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson.

3. FARMER: Write an essay about what life as a farmer is like. Read the main points of your essay to your classmates in your next lesson. Did everyone have similar ideas?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to the Turkish shepherd Umit Ozalan. Tell him what you think he should do to make a living. Read your letter to your classmates in your next lesson. Did you all write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. F

b. T

c. T

d. T

e. F

f. F

g. T

h. F

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

intelligence

IQ

b.

verified

proven

c.

creatures

beasts

d.

incomprehensibly

unfathomably

e.

plunged

plummeted

f.

stunned

dumbfounded

g.

onlookers

bystanders

h.

calamity

catastrophe

i.

distraught

frantic

j.

grey matter brain

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

generally

not known for

b.

woolly

creatures

c.

a flock of

1,500 sheep

d.

their long-jump skills were not

up to the leap

e.

plunged to

their deaths

f.

helpless

onlookers

g.

nonsensical suicide

mission

h.

financial

calamity

i.

distraught

with grief

j.

grey

matter

GAP FILL:

Sheep suicides cause financial ruin

Sheep are generally not known for their intelligence. This was verified in the Turkish village of Gevas, Van province yesterday, when 450 of the woolly creatures followed each other in jumping to the deaths. The Turkish newspaper Radikal reported on Friday that almost a third of a flock of 1,500 sheep incomprehensibly tried to jump across a 15-metre ravine. Naturally their long-jump skills were not up to the leap and, one after another, they plunged to their deaths into the chasm below.

Stunned shepherds were left as helpless onlookers, unable to prevent their animals’ nonsensical suicide mission. The lemming-like incident is a financial calamity for the village, which has calculated it has lost up to $100,000. Villager Umit Ozalan said he was distraught with grief. He said: “This is a catastrophe. I am financially ruined. I always thought sheep had some grey matter between their ears. I have lost all of my respect for sheep.” Mr. Ozalan said he would switch to chicken farming.

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