My 1,000
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My 1,000
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Date: Dec 31, 2005
Level: Harder (Try the easier lesson.)
Downloads: Word Doc | PDF Doc | Listening
Audio: (1:59 - 234.5 KB - 16kbps)
 
1,000 IDEAS FOR ESL CLASSES: Breaking News English.com's e-Book

THE ARTICLE

A 16-year-old American schoolboy is counting his blessings today following the school project of a lifetime - a solo trip to Baghdad. Farris Hassan’s unbelievable and dangerous journey was to complete a homework assignment to write an editorial on an international topic. An interest in “immersion journalism” and his Iraqi ancestry fueled a craving for a more in-depth analysis of his topic. He arrived in Baghdad on December 18 after being denied entry for several days due to the tightened security surrounding Iraq’s national elections. He soon became the center of attention at food stalls as he endeavored to survive with the aid of his phrase book. He eventually capitulated to a fear of his alien surroundings and sought refuge in the war zone office of the Associated Press.

Farris told journalists he had to “go the extra mile…or a few thousand miles” to ensure his homework was accurate. In an essay he penned before his escapade, he wrote: “I know I can’t stop all the carnage and save the innocent. But I also know I can’t just sit here.” He also said: “Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We…live such sheltered lives. I want to experience…the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress.” He concluded: “I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.” His mother is extremely relieved at the news her son is homeward bound. She said Farris “is very driven” but “showed a lack of judgment” in going to Baghdad. She will also keep his passport under lock and key from now on.

WARM-UPS

1. HI FROM BAGHDAD: Sit with your back to your partner. Have an imaginary telephone conversation. You both secretly went to Baghdad. Tell each other why you went, what you are doing and how you are surviving. Is it dangerous?

2. DANGEROUS PLACES: In pairs / groups, talk about dangerous places. Where are the most dangerous places in the areas below? What makes them dangerous?

  1. The world?
  2. Your part of the world?
  3. Your country?
  4. Your city / town?
  5. Your neck of the woods (your neighborhood)?
  6. Your house?

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

Sixteen-year-olds / schoolboys / counting / blessings / homework / journalism / phrase books / carnage / sheltered lives / distress / regrets / passports / locks

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

4. I’M A JOURNALIST: You are now a journalist. Your editor has asked you to choose from the assignments below. Rank them in order of preference. Compare your lists with your partner’s.

  1. A report on Baghdad children playing soccer.
  2. An in-depth interview with Mongolia’s leader.
  3. To join soldiers in Zimbabwe who are tracking armed elephant poachers.
  4. A top-secret interview with Osama Bin Laden in his mountain cave.
  5. Chase a story about a high-profile drug trafficker in the Colombian jungle.
  6. Investigate the mysterious disappearance of 1,237 teddy bears in your town.

Your editor has decided you must go with your partner(s). Agree on a new, joint order of preference.

5. SHELTERED LIVES: Do you live a sheltered life? Are you exposed to any dangers on a daily basis? Answer these questions with your partner(s). Compare the safety / dangers of your life with the lives of people in other countries.

6. JOURNALISM: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with journalism. 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.

A U.S. schoolboy went to Baghdad alone to research his homework.

T / F

b.

The schoolboy went to Iraq to fuel an interest in Iraqi archaeology.

T / F

c.

The schoolboy spoke fluent Arabic and passed for a Baghdad resident.

T / F

d.

He sought refuge in the war zone office of a famous news agency.

T / F

e.

The boy said he wanted to go the extra 100 meters to do his report.

T / F

f.

He went to Iraq so he could empathize with the distress of Iraqis.

T / F

g.

The boy has nights full of regrets about going to Iraq.

T / F

h.

The boy’s mother will not let him have access to his passport.

T / F

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

a.

counting his blessings

gave in

b.

craving

killing

c.

center of attention

sanctuary

d.

capitulated

desire

e.

refuge

adventure

f.

go the extra mile

determined

g.

escapade

thanking his lucky stars

h.

carnage

understand

i.

empathize with

focal point

j.

driven

try harder

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

a.

the school project

carnage and save the innocent

b.

his Iraqi ancestry fueled a

office of the Associated Press

c.

He soon became the center

to a fear of his alien surroundings

d.

He eventually capitulated

showed a lack of judgment

e.

sought refuge in the war zone

craving for a more in-depth analysis

f.

In an essay he

under lock and key

g.

I know I can’t stop all the

penned before his escapade

h.

Going to Iraq

of attention at food stalls

i.

Farris is very driven but

will broaden my mind

j.

She will also keep his passport

of a lifetime

WHILE READING / LISTENING

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

US teen visits Baghdad to do his homework

A 16-year-old American schoolboy is counting his ________ today following the school project of a lifetime - a solo trip to Baghdad. Farris Hassan’s unbelievable and dangerous journey was to ________ a homework assignment to write an editorial on an international topic. An interest in “________ journalism” and his Iraqi ancestry fueled a ________ for a more in-depth analysis of his topic. He arrived in Baghdad on December 18 after being ________ entry for several days due to the tightened security surrounding Iraq’s national elections. He soon became the center of attention at food stalls as he ________ to survive with the aid of his phrase book. He eventually capitulated to a ________ of his alien surroundings and ________ refuge in the war zone office of the Associated Press.

 

 

endeavored
immersion
sought
blessings
craving
complete
fear
denied

Farris told journalists he had to “go the ________ mile…or a few thousand miles” to ensure his homework was ________. In an essay he ________ before his escapade, he wrote: “I know I can’t stop all the ________ and save the innocent. But I also know I can’t just sit here.” He also said: “Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We…live such sheltered lives. I want to experience…the same ________ ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their ________.” He concluded: “I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.” His mother is extremely relieved at the news her son is homeward ________. She said Farris “is very ________” but “showed a lack of judgment” in going to Baghdad. She will also keep his passport under lock and key from now on.

 

 

bound
carnage
distress
extra
driven
penned
hardships
accurate

LISTENING

Listen and fill in the spaces.

US teen visits Baghdad to do his homework

A 16-year-old American schoolboy is counting his _________ today following the school project of a lifetime - a solo trip to Baghdad. Farris Hassan’s unbelievable and dangerous journey was to complete a homework assignment to write an _________ on an international topic. An interest in “_________ journalism” and his Iraqi ancestry fueled a _________ for a more in-depth analysis of his topic. He arrived in Baghdad on December 18 after being _________ entry for several days due to the tightened security surrounding Iraq’s national elections. He soon became the center of attention at food stalls as he endeavored to survive with the aid of his phrase book. He eventually _________ to a fear of his alien surroundings and _________ refuge in the war zone office of the Associated Press.

Farris told journalists he had to “go the extra mile…or a few thousand miles” to _________ his homework was accurate. In an essay he _________ before his escapade, he wrote: “I know I can’t stop all the _________ and save the innocent. But I also know I can’t just sit here.” He also said: “Going to Iraq will _________ my mind. We…live such sheltered lives. I want to experience…the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better _________ with their distress.” He concluded: “I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.” His mother is extremely relieved at the news her son is homeward _________. She said Farris “is very driven” but “showed a lack of _________” in going to Baghdad. She will also keep his passport under lock and key from now on.


 
 

AFTER READING / LISTENING

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

  • 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 “SHELTERED LIVES” SURVEY: In pairs / groups, write down questions about our sheltered lives and whether we would benefit from being exposed to more risks.

  • 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:

  • counting
  • complete
  • fueled
  • denied
  • aid
  • sought
  • mile
  • innocent
  • broaden
  • regrets
  • driven
  • passport

DISCUSSION

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

  1. Did the headline make you want to read the article?
  2. Have you ever “gone the extra mile” to complete your homework?
  3. Do you ever “go the extra mile” in your daily life?
  4. Do you think Farris Hassan has a death wish?
  5. Do you admire him for his courage and tenacity?
  6. Do you think you could have done what he did when you were sixteen?
  7. What do you think his schoolmates and teachers will say?
  8. Do you think Farris will become a journalist after his escapades in Iraq?
  9. Does he sound like your average 16-year-old to you?
  10. Do you think there are lessons for us all in Farris’ actions and words?

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. What crazy things did you do when you were sixteen?
  4. Would you like to drop everything and do something adventurous and dangerous?
  5. Do you think you live too sheltered a life?
  6. Where would you like to go or what would you like to do to broaden your mind?
  7. Do you want to “live your days” so that your “nights are not full of regrets”?
  8. What questions would you like to ask Farris?
  9. What do you think his answers would be?
  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

SHELTERED LIVES: Do we really live such sheltered lives? Are there more dangers and risks in our lives than we think? In pairs / groups, write down all the possible dangers and risks involved in the following mundane routines:

 

RISKS AND DANGERS
 

Showering

 

Eating breakfast

 

Going to work / school

 

Sitting at your desk

 

Engaging in your hobby

 

Going shopping

 

Studying English

 

  • Discuss how real these risks and dangers actually are and whether you will now worry about them. Talk about any stories you have heard about these things happening in real life.
  • Change partners and tell your new partner(s) what you discussed with your old partner(s). Will you do anything differently now to avoid these risks and dangers?

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 this story. Share your findings with your class in the next lesson. Did you all find out similar things?

3. MY PROJECT OF A LIFETIME: Write an essay about a major lifetime project you would like to undertake. Show what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Who had the most mind-broadening project?

4. LETTER: Write a letter to Farris Hassan. Tell him what you think of his escapades. Ask him some questions about his adventure. Show your letters to your classmates in the next lesson. Did everyone write about similar things?

ANSWERS

TRUE / FALSE:

a. T

b. F

c. F

d. T

e. F

f. T

g. F

h. T

SYNONYM MATCH:

a.

counting his blessings

thanking his lucky stars

b.

craving

desire

c.

center of attention

focal point

d.

capitulated

gave in

e.

refuge

sanctuary

f.

go the extra mile

try harder

g.

escapade

adventure

h.

carnage

killing

i.

empathize with

understand

j.

driven

determined

PHRASE MATCH:

a.

the school project

of a lifetime

b.

his Iraqi ancestry fueled a

craving for a more in-depth analysis

c.

He soon became the center

of attention at food stalls

d.

He eventually capitulated

to a fear of his alien surroundings

e.

sought refuge in the war zone

office of the Associated Press

f.

In an essay he

penned before his escapade

g.

I know I can’t stop all the

carnage and save the innocent

h.

Going to Iraq

will broaden my mind

i.

Farris is very driven but

showed a lack of judgment

j.

She will also keep his passport

under lock and key

GAP FILL:

US teen visits Baghdad to do his homework

A 16-year-old American schoolboy is counting his blessings today following the school project of a lifetime - a solo trip to Baghdad. Farris Hassan’s unbelievable and dangerous journey was to complete a homework assignment to write an editorial on an international topic. An interest in “immersion journalism” and his Iraqi ancestry fueled a craving for a more in-depth analysis of his topic. He arrived in Baghdad on December 18 after being denied entry for several days due to the tightened security surrounding Iraq’s national elections. He soon became the center of attention at food stalls as he endeavored to survive with the aid of his phrase book. He eventually capitulated to a fear of his alien surroundings and sought refuge in the war zone office of the Associated Press.

Farris told journalists he had to “go the extra mile…or a few thousand miles” to ensure his homework was accurate. In an essay he penned before his escapade, he wrote: “I know I can’t stop all the carnage and save the innocent. But I also know I can’t just sit here.” He also said: “Going to Iraq will broaden my mind. We…live such sheltered lives. I want to experience…the same hardships ordinary Iraqis experience everyday, so that I may better empathize with their distress.” He concluded: “I want to live my days so that my nights are not full of regrets. Therefore, I must go.” His mother is extremely relieved at the news her son is homeward bound. She said Farris “is very driven” but “showed a lack of judgment” in going to Baghdad. She will also keep his passport under lock and key from now on.

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