The Reading / Listening - Pets and Children - Level 6

The Pope has suggested that people who choose to have pets instead of children were acting selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers in Rome. He told his audience that substituting children for pets was a "denial of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to choose the path of adoption, to take the risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child."

It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out on this topic. In 2014, he said choosing pets over children was detrimental to our future. He called it a "phenomenon of cultural degradation". He commented that the emotional relationship with pets was "easier" than the "complex" relationship with children. In continuing this theme, he called the downward trend in birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not everyone agrees with the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed out the contradiction of Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are superior to most people."

Try the same news story at these easier levels:

    Pets and Children - Level 4  or  Pets and Children - Level 5

Sources
  • https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-59884801
  • https://nypost.com/2022/01/07/pope-francis-slam-of-pet-parents-prove-hes-never-owned-a-pup/
  • https://www.christiantoday.com/article/pope.francis.laments.couples.who.choose.pets.over.having.children/138009.htm


Make sure you try all of the online activities for this reading and listening - There are dictations, multiple choice activities, drag and drop activities, sentence jumbles, which word activities, text reconstructions, spelling, gap fills and a whole lot more. Please enjoy :-)

Warm-ups

1. PETS: Students walk around the class and talk to other students about pets. Change partners often and share your findings.
2. CHAT: In pairs / groups, talk about these topics or words from the article. What will the article say about them? What can you say about these words and your life?
       The Pope / pets / children / worshippers / audience / motherhood / selfishness / risk /
       the first time / 2014 / our future / complex / birth rates / contradiction / name / dogs
Have a chat about the topics you liked. Change topics and partners frequently.
3. DOGS: Students A strongly believe dogs are better pets than cats; Students B strongly believe cats are better. Change partners again and talk about your conversations.
4. PARENTHOOD: What are the pros and cons of parenthood? Complete this table with your partner(s). Change partners often and share what you wrote.

 

Pros

Cons

Family

 

 

Memories

 

 

Money

 

 

Old age

 

 

Love

 

 

Holidays

 

 

MY e-BOOK
ESL resource book with copiable worksheets and handouts - 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers / English teachers
See a sample

5. SELFISH: Spend one minute writing down all of the different words you associate with the word "selfish". Share your words with your partner(s) and talk about them. Together, put the words into different categories.
6. PETS: Rank these with your partner. Put the best pets at the top. Change partners often and share your rankings.

  • A dog
  • A cat
  • A rabbit
  • Goldfish
  • A parrot
  • A tarantula
  • A hamster
  • A lizard

 

Vocabulary

    Paragraph 1

      1. suggested a. Speaking to people in a formal situation.
      2. addressing b. All of the people watching or listening at a public event such as a play, film, concert, or meeting.
      3. worshipper c. Put forward an idea for people to think about.
      4. audience d. Given support, confidence, or hope to someone.
      5. substituting e. Replacing someone or something with another.
      6. encouraged f. The act of raising another person's child and bringing it up as your own.
      7. adoption g. A person who shows reverence and adoration for a deity or person.

    Paragraph 2

      8. detrimental h. Higher in rank, status, or quality.
      9. phenomenon i. Relating to the structure of populations.
      10. degradation j. A combination of statements, ideas, or features which are opposed to one another.
      11. demographic k. Tending to cause harm.
      12. contradiction l. A fact or situation that is observed to exist or happen, especially one whose cause or explanation is in question.
      13. patron saint m. The protecting or guiding saint of a person, thing or place.
      14. superior n. The condition or process of degrading or being degraded.

 

Before reading / listening

1. TRUE / FALSE: Read the headline. Guess if 1-8 below are true (T) or false (F).

  1. Pope Francis made his speech about parenthood on the Internet.     T / F
  2. Pope Francis called choosing pets over children a denial of parenthood.    T / F
  3. Pope Francis encouraged people to adopt children.     T / F
  4. Pope Francis said there is a risk in not having children.     T / F
  5. This is the first time Pope Francis has spoken about children and pets.     T / F
  6. There is a downward trend in birth rates in many countries.     T / F
  7. The Pope warned people of a "demographic summer".     T / F
  8. St. Francis was the patron saint of children.     T / F

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

  1. choose
  2. instead of
  3. substituting
  4. form
  5. path
  6. topic
  7. phenomenon
  8. trend
  9. contradiction
  10. superior
  1. occurrence
  2. type
  3. higher-ranking
  4. rather than
  5. tendency
  6. route
  7. decide on
  8. conflict
  9. replacing
  10. issue

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

  1. people who choose to have pets
  2. Pope Francis was addressing
  3. we see a form
  4. We must not be afraid to choose the
  5. there is more risk in
  6. Pope Francis has spoken
  7. detrimental
  8. the downward trend
  9. pointed out
  10. the patron
  1. to our future
  2. instead of children
  3. saint of animals
  4. of selfishness
  5. the contradiction
  6. worshippers in Rome
  7. in birth rates
  8. not having a child
  9. out
  10. path of adoption

Gap fill

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
just
denial
more
choose
adoption
acting
place
form

The Pope has suggested that people who (1) _____________________ to have pets instead of children were (2) _____________________ selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers in Rome. He told his audience that substituting children for pets was a "(3) _____________________ of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a (4) _____________________ of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have (5) _____________________ one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the (6) _____________________ of children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to choose the path of (7) _____________________, to take the risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is (8) _____________________ risk in not having a child."

Put these words into the spaces in the paragraph below.
emotional
trend
saint
detrimental
superior
complex
topic
comments

It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out on this (9) _____________________. In 2014, he said choosing pets over children was (10) _____________________ to our future. He called it a "phenomenon of cultural degradation". He commented that the (11) _____________________ relationship with pets was "easier" than the "(12) _____________________" relationship with children. In continuing this theme, he called the downward (13) _____________________ in birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not everyone agrees with the Pope's (14) _____________________. The New York Post pointed out the contradiction of Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron (15) _____________________ of animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are (16) _____________________ to most people."

Listening — Guess the answers. Listen to check.

1)  The Pope has suggested that people who choose to have pets ______
     a.  instead off children
     b.  instead of children
     c.  instead oft children
     d.  instead doff children
2)  He told his audience that substituting children for pets was a ______
     a.  denial of further hood
     b.  denial of far the hood
     c.  denial of fatherly hood
     d.  denial of fatherhood
3)  some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just one, ______
     a.  and that's it
     b.  and that's sit
     c.  and that sit
     d.  and that sits
4) that take the place of children. Pope Francis encouraged couples ______
     a.  to adapt children
     b.  to adopt children
     c.  to adept children
     d.  to ad apt children
5)  Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not ______
     a.  have in a child
     b.  have inner child
     c.  having child
     d.  having a child

6)  It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out ______
     a.  on this topic
     b.  on the  stop pic
     c.  on this tropic
     d.  on this tope pick
7)  In 2014, he said choosing pets over ______
     a.  children was experimental
     b.  children was detrimentally
     c.  children was detrimental
     d.  children was detriment all
8)  to our future. He called it a phenomenon ______
     a.  of cultural dig rid ration
     b.  of cultural degrade a nation
     c.  of cultural dredge radiation
     d.  of cultural degradation
9)  the downward trend in birth rates across many countries ______
     a.  a demographic winter
     b.  a demographic winner
     c.  a demographic whiner
     d.  a demographic wander
10)  Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I ______
     a.  think, as superior
     b.  think, a superior
     c.  think, ass superior
     d.  think, are superior

Listening — Listen and fill in the gaps

The Pope has suggested that people (1) ____________________ have pets instead of children were acting selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers in Rome. He told (2) ____________________ substituting children for pets was a "denial of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see (3) ____________________ selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take (4) ____________________ children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to (5) ____________________ of adoption, to take the risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more (6) ____________________ having a child."

It is not the first time Pope Francis has (7) ____________________ this topic. In 2014, he said choosing pets over children was detrimental to our future. He called it a "phenomenon (8) ____________________". He commented that the emotional relationship with pets was "easier" than the "complex" relationship with children. In (9) ____________________, he called the downward trend in birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not (10) ____________________ the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed out (11) ____________________ Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are (12) ____________________ people."

Comprehension questions

  1. Where did the Pope address worshippers?
  2. What did the Pope was not having children was a denial of?
  3. What did the Pope say we see today?
  4. What path did the Pope encourage couples to follow?
  5. What did the Pope say was riskier than having children?
  6. When was the last time Pope Francis spoke about pets and children?
  7. What did Pope Francis call the downward trend in birth rates?
  8. Who was the patron saint of animals?
  9. What did a journalist say dogs make us?
  10. What did a journalist say dogs were superior to?

Multiple choice quiz

1)  Where did the Pope address worshippers?
a) New York
b) Rome
c) at the WHO
d) in a church in Belize
2) What did the Pope say not having children was a denial of?
a) grandchildren
b) life
c) the future
d) parenthood
3) What did the Pope say we see today?
a) more dogs
b) fewer children
c) a form of selfishness
d) more cats
4) What path did the Pope encourage couples to follow?
a) adoption
b) his YouTube channel
c) their hearts
d) their dreams
5) What did the Pope say was riskier than having children?
a) having many children
b) not having children
c) having dogs
d) having cats

6) When was the last time Pope Francis spoke about pets and children?
a) 2014
b) 2015
c) 2016
d) 2017
7) What did Pope Francis call the downward trend in birth rates?
a) a barren spring
b) a dodgy summer
c) a demographic winter
d) a bountiful autumn
8) Who was the patron saint of animals?
a) St. Francis
b) St. Paul
c) St. Agnes
d) St. Theresa
9) What did a journalist say dogs make us?
a) itchy
b) happy
c) poorer
d) better
10) What did a journalist say dogs were superior to?
a) children
b) cats
c) most people
d) red pandas and antelope

Role play

Role  A – Dogs
You think dogs are the best pets. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their pets. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): rabbits, fish or tarantulas.

Role  B – Rabbits
You think rabbits are the best pets. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their pets. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): dogs, fish or tarantulas.

Role  C – Fish
You think fish are the best pets. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their pets. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): rabbits, dogs or tarantulas.

Role  D – Tarantulas
You think tarantulas are the best pets. Tell the others three reasons why. Tell them what is wrong with their pets. Also, tell the others which is the worst of these (and why): rabbits, fish or dogs.

After reading / listening

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

'pet'

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • and 'child'.

  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • ________________
  • • 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:

    • acting
    • audience
    • form
    • place
    • path
    • always
    • topic
    • cultural
    • easier
    • agrees
    • saint
    • superior

    Student survey

    Write five GOOD questions about this topic 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.

    (Please look at page 12 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

    Discussion - Pets and Children

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

    1. What did you think when you read the headline?
    2. What images are in your mind when you hear the word 'pet'?
    3. What do you think of pets?
    4. What's the best pet to have?
    5. What do you know about Pope Francis?
    6. What do you think of what Pope Francis said?
    7. Is not having children selfish?
    8. What are the pros and cons of having children?
    9. What do you think of adoption?
    10. What advice do you have for couples who do not want children?

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

    1. Did you like reading this article? Why/not?
    2. What do you think of when you hear the word 'child'?
    3. What do you think about what you read?
    4. Is not having children 'detrimental to our future'?
    5. What do you think 'cultural degradation' is?
    6. What are the pros and cons of having pets?
    7. How worrying is overpopulation?
    8. Do dogs 'make us better'?
    9. Would you rather have children or pets?
    10. What questions would you like to ask Pope Francis?

    Discussion — Write your own questions

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

    (a) ________________

    (b) ________________

    (c) ________________

    (d) ________________

    (e) ________________

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

    (f) ________________

    (g) ________________

    (h) ________________

    (i) ________________

    (j) ________________

    Language — Cloze (Gap-fill)

    The Pope has suggested that people who (1) ____ to have pets instead of children were acting selfishly. Pope Francis was (2) ____ worshippers in Rome. He told his audience that substituting children for pets was a "(3) ____ of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a form of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just (4) ____, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the (5) ____ of children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to choose the path of adoption, to take the risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not (6) ____ a child."

    It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken (7) ____ on this topic. In 2014, he said choosing pets over children was detrimental (8) ____ our future. He called it a "phenomenon of cultural degradation". He commented that the emotional relationship with pets was "easier" than the "(9) ____" relationship with children. In continuing this theme, he called the downward trend in birth rates across many countries a "demographic (10) ____". Not everyone agrees with the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed out the contradiction (11) ____ Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are superior (12) ____ most people."

    Which of these words go in the above text?

    1. (a)     choosy     (b)     chosen     (c)     choice     (d)     choose    
    2. (a)     addresses     (b)     address     (c)     addressed     (d)     addressing    
    3. (a)     denies     (b)     denial     (c)     denied     (d)     deny    
    4. (a)     once     (b)     only     (c)     one     (d)     ones    
    5. (a)     place     (b)     piece     (c)     peace     (d)     pace    
    6. (a)     having     (b)     have     (c)     has     (d)     had    
    7. (a)     over     (b)     down     (c)     in     (d)     out    
    8. (a)     to     (b)     of     (c)     at     (d)     on    
    9. (a)     reflex     (b)     complex     (c)     apex     (d)     triplex    
    10. (a)     winner     (b)     whiner     (c)     winter     (d)     win    
    11. (a)     at     (b)     on     (c)     of     (d)     as    
    12. (a)     on     (b)     to     (c)     at     (d)     as

    Spelling

    Paragraph 1

    1. The Pope has sedggsute that
    2. He told his naceeuid that
    3. Francis was addressing persirphows in Rome
    4. a deilan of fatherhood
    5. Francis aonerudceg couples to
    6. choose the path of aoinptod

    Paragraph 2

    1. drleaniettm to our future
    2. a phenomenon of cultural gatidrdeano
    3. a ighropadmec winter
    4. pointed out the noriatnoccdti
    5. the pnrtao saint of animals
    6. Dogs, I think, are seuoprri to most people

    Put the text back together

    (...)  pets over children was detrimental to our future. He called it a "phenomenon of cultural degradation". He commented
    (...)  agrees with the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed out the contradiction
    (...)  selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers in Rome. He told his audience that substituting
    (...)  us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, are superior to most people."
    (...)  children for pets was a "denial of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a form
    (...)  It is not the first time Pope Francis has spoken out on this topic. In 2014, he said choosing
    (...)  one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children." Pope Francis encouraged
    (...)  of selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have just
    1  ) The Pope has suggested that people who choose to have pets instead of children were acting
    (...)  couples to adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid to choose the path of adoption, to take the
    (...)  called the downward trend in birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not everyone
    (...)  of Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. It added: "Dogs make
    (...)  risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more risk in not having a child."
    (...)  that the emotional relationship with pets was "easier" than the "complex" relationship with children. In continuing this theme, he

    Put the words in the right order

    1. children   .   of   instead   People   to   have   choosing   pets
    2. for   children   was   a   denial   .   pets   Substituting
    3. place   of   that   Cats   take   children   .   the
    4. the   path   We   must   choose   adoption   .   of
    5. is   in   more   having   not   There   children   .   risk
    6. he's   the   out   .   first   spoken   isn't   It   time
    7. with   was   The   easier   .   pets   emotional   relationship
    8. cultural   of   degradation   .   it   called   phenomenon   a   He
    9. everyone   Not   Pope's   the   with   comments   .   agrees
    10. people   .   think   dogs   are   to   I   most   superior

    Circle the correct word (20 pairs)

    The Pope has suggested / suggestion that people who choose to have pets instead of children were acting selfish / selfishly. Pope Francis was addressing worshippers on / in Rome. He told his audience that substituting children for pets was a "denial / deny of fatherhood and motherhood". He added: "Today, we see a form of selfishly / selfishness. We see that some people do not want to have a child. Sometimes they have justly / just one, and that's it, but they have dogs and cats that take / give the place of children." Pope Francis encouraged couples to redact / adopt children. He said: "We must not be afraid / scary to choose the path of adoption, to take the risk of welcoming children. Having a child is always a risk, but there is more / many risk in not having a child."

    It is not the first time Pope Francis has speaking / spoken out on this topic. In 2014, he said choosing pets over children was detrimental at / to our future. He called it a "phenomenon of cultural degradation / gradation". He commented that the emotional / financial relationship with pets was "easier" than the "complex" relationship with children. On / In continuing this theme, he called the downward trend / trendy in birth rates across many countries a "demographic winter". Not everyone concur / agrees with the Pope's comments. The New York Post pointed out the contradiction / contraction of Francis taking his name from St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of / at animals. It added: "Dogs make us more human. They make us better. Dogs, I think, be / are superior to most people."

    Talk about the connection between each pair of words in italics, and why the correct word is correct.

    Insert the vowels (a, e, i, o, u)

         Th_  P_p_  h_s  s_gg_st_d  th_t  p__pl_  wh_  ch__s_  t_  h_v_  p_ts  _nst__d  _f  ch_ldr_n  w_r_  _ct_ng  s_lf_shly.  P_p_  Fr_nc_s  w_s  _ddr_ss_ng  w_rsh_pp_rs  _n  R_m_.  H_  t_ld  h_s  __d__nc_  th_t  s_bst_t_t_ng  ch_ldr_n  f_r  p_ts  w_s  _  "d_n__l  _f  f_th_rh__d  _nd  m_th_rh__d".  H_  _dd_d:  "T_d_y,  w_  s__  _  f_rm  _f  s_lf_shn_ss.  W_  s__  th_t  s_m_  p__pl_  d_  n_t  w_nt  t_  h_v_  _  ch_ld.  S_m_t_m_s  th_y  h_v_  j_st  _n_,  _nd  th_t's  _t,  b_t  th_y  h_v_  d_gs  _nd  c_ts  th_t  t_k_  th_  pl_c_  _f  ch_ldr_n."  P_p_  Fr_nc_s  _nc__r_g_d  c__pl_s  t_  _d_pt  ch_ldr_n.  H_  s__d:  "W_  m_st  n_t  b_  _fr__d  t_  ch__s_  th_  p_th  _f  _d_pt__n,  t_  t_k_  th_  r_sk  _f  w_lc_m_ng  ch_ldr_n.  H_v_ng  _  ch_ld  _s  _lw_ys  _  r_sk,  b_t  th_r_  _s  m_r_  r_sk  _n  n_t  h_v_ng  _  ch_ld."

         _t  _s  n_t  th_  f_rst  t_m_  P_p_  Fr_nc_s  h_s  sp_k_n  __t  _n  th_s  t_p_c.  _n  2014,  h_  s__d  ch__s_ng  p_ts  _v_r  ch_ldr_n  w_s  d_tr_m_nt_l  t_  __r  f_t_r_.  H_  c_ll_d  _t  _  "ph_n_m_n_n  _f  c_lt_r_l  d_gr_d_t__n".  H_  c_mm_nt_d  th_t  th_  _m_t__n_l  r_l_t__nsh_p  w_th  p_ts  w_s  "__s__r"  th_n  th_  "c_mpl_x"  r_l_t__nsh_p  w_th  ch_ldr_n.  _n  c_nt_n__ng  th_s  th_m_,  h_  c_ll_d  th_  d_wnw_rd  tr_nd  _n  b_rth  r_t_s  _cr_ss  m_ny  c__ntr__s  _  "d_m_gr_ph_c  w_nt_r".  N_t  _v_ry_n_  _gr__s  w_th  th_  P_p_'s  c_mm_nts.  Th_  N_w  Y_rk  P_st  p__nt_d  __t  th_  c_ntr_d_ct__n  _f  Fr_nc_s  t_k_ng  h_s  n_m_  fr_m  St.  Fr_nc_s  _f  _ss_s_,  th_  p_tr_n  s__nt  _f  _n_m_ls.  _t  _dd_d:  "D_gs  m_k_  _s  m_r_  h_m_n.  Th_y  m_k_  _s  b_tt_r.  D_gs,  _  th_nk,  _r_  s_p_r__r  t_  m_st  p__pl_."

    Punctuate the text and add capitals

         the pope has suggested that people who choose to have pets instead of children were acting selfishly pope francis was addressing worshippers in rome he told his audience that substituting children for pets was a denial of fatherhood and motherhood he added today we see a form of selfishness we see that some people do not want to have a child sometimes they have just one and thats it but they have dogs and cats that take the place of children pope francis encouraged couples to adopt children he said we must not be afraid to choose the path of adoption to take the risk of welcoming children having a child is always a risk but there is more risk in not having a child

         it is not the first time pope francis has spoken out on this topic in 2014 he said choosing pets over children was detrimental to our future he called it a phenomenon of cultural degradation he commented that the emotional relationship with pets was easier than the complex relationship with children in continuing this theme he called the downward trend in birth rates across many countries a demographic winter not everyone agrees with the popes comments the new york post pointed out the contradiction of francis taking his name from st francis of assisi the patron saint of animals it added dogs make us more human they make us better dogs i think are superior to most people

    Put a slash (/) where the spaces are

    ThePopehassuggestedthatpeoplewhochoosetohavepetsinsteadofch
    ildrenwereactingselfishly.PopeFranciswasaddressingworshippersin
    Rome.Hetoldhisaudiencethatsubstitutingchildrenforpetswasa"deni
    aloffatherhoodandmotherhood".Headded:"Today,weseeaformofsel
    fishness.Weseethatsomepeopledonotwanttohaveachild.Sometimes
    theyhavejustone,andthat'sit,buttheyhavedogsandcatsthattakethep
    laceofchildren."PopeFrancisencouragedcouplestoadoptchildren.He
    said:"Wemustnotbeafraidtochoosethepathofadoption,totaketheris
    kofwelcomingchildren.Havingachildisalwaysarisk,butthereismoreri
    skinnothavingachild."ItisnotthefirsttimePopeFrancishasspokenouto
    nthistopic.In2014,hesaidchoosingpetsoverchildrenwasdetrimentalt
    oourfuture.Hecalledita"phenomenonofculturaldegradation".Hecom
    mentedthattheemotionalrelationshipwithpetswas"easier"thanthe"c
    omplex"relationshipwithchildren.Incontinuingthistheme,hecalledth
    edownwardtrendinbirthratesacrossmanycountriesa"demographicw
    inter".NoteveryoneagreeswiththePope'scomments.TheNewYorkPos
    tpointedoutthecontradictionofFrancistakinghisnamefromSt.Francis
    ofAssisi,thepatronsaintofanimals.Itadded:"Dogsmakeusmorehuma
    n.Theymakeusbetter.Dogs,Ithink,aresuperiortomostpeople."

    Free writing

    Write about pets and children for 10 minutes. Comment on your partner’s paper.

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    Academic writing

    Having children is better than having pets. Discuss.

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    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 this news story. Share what you discover with your partner(s) in the next lesson.
    3. PETS: Make a poster about pets. Show your work to your classmates in the next lesson. Did you all have similar things?
    4. CHILDREN: Write a magazine article about requesting all couples to adopt or have more children. Include imaginary interviews with people who are for and against this.
    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. WHAT HAPPENED NEXT? Write a newspaper article about the next stage in this news story. Read what you wrote to your classmates in the next lesson. Give each other feedback on your articles.
    6. LETTER: Write a letter to an expert on pets. Ask him/her three questions about pets. Give him/her three of your ideas. Read your letter to your partner(s) in your next lesson. Your partner(s) will answer your questions.

    A Few Additional Activities for Students

    Ask your students what they have read, seen or heard about this news in their own language. Students are likely to / may have have encountered this news in their L1 and therefore bring a background knowledge to the classroom.

    Get students to role play different characters from this news story.

    Ask students to keep track of this news and revisit it to discuss in your next class.

    Ask students to male predictions of how this news might develop in the next few days or weeks, and then revisit and discuss in a future class.

    Ask students to write a follow-up story to this news.

    Students role play a journalist and someone who witnessed or was a part of this news. Perhaps they could make a video of the interview.

    Ask students to keep a news journal in English and add this story to their thoughts.

    Also...

    Buy my 1,000 Ideas and Activities for Language Teachers eBook. It has hundreds of ideas, activity templates, reproducible activities for:

    • News
    • Warm ups
    • Pre-reading / Post-reading
    • Using headlines
    • Working with words
    • While-reading / While-listening
    • Moving from text to speech
    • Post-reading / Post-listening
    • Discussions
    • Using opinions
    • Plans
    • Language
    • Using lists
    • Using quotes
    • Task-based activities
    • Role plays
    • Using the central characters in the article
    • Using themes from the news
    • Homework

    Buy my book

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    Answers

    (Please look at page 26 of the PDF to see a photocopiable example of this activity.)

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