Learn English ESOL Class: Weekly Lesson Plan

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Monday Resource (Morel Benard)


Booker T. Washington said that: “There are quite a number of divisions into which life can be divided. In thought, in talk, in action, life can be separated into two divisions—the dark side and the bright side”.  The discouraging side and the encouraging side. You will find, too, that there are two classes of people, just as there are two divisions of the subject. There is one class that is schooling itself, and constantly training itself, to look upon the dark side of life; and there is another class, made up of people who are, consciously or unconsciously, constantly training themselves to look upon the bright side of life.

Now it is not wise to go too far in either direction. The person who schools himself to see the dark side of life is likely to make a mistake, and the person who schools himself to look only upon the bright side of life, forgetting all else, also is apt to make a mistake.

People who accomplish most in this world, those to whom on account of their helpfulness the world looks most for service—those who are most useful in every way—are those who are constantly seeing and appreciating the bright side as well as the dark side of life.


a) In your opinion is there a connection between ‘thought, talk and action’ ?

b) What does it mean to ‘school self’? 

c) According to Washington why is it important to appreciate both the bright and dark side of life? 


I want you to listen to a sad, sweet story to-day, and yet one that ought to make you glad—glad that such men have lived as those of whom I am going to tell you. It all happened a good many years ago, in fact so long ago that your fathers and mothers were little boys and girls in kilts and pinafores, some of them mere babies in long clothes.

Vocabulary for Discussion:



One bright Sunday morning in April the telegraph wires could be heard repeating the same things all over the land, “Tic, tic; tic, tic; t-i-c; tic, they called out, and the drowsy telegraph operators sat up in their chairs as if startled by the words the wires were saying. Tic, t-i-c, tic; tic-tic; tic, tic-tic; ” continued the wires, and the faces of the telegraph operators grew pale. Any looker-on could have seen that something dreadful was being told by the wires. Tic, t-i-c, tic; tic-tic; tic, tic-tic, again repeated the wires. There was no mistaking the message this time. Alas, alas, it was true! The terrible news was true! Even the bravest among the operators trembled.


telegraph wires





Then came the rapid writing out of the fearful words that the slender wires had uttered, the hurrying to and fro; and messenger boys were seen flying to the great newspaper offices, and the homes of the mayors of the cities, and to the churches where already the people were beginning to assemble”  




messenger boys




“Then he advanced a step forward, holding on to the desk, as if he had been struck a blow by some unseen hand. The congregation knew that something terrible had happened, and their hearts seemed to stop beating as they leaned forward to catch his words. My people, said he in a slow, deliberate tone, as if it were an effort to steady his voice, I hold in my hand a message from the President of the United States. 


advanced a step forward

struck a blow

leaned forward


steady his voice 

Then his eyes dropped to the paper which he still held, and now his voice rang out clear and loud as he read: “Our Flag has been fired upon! Seventy-five thousand troops wanted at once”. I could not make you understand all that took place the next week or two any more than the little children who heard what the telegram said, understood it. 




Men came home, hurried and excited, to hunt up law papers, or to straighten out deeds, saying in constrained tones to the pale-faced women, “I will try to leave all business matters straight before I go.” There was solemn consultations between husbands and wives, which usually ended in the father’s going out, stern-faced and silent, and the mother, dry-eyed but with quivering lips, seeking her own room, locking herself in for an hour, then coming out to the wondering children with a quiet face, but with eyes that showed she had been weeping. 


hunt up law papers





quivering lips

quiet face

There were gatherings in the town halls and in the churches and school houses all over the “land. The newspapers were read hurriedly and anxiously. And when little Robert looked up earnestly into his grand-mamma’s face and asked, “Why does mamma not eat her breakfast?” grand-mamma replied, “Your papa is going away, my dear.” And when little Robert persisted, by saying, “But papa goes to New York every year, and mamma does not sit and stare out of the window, and forget to eat her breakfast,” then mamma would turn solemnly around and say, “Robert, my boy, papa is going to the war, and may never come back to us.”







“But you and I must be brave about it, and help him get ready.” Robert answered, “Why is he going to the war? Why does he not stay at home with us? Doesn’t he love us any more?” then mamma would draw her boy to her and putting her arms around him, and looking into his eyes, she would say, “Yes, my darling, he loves us, but he must go. Our country needs him, and we must be proud that he is ready to do his duty.


Do you think that some children might feel abandoned? 

Then came the marching away of the soldiers to the railway stations, and then the farewells and cheers and waving of handkerchiefs and the playing of patriotic songs by the bands.

And all this time the fathers, brave men as they were, had been marching down to the war. Oftentimes they slept on the hard ground with only their army blankets wrapped around them, and the stars to keep watch over them, and many a day they had nothing to eat but dry bread and black coffee, because they had not time to cook more, and sometimes they had no breakfast at all because they must be up by daybreak and march on, even if the rain poured down, as it sometimes did, wetting them through and through.


railway stations

patriotic songs


What is your understanding of: ’stars to keep watch over them’

What were such hardships when their country was in danger? Then came the terrible, terrible battles, more awful than anything you ever dreamed of. Men were shot down by the thousands, and many who did not lose their lives had a leg shot off, or an arm so crushed that it had to be cut off. Still they bravely struggled on. It was for their beloved country they were fighting, and for it they must be willing to suffer, or to die.”


Another word for ‘arm so crushed that it had to be cut off’ beginning with the letter ‘A’


“Then a hundred thousand more soldiers were called for, and then another hundred thousand, and still the bloody war continued. For four long years it lasted, and the whole world looked on, amazed at such courage and endurance.

Then the men who had not been killed, or who had not died of their sufferings came marching home again, many, alas, on crutches, and many who knew that they were disabled for life. But they had saved their country! And that was reward enough for their heroic hearts. Though many a widow turned her sad face away when the crowd welcomed the returning soldiers, for she knew that her loved one was not with them, and many little children learned in time that their dear fathers would never return to them.

War is such a terrible thing that it makes one’s heart ache to think of it. Then by and by the people said, “Our children must grow up loving and honouring the heroic men who gave their lives for their country.” So in villages and towns and cities monuments were built in honour of the men who died fighting for their country. And one day each year was set apart to keep fresh and green the memory of the brave soldiers; and it has been named “Decoration Day,” because on this day all the children, all over the land, are permitted to go to the graves of the dead soldiers and place flowers upon them.”

Any Questions?

Learning Task/Homework:

  1. Write a 200 words Review of the story

(You could say: what is the story about – what you liked about the story, what you didn’t like. Talk about word difficulty, was it too easy, just right, too hard. Would you recommend the story to others, why or why not. Conclusion: what did you learn from the story, what main points do you want readers to know about).

You could present your Review in the Clubhouse session 

Little Example for a Review:

I would usually read academic books, but now I’m getting fond of reading novels and short stories. I was thrilled to get my hands on the latest short story. I would describe the story as a masterful blend of fantasy and mystery, in addition it is funny in parts, with a little bit of romance. 

The story is located in both ancient and modern day Japan, and each section of the story takes you on a journey to the next section.  The story is full of rich historically details about what people wore, and the relationship between parents and their children. The young boy in the story is an interested character, he is too young to fully understand his parents way of life, but ….

Thank you for all your help, you have built my confidence.

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