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Pre-Intermediate Instant Lesson

Politicians Haunt Halloween

Pre-Reading Activities

A: Discussion
Answer these questions in pairs.
Here is a picture of a display.
1. Why do people like displays? Where do people usually put them?
2. What special days do people have displays for?
3. Does your family build displays? Why or why not?

Reading Activities

A: Understanding the Main Idea
Read today's article quickly (without using your dictionaries) and answer the question.
1.What models are in this Halloween display?

Trump, Clinton haunt U.S. Halloween display
Tue Oct 4, - (Reuters) - A model of a hot air-blowing Donald Trump and another of a toothy Hillary Clinton riding the Democratic Party's donkey mascot are among the skeletons and zombies in a Halloween display that has become an attraction and is stopping traffic in a Connecticut town.

With a little more than a month to go before the U.S. elections on Nov. 8, history professor Matt Warshauer of West Hartford is using his annual Halloween extravaganza to make a political statement.

Warshauer built an 8-foot-high (2.4-meter-high) cardboard [model] of ...Trump's proposed U.S.-Mexican border wall, complete with models of armed guards, in front of his house.

"It's a crazy presidential election where it seems politics are out of control," said Warshauer, who teaches at Central Connecticut State University. "I am making a statement about both parties, the Republican and the Democratic party, but my primary concern is Donald Trump as a president."

Warshauer [put up] the display on Saturday but said on Tuesday that he had been planning it for months.

One of the skeletons holds a sign saying, "We were all immigrants," while another reads, "We are not criminals,"....

U.S. presidential campaigns have often been part of activities leading up to...Halloween on Oct. 31, with sales of rubber masks of the candidates or holiday parades featuring election-themed floats. This year is [no different].

Warshauer, who has built Halloween displays for more than a decade, includes an annual political message.

"I hope people take it in the spirit of Halloween, that I am having a little fun and making a political statement," Warshauer said of [about his display] this year.


Article © 2016 Thomson Reuters Limited. Lesson © 2016
Glossary: statement - something that you say or write in a formal way, concern - what you are most worried about or think is most important, decade- ten years

B: Comprehension
Below are some questions from today's article. Read the article again and answer the questions.
1. What event is this Halloween display about?
2. Who built the display?
3. What does he do?
4. Where is the display?
5. What does he think about the US Presidential election this year?

Copyright Ronni Newton, <>

C: Memorizing
Work in pairs. Take it in turns to ask the questions and give the answers from Reading Activity B. Do this until you can say them fluently and without looking at them.

D: Check Your Understanding

Read this summary of today's article. Fill the gaps with information from today's article.

A _______ professor has built a Halloween display outside his house about the 2016 US Presidential election.  The display has models of _______ _______ and _______ _______ as well as zombies and _______. There is also an _______ high wall made of cardboard with models of _______ with guns. The wall is a model of Trump's idea of building a wall between Mexico and the United States. _______ thinks the 2016 election is crazy. He builds a Halloween display every year.

Post-Reading Activities
You may do one or more of these.

A: Discussion
Work in pairs. Choose one of the questions and discuss it.
1. What is the name of a festival in your country? When is it? Why is it special? What things do you do on the day of the festival?
2. Do you celebrate Halloween in your country? If yes, what special things do your family do?

B: Vocabulary
Look at these lists of words from today's article. Find the odd one out in each list and cross it out. Why is it different to the other words?
1. skeletons, zombies, donkey, Halloween
2. floats, models, masks, months,
3. annual, decade, year, president
4. party, teaches, professor, university

C: Group Brainstorming
Imagine that you own a candy factory. In small groups invent your own Halloween candy that you think children will buy. You will have to convince the rest of your class that your idea for a Halloween candy idea is the best idea. You can be as creative as you want. Don't worry if it isn't possible to really make your candy.  Follow these steps:

1. Describe: the color or colors, the taste, the smell, the sound, the texture (i.e. is it soft, chewy, hard, furry, smooth etc.), what it does to you when you eat it, how you feel after eating it, etc. Record all your answers on paper and think about how you would draw your candy.  

2. Write an advertisement about your new candy and draw a picture of it for your local newspaper.
3. Write a radio advertisement for your Halloween candy and record it. Also, make a television advertisement and either record it or perform it for the rest of your class. Everyone in your group must be involved.

4. Present your newspaper, radio and TV advertisement to the rest of the class. Your classmates will then vote what they think about your candy using a scale of 1 to 3. (1 = would not buy this candy 2 = might buy this candy 3 = would certainly buy this candy.)

D: Sculpture
In pairs or small groups use mini marshmallows (ordinary marshmallows will do or some type of sticky gummy sweet) and toothpicks or straws cut in half to create your own Halloween sweet sculpture. Each person in the group must draw their own sculpture design on paper.
As a group, decide which design is best and together create the sculpture by using the sweets to join the ends of the toothpicks or straws. Use only English to communicate with your group. Once you have finished, describe your sculpture to the rest of the class. Finally you can eat your Halloween sculpture!


Reading Activities

A: Understanding the Main Idea - Answers
1. The Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Also, zombies and skeletons and armed guards.

B: Comprehension - Answers
1. the 2016 US Presidential election, 2. Matt Warshauer, 3. He is a history professor, 4. Outside his home in West Hartford, Connecticut, 5. He thinks it is crazy and the politics are out of control.

C: Memorizing - Notes
Write the Reading Activity B questions on the board.
Go over the answers for the questions as a class and write the answers on the board.
Then ask the students to put away today's article. Sit the students in pairs facing each other, with one of the pair facing the board. Tell students that they have to memorize the questions and answers. The student who is facing the board asks the questions, the other tries to answer and may be prompted by their partner.
They repeat the questions and answers until they can say them fluently and accurately. (Students can change roles at some point). Circulate and help students with pronunciation. (You may like to begin by modeling the pronunciation of the questions and answers yourself.)

Check Your Understanding - Sample Answers
A history professor has built a Halloween display outside his house about the 2016 US Presidential election. The display has models of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as well as zombies and skeletons. There is also an 8-foot-high wall made of cardboard with models of guards with guns. The wall is a model of Trump's idea of building a wall between Mexico and the United States. Matt Warshauer  thinks the 2016 election is crazy. He builds a Halloween display every year

Post-Reading Activities

B: Vocabulary - Notes
Students may come up with equally valid different answers. Be prepared to accept them if they can justify their answers.

B: Vocabulary - Sample Answers
1. donkey - the others are typically associated with Halloween
2. months - the others are associated with putting on displays
3. president - the others are associated with measuring amounts of time
4. party - the others are associated with education


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