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Instant Lesson

Politicians Haunt Halloween
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. (Halloween, displays, presidential election.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Soccer Speaks
On a muggy day in late July, dozens of student refugees ran relentlessly after a soccer ball, stopping only to help up a fellow player who had slipped. (Writing questions, matching sentence beginnings and endings, ordering a text, giving an opinion)
Upper-Intermediate
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Bikes Against Trafficking
Five hundred nuns from the Buddhist sect known as the Drukpa Order, www.drukpa.org/index.php/en/ on Saturday complete a 4,000-km (2,485 mile) bicycle trek from Nepal's Kathmandu to the northern city of Leh in India to raise awareness about human trafficking in the remote region. (Human trafficking, disaster relief, Buddhist nuns, extraordinary journeys.)
Advanced
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Lots of Hot Dogs!
Every year the world hot dog eating competition is held in New York. (World records, hot dogs, food, competitive eating, expressions of quantity.)
Elementary  Lesson Updated: 3 October 2016
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Mouth Painting
Robaba Mohammadi is a young artist. She is 16 years old. She would like to hold an international art show one day. Mohammadi draws with her mouth. (Disability, art, Afghanistan, future plans.)
Elementary
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Teen Childbirth a Deterrent
Girls whose friends have experienced teen childbirth are less likely to get pregnant themselves, a new study suggests. (Teenage pregnancy, speed reading, should and sharing information.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Healthy Vegetables
In school cafeterias with vinyl banners depicting vegetable superhero characters, more young children take vegetables from the salad bar. Also, the next time you're whipping up dinner you may want to boil, steam or stir-fry your vegetables. Read on to find out why. (Health, diet, fruit and vegetables, iron, linkers, contrast)
Intermediate
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Strict Diets
This lesson has some mixed news about diets and their long term effects. Do this lesson and go to the fridge?? (Diets, food, exercise)
Advanced
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Olympic Accommodation
For the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the largest athletes' village in the long history of the Games was unveiled. (The Olympic Village, treatment of athletes, hosting an international event, sport.)
Pre-Intermediate  Lesson Updated: 25 July 2016
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Team Refugee
Angeline Nadai Lohalith would like to see peace in South Sudan so she could march for her country at the Olympic Games. But Lohalith will march under the flag of the Refugee Olympic team at the 2016 Games in Rio. "I can pass a message to the world that, refugees can also do what other people can do. They should not be looked down upon," Lohalith said. (Olympics, refugees, displaced people)
Elementary
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Sleep Updates
Updated sleep recommendations for children and teens point to the benefits of getting enough sleep and the dangers of getting too little. “At least 25 percent of 12-year-olds get less than the recommended nine hours of sleep per night and there is increasing evidence that this impacts learning and memory..." (Sleep, children and young people, writing recommendations and advice.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Age No Barrier
Age is no barrier to Mark Todd, equestrian knight and double Olympic eventing gold medalist, even if disbelieving bus drivers may still demand to see the New Zealander's pass at the Rio Games in August. (Olympics, eventing, older people, sport, ‘by’ + ‘ing’.)
Intermediate
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High Heels At Work
A London temporary worker got more than 120,000 signatures in a petition in one week. The petition asks Britain to say companies can't make women wear high heels at work. (Gender equality, work, shoes.)
Elementary
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Isle of Trump
Donald Trump has played up his family roots from Lewis, an island off the northwestern tip of Scotland, but his success in the U.S. Republican presidential battle has not drawn the kind of rapture the billionaire might like from his home crowd. (Donald Trump, Scotland, weather, religion, politics.)
Advanced
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Woman Punches Through
Sweat drips from Arafat Abkar's face as she [boxes] in an open-air arena in Khartoum's summer heat... "When I train, more spectators watch because women's boxing is new... in Sudan," the 22-year-old said. (Women's sports, Sudan, boxing)
Pre-Intermediate
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Plants At Risk
One in five types of plant worldwide is at risk of extinction from threats such as farming and logging that are wrecking many habitats, a first global overview of plant life said on Tuesday. (Plants, endangered species, conservation, describing plants, writing factual description, using such as to introduce examples.)
Intermediate
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Full Metal Spiders
Scientists knew that fish often carry mercury but they now know that spiders can transfer mercury to foods that people eat.
Elementary
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Loving Animals
Find out about a chicken and a tiny horse that do good work with abused children and senior citizens. (Animals, medical matters, health, infinitives of purpose)
Upper-Intermediate
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Fixing Faulty Genes
The world's first life-saving gene therapy for children has been recommended for approval in Europe, boosting the pioneering technology to fix faulty genes. (Medicine and biotechnology, gene therapy, making predictions.)
Advanced
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Best Sleep
Many parents have only a poor understanding of how much sleep their children need, a New Zealand study found. (Sleep, children, discussion.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Behave or Hop Off
Loud or sleeping people will soon be asked to leave buses and light rail trains in Sacramento under new rules approved by transportation officials, though efforts to ban smelly riders did not pass. (Transport, rules, behavior.)
Intermediate
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The Customer Is Always Right?
Patients give the same doctors different ratings depending on where their visit took place. Although doctors might act differently in an emergency room compared to a calmer office setting, researchers say the results also suggest that ratings are not a completely reliable measure of the quality of care physicians give. (Surveys, doctors, medical words.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Stop Acting the Goat or You're Fired!
The city of Salem fired a herd of goats from their job in a park. The city wanted the 75 goats to eat invasive plants. (Animals, invasive plants, the environment, present perfect simple and past simple).
Elementary
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Superdads
Chung Sang-hoon, 34, is at home with his two small children. Chung, a salesman, took a year of paternity leave from his job in a big foreign company. Before now very few men took paternity leave. Now dads taking paternity leave is more common in South Korea. (skimming, scanning, understanding text organization)
Pre-Intermediate
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Flying Mosquitoes
Global health officials have said that the Zika virus, which has been linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil, is rapidly spreading. Mosquitoes can hop airplanes, flying out of malaria-stricken countries to pose a risk to people in areas where the infection is rare. (Health, malaria, travel, use of commas)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Grave Issue ...
Amid a housing crisis in Egypt, and with the population of the capital estimated at 20 million, thousands of people count themselves lucky to call Cairo Necropolis home. For some in the neighborhood of cemeteries, final resting place to hundreds of thousands people over centuries, the graves themselves provide a livelihood: with people taking care of tombs, digging new graves, or selling flowers to visitors paying their respects on Fridays. (Housing, Egypt, graveyards.)
Upper-Intermediate
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By Any Other Name ...
Most people are busy planning their wedding before they get married. But Kaori Oguni was too busy thinking about losing her maiden name. Oguni is suing the Japanese government. Japan has a law that says spouses must have the same surname. (Marriage, law)
Elementary
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Digital Assistants for Assistance?
As the tech giants race to build ever better artificial intelligence platforms, they are obsessing over the nuances of their digital assistants' personalities. For users, digital assistants are a gateway to powerful artificial intelligence tools developers expect to influence major decisions about what to buy and how to spend time. (Business, digital assistants and IT, Artificial intelligence.)
Advanced
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The Ups and Downs of Child Stars
Everyone thinks their child is a superstar. But if that actually is true, then watch out. You have to start thinking about how to develop that talent and how to pay for it all. The "Harry Potter" are stars all grown up. Emma Watson said that for years she had no idea how much money she was earning and Radcliffe talks of the ups and downs of being a star. (Harry Potter, Daniel Radcliffe, children's books, synonyms, word forms, choose the best answer.)
Intermediate
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Computer Women
New York City programmer Bana Malik was passionate about computers and mathematics from an early age. But early in her studies at New York's Columbia University, Malik took a computer science class and felt out of place in such a male-dominated environment - a common experience for women and minorities seeking work in an industry dominated by white men. (Computers and schools, women and computer education, minorities, structure: not only but also)
Upper-Intermediate
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Autumn Leaves ....
Do you want to see New England's colorful fall leaves? Now a business sends the leaves to you. A Massachusetts man is offering to send bundles of autumn leaves to customers for $19.99. (Businesses, seasons, prepositions of time.)
Elementary
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Suing Your Family ....
A Connecticut jury on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit filed by a New York woman. The woman sued her 12-year-old nephew for injuries that resulted from the boy's "exuberant" greeting at a party on his eighth birthday...(Children and teaching responsibility, apologizing.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Grandparent Childcare
Ock Mi-eun has been taking care of her grandson since he was born two years ago so that her daughter could return to work. It is not unusual for South Koreans to pay their parents to take care of their children. But the number doing so is on the rise.(Families, childcare, grandparents, aging populations, conjunctions.)
Intermediate
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Back To Basics
A self-described shaman who discovered the healing powers of herbs while seeing visions on his sickbed; a former consultant for IBM who ditched PowerPoint presentations to drive across Africa and an artist from Luxembourg who is a qualified plumber. (Migration, alternative lifestyles, conjunctions.)
Advanced
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Mayor For A Year
A freckled-faced three-year-old boy has got a few valuable pieces of advice from his six-year-old brother since he succeeded his elder brother as mayor of a small town in northern Minnesota. (Sequencing, vocabulary)
Pre-Intermediate
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Hunting The Monster
A global team of scientists plans to scour the icy depths of Loch Ness next month using environmental DNA (eDNA) in an experiment that may discover whether Scotland’s fabled monster really does, or did, exist. (Loch Ness monster, scanning, adverbs.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Rent a Chicken
A Pennsylvania husband and wife rent chickens to customers. They rent chickens to about 200 customers in 12 US states and also Ontario and Prince Edward Island in Canada. (Vocabulary, farming, where food comes from)
Elementary
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Tish the Fish
Read about goldfish invasions, goldfish rescues and one fish that despite spending his life going around in circles, he still achieved international fame, unlike some of us. (Goldfish, world records, word order)
Pre-Intermediate
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Demining Animals
Eight dogs have finished their difficult training. They are part of Thailand's battle to get rid of land-mines. Find out about two other animals that are used for "demining" (Landmine clearance, sorting information, 'adjective + for + object pattern'.)
Elementary
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Square Dancing Disturbance
Chinese-style square dancing is becoming much more popular for the elderly, with millions taking to parks and plazas across China, swiveling their hips and rolling their arms - but it's not to everyone's liking.
Intermediate
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Fleeing Yemen
The rocket that tore through a minivan outside the Aden Grand Hotel last week killing nine men, women and children was a clear message that it was time to leave. Yemen's civil war had come too close for comfort. (Discussion, sequencing)
Advanced
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Lunching Billionaire Style
A bidder appears to have won lunch with billionaire Warren Buffett after bidding in a week-long auction on eBay Inc.'s Web site. As in previous years, the billionaire will host the winner and up to seven friends for lunch in either Omaha, Nebraska, where Buffett lives and works.(Charity auctions, business, brainstorming, finding the main idea, true or false, summarizing, peer editing, past perfect.)
Intermediate
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A Prince Among Men
Read articles about Prince William, grandson of Queen Elizabeth II of England, and share information about him to build a picture of what he is like. (Prince William, Queen Elizabeth, sharing information, family)
Pre-Intermediate
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A Hairy Issue
Here's a little marital tip: When financial experts say couples should compromise on absolutely everything, there are times when you just need to split hairs. For instance, just try to tell your spouse how much he or she should spend on getting their hair done. (vocabulary hunt, second conditional)
Upper-Intermediate
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Never Too Old To Graduate
This lesson is about graduating at 90 and an 85-year-old Argentine grandmother who got her degree in journalism. Maybe there is still time. (Old age, learning, retirement, education.)
Elementary
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Coyotes Moving In
Police caught a young female coyote outside a cafe in lower Manhattan, the latest in a series of coyote sightings in New York City. (Coyotes, wild animals living in cities, sharing information.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Children Cut Things Closer
Children may cut things closer than their parents realize when it comes to guessing how far cars are from an intersection or how long it takes to safely reach the other side, a small study suggests. (Traffic safety and children.)
Upper-Intermediate
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A Harry Potter "LARP"
Clad in robes and pointed hats, would-be sorcerers wave their wands and cast spells as they hone their magic skills at their very own College of Wizardry. Role playing witches and wizards in Poland or visiting Diagon Alley in Florida are two of the opportunities available to Harry Potter fans. (Live action role playing, Harry Potter, amusement parks, Hogwarts.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Scarecrow Town
Tsukimi Ayano made her first scarecrow 13 years ago. The straw scarecrow looked like her father, so she made more. Today, the tiny village of Nagoro is full of her scarecrows in houses, fields, trees, streets and at a bus stop. (Scarecrows, migration, families, apostrophe for possession.)
Elementary
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It's Raining Cats and Tourists...
An army of feral cats rules a remote island in southern Japan. There are six cats for every person in the village. (Cats, cat control, collective nouns.)
Pre-Intermediate
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