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Teachers' Room > Lesson Library > Browse Library

Human Interest

Free Time ....
People tend to become less involved with community work and social groups as they age, but those who were most active in their high school years are the most likely to stay engaged as they age, researchers say. (Community involvement, young people and older people and involvement.)
Intermediate
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Enslaved
Pimp turned do-gooder Kaushic Biswas has swapped the brothel for the kitchen and is now teaching the sort of women he once exploited how to cook their way out of sex trafficking. (Slavery and forced labor.)
Advanced
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First Lady A Climber
Scientists using sophisticated scanning technology on the fossil bones of the ancient human ancestor from Ethiopia dubbed "Lucy" have determined that she was adept at climbing trees as well as walking. (Lucy and fossils, gerund following preposition.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Beauty Beyond the Skin
With its evening gowns, celebrity judges and tears of joy, the beauty pageant in Nairobi was like others elsewhere, except for one thing - all 20 contestants who strutted, sashayed and swaggered down the catwalk had albinism. (Beauty, albinos, discrimination, Kenya.)
Advanced
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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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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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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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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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Men Give Birth
A hospital in eastern China is offering fathers-to-be a chance to experience the pain of childbirth after several new moms complained they got little sympathy from their partners. (Childbirth, expectant fathers, discussion.)
Intermediate
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Wanderlust
For Americans looking to retire abroad, deciding where to live can be a challenge. But Lynne and Tim Martin took that question off the table by deciding to retire everywhere and anywhere. (Retirement and travel, word families.)
Advanced
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Hurricane Gender
Because people unconsciously think a storm with a female name is less dangerous than one with a masculine name, those in its path are less likely to flee, and are therefore more vulnerable to harm. As a result, strong Atlantic hurricanes with the most feminine names caused an estimated five times more deaths than those with the most masculine names. (Hurricanes, power of names, gender stereotypes.)
Intermediate
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Avoidance Apps
Trying to avoid an awkward encounter with an ex? Fearful of an embarrassing meeting after an argument? New apps can help people avoid bumping into others and provide escape routes if they do. (Avoiding people you do not want to see, vocabulary hunt, answering a questionnaire.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Nine Months to Mars
More than a thousand people will now take tests to decide who will live on Mars. In 2011 two Dutchmen set up Mars One with the aim of having people live on Mars permanently from 2025. They hope the project will get money from investors and the rights from a TV documentary-reality television show of the tests, training and final selection. (Mars, reality television, science, travel, future forms and would like/love to do something.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Dear Santa
One 13-year-old boy who sent a "Dear Santa" letter to the U.S. Post Office this year asked only for covers for his bed, "so I can stay warm this winter." Heartrending letters like this are sent each year to the Post Office "Letters to Santa" program, now in its 100th year. Some of the letters are answered by charitable groups, businesses, schools, postal employees and individual anonymous givers, who pick letters and go shopping. (Santa letters, helping others, Ho!, Ho!, Ho! competition.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Surprise Trips
A 9-year-old boy from Minneapolis went through security at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and caught a flight to Las Vegas without a ticket and three German children aged five, six and seven who said they were fed up with cold weather at home set off on a voyage to Africa but only got as far as the local train station. (Children and mishaps, transport, taxis, past simple and past continuous tenses, ordinal numbers, the prefix -un.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Doing The Right Thing
A Boston homeless man turned over to police a backpack stuffed with nearly $42,000 worth of cash and travelers checks shortly after he found it at a shopping mall. He has then been rewarded for his selfless act with about $60,000 worth of online donations from people impressed with his honesty. (Honesty, suffix -less, past simple and past continuous.)
Intermediate
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Leftovers
Xu Jiajie has gone on countless blind dates and to numerous match-making events in search of a husband. At 31 she is under enormous pressure to get married. But the right man is hard to find, for urban, educated and well-paid Chinese women in a society where the husband's social status is traditionally above the wife's. (China, professional women, linking words, words for discourse markers.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Super Hero
He wears a green Power Rangers suit and a mask. He waits by the stairs of a Tokyo subway station. He helps old people, passengers with heavy packages and mothers with baby strollers. He is a superhero. (Helping other people, Tokyo, superheroes, prepositions of place, simple past tense - negatives and rules.)
Elementary
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Record Chat
Popular Norwegian crime writer Hans Olav Lahlum set the world record for the longest interview on Thursday after spending more than 30 non-stop hours chatting in an online television broadcast.(World records, interviews, superlative adjectives, nationality suffixes.)
Pre-Intermediate  Lesson Updated: 8 August 2013
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Not To Your Taste?
President Barack Obama likes burgers, hot dogs and such, but when it came time to answer a question about his favorite food, broccoli was the first word that sprang from his lips. Former American President George Bush Sr.'s famous dislike of broccoli might be put down to the fact that he could be a "supertaster". (Predicting using a headline, writing questions, summarizing the text, metaphors, writing a report, prepositions, future - will for predictions.)
Intermediate
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Barbie Land
Are you a Barbie fan? There is tea, tutus and pink tables at a Taipei cafe for Barbie lovers. "Every little girl has a Barbie..." said Henry Chiu. Fans like the cafe. "I feel like a Barbie doll in a fairy tale world. I feel like a princess," said Shiao Yu, a 30-year-old housewife. (Barbie dolls, yes/no questions, have got for possession, yes, he is/no, he isn't.)
Elementary
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Old Timers
The world's oldest woman lives in Japan. (Longevity, world records, scanning, making questions, discussion.)
Elementary
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Beauty Treatments?
Hollywood stars wanting to look their best for Tinseltown's biggest night of the year are being offered beauty treatments ranging from the lavish to plain loony such as $250,000 black diamond nail varnish and bird excrement facials. (Beauty treatments and products, influence of consumers on manufacturers, zero conditionals.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Diamond Gifts
A piece of Antarctica named after her, a baby llama, tea from Sri Lanka and her own set of Olympic medals were just some of the gifts Britain's Queen Elizabeth received during her 2012 diamond jubilee year. Foreign leaders,... luxury goods businesses and members of the public gave the British queen a treasure trove of gifts. (Gift giving, jubilees, superlative adjectives.)
Pre-Intermediate
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When I'm Old .....
Liu Qianping was visiting his 24-year-old granddaughter in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou when he saw the women's clothes [that his] granddaughter was packing into boxes. His visit came as the model that Lu Ting and four friends had booked for a photo shoot suddenly canceled. (Fashion, old age, retirement, first and second conditional, poem, "shall".)
Pre-Intermediate
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Giving Kids
Not long after the megastorm Sandy hit the northeast United States, Maryum Goodwin and her little girl Ryleigh, 6, saw a disturbing picture of the New Jersey shore devastation. "That's somebody's house?" Ryleigh asked. "It used to be," said Maryum. That moment got Ryleigh thinking about how she could help. (Teaching children about giving, charities, disasters, past perfect)
Intermediate
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Asia's Nobel Winners
A Taiwanese vegetable seller is one of six winners of Asia's Ramon Magsaysay Award this year. Chen has been selling vegetables in Taiwan's Taitung central market since 1963. She has used the money she gets from selling vegetables to help build a library and feed and shelter children-and families displaced by disasters.
Pre-Intermediate
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Annoying Noises
Which noise is more distracting - a child whining or a table saw? Making a noise while unwrapping a lolly at the movies can't be helped! (Whining and children, scientific research, unwrapping candies in theaters, referencing, adverbs)
Upper-Intermediate
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The Best Place To Live
Once more, Vienna ranked world's nicest city and Baghdad worst. Vienna's excellent infrastructure, safe streets and good public health service make it the nicest place to live in the world, consulting group Mercer said in a global survey. (Cities and quality of life, discussion, complete the table, scanning, thinking carefully, ranking items.)
Intermediate
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An Olympic Love Story
Mention the name Missoni, and most think of a fashion empire that revolutionized textile patterns, spawned the no-bra look on the catwalks, and is now a global brand that designs everything from sweaters to sheets to hotels. But none of it would have happened had it not been for the 1948 London Olympics. (Sequencing, completing a table, predicting)
Advanced
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Adolescent CEOs
Venture capitalists are funding more chief executives under age 21 than ever before. Josh Buckley, chief executive of an online gaming start-up, is looking forward to the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, particularly for the parties and the schmoozing with industry A-listers. There's one problem: Buckley may be turned away from many of the parties because he is not old enough to drink. (Young entrepreneurs, work, high-tech companies, venture capitalists, 'will' + infinitive.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Trapped!
A Swedish man was dug out alive after being snowed in to his car on a forest track for two months with no food and a man was trapped in an elevator for more than 40 hours. (Being trapped, escapes, direct speech, punctuation.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Photos Making Slow Way Home
In a large, bright room not far from the ocean that raged through this coastal Japanese city nearly a year ago, a handful of people with magnifying glasses pore over boxes of photographs of friends or loved ones. Photos lost or damaged in the 2011 March tsunami are slowly making their way back to their owners, thanks to the painstaking efforts of a team that cleans them of mud, dirt and oil. (Photographs, memories, disasters, the present perfect simple).
Intermediate
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Lost and Found
An American violinist left her $2.6 million 1727 Stradivarius violin on a German train and a Boston music student was reunited with the $170,000 violin she forgot in the overhead compartment of a bus. An 89-year-old Canadian widow has inherited a C$130 ($88,000) cash windfall, although the money - left by her late husband in a fire extinguisher canister - was found by a couple in a house she no longer owned. (Money, court cases, law, valuable things.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Are You Out There?
Men in black, Mork and Mindy, shining lights in the sky and more than 20 years of other alien visitations and bizarre sightings recorded in Britain's own "X-Files" have been made available online to the public. (Aliens, legendary creatures, plural forms of words.)
Upper-Intermediate
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The oldest, the tallest, the most expensive...
Tokyo is still the second most expensive city in the world for expatriates after Luanda in Angola. (World's most expensive cities, superlative adjectives, writing a headline, completing a table of information.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Mom Salary
Many U.S. mothers feel like single parents, whether they are married or not, and two out of three resent handling all the household chores even when they prefer their partners to stand aside, a new survey shows. (Mothers, jobs, occupations, stress, income, subordinate conjunctions, linkers)
Intermediate
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Wild Sleepover?
For wild animal lovers not content with watching tigers and gorillas during the day, a growing number of zoos are offering a more thrilling after-dark experience - overnight stays. Visitors are learning what happens when the gates slam shut, the sun goes down and the moon rises over some of America's most well-known zoos. (Sleepovers, zoos, writing questions using the present simple tense, present perfect simple, role play using present simple and present perfect simple, doing a crossword.)
Pre-Intermediate
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Sprucing Up The Down-at-heel
In Paris' upmarket St Germain district, hairdresser Lucia Iraci spends her days coiffing the city's glitterati, including actors, models and musicians. Yet once a month she opens her doors to a more downtrodden clientèle, offering free pampering and a dash of glamor to women from poor districts who are often long-term unemployed or victims of abuse and even slavery. (Hairdressing and beauty, amazing life stories, women's rights, helping others.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Homegirls
It was Stephanie Lane's first day on the job as a waitress at Homegirl Cafe and the last thing she wanted to do was wait on the police. The restaurant, staffed by female gang members trying to leave their past behind, is part of Homeboy Industries... Quitting a life of drug dealing, fighting and stealing cars on the streets of South Los Angeles, where she followed her father and mother into the Crips gang, was not easy. (Gangs and rehabilitation, Homeboy Industries, making a movie, discussion.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Do You Like The Countryside?
A small German village needs a new doctor. The village is offering the doctor free bread, meat, flowers, haircuts and accommodation and a small Australian village needs new families. The village is offering families houses for rent for AUS$1 a week. (City versus the countryside, jobs, advertisements.)
Elementary
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Effects of Rom Coms?
Romantic comedies might provide 90 minutes of light-hearted fun but the happy-ever-after movies are also impacting people's real love lives, according to an Australian survey and a study in college dating suggests that American males enjoy teary, romantic "women's films" more than they are letting on. (Romantic comedies, differences between men and women, movie genres.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Eye See
It's estimated that up to 60 percent of school-age children in rural China need glasses to see clearly, but most either don't have them or don't wear them if they do. A new study suggests that misinformation about wearing glasses and the inconvenience of getting them - not cost - may be at least partly to blame. (Eyesight, stereotypes, making predictions, designing a pair of glasses.)
Upper-Intermediate
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Dining Tips
We all indulge in less-than-perfect behavior in private but dining politely should be second nature - or should at least appear to be - if you are seeking to impress the boss or potential client. Here are some top tips to ensure social and business success at the table. (Business, table manners, dos and don'ts of dining, spaghetti eating.)
Intermediate
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How much is too much?
The son of billionaire investor Warren Buffett has an old-world spiritual message for today's money-rich parents: teach your children values and do not give them everything they want. Multi-millionaires want help in preventing wealth from corrupting their children's values. (Wealth, spoiling children, financial services, business.)
Advanced
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World Cup Hearing
World Cup fans should wear ear plugs to protect them from the blaring vuvuzela trumpets beloved by South African spectators, a hearing expert said. (Soccer World Cup, hearing loss, sport.)
Upper-Intermediate
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$40.00 a Foot
When Bhoopnarayan Jha lost his leg, he did not want to live. "I told my doctor, just kill me...," said 48-year-old Jha, who used to cycle 20 km (about 12 miles) to work every day. When Jha got a foot he walked after one hour. "In one month's time I could run and catch a bus." (Health, new inventions, amputees.)
Pre-Intermediate
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