Gun Control & The Newtown School Shooting (Advanced ESL Lesson Plan)

Download the Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL) here: School-Shooting-Gun-Control-Advanced-16122012.doc

Should handguns be legal?

Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL): Advanced

Background: Twenty children and 6 adults were killed on December 14th when a 20-year old entered Sandy Hook Elementary School and began firing. Several assault-style weapons were found at the scene. These guns were registered to the shooter’s mother, a gun enthusiast. On the same morning, the gunman shot his mother before driving off to the school. People who knew him in high school described him as “intelligent, but nervous and fidgety“, and said he normally avoided attention.
Discuss the following comments taken from the Internet with your classmates:
1.     Guns save far more lives than they take. More lives are saved in a week buy guns used by civilians, than criminals take in a year. Look up the facts!! The lives are on the shoulders of those who make it illegal for teachers to carry guns to protect themselves from situations like this. – ArmedAmerican
2.     I think schools should have security entrances with armed guards and metal detectors similar to courthouses and airports. It is no longer acceptable for it to be harder to get on a plane than it is to walk into a school. – Scm
3.     Pushing the blame onto guns diverts it from where the real need is: better, more comprehensive mental health services and facilities; addressing these issues in their infancy when they’re first manifesting in childhood or puberty instead of assuming ‘it’s just a phase’ or ‘they’ll grow out of it;’ not kowtowing to drug manufacturers by prescribing anti-depressants or whatever at the first sign of trouble; getting people to understand that they won’t be punished or cast out or labeled weird for seeking help. – brocore
4.     We have raised an entire generation on the theory that we must protect their self-esteem at all costs. Then, while mom and dad had better things to do, we sat them in front of Grand Theft Auto and completely desensitized them to violence. So, if we stop shielding kids from every possible disappointment in life, so that when they face one, they are prepared for it; if we take the XBox away once in awhile; and if we actually talk to our kids occasionally, we might prevent some of this… – Gesa
Lastly, an argument that has been (probably falsely) attributed to actor Morgan Freeman blames the sensationalist media. The author states that these killings happen because we treat the shooters like celebrities. Media outlets like CNN rank each shooting statistically like a competition. Articles focus on the shooter and the terrible details of the crime because that’s what sells. Instead of killing themselves in their basements, gunmen carry out violent attacks in places such as schools so they can be remembered as horrible monsters. In short, they kill for notoriety. The author concludes that we should focus on remembering the victims, not the perpetrators.

Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL): Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
sth on sb’s shoulders
divert (verb)
manifest (verb)
cast out (phr. verb)
  • fidgety – unable to remain still/quiet
  • sth on sb’s shoulders – blame, guilt, etc. that someone must take responsibility for
  • divert – make sth change direction
  • infancy – early childhood; early stages of development
  • manifest – appear
  • puberty – the period of sexual development in adolescence
  • kowtow – show sb in authority too much respect and be too willing to obey them
  • cast out – drive out by force; expel
  • sensationalist – purposely shocking or exaggerated in order to get people’s attention
  • notoriety – infamy; fame for doing sth bad
  • perpetrator – a person who commits a crime or does sth evil

Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL): Homework

Vocabulary: Circle the words above that you did not know. Make sentences with them as homework.

Writing: Imagine you are Barack Obama. Write a short speech to give to the people Newtown.

Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL): Discussion Questions

1)     What measures are in place to protect your safety right now? Are they sufficient?
2)     What are the best strategies for self-defense?
3)     Is your country becoming more or less violent?
4)     Who in society should be allowed to carry weapons? What kind of weapons?
5)     Do video games, TV, and movies have a negative influence on youth?

Gun Control Lesson Plan (ESL) copyright Matthew Barton of

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2 comments on “Gun Control & The Newtown School Shooting (Advanced ESL Lesson Plan)

  1. Kent (Posted on 1-10-2013 at 03:23) Reply

    Where are the idioms

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 1-10-2013 at 22:27) Reply

      “to have something on your shoulders” — it’s the second item in the vocabulary list.

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