Thursday, April 30, 2015

Into the Storm: Storm Chasers, Tornadoes

Tornado Watch - Tornadoes are possible in and near the watch area. Review and discuss your emergency plans, and check supplies and your safe room. Be ready to act quickly if a warning is issued or you suspect a tornado is approaching. Acting early helps to save lives!
Tornado Warning - A tornado has been sighted or indicated by weather radar. Tornado warnings indicate imminent danger to life and property. Go immediately under ground to a basement, storm cellar or an interior room (closet, hallway or bathroom).
I. Work in pairs. Decide whether these places are good shelters in case of tornadoes:
  • A small room, such as a closet or a bathroom, near the center of the home
  • a bathroom under the stairs and centrally located
  • a basement
  • under a heavy bench or a heavy table
  • crawl space if the house is built on concrete block.
  • garage
  • a mobile home

Wrong answers:
  • crawl space if the house is built on concrete block. - the house can pancake on the ground or move as a single unit off the foundation. You can be crushed.
  • garage - garage doors fail easily
  • a mobile home - it can be taken away by the winds with you inside.
II. Choose the correct alternatives:

1. A ________________is a giant whirlpool that covers land. A ____________ is a whirlwind. (HURRICANE/TORNADO)

2. ______________ form over land from
thunderstorms. ______________ form over water and covers all sorts of spinning storms from a standard low pressure system to a ______________. (TORNADOES / CYCLONES / HURRICANE)

3. In themselves nothing, they are both the same thing. The distinction is that _________________ form in the Atlantic, and _________ form in the Pacific Ocean. (HURRICANES / TYPHOONS)

4. ____________ Hurricanes are LARGE scale weather systems that form over warm ocean waters near the equator due to the convergence of several factors, including LOW wind shear, warm ocean water, and the Coriolis force. They are large features that exist over time scales of many hours to days. ___________ form in super cell thunderstorms, which are rotating thunderstorms that form in conditions of HIGH wind shear and large atmospheric instability. They are small features that exist on small time scales of minutes to an hour. (HURRICANES / TORNADOES)

Answer key: The answers are in the correct order.

III. Watch the segment and answer the questions.

1. What were they doing when the tornado hit the city?

2. Were they acting right? Explain it.

3. Is their job important? Why (not)?

4. What are the most common natural disaster where you live? How do you compare it to a tornado?

5. Do you consider yourself lucky or unfortunate, regarding natural disasters in your city?


Monday, April 20, 2015

Cyberbully: Cyberbullying

This is a movie made for television, and it talks about a very current topic, cyberbullying. Because cyberbullying involves humiliation, swearing, and desperation, this scene is more suitable for adults or older teens, since there are some curse words and the main character is drawn to a desperate outcome. In fact, total despair and disappointment with life are some of the extreme outcomes of cyberbullying. However, it is important to discuss this issue, and the movie and scene have a very positive message. So, please, mind your audience when you choose this topic and scene. My students loved it, and it was a great conversation starter.

Cyber bullying is bullying through email, instant messaging (IMing), chat room exchanges, Web site posts, or digital messages or images send to a cellular phone or personal digital assistant (PDA) (Kowalski et al. 2008). Cyber bullying, like traditional bullying, involves an imbalance of power, aggression, and a negative action that is often repeated.

I. Here are some characteristics of cyberbullying, which is different from traditional bullying. Read them and decide how the main character of the movie segment dealt with them.

As bad as the "bully" on the playground may be, he or she can be readily identified and potentially avoided. On the other hand, the child who cyber bullies is often anonymous. The victim is left wondering who the cyber "bully" is, which can cause a great deal of stress.
Most children who use traditional ways of bullying terrorize their victim at school, on the bus, or walking to or from school. Although bullying can happen elsewhere in the community, there is usually a standard period of time during which these children have access to their victims. Children who cyber bully can wreak havoc any time of the day or night.
Punitive Fears
Victims of cyber bullying often do not report it because of: (1) fear of retribution from their tormentors, and (2) fear that their computer or phone privileges will be taken away. Often, adults' responses to cyber bullying are to remove the technology from a victim - which in their eyes can be seen as punishment.
Most traditional bullying episodes occur in the presence of other people who assume the role of bystanders or witnesses. The phenomenon of being a bystander in the cyber world is different in that they may receive and forward emails, view web pages, forward images sent to cell phones, etc. The number of bystanders in the cyber world can reach into the millions.

The anonymity afforded by the Internet can lead children to engage in behaviors that they might not do face-to-face. Ironically, it is their very anonymity that allows some individuals to bully at all.

II. Watch the movie segment and answer question I.

III. Here are some kinds of cyberbullying. Which ones did she suffer?

Harassment: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and insulting messages

Denigration: Distributing information about another that is derogatory and untrue through posting it on a Web page, sending it to others through email or instant messaging, or posting or sending digitally altered photos of someone

Flaming: Online "fighting" using electronic messages with angry, vulgar language

Impersonation: Breaking into an email or social networking account and using that person's online identity to send or post vicious or embarrassing material to/about others.

Outing and Trickery: Sharing someone's secrets or embarrassing information, or tricking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information and forwarding it to others

Cyber Stalking: Repeatedly sending messages that include threats of harm or are highly intimidating, or engaging in other online activities that make a person afraid for his or her safety (depending on the content of the message, it may be illegal)

IV. Work in pairs:

1. What were the consequences of cyberbullying in the movie segment case?

2. Why did her friend decide to do it?
3. What should happen to her friend - the cyberbully? Should she be punished? How?
4. Was there anything that could have been done to prevent the situation from happening? Explain it.
5. Do you know anyone who has gone through such an experience? What happened?


Friday, April 10, 2015

Nightcrawler: Ethics, Professional Electronic Journalists

This is an excellent movie with awesome actors. It depicts ethics on TV news and its ending is amazing. A must!
Inspired by:

Talk with a partner:

1. What kind of programs are most popular where you live? Why are they so popular?

2. Are high TV ratings are synonymous with good quality? Explain it.

3. What make a news program reliable?

4. What kind of news are appealing to the public?

5. What are the limits of what TV news images? Is it OK to show people committing suicide, dying, killing, raping, naked, etc/

Read the three pillars of ethics for professional electronic journalists . Then watch the movie segment and decide which of the principles below were overlooked.


Professional electronic journalists should operate as trustees of the public, seek the truth, report it fairly and with integrity and independence, and stand accountable for their actions.

TRUTH: Professional electronic journalists should pursue truth aggressively and present the news accurately, in context, and as completely as possible.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Continuously seek the truth.
* Resist distortions that obscure the importance of events.
* Clearly disclose the origin of information and label all material provided by outsiders.

Professional electronic journalists should not:
* Report anything known to be false.
* Manipulate images or sounds in any way that is misleading.
* Plagiarize.
* Present images or sounds that are reenacted without informing the public.

FAIRNESS: Professional electronic journalists should present the news fairly and impartially, placing primary value on significance and relevance.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Treat all subjects of news coverage with respect and dignity, showing particular compassion to victims of crime or tragedy.
* Exercise special care when children are involved in a story and give children greater privacy protection than adults.
* Present a diversity of expressions, opinions, and ideas in context.

INTEGRITY: Professional electronic journalists should present the news with integrity and decency, avoiding real or perceived conflicts of interest, and respect the dignity and intelligence of the audience as well as the subjects of news.

Professional electronic journalists should:

* Identify sources whenever possible. Confidential sources should be used only when it is clearly in the public interest to gather or convey important information or when a person providing information might be harmed. 
* Refrain from contacting participants in violent situations while the situation is in progress.
* Use technological tools with skill and thoughtfulness, avoiding techniques that skew facts, distort reality, or sensationalize events.
* Use surreptitious news gathering techniques, including hidden cameras or microphones, only if there is no other way to obtain stories of significant public importance and only if the technique is explained to the audience.

Professional electronic journalists should not:

* Pay news sources who have a vested interest in a story.
* Accept gifts, favors, or compensation from those who might seek to influence coverage.
* Engage in activities that may compromise their integrity or independence.

Final discussion:

  • How do you assess the journalist's job? Is he a a good journalist? Is he ethical? 
  • What about the TV channel? How do you assess them?
  • Do you like to watch news shows like that one? Why (not)?
  • Can you give some examples of news programs like the one in the segment?
  • Do you think the journalist did anything wrong? Should he be punished? Justify it.