Free-Range Parents

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author: Cohenne Csintalan Agnes

course name: ESL advanced, integrated skills (the lesson plan was                                            developed as a final project for  PP 104)

grade level: ESL advanced (the lesson is suitable for advanced                                                                                  students, college age and upward)

time: about 250 minutes of student work


By the the time you complete all the activities,

  • you will have learned about parenting issues and values in the U.S. and other countries
  • you will have learned new vocabulary related to the topic
  • you will have created your account  and joined a class at and
  • you will be able to created your own study set of new vocabulary items using an online tool
  • you will be able to identify and produce passive sentences
  • you will be able to demonstrate  better understanding of the use/function of  passive  verb forms
  • you will have produced several comments on a blog site
  • you will have participated in a live online discussion of the topic of the lesson


There have been many reports and a lot of discussions on free-range parents,                                or free-range parenting in the news media.  Who are these free-range                                                parents?

  • Click on the expression “free-range to get the definition.
  • View the news report below on what happened to Alex and Danielle Meitiv and their children.


1. Vocabulary vocab

By now you have an idea of who free-range parents are. However, if you did not understand every detail in the report, go to the flashcard set called Parenting at, and use the flashcards or other functions to learn/review the words.

  • Click the following link to be added to the ESL ad. class: (You can also access the set through this direct link.)
  • You are ready to start the vocabulary exercises. Complete the exercises. However, it is a good idea to join and create your own account (you will be required to compile your own list of new words later).
  • To create an account click on the green box, and fill in the necessary information.  

 2. Listening thCAJQCTNK list to radio

View the report again, but now complete the comprehension quiz as well.

  • Go to and create a student account (no email needed!)
  • Join the ESL ad. class by clicking on “Join Class” and introducing the class code:enR0BD
  • Find “Free-Range” Parents Under investigation video, view it, and complete the quiz.
  • To get your results, click on the “progress” button.

3. Discussion (written comments) th (7)

How about you? At what age were you allowed to go to school, to the library, or to the store alone? Did you play outside without adult supervision?  Were your parents hands-on, or hands-off?  How much freedom did you and your friends enjoy? Write your comments.

 4. Reading and vocabulary expansion th (4)

To find out about the results of the investigation,  read the article Mom Speaks Out After Neglect Charges Cleared. You may find the language a little more difficult. In order to understand and discuss the details of this story, you may need to learn some new vocabulary, including some legal terms frequently used in reports and news articles (the language of which sometimes is more formal). 

  • Go to You already have your account. Sign in,  and compile your own set of new words that you found in the article.
  • Start by clicking on “create new study set.”
  • If you set English as the language in both columns–which you are                                                recommended to do–, and enter a new word, by clicking on the third                                          (rightmost) icon, you are offered definitions.
  •  You can choose one of those, or  you can consult an online dictionary such as                          Cambridge English Dictionariesand you can write your own definition

 5. Discussion (oral discussion online)10846628-a-group-of-illustrated-3d-people-are-arranged-in-a-circle-around-the-words-let1

Were the Meitivs right? Was it worth the fight? Should parents be allowed to raise their children as they see fit? In what sort of circumstances is government interference justified or necessary. Meet for a live discussion on Skype.

  •    Go to, get an account if you do not already have one, sign in
  •    Invite your classmates and/ or accept invitations (using information in our class                                list)
  • Let’s meet for live discussion of the article and the questions above.


                                      (if you cannot make it to the live discussion, or in addition to it)

6. Grammar–Passive Voice

In news report, expressions like “was detained,” ” has been cleared of all charges,” are very common. These are passive structures. Can you identify them in the article Mom Speaks Out After Neglect Charges Cleared? Review and practice to form and use passive structures with the help of the video presentations/quizzes below.

  • To review how to form passive sentences watch the video presentations below.

  • In order to practice using passive structures with the new vocabulary, take this short quiz  . If you put your cursor at the triangle, you can see the optional answers. Right next to the triangle, there is a letter “i“. If you hover your cursor above it, you can get help. 
  • To learn how to use passive structures, view the next video presentation.

6. Take a survey to find out “Which country shares your parenting values?”

and report on your experience in oral comments

  • Go to this PBS article
  • Take the survey. With your cursor you can move the values in your order of preference.
  • Then roll down the page to find “Choose two countries to compare.”
  • Compare your country with a few other countries. Take notes of what you find out.
  • Click on this link to voicethread, and record your comments on your experience.
  • There are two slides. After you finish your first comment, go to the second slide: there is an arrow in the lower left corner.

– click on “comment”

– allow access to your camera/microphone

– start recording your comment

– you can rerecord your comment as many times as you wish

– when you are satisfied, hit the save button.

– listen to your classmates’ comments, and respond.


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