CIVICS Lesson Plan Summary – Objective 39


December 14, 2006


Objective 39: Government and Law – Citizenship Preparation

Instructor: Ann Kopel, Portland Community College

Class/level: ESOL low Intermediate

Contact info:

Crossroads Cafe video: #19 The People’s Choice



  1. Lesson plan summary
  2. Schedule for showing Crossroads Cafe video 19: The People’s Choice
  3. Vocabulary and comprehension questions to go with video 19


Civics Objectives and their related activities:


To understand the voting process the students were familiarized with the names and abbreviations of the states and the processes of government.


Activity: Learn the names of the states and their abbreviations

1.                  Match the states with their abbreviations

HO: Map of U.S. with abbreviations

HO: Map of U.S. with states

HO: page 142 of Stand Out  - complete the chart

Every student read an article covering the requirements for voting and they were given a comprehension quiz on those requirements.

Activity: Ask people how which states they have visited.

HO: Conversation grid

Activity: Pairwork: Tell me about one place in the U.S. you have been.

Activity: Write about Oregon

·         How long have you lived in Oregon?

·         Do you like the weather?

·         What places have you visited in Oregon?

·         What places have you visited in Portland?

·         Do you like living in Portland? Explain.

Activity: Read “Electing U.S. Lawmakers from Easy English News


·         Read out loud as a class

·         Look at Map

·         Who are our Senators and Congress people?

·         Find the nouns and subject pronouns

Activity: Structure of the U.S. Government

Use lesson 4 of Stand Out Book 3 pp 148-149 about the Legislative, judicial, executive branches. Read lesson together, then have the students ask the questions of each other.



CAL Objective 8. Describe the steps a citizen must take in order to vote.


Activity: Interpret election advertising

·         Talk about campaign promises and advertising.

·         Give students a copy of an actual flyer (left on my door) for a judge in Portland. Discuss positive and negatives in simple present and meanings of the vocabulary words. Then write about why you would or wouldn’t vote for this man.

Activity:  Find your Congressional representatives

·         Have every student go to the website: Find Your Legislator @

·         Each student entered his or her home address, and printed out a list of their national and state of Oregon congressional representatives.

Activity: My neighborhood

Small Group Discussion by neighborhood groups and make a list of things you value in your neighborhood

Activity: Write on the topic “If you ran for office, what would you want to do?”

Activity: View online video of Oregon’s Vote by Mail process


CAL Objective 2. Interpret and complete a voter registration form.


Activity: Hand out Voters registration form

·         Have every person fill it out the form (turned in 3 forms for students who were unregistered citizens)

·         Look at the back of the form and read the requirements for registration

·         With a partner: answer the multiple choice questions about this info.

·         Quiz students on the qualifications for voting


CAL Objective 5. Communicate one’s opinion on a current issue.


Activity: Understand both sides of ballot measure 43 regarding parental notification required for teenage abortion by reading two opposing first-hand stories published in the Oregonian

·         Explain the history of abortion debate in the U.S.

·         Each person reads only one of the stories with a partner reading the same one.

·         Pair 2 partners reading one POV with 2 partners who read the other POV.

·         Each pair explains what they read to the other two who did not read the same story.

·         Summarize in class and discuss difficult vocabulary.

·         HOMEWORK: Write a paragraph that explains how you would vote.


Cross Roads Cafe – Video 19: The people’s choice

HINT: If the class is new to the Cross Roads Cafe series, begin with video 1 that introduces the characters and tells how the Cafe was named.


The video was shown serially over several class periods (see schedule below). Each student was given a transcript for the part that was shown along with vocabulary for that section and multiple choice comprehension questions.

  1. Show the assigned section of the video
  2. Hand out the transcript
  3. Read it out loud, stopping to discuss vocabulary, pronunciation, or plot implications
  4. Reshow the video
  5. Students work individually or in pairs to answer the comprehension questions




Script pages


Approx show time in minutes

Show all

Episode 1

Show entire episode that introduces the characters and names the cafe



1-bottom of 6

Introduce characters / story and Jess thinks about running of councilman.



7- bottom of 10

Inside cafe – Jess tries to give a speech and Dan Miller character is introduced and idea of needing money for the campaign is introduced – Hassan gives Rosa flowers.



11-13 which includes CULTURE CLIP 23-24

We meet Andrew Comstock and then Jess meets Comstock –

CC is about How city government works



14 -  18

(includes Word Play about “promise to”

We meet the new Jess and Jess is criticized by his wife. Then Jess gives speech but then drops Comstock and pulls off his toupee – wife is happier

Also “Word Play” Promise to




Hassan asks Rosa to marry him, Election night – Good byes and wrap up



Characters: The People’s Choice



Regular characters

Victor Brashov – Owner of CC

Rosa Rivera – the cook

Katherine – waitress

Henry – the bus boy

Jamal – the handyman

Jess Washington – regular customer

New characters

Hassan – Jamal’s brother

Carol Washington – Jess’s wife

Dan Miller – consultant

Andrew Comstock – developer



The following vocabulary lists are paired with each showing. Each student was given a copy of the transcript only for the part they were about to view. Each vocabulary word in the list was underlined in the transcript.



The People’s Choice


Vocabulary for part 1:


1.      construction (noun) – building something

The construction of the street lasted one month.


2.      what is going on (phrase) – what is happening

You have been late every class. What is going on with you?


3.      promise (verb) – agree to do something

I promise to vote in November.


4.      block (verb) – to stop or prevent something from happening

Sit down. You are blocking my view of the T.V.


5.      make your acquaintance (phrase) – meet someone

I’m pleased to make your acquaintance.


6.      family resemblance (noun phrase) – look like the rest of the family

There is a family resemblance between my brother and me.


7.      at least (adverb) – the minimum

You must get at least 80% correct to pass the exam.


8.      Accounting Department (2-word noun) – the part of a business that keeps and checks the financial records

The Accounting Department makes sure all the bills are paid.


9.      ordinary (adjective) – not special in any way

It’s difficult for ordinary people to be heard by government.


10. official (noun) – the person in charge

The government official looked at my passport.

(adjective) – approved by someone in charge

She showed me the official certificate that she earned in school.


11. replace (verb) – take the place of something or someone, substitute, put back

The new governor replaced the old one.


12. operate (verb) – to control something, especially a machine

He knew how to operate a computer.


13. vote of confidence (noun phrase) – have confidence in someone

Her husband gave her a vote of confidence because he thought she would be a good mayor.


14. speaking of which (phrase) – referring to something that has already been said.

I heard you are flying to Florida tomorrow. Speaking of which, did you know there are many alligators there?


15. final touch (noun phrase) – the last things to do, usually means something artistic

The family moved into their new house, but it needed their mother’s final touch to make it feel like a home.


16. silly (adjective) – stupid, ridiculous, not well thought out, childish

Only coming to half your English classes is a silly idea.


17. like the back of your hand (phrase) – to know something very well.

He drove a taxicab and knew the city like the back of his hand.




1. Why is Mr. Brashov upset about the construction?

  1. It costs a lot of money
  2. It’s makes it difficult for his customers
  3. They didn’t ask him if they could do it.


2. Who is Hassan? Where is he from?

  1. Hassan is Rosa’s brother and he is from Mexico.
  2. Hassan is Jamal’s brother and he is from Iraq.
  3. Hassan is Jamal’s brother and he is from Egypt.


3. Why is Jess upset?

  1. He got a water bill for $30,000.
  2. He couldn’t get in the restaurant because of the construction.
  3. He didn’t like Hassan.


4. What did the Accounting Department tell Jess to do about his $30,000 water bill?

  1. They apologized for the mistake.
  2. The said that they would send him a new bill.
  3. They told him to pay the $30,000, and apply for a refund.


5. Why doesn’t Jess want to run for city council?

  1. He has no experience in politics.
  2. He thinks government is already run very well.
  3. He thinks he’s not smart enough.


6. What does Jess’s wife, Carol, think about the idea?

  1. She thinks it’s a good idea.
  2. She thinks it’s a bad idea.
  3. She doesn’t care what he does.


7. Do you think Jess will run for City Council?   Yes    No



8. How would your family feel if you decided to run for city council?






The People’s Choice


Vocabulary for part 2:


1.      crooked (adj) – bent or twisted

The picture on the wall was crooked, so I straightened it.


2.      as far as ___ is concerned (phrase) – It means “what someone thinks about something”

As far as I’m concerned, elections are a waste of time.


3.      How do you figure _____ ? (phrase) – How did you decide that?

How do you figure that the schools will have enough money if we continue to lower taxes?


4.      I don’t know the first thing about _____ (phrase) – I don’t know anything about it

I don’t know the first thing about building a computer.


5.      not cut out for _______ (phrase) – not naturally good at something

He’s not cut out to be a teacher because he doesn’t like explaining things.


6.      The bottom line (phrase) – The main point

If you want to learn a language, the bottom line is that you must practice outside of class.


7.      Haven’t got a prayer (There isn’t a prayer) (phrase) – Even if someone prayed for it to happen, it would not happen.

If you don’t speak English outside of class, you don’t have a prayer of learning to speak well.


8.      What does ____ know? (phrase) – It means that person doesn’t know much about the subject.

The teacher says that I should practice English at home, but what does she know?




1. What do you think “stuffing campaign envelopes” means?

  1. Putting information inside envelopes to be mailed to voters.
  2. Putting envelopes in your mouth.
  3. Writing addresses on envelopes.


2. What is Mr. Brashov’s suggestion for Jess to win the election?

  1. Get a campaign manager
  2. Make speeches at Crossroads Cafe
  3. Bring Rosa flowers


3. What did the customers at Crossroads Cafe think of Jess’s first speech?

  1. They liked it a lot.
  2. They asked him to come to their churches to talk.
  3. Some of them seemed bored.

The People’s Choice



Vocabulary for Culture Clips

foundation (n) – what holds something up or supports it

Learning how the letters sound is the foundation for good pronunciation.


local government (adjective and noun) – any government for something less than a country or state

The local government used to support schools, but now they are supported by the state of Oregon.


impact (n) – the effect of one thing on something else

Reduced state spending for schools has been the impact of lowering taxes.


 Vocabulary for part 3:


dive (n) – slang for a run down place of business, usually a restaurant, motel or hotel, or club

He was an awful person, whom I met in a dive.


caviar (n) – salted fish eggs – They are very expensive, often only served by rich people

They served wine and caviar at the wedding.


the other half lives (phrase) – one half is poor people and the other half is rich people – this phrase can be about either half

We went to an expensive hotel to see how the other half lives.


obvious (adj) – very easy to see or understand

It’s obvious that you are angry with me.


drag (v) – to pull along

The young boy dragged a toy across the floor.


struck out (phrase) – a baseball term. It means that a team did not hit the ball and so lose their turn to try. Lose would be a synonym.

I never saw him with a girlfriend because he always struck out with the girls.


you have got to be kidding (phrase) – something that seems impossible to believe

You passed that test? You’ve got to be kidding. You never study!


point (n) – This word can have many meanings. In this context it means the main idea.

The point of learning English is to use it to better your life in the USA.


riddle (n) – puzzle, mystery, something to find out about

Here is a riddle. What’s black and white and read (red) all over. It’s a newspaper!


decent shot (phrase) – good chance

She has a decent shot at winning that award because she is a good writer.


team player (phrase) -  a person who cooperates with others

Employers look for team players to hire.


regular basis (phrase) – something that happens on a schedule

I go to the dentist on a regular basis.


in the game (phrase) – a part of something

Politics means winning people to your side, so in this game it’s important to remember people’s names.


hasty (adj) – very quickly

His hasty departure made her think he didn’t like her.


judging by (phrase) – making a decision because of something you know

Judging by your test score, I think you either don’t understand or did not study your lessons.


get behind (verb phrase) – to support something

I can’t get behind reducing taxes because it will mean reducing services to the poor.


stand for (verb phrase) – this phrase can have different meanings, but in this context it means to represent something

The candidate stands for honesty in politics.


fine-tune (verb) – to change just a little

She fine-tuned the way she studied so that she began learning more.


In for quite a ride (phrase) – You are about to experience something very different and exciting

The men who joined the astronaut program were in for quite a ride!




1. What is the relationship between Dan and Andrew?

  1. Dan works for Andrew.
  2. Andrew works for Dan.
  3. They are good friends.


2. What does Dan Comstock want?

  1. He wants to find an honest candidate to support.
  2. He wants to improve city services like garbage collection.
  3. He wants to build a parking garage in the downtown


3. What do you think Andrew Comstock is going to do?

  1. Tell Jess he will never win the councilman seat.
  2. Give Jess money for his campaign.
  3. Go on a vacation to Florida.


The People’s Choice



Vocabulary for part 4:


just (adv) – only

I want that cake, but I will just have coffee.


My eyes aren’t what they used to be (phrase) – I used to see better, it shows surprise at what someone is seeing.

 My eyes aren’t what they used to be, but have you gotten thinner?


advisor (n) – a person who advises others.

The president’s advisors told him that the Iraq was would be over in a few days.


spruce up (v) – to make something look better

I spruced up my house because people are coming to visit me.


get into (v) – means to begin doing something

I’m going to get into volunteering for charity.


ancient (adj) – very old

Those buildings are ancient and should be torn down.


cost (v) – to cause someone or something to lose something

Saying bad things about other people when they were not present cost me many friends.


give it a rest (phrase) – a rude way to ask ask someone to stop doing or saying something

I’ve heard you tell that story many times. Please give it a rest.


turn your back on (phrase) – ignore someone who you used to pay attention to

After he won the lottery, he turned his back on his old friends.


in the first place (phrase) – at the beginning

In the first place, I came to school to learn English.


ignored (adj) – to not pay attention to

After he won the lottery, he felt ignored by his old friends.


tie the hands of (phrase) – not allow something to be done

Not allowing the state to raise taxes tied the hands of people who wanted to improve schools.


regulations (n) – rules or laws

Regulations say that you can not smoke inside the buildings at PCC.


pump new blood (phrase) – help make it better

The new tax money pumped new blood into the school system.


available (adj) – There to do something

No one was available to teach the class.


ought to (v) – should

You ought to read this script at home to your family.


be ripped off (v) – have someone cheat or steal from you

That store sold me a TV that didn’t work and won’t return my money. I was ripped off.


profit (n) – the money that is made after all expenses are subtracted

Most stores sell their goods for two times what they paid for them. That would make a one hundred per cent profit, but they must all pay their employees, rent, utilities, insurance, and taxes. Therefore their profits may not be very much.





1. Why did Jess look so different?

  1. He was fatter.
  2. He was wearing a toupe (wig).
  3. He had died his hair black.


2. Why was Jess’s wife unhappy with him?

  1. She wanted him to come home earlier.
  2. She had to answer a lot of his phone calls.
  3. She does not like Andrew and Dan because they don’t care about the people of the city.


3. What had Andrew Comstock done that made Jess’s wife angry?

  1. He had destroyed old city buildings where people worked or lived.
  2. He kept her husband out late every night.
  3. He was mean to Jess.


4. What did Jess do that surprised Dan and Andrew?

  1. He changed his mind about taking their money.
  2. He ran for office.
  3. He divorced his wife.





The People’s Choice


Vocabulary for part 5:


go back (v) – return

When will you go back to your country for a visit?


customary (adj) – usual, traditional, normal, expected, routine

It is customary for a married woman to wear a ring on her left finger.


hurt your (my, his) feelings (phrase) – make someone feel sad or unwanted

My friend hurt my feelings when she didn’t invite me to her party.


Would you mind? (phrase) – polite request for someone to do something

Would you mind coming back from break on time?


declare (v) – make an official announcement.

Kulongowski was declared Oregon’s governor after the election.


As far as I’m concerned (phrase) – I think...

As far as I’m concerned, it’s a good idea to lengthen the term to 12 weeks.


Turn (something) on its head (phrase) – turned it upside down, shake things up, make people think about something

Passing that state tax limit turned the city school system on its head.


excitement (noun) – something that is exciting

She was going on her first date, and Her excitement made her smile.


In the meantime (phrase) – Meanwhile, while we wait for something to happen we can do something else.

The term will be over in four weeks, but in the meantime we can learn a lot more English.






1. Why did Hassan give a goat to Rosa?

  1. He wanted her to cook it for him.
  2. He was asking her to marry him.
  3. He did not know what to do with it.


2. What did Rosa tell Hassan about marrying him?

  1. She will marry him.
  2. She can’t marry him.
  3. She was angry with him.


3. Who won the election for city council?

  1. Bohman
  2. Jess
  3. Johansen

4. How do you think Jess feels about running for office?

  1. He thinks it was fun.
  2. He is sorry that he did it.
  3. He will never run for office again.


5. Why does Jess want Johansen to be a good councilman?

  1. He is interested in city government.
  2. He likes Johansen and wants him to succeed.
  3. He got another big water bill and he wants someone to fix it.