ESOL Levels: Intermediate, Advanced

Students will learn about the nature of hurricanes: climate conditions, geographic factors and effects on human systems. With repetitive readings of the story, students will also gain reading fluency, use of context clues and practice flow of supporting details. The effect of Hurricane Georges upon the Dominican Republic will be examined.

The Peace Corps program in the Dominican Republic started in 1962. In 1998, Hurricane Georges hit the country, causing widespread damage. Approximately 300 people perished from the disaster. In addition to capacitating local communities to prepare for natural disasters before they strike and how to deal with the after-effects, technical areas such as health, education, and information technology are mainstays in the work of Peace Corps Volunteers.



  • To identify the characteristics of a hurricane
  • To locate on a regional and world map where certain hurricanes occur or are most likely to occur
  • To explain why hurricanes occur or are most likely to occur in certain parts of the world
  • To learn about the Dominican Republic
  • To structure a story identifying the lead paragraph, supporting details and writing a conclusion
  • Accurately use a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases


  1. Dominican Republic
    • Show students a map of Central America/Caribbean.  Have students locate the Dominican Republic.
    • Share photos and video of the Caribbean and the Dominican Republic.
    • Discuss with students the location (latitude and longitude), climate conditions, locally grown foods, type of clothing, hobbies and traditions, supplying additional information.
  1. Hurricane
    1. Ask students to describe/explain a hurricane and its effect. If students do not know, define "hurricane" for them:
      • hurricane: an extremely large, powerful, and destructive storm with very strong winds that occurs especially in the western part of the Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and eastern Pacific Ocean.

For Intermediate level language learners

  1. Reading About the Impact of Hurricane Georges (Intermediate)
    • 1st time: Distribute visualization handout found under "Supporting Documents." Student read along silently while teacher reads aloud (NO sketching)
    • 2nd time: Using visualization handout:
      1. Teacher pauses after each paragraph allowing students to sketch visualization of words (1.5-2 min)
      2. Students circle any words/phrases they do not understand
      3. Before continuing, students share words/phrases they do not understand and see if other students can define/explain words/phrases before teacher responds
  2. Have students discuss why the author included the information she did in the first paragraph and what makes it as strong lead-in to the story. (Includes core information that catches readers' attention).
  3. Have students write a closing sentence or paragraph that highlights the lesson that the author learned from the experience (possible conclusion: natural disasters can unite a community).

For Advanced language learners

  1. Have students form pairs. Distribute a cut-up copy of About the Impact of Hurricane Georges (Advanced) to each pair.
  2. Students need to organize the story and put it in order. Have students identify the most important information in the story as the "lead" paragraph for the story.
  3. Have student pairs silently read together each section and discuss any vocabulary or ideas they do not understand.
  4. After student pairs have constructed the story, discuss as a class as to why students placed paragraphs in the order they did looking at indications in the paragraphs that suggests their order (Symbols for each paragraph act as markers in order to know what paragraph is being discussed).
  5. Have students write a closing sentence or paragraph that highlights the lesson that the author learned from the experience (possible conclusion: natural disasters can unite a community).

Frameworks & Standards

Enduring Understandings

  • Working together to respond to a national disaster can bind people in a common bond of humanity.
  • Geography of location, weather and climate change are intricately intertwined, one affecting the other.

Essential Questions

  • How is geography of location intertwined with weather and climate change?
  • How and why does where we live influence how we live?


PreK-12 English Language Proficiency Standards

  • Standard 1: Communicate for social, intercultural, and instructional purposes within the school setting.
  • Standard 5: Communicate information, ideas and concepts necessary for academic success in the area of social studies.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts

  • Reading: Informational Text - Key Ideas and Details
  • Determine what a text says explicitly and make inferences;
  • Determine central ideas or themes
  • Analyze how and why individuals, events and ideas develop and interact
  • Reading: Informational Text- Craft and Structure
  • Interpret words and phrases in a text
  • Analyze the structure of texts
  • Assess point of view or purpose

National Council for the Social Studies

Thematic Strand I: Culture

  • Cultures are dynamic and change over time

Thematic Strand III: People, Places and Environments

  • Understand the relationship between human populations and the physical world

U. S. National Geography Standard

Essential Element I: The World in Spatial Terms

  • Use maps and other geographic representations to acquire, process and report information
  • Analyze spatial organization of people, places and environments

Essential Element II: Places and Regions

  • Physical and human characteristics of places

Essential Element V: Environment and Society

  • How physical systems affect human systems

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