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Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS
  Warmer
Look at these different places to live and order them from 1 (where you’d least like to live) to 5
(where you’d most like to live).
car    house    cardboard box    mobile home     tent
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
  Key words
a. Match the words in the box to the definitions below.
afford    charity    divorce    nomad    rent
1. have enough money to be able to pay for something
2. money that you pay each month to live in somebody’s house or flat
3. a legal way of ending a marriage
4. someone from a group of people moving from place to place
5. an organization to which you give money so that it can help people
community   independence   maintain   mission   spousal maintenance
6. an aim that is very important to someone
7. money that someone pays to an ex-husband or ex-wife
8. look after and repair a vehicle
9. when you are able to live your life free from the control of other people
10. a group of people living together in the same way or place
b. Use some of the key words above to complete these sentences.
1. After she’d paid for her house, Jan had no money left for food.
2. More than half of Jeff’s money went on to his three former wives.
3. Both of her marriages ended in .
4. The concert raised thousands of pounds for .
5. We need a bigger house, but we just can’t it.
Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country
Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate
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Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS
Stevie Trujillo
4 February, 2021
More Americans are living in vehicles than
ever before.
“When I moved into my SUV*, I had no money.
I was really scared,” said April Craren, 52.
April became homeless after separating from
her husband. She could not afford the rent for
a flat in a nice area.
It’s no surprise that job loss, divorce or a health
or financial crisis can make people homeless.
Bob Wells, 65, helped April to become a nomad
and change her life. Now she lives in a minivan
she got from Bob’s charity, the Home on
Wheels Alliance (HOWA).
Bob lives in a van with solar power and a
fridge. His life mission is to help people live well
in a car, van or RV**.
Before he became a nomad in 1995, Bob lived
in Alaska, with his wife and two boys.
Bob hated his job. He worked with people he
didn’t like and bought things he didn’t want.
He wasn’t happy.
Then, when he was 40 years old, he got
divorced. After paying spousal maintenance
and child support, he had only $1,200 a month.
He had to pay $800 of that on rent.
One day, he saw a van for sale and thought:
“Why don’t I buy that van and move into it?”
Because he didn’t have to pay rent, he worked
fewer hours and had more time to spend
camping with his kids. Bob became happier.
Bob bought the domain name Cheap RV
Living. He posted tips and tricks about living
in a vehicle.
The videos on Bob’s on his YouTube channel
also make him money from advertisements and
links to sales. His most popular video, Living
in a Car on $800 a month, has more than four
million views.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
Bob started the HOWA charity in 2018.
HOWA helps people who cannot afford
traditional housing.
HOWA has given away seven minivans, two
trailers, one school bus and many tents.
April signed a three-year contract to join
HOWA’s programme. She had to show she
could maintain her vehicle and put $200
a month in an account until she had enough
money to buy the minivan.
“Most of the people that HOWA help are
older women. They’re disabled, or retired and
divorced, or don’t earn enough to pay rent,”
Bob explained. HOWA helps them keep their
independence and to make friends in the
nomad community.
Today, April camps on public land next to Cliff,
a nomad who works for HOWA. She eats
fresh foods and lives a more active outdoor
lifestyle. April’s lost weight and feels happier
and healthier.
© Guardian News and Media 2021
First published in The Guardian, 04/02/2021
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Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country
Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate
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Glossary
*SUV = sport utility vehicle
** RV = recreational vehicle
Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS
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Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country
Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate
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  Comprehension check
a. Find the facts.
1. Why did April become homeless?
2. Where did April get her minivan?
3. Where does she live now?
4. How does April feel now?
b. Are these statements true (T) or false (F) according to the article?
1. Bob became homeless after he lost his job in Alaska. T / F
2. Now that he lives in a van, Bob does not see his children. T / F
3. Bob wants to help other people live a good life in a vehicle. T / F
4. The HOWA charity especially helps homeless older women. T / F
  Vocabulary
a. Find seven types of vehicle in the article and write them into the box.
b. Write any other vehicles you can think of in the box.
c. Now use some of the names of vehicles in sentences of your own.
  Discussion
• What are the most difficult things about living in a vehicle?
• Are people allowed to live in a vehicle in your country?
• What essential things do you have to spend money on each month? E.g. rent, food.
   In your own words
Watch the video from Cheap RV Living: Living in a car on $800 a month.
Make notes so that you can explain the video to someone who has not watched it.
3
Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate – Teacher’s notes
Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS
b. Before reading the article carefully, students
use some of the key words to fill the gaps in the
sentences to ensure that they understand the words
and know how they are used in other contexts.
Key:
1. rent
2. spousal maintenance
3. divorce
4. charity
5. afford
3. Comprehension check
a. In the first part of this two-part comprehension
task, students find information in the text to answer
the questions.
Key:
1. She separated from her husband and couldn’t
afford to pay rent in a safe area, so she had to
move into her car.
2. She applied to HOWA’s programme and signed
a three-year contract promising to maintain her
vehicle and to save 200 US dollars a month.
3. She camps on public land next to a man
called Cliff.
4. She feels happier and healthier than before.
b. In the second part, they decide whether the
statements are true or false according to the
information in the article.
Key:
1. False. He decided to move into a van to save
money on rent after he got divorced.
2. False. He spends more time with his
children now.
3. True.
4. True.
4. Vocabulary
a. Students find seven types of vehicles in the article
and write them into the box. Check the answers.
1. Warmer
To introduce the topic of homelessness and alternative
ways of living, ask students to decide where they would
most and least like to live and to write the places on the
lines in order from 1 (the place where they would least like
to live) to 5 (the place where they would most like to live).
2. Key words
a. Students read the words in the box and match them
to the definitions below. Tell them to scan the article
and underline the words as they find them. This will
help them check their answers as well as see how
the words are used in context.
Key:
1. afford
2. rent
3. divorce
4. nomad
5. charity
6. mission
7. spousal maintenance
8. maintain
9. independence
10. community
Article summary: Homeless people are
coming together in the United States to help
each other make the best of their alternative
way of living.
Time: Approximately 90 minutes
Skills: Reading, Speaking, Writing
Language focus: Vocabulary
Materials needed: One copy of the
worksheet per student
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Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country
Note: Bob Wells, one of the people in this
article, plays himself in the film Nomadland,
which won a 2021 Golden Globe for Drama
Motion Picture.
Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021.
Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS
The video can be found in the Guardian article (link
below), or by typing Living in a car on $800 a month
into YouTube.
www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/feb/04/modern-
nomads-nomadland-van-life-us-public-lands
Key:
SUV
minivan
van
car
RV
trailer
school bus
b. Students write at least three additional types of
vehicles to increase the word field, e.g. truck,
caravan, coach, motorbike.
c. Finally, students write at least four personalized
sentences, one for each type of vehicle that they
would like to integrate into their active vocabulary.
Ask them to make the sentences relevant to their
own lives if possible as this will make it easier for
them to remember the new language and use it
correctly in the future.
5. Discussion
Students discuss the questions that are directly related to
the topic of the article.
6. In your own words
Either have all the students watch the complete
21-minute video and make notes for a follow-up
discussion, or have the students work in pairs and divide
the video up between them so that one watches the
first 11 minutes of the video and the other watches the
second 11 minutes – both making notes on the half of
the video they are watching. After this, they should get
together, exchange information about what they watched,
the notes they made and the questions they still have.
Note: At this level, allow the students to make notes and
even hold (some of) the follow-up discussion in their
own language. It’s not necessary for the students to
completely understand the speakers on the video as the
pictures speak for themselves.
Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate – Teacher’s notes
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Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country

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  • 1. Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021. Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS   Warmer Look at these different places to live and order them from 1 (where you’d least like to live) to 5 (where you’d most like to live). car    house    cardboard box    mobile home     tent 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.   Key words a. Match the words in the box to the definitions below. afford    charity    divorce    nomad    rent 1. have enough money to be able to pay for something 2. money that you pay each month to live in somebody’s house or flat 3. a legal way of ending a marriage 4. someone from a group of people moving from place to place 5. an organization to which you give money so that it can help people community   independence   maintain   mission   spousal maintenance 6. an aim that is very important to someone 7. money that someone pays to an ex-husband or ex-wife 8. look after and repair a vehicle 9. when you are able to live your life free from the control of other people 10. a group of people living together in the same way or place b. Use some of the key words above to complete these sentences. 1. After she’d paid for her house, Jan had no money left for food. 2. More than half of Jeff’s money went on to his three former wives. 3. Both of her marriages ended in . 4. The concert raised thousands of pounds for . 5. We need a bigger house, but we just can’t it. Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate • P H O T O C O P I A B L E • C A N B E D O W N L O A D E D F R O M W E B S I T E 1 2
  • 2. Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021. Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS Stevie Trujillo 4 February, 2021 More Americans are living in vehicles than ever before. “When I moved into my SUV*, I had no money. I was really scared,” said April Craren, 52. April became homeless after separating from her husband. She could not afford the rent for a flat in a nice area. It’s no surprise that job loss, divorce or a health or financial crisis can make people homeless. Bob Wells, 65, helped April to become a nomad and change her life. Now she lives in a minivan she got from Bob’s charity, the Home on Wheels Alliance (HOWA). Bob lives in a van with solar power and a fridge. His life mission is to help people live well in a car, van or RV**. Before he became a nomad in 1995, Bob lived in Alaska, with his wife and two boys. Bob hated his job. He worked with people he didn’t like and bought things he didn’t want. He wasn’t happy. Then, when he was 40 years old, he got divorced. After paying spousal maintenance and child support, he had only $1,200 a month. He had to pay $800 of that on rent. One day, he saw a van for sale and thought: “Why don’t I buy that van and move into it?” Because he didn’t have to pay rent, he worked fewer hours and had more time to spend camping with his kids. Bob became happier. Bob bought the domain name Cheap RV Living. He posted tips and tricks about living in a vehicle. The videos on Bob’s on his YouTube channel also make him money from advertisements and links to sales. His most popular video, Living in a Car on $800 a month, has more than four million views. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Bob started the HOWA charity in 2018. HOWA helps people who cannot afford traditional housing. HOWA has given away seven minivans, two trailers, one school bus and many tents. April signed a three-year contract to join HOWA’s programme. She had to show she could maintain her vehicle and put $200 a month in an account until she had enough money to buy the minivan. “Most of the people that HOWA help are older women. They’re disabled, or retired and divorced, or don’t earn enough to pay rent,” Bob explained. HOWA helps them keep their independence and to make friends in the nomad community. Today, April camps on public land next to Cliff, a nomad who works for HOWA. She eats fresh foods and lives a more active outdoor lifestyle. April’s lost weight and feels happier and healthier. © Guardian News and Media 2021 First published in The Guardian, 04/02/2021 14 15 16 17 18 Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate • P H O T O C O P I A B L E • C A N B E D O W N L O A D E D F R O M W E B S I T E Glossary *SUV = sport utility vehicle ** RV = recreational vehicle
  • 3. Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021. Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS 4 5 6 Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate • P H O T O C O P I A B L E • C A N B E D O W N L O A D E D F R O M W E B S I T E   Comprehension check a. Find the facts. 1. Why did April become homeless? 2. Where did April get her minivan? 3. Where does she live now? 4. How does April feel now? b. Are these statements true (T) or false (F) according to the article? 1. Bob became homeless after he lost his job in Alaska. T / F 2. Now that he lives in a van, Bob does not see his children. T / F 3. Bob wants to help other people live a good life in a vehicle. T / F 4. The HOWA charity especially helps homeless older women. T / F   Vocabulary a. Find seven types of vehicle in the article and write them into the box. b. Write any other vehicles you can think of in the box. c. Now use some of the names of vehicles in sentences of your own.   Discussion • What are the most difficult things about living in a vehicle? • Are people allowed to live in a vehicle in your country? • What essential things do you have to spend money on each month? E.g. rent, food.    In your own words Watch the video from Cheap RV Living: Living in a car on $800 a month. Make notes so that you can explain the video to someone who has not watched it. 3
  • 4. Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate – Teacher’s notes Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021. Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS b. Before reading the article carefully, students use some of the key words to fill the gaps in the sentences to ensure that they understand the words and know how they are used in other contexts. Key: 1. rent 2. spousal maintenance 3. divorce 4. charity 5. afford 3. Comprehension check a. In the first part of this two-part comprehension task, students find information in the text to answer the questions. Key: 1. She separated from her husband and couldn’t afford to pay rent in a safe area, so she had to move into her car. 2. She applied to HOWA’s programme and signed a three-year contract promising to maintain her vehicle and to save 200 US dollars a month. 3. She camps on public land next to a man called Cliff. 4. She feels happier and healthier than before. b. In the second part, they decide whether the statements are true or false according to the information in the article. Key: 1. False. He decided to move into a van to save money on rent after he got divorced. 2. False. He spends more time with his children now. 3. True. 4. True. 4. Vocabulary a. Students find seven types of vehicles in the article and write them into the box. Check the answers. 1. Warmer To introduce the topic of homelessness and alternative ways of living, ask students to decide where they would most and least like to live and to write the places on the lines in order from 1 (the place where they would least like to live) to 5 (the place where they would most like to live). 2. Key words a. Students read the words in the box and match them to the definitions below. Tell them to scan the article and underline the words as they find them. This will help them check their answers as well as see how the words are used in context. Key: 1. afford 2. rent 3. divorce 4. nomad 5. charity 6. mission 7. spousal maintenance 8. maintain 9. independence 10. community Article summary: Homeless people are coming together in the United States to help each other make the best of their alternative way of living. Time: Approximately 90 minutes Skills: Reading, Speaking, Writing Language focus: Vocabulary Materials needed: One copy of the worksheet per student • P H O T O C O P I A B L E • C A N B E D O W N L O A D E D F R O M W E B S I T E Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country Note: Bob Wells, one of the people in this article, plays himself in the film Nomadland, which won a 2021 Golden Globe for Drama Motion Picture.
  • 5. Published by Macmillan Education Ltd. © Macmillan Education Limited, 2021. Home >> Adults >> General English >> NEWS LESSONS The video can be found in the Guardian article (link below), or by typing Living in a car on $800 a month into YouTube. www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/feb/04/modern- nomads-nomadland-van-life-us-public-lands Key: SUV minivan van car RV trailer school bus b. Students write at least three additional types of vehicles to increase the word field, e.g. truck, caravan, coach, motorbike. c. Finally, students write at least four personalized sentences, one for each type of vehicle that they would like to integrate into their active vocabulary. Ask them to make the sentences relevant to their own lives if possible as this will make it easier for them to remember the new language and use it correctly in the future. 5. Discussion Students discuss the questions that are directly related to the topic of the article. 6. In your own words Either have all the students watch the complete 21-minute video and make notes for a follow-up discussion, or have the students work in pairs and divide the video up between them so that one watches the first 11 minutes of the video and the other watches the second 11 minutes – both making notes on the half of the video they are watching. After this, they should get together, exchange information about what they watched, the notes they made and the questions they still have. Note: At this level, allow the students to make notes and even hold (some of) the follow-up discussion in their own language. It’s not necessary for the students to completely understand the speakers on the video as the pictures speak for themselves. Level: Elementary / Pre-Intermediate – Teacher’s notes • P H O T O C O P I A B L E • C A N B E D O W N L O A D E D F R O M W E B S I T E Off-road, off-grid: the modern nomads wandering America’s back country