# 1: Chapter 1


## Vocabulary Introduction

### Exercise 1 Prior Knowledge

Look at the words in bold in Exercise 2 without reading the example sentences. Rate your current knowledge of the word before doing the unit exercises. Use the numbered scale and write the number in front of the sentences in Exercise 2. With each exercise and by the end of the unit, your knowledge should work toward a "4", which means you will know the word, can explain it and give an example. It is expected that you will mark many words with a "1" or "2" now since they might be completely new words.

1. I do not know this word, and I have never heard of it before.

2. I have heard of this word before. It sounds familiar.

3. I can give an example of this word, but I cannot explain it.

4. I know this word. I can explain it and give an example.

### Exercise 2 Definitions

Read the sentences below. Guess the meaning of the words in bold based on the example sentence(s). Circle the best definition of the word in bold.

_____ 1. Children absorb information quicker than adults do. The sponge absorbed the liquid.

a. take in

b. leave

c. give

_____ 2. President Obama called for immigration reform.

a. change to a system

b. make

c. destroy

_____ 3. I work the morning shift from 6am to 11am.

a. car

b. period of time

c. something given

_____ 4. The storm was a horrible disaster that caused over 500 deaths.

a. a good event

b. a miracle

_____ 5. The man watched his house on fire in horror.

a. shock or fear

b. wonder

c. authority

_____ 6. A devastating flood ruined several homes and buildings.

b. having a good effect

c. having no effect

_____ 7. The school was closed because of a violent incident.

a. accident

b. event

c. party

_____ 8. Failing the test was a consequence of not studying.

a. cause

b. contrast

c. result

a. smart

b. attentive

c. not good enough

_____ 10. The USA and Canada have an alliance. They are allies because they support each other.

a. enemy

b. supporter

c. acquaintance

_____ 11. Parents are advocates for their children. They fight for their children’s rights.

a. discipliner

b. punisher

c. supporter

_____ 12. He contributes to cleaning the house by putting his clothes away.

a. help

b. take

c. remove

_____ 13. Children should not be around hazards, such as chemicals or weapons.

a. items

b. danger

c. safety

_____ 14. The test reveals that there is no cancer.

a. cover

b. show

c. give

## Video: Triangle Fire

### Exercise 3

Watch the PBS video Triangle Fire and answer the questions below based on the video.

1. According to the film, what demographics (age, gender, ethnic backgrounds) were represented among New York City's 100,000 garment workers?

2. What brought these immigrants to America, and what motivated them to work such long hours?

3. Why was the job at the Triangle Factory considered a "desired position"? What were the disadvantages to the job?

4. Why did factory owners/employers like Harris and Blanck view unionization as a threat and personal attack?

5. What were the neighborhoods around the factory like? How did the factory girls feel about this culture of wealth and leisure?

6. How did Blanck and Harris become so successful?

7. What factors inspired the Triangle Factory workers to go on strike?

8. Explain the fire and its effects.

## The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire by Mike Kubic

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of March 25, 1911, was the deadliest industrial disaster in U.S. history. The fatal event resulted in numerous factory workers’ deaths and stunned the public. Mike Kubic, a former correspondent of Newsweek magazine, discusses the mistakes that led to this deadly disaster, as well as the drive for safer working conditions that followed.

As you read, take notes on what led to the death of so many people in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, and the impact that this tragedy had on people. Also, be ready to answer the questions based on this reading.

1On the morning of March 25, 1911, New York social workers and politicians could look forward to their usual objective: helping to absorb the masses of destitute Europeans who were pouring into the city at the rate of 18,000 per month.

2The newcomers were part of one of America’s biggest waves of immigrants: most of them were Jews fleeing deadly pogroms in Poland and Russia, and Italians escaping the hunger and poverty caused by poor harvests and lame economy. They arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs, and they headed straight from the pier for the teeming Lower East Side borough of Manhattan, which was then known as the gate to the New World.

3Just finding a place to sleep for these multitudes in the city’s 100,000 cheap-rent tenement buildings was a big challenge. One-third of them were so run-down they had no lights in the hallways, and 200,000 of their rooms had no windows. A quarter of the families in the Lower East Side lived five or more to a room, and they frequently slept in shifts.

4But by the end of the day, the best of the New York do-gooders and political bosses took on a new, even more difficult mission: they set out to initiate progressive laws and reforms that eventually changed the safety and quality of life and work in America.

### The Fire

5The event that inspired their bold agenda started that day at 4:35 p.m. in a Lower East Side clothing factory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company. Someone tossed a burning match or cigarette into a big pail of scrapped cuttings, and the highly flammable material burst into a furious fire. It took less than 30 minutes for the inferno to devour the three top floors of a ten-story building filled with 500 garment workers, almost all of them recent immigrants.

6The fire was New York’s deadliest industrial disaster ever: it caused the deaths of 146 seamstresses and other workers—123 women and 23 men, at least two of whom were 14 year-old girls working 72 hours a week for less than a dollar a day.

7The heart-rending tragedy was movingly described in Forverts, a Yiddish-language daily newspaper whose unnamed reporter apparently had been at the scene:

8“The flames spread very quickly,” he wrote. “A stream of fire rose up through the elevators to the uppermost floors. In the blink of an eye, fire appeared in all the windows and tongues of flame climbed higher and higher up the walls....

9“The fire grew stronger, larger and more horrifying. The workers on the upper floors were already not able to bear the heat and, one after another, began jumping from the eighth, ninth and 10th floors down to the sidewalk, where they died....

10“The firefighters were helpless.... Their ladders reached only to the seventh floor [and] they stood watching as... women fell like birds shot down from the burning floors above....

11“On the eighth floor, a couple appeared in the window—a young man and woman. He held her tightly by the hand. Behind them, red flames were visible. The young man pulled the woman tenderly to his breast, kissing her on the lips, and then he let her go. She sprang off and landed heavily on the sidewalk. He leapt down and fell hard next to her, dead....

12“They transported the dead to the station houses and the wounded to the hospitals. But there were not enough ambulances and patrol wagons to do the job, so the neighborhood grocers, butchers and peddlers lent their trucks and pushcarts....”

### Demand for Change

13The next day, the public’s horror over the devastating incident was joined by anger over what caused it. The first blunder, the newspapers pointed out, was the order of Max Blanck and Isaac Harris, the wealthy owners of the Triangle Company, that the factory’s doors and exits must be locked during the work hours.

14The then common rule was meant to keep the workers from taking unauthorized breaks, but this time, it had terrible consequences: some of the foremen with the keys were among the fire’s first victims, and they and the workers in their departments remained trapped behind the locked doors.

15Second, many of the employees who did get out in the hallway still could not escape because the stairwells were on fire, and the poorly maintained elevators were either too slow or crashed.

16The public was shocked also by the short ladders, leaking water hoses, and other abysmally inadequate equipment of the firefighters, who didn’t even have an axe with which to force open the doors and exits.

17And in the following days as the newspapers’ coverage shifted from the fire to the deplorable pay, working conditions, and living quarters of the immigrants, New Yorkers began losing their indifference to the fate of the newcomers. A subsequent sentence of Blanck and Harris to a scandalous $20 fine (equivalent to about$500 in today’s economy) completed the change of the political atmosphere. The indignant public demanded a dramatic change, and New York politicians showed they had listened to the vox populi.

18According to David von Drehle’s prize-winning book Triangle—the Fire That Changed America, the most effective response to the post-fire disclosures came from two young members of the Tammany Hall, a Democratic Party organization that traditionally dominated the New York City and State politics.

19One of them was Alfred (Al) E. Smith, a Catholic grade-school dropout and a witty and irresistible charmer who, von Drehle wrote, “mastered the circular, windy language of the bill-drafting priesthood,” knew “as well as anyone in Albany (New York’s State capital) whose bread was buttered where,” and was notorious for his skill in putting this information to use.

20The other legal whiz was Robert (Bob) F. Wagner, an energetic and forceful pol known for his ability to ram new laws through a reluctant legislature. Both he and Smith were sons of immigrants and political prodigies: Wagner was 33 years old when he became the youngest leader of the New York State Senate, and Smith was elected the body’s majority leader at the age of 38.

21Adding to their effectiveness as reformers was an informal alliance they formed with 30-year-old Frances Perkins, a Boston-educated member of an old Maine family and a prominent social worker who shared with the “Tammany Twins” a deep sympathy for the workers and immigrants.

### The Work of the Three Reformers

22Before the fire, Perkins was already fighting for workers’ rights and a 54-hour work week as the executive secretary of Consumers’ League, a nonprofit advocacy group. Her big contribution to the Tammany reforms was to make herself an expert on workplace safety, and to support Wagner’s and Smith’s most important accomplishment, which was the creation of the Factory Investigating Commission.

23Chaired by Wagner and co-chaired by Smith, the group was charged by the New York State legislature to “investigate factory conditions in [NYC] and other cities and to report remedial measures [necessary] to prevent hazard or loss of life among employees through fire, unsanitary conditions, and occupational diseases.”

24According to von Drehle, the “Tammany Twins” then “set a blistering pace” that averaged nearly one public hearing a week, interviewing more than 220 witnesses and producing nearly 3,500 pages of testimony.

25The Commission hired field agents to do on-site inspections of factories, first in the state’s nine largest cities and, in the next year, an additional 36 communities with industrial plants. They started by checking on fire safety and moved on to broader issues of the risks of injury in the factory environment.

26In 1913, Wagner and Smith pushed 25 bills through the New York legislature, a record that according to von Drehle’s Triangle was “unmatched at that time in American history.”

27The laws were designed to correct every deficiency revealed in the Lower East Side fire: for example, it required automatic sprinklers in high-rise buildings. Fire drills became mandatory in large shops. Factory doors had to be unlocked and had to swing outward.

28Other reforms mandated better building access and exits, the use of fireproofing materials, the availability of fire extinguishers, and the installation of alarm systems. Going beyond safety measures, the reform provided for better eating and toilet facilities for workers, and limited the number of hours that women and children could work. To enforce the new laws, the Factory Commission instituted a complete reorganization of the state’s Department of Labor.

29The legislative surge made New York one of America’s most progressive states and gave Wagner, Smith and Perkins a nationwide reputation as allies of the working class. Thanks to their work, the trio left behind one legacy of particularly incalculable value: today’s risk of death in an American work place is one one-thirtieth of what it was before the Triangle factory fire.

The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire” by Mike Kubic is licensed by CommonLit under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

## Text-Dependent Questions

### Exercise 4

For the following questions, choose the best answer.

1. Which statement best identifies the central idea of the text?

A. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire was only one of many senseless disasters in American history.

B. The two men solely responsible for improving working conditions in America were Robert Wagner and Alfred E. Smith.

C. While the improvements made to working conditions were beneficial, they were too small to create lasting change in America.

D. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire was the disaster that brought public attention to the need for improved working conditions in America.

2. Which quote from the text best supports the conclusion that living conditions for the immigrant population was destitute?

A. “most of them were Jews fleeing deadly pogroms in Poland and Russia, and Italians escaping the hunger and poverty caused by poor harvests and lame economy.” (Paragraph 2)

B. “They arrived with little more than the clothes on their backs” (Paragraph 2)

C. “One-third of them were so run-down they had no lights in the hallways, and 200,000 of their rooms had no windows” (Paragraph 3)

D. “they set out to initiate 3 progressive laws and reforms that eventually changed the safety and quality of life and work in America.” (Paragraph 4)

3. What is the meaning of the word “destitute” as used in paragraph 1?

A. Extremely fearful

B. Difficult to control

C. Lacking basic necessities

D. Feeling great excitement

4. Which statement best compares the characteristics of Robert Wagner and Alfred E. Smith?

A. Both men were extremely committed to improving working conditions in America.

B. Despite not finishing grade school, Alfred E. Smith had a better grasp on bill drafting than Robert Wagner.

C. Robert Wagner was considered to be the more intelligent of the Tammany Twins, as Alfred E. Smith never finished grade school.

D. Neither Robert Wagner nor Alfred E. Smith were as dedicated as Frances Perkins when it came to fighting for safer working conditions.

### Exercise 5

While the direct cause of factory fire was a spark that was thrown into scraps of material, many factors made this event a disaster. Skim the reading to find three causes that lead to this devastating event.

Figure 2

### Exercise 6 Effects

The working conditions after the fire improved thanks to new laws. What were the requirements according to the new laws? Write the answers in your own words. Do not write full sentences.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

Look at the following rules of using a colon (:).

1. List

I want the following items from the store: chips, cheese, bread, pickles, and tomatoes.

2. Explanation or paraphrase

He got exactly what he wanted: a new job with more benefits.

3. Introducing a quote

The teacher announced: “Time to submit your exams!”

4. After a greeting in a letter

Dear Lupita:

5. Time

6:00am

### Exercise 7

Look at the following sentences below from the reading and identify which rule is being used. Write the number of the rule in front of the sentence. It is possible that two rules are used in one quote.

_____ 1. “On the morning of March 25, 1911, New York social workers and politicians could look forward to their usual objective: helping to absorb the masses of destitute Europeans.” (paragraph 1)

_____ 2. “The newcomers were part of one of America’s biggest waves of immigrants: most of them were Jews fleeing deadly pogroms in Poland and Russia.” (paragraph 2)

_____ 3. “[T]he best of the New York do-gooders and political bosses took on a new, even more difficult mission: they set out to initiate progressive laws and reforms.” (paragraph 4)

_____ 4. “The event that inspired their bold agenda started that day at 4:35 p.m. in a Lower East Side clothing factory of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company.” (paragraph 5)

_____ 5. “The fire was New York’s deadliest industrial disaster ever: it caused the deaths of 146 seamstresses and other workers—123 women and 23 men.” (paragraph 6)

_____ 6. “The heart-rending tragedy was movingly described in Forverts, a Yiddish-language daily newspaper whose unnamed reporter apparently had been at the scene:” (paragraph 7)

_____ 7. “[I]t had terrible consequences: some of the foremen with the keys were among the fire’s first victims.” (paragraph 10)

_____ 8. “Both he and Smith were sons of immigrants and political prodigies: Wagner was 33 years old when he became the youngest leader of the New York State Senate, and Smith was elected the body’s majority leader at the age of 38.” (paragraph 16)

_____ 9. “The laws were designed to correct every deficiency revealed in the Lower East Side fire: for example, it required automatic sprinklers in high-rise buildings.” (paragraph 23)

_____ 10. “Thanks to their work, the trio left behind one legacy of particularly incalculable value: today’s risk of death in an American workplace is one one-thirtieth of what it was before the Triangle factory fire.” (paragraph 25)

## Writing Skills

### The Basics of Paragraphs

In academic writing, a paragraph is a group of sentences about a single topic. Paragraphs can be different lengths depending on the writing situation.

A good paragraph has three parts:

1. a topic sentence that states what you will write about
2. supporting sentences (the body) that add explanations and details about the topic
3. a conclusion sentence that wraps up the paragraph, similar to the topic sentence

A paragraph is indented. Each sentence comes right after the other one, not on a new line. Each sentence ends with a period.

### Exercise 8 Example Paragraph

There are several reasons why I am studying at Reedley College. First, the tuition is very low. I can take college classes at Reedley College for less than half of the cost of a university class. Second, Reedley College has great teachers and student support. My teachers really care about their students. Class sizes are small, and lots of free tutoring is available. Finally, Reedley College is close to my house. I live only five miles from Reedley College, so I can ride the bus there in less than 20 minutes. I could even ride my bike there in nice weather. For all of these reasons, I am taking classes at Reedley College.

1. Underline the topic sentence. What is this paragraph about?

2. How many reasons are given in the body of the paragraph?

3. What are they? Write a word or phrase for each reason.

1.

2.

3.

4. Circle the conclusion sentence.

5. How many sentences are there in this paragraph?

### Topic Sentences

The topic sentence is usually the first sentence of a paragraph. A topic sentence should contain a topic and a controlling idea. Some topic sentences also make the plan of the paragraph clear. For example, the topic sentence might have a plan like, “for many reasons,” “several qualities,” “three things,” or “a few differences.” A good topic sentence is not too general and not too specific. It shows the reader what will come in the paragraph.

A good topic sentence does NOT:

• Announce the topic. WRONG: “I am going to write about Reedley College.”

• Ask a question. WRONG: “Why am I going to Reedley College? I’d like to tell you.”

• Stand above the paragraph. It is NOT a title. It is a complete sentence.

• State a fact. WRONG: “Reedley College is located in Reedley, California.”

#### Exercise 9

Read the following topic sentences about American cities. Do they contain both the topic and a controlling idea? Circle the topic and underline the controlling idea.

1. Washington, DC, is the capital of my country.
2. New Orleans is a very interesting city.
3. There are many people in Los Angeles.
4. St. Augustine is a very beautiful city.
5. New York is the biggest city in the U.S.

Improve the topic sentences from the exercise above by adding controlling ideas.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

#### Exercise 10

Read the following paragraphs. Create a good topic sentence for each paragraph.

Paragraph 1: Good Neighbors

Topic Sentence:

First, a good neighbor is quiet. Even if a neighbor is nice, it is hard to tolerate loud music late at night or dogs that bark a lot. Second, good neighbors are respectful. It is nice to have polite conversation with your neighbor. Neighbors should also respect others by shoveling their sidewalk in the winter and leaving enough parking space for everyone. Finally, a really good neighbor is generous. A good neighbor might bring you cookies during the holiday, or give you some gas if your lawn mower runs out. These are some of the most important qualities of a good neighbor.

Paragraph 2: Reducing Stress

Topic Sentence:

One way to reduce stress is to exercise. Some people jog or play high-impact sports to relax. Others just take a walk or a short bike ride. Another idea is talking to a friend or family member. It helps just to express how you are feeling when you are stressed. Lastly, listening to music can help you relax. Quiet, classical music relaxes some people. Listening to loud pop music while singing and dancing also releases stress. We all have stress, and these are three ways to reduce it.

Paragraph 3: My Worst Job

Topic Sentence:

I earned a lot of money from that job, but I was more miserable than I have ever been in my life. Working on an assembly line was very boring, and I had to concentrate the whole time with almost no breaks. All day long, I had to put DVDs into boxes, and I had to work very fast. The factory was hot and stuffy. Also, the supervisors watched us closely and yelled us when we weren’t working fast enough. Maybe the worst part of the job was the mood of my coworkers. It seemed like they all complained and gossiped. I didn’t make a single friend in the eight months that I worked there. In sum, working in a factory was truly one of the worst experiences that I have ever had.

### Titles versus Topic Sentences

If your instructor asks you to write a title for your paragraph, there are rules that you should follow:

1. Use capital letters for the important words and the first word of the title. Don’t use capital letters for prepositions (of, for), conjunctions (and, or), or articles (the, a, an).

2. Don’t write a sentence. Don’t end it with a period.

3. Write something short that gives the topic of your paragraph. Look back at the titles in the sample paragraphs of this chapter. Do they all follow the rules for title writing?

#### Exercise 11 What is the difference between a title and a topic sentence?

1. Location:

A title’s location:

A topic sentence’s location:

2. Capital Letters:

In a title, capitalized words:

In a topic sentence, capitalized words:

3. Grammar:

A title is NOT:

It doesn’t end with:

A topic sentence is:
It ends with:

4. A title is only required for formal compositions, usually written over a long time. A topic sentence is ALWAYS needed in a paragraph.

Read the following titles. What is wrong with each one? Write a few words to explain. One title is acceptable.

I want to visit Uzbekistan.

My Paragraph

Uzbekistan and Its Wonders

### Exercise 12 Topic Sentence Practice

Choose the most effective topic sentence from the following sentence pairs.

1. a. This paper will discuss the likelihood of the Democrats winning the next election.

b. To boost their chances of winning the next election, the Democrats need to listen to public opinion.

2. a. The unrealistic demands of union workers are crippling the economy for three main reasons.

b. Union workers are crippling the economy because companies are unable to remain competitive as a result of added financial pressure.

3. a. Authors are losing money as a result of technological advances.

b. The introduction of new technology will devastate the literary world.

4. a. Rap music is produced by untalented individuals with oversized egos.

b. This essay will consider whether talent is required in the rap music industry.

## The Writing Process

Good writing doesn’t happen instantly or without some careful thought. To write with quality, good writers follow three steps of the writing process:

1) Pre-writing. In this step, brainstorm, choose the best ideas, and make a plan to organize the paragraph.

2) Rough draft. In other words, write the paragraph. Keep the ideas flowing. Try to write a good topic sentence and follow the plan from your pre-writing.

3) Revise and edit. Try to improve your paragraph. Make sure all of the sentences stay on topic. Check organization and work on the conclusion sentence. When you are sure the content is good, check the grammar.

Chapter 1 “Writing Skills” is a derivative of “Low Intermediate ESL Writing” by Heather Zettelmaier licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

## Writing Prompt

Consider the ideas from the informational diagram you completed from the reading. Create an outline and then a paragraph about what caused the factory fire disaster.

### Exercise 13 Outline

Topic sentence:

Supporting point:

Supporting point:

Supporting point:

Concluding sentence:

### Exercise 14 Paragraph 1 Draft 1

Write a paragraph based on your outline above.

### Exercise 15 Revise and Edit

Check your paragraph above based on this checklist.

Title (follows the rules of titles)

Topic sentence (topic and controlling idea)

Sentences (complete with subjects and verbs, begin with capital letters, and end with periods)

Content (the ideas are related to the topic and flow with transitions)

## Vocabulary Practice

### Exercise 16 Sentence Completion

Complete the sentences using the vocabulary in the box below.

Table 1 Chapter 1 Sentence Completion

1. She is an ________________ for animals. She tries to educate others on how to care for pets.

2. Because he works the night ________________, he sleeps during the day.

3. Gaining weight was the ________________ of eating too many potato chips.

4. Losing his job was ________________ for his family. They had to move out of their home.

5. Don’t tell Martha your secrets. She always ________________ them!

6. The event was a ________________. Nothing went well.

7. A 65% grade was ________________ to pass the class.

8. An active student ________________ to the class discussion.

### Exercise 17 Discussion Questions

1. What are some examples of recent disasters? Are these disasters from nature or could they have been avoided?

2. What are some consequences of dropping out of school?