教案 | How a Penny Made Me Feel Like a Millionaire?

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Tania Luna: How a penny made me feel like a millionaire?

难度标识: ★★★

燕山大学 宋葳 刘立军 编写


When she was a little girl, Tania Luna left Ukraine and took asylum in the U.S. because of Chernobyl accident(切尔诺贝利事件). One day, when she found a penny on the homeless shelter floor, it felt like shes holding a fortune. In this TED speech, she talks about the bittersweet joys of her childhood and how to understand them according to her faith in life. 



1. outhouse n. a small building over a hole in the ground that is used as a toilet, in a camping area or, in the past, behind a house户外厕所

2.  Formica n. any of various plastic laminates containing melamine 胶木

3.  asylum n.  protection given to someone by a government because they have escaped from fighting or political trouble in their own country(政治)避难,(政治)庇护。例如:

l He has been granted asylum in France. 他在法国获得了政治庇护。

4.  fossilized adj. set in a rigidly conventional pattern of behavior, habits, or beliefs obsolete fossilized ways石化的;僵化的;老化的。例如:

l fossilized dinosaur bones成为化石的恐龙骨骼

5.  devour v. to eat something quickly because you are very hungry狼吞虎咽地吃

l The boys devoured their pancakes. 男孩子们狼吞虎咽地把薄煎饼吃了。

6.  pop one’s head in 把头伸进来

7.  red with rage 脸气得通红。例如:

l Who has not seen the face become red with rage or white with fear? 谁没见过因为愤怒而脸红因为害怕而面青唇白呢?

8.  hostage n. someone who is kept as a prisoner by an enemy so that the other side will do what the enemy demands人质;抵押品。例如:

l It is hopeful that two hostages will be freed in the next few days.  两名人质有望在几天后获释。

9.  bait n. something attractive that is offered to someone to make them do something or buy  something, especially when this is done in a dishonest way that tricks people〔使别人上当的〕引诱物,诱饵。例如:

l Plenty of people took the bait and lost their life savings. 有很多人受骗上当,一生的积蓄都没了。

10. orthopedic adj. relating to the medical treatment of problems that affect a people’s bones or

muscles 整形外科的。例如:

l an orthopedic surgeon 矫形外科医生


Work in pairs and discuss the following questions.

Do you know the common English saying “Enough is enough? How do you understand it?





Read the table. Then watch the video and complete the table.

The bittersweet joys of Tania’s childhood



When I was five

My father has just built the best ____ in our small village. It makes me feel so proud that I  ____ myself the leader of my little group and I devise ____ for us.

Four years earlier, when I was one

After the Chernobyl accident, I spent ____ in the hospital. My mother ___ a hospital worker, and acquired a nurses ____. She _____ every night to sit by my side.

The first day we get to New York

I find a penny in the floor of the ____. This penny is kind of ____.  Its ____ and ____, but it feels like Im holding a ____. And in that moment, I feel like a ____.

About a year later

We find a bag full of ____ animals in the ____.

When we get a box of pizza that we didn’t order

We devour ____ as the ____ stands there and ____ us from the doorway. Then our neighbor turns ____ when she realizes that those ____ from downstairs have somehow gotten their hands on her pizza.


TASK 4:  

Read the statements. Then watch the video and check () the true statements.

1. When we come to America, we get the Bazooka bubble gum once a year, and have to chew    

one piece for an entire week.

2. Brian failed to get his box of Frosted Flakes back, because it was crawling with roaches.

3. Scarlett, used to be bait in dog fights, now eats organic food and sleeps on an orthopedic bed.

4. Brian and I forget our new middle-class frustrations and disappointments, and have become  






Work in group and discuss the question.


Some people believe that contentment brings happiness. Whats your opinion about the saying? You will be expected to engage in a debate on this topic. Brainstorm several arguments for or against the statement in respective groups, and then start with the debate.




It reflects adequacy related to the subject that can include a person, place, thing, idea, or any combination of these. It can describe quantity or quality, depending on the subject or object. Peoples relationship to the subject often determines the perception of what is or is not enough. Of course, it’s no fault in wanting more; its just that when enough is enough, its good to pause and enjoy the moment.





nine months



snuck in

homeless shelter








slice after slice


stares at

red with rage




×1. When we stayed in Ukraine, we get the Bazooka bubble gum once a year, and have to chew  

one piece for an entire week.

×2. When Brian finally got his box of Frosted Flakes back, it was crawling with roaches.


×4. Brian and I forget our new middle-class frustrations and disappointments, and we feel like  




Pros:  We firmly agree to the point of view that contentment brings happiness. One who is in the constant pursuit of happiness will never find it because happiness is not something tangible that one can easily grab but rather a state of mind. We should be content with who we are, and compare ourselves with others or try to be someone else. By simply being ourselves, we will be happy. We should value the simpler things like our health and freedom. And we have to be content with the present. We can enjoy life and its many precious moments and experience each day to the fullest.

Cons:  In our opinion, people shouldnt hold the idea of contentment brings happiness. Acquiring happiness is a process in which we try our best to pursue something we havent. That means if we want to achieve self-realization, we should not content with the status quo. For example, if we want to have the satisfying physical life, we should work harder and harder. If we want to make a contribution to the society, we should not stop studying.




I’m five years old, and I am very proud. My father has just built the best outhouse in our little village in Ukraine. Inside, it’s a smelly, gaping hole in the ground, but outside, it’s pearly white formica and it literally gleams in the sun. This makes me feel so proud, so important, that I appoint myself the leader of my little group of friends and I devise missions for us. So we prowl from house to house looking for flies captured in spider webs and we set them free. Four years earlier, when I was one, after the Chernobyl accident, the rain came down black, and my sister’s hair fell out in clumps, and I spent nine months in the hospital. There were no visitors allowed, so my mother bribed a hospital worker. She acquired a nurse’s uniform, and she snuck in every night to sit by my side. Five years later, an unexpected silver lining. Thanks to Chernobyl, we get asylum in the U.S. I am six years old, and I don’t cry when we leave home and we come to America, because I expect it to be a place filled with rare and wonderful things like bananas and chocolate and Bazooka bubble gum, Bazooka bubble gum with the little cartoon wrappers inside, Bazooka that we’d get once a year in Ukraine and we’d have to chew one piece for an entire week. So the first day we get to New York, my grandmother and I find a penny in the floor of the homeless shelter that my family’s staying in. Only, we don’t know that it’s a homeless shelter. We think that it’s a hotel, a hotel with lots of rats. So we find this penny kind of fossilized in the floor, and we think that a very wealthy man must have left it there because regular people don’t just lose money. And I hold this penny in the palm of my hand, and it’s sticky and rusty, but it feels like I’m holding a fortune. I decide that I’m going to get my very own piece of Bazooka bubble gum. And in that moment, I feel like a millionaire. About a year later, I get to feel that way again when we find a bag full of stuffed animals in the trash, and suddenly I have more toys than I’ve ever had in my whole life. And again, I get that feeling when we get a knock on the door of our apartment in Brooklyn, and my sister and I find a deliveryman with a box of pizza that we didn’t order. So we take the pizza, our very first pizza, and we devour slice after slice as the deliveryman stands there and stares at us from the doorway. And he tells us to pay, but we don’t speak English. My mother comes out, and he asks her for money, but she doesn’t have enough. She walks 50 blocks to and from work every day just to avoid spending money on bus fare. Then our neighbor pops her head in, and she turns red with rage when she realizes that those immigrants from downstairs have somehow gotten their hands on her pizza. Everyone’s upset. But the pizza is delicious. It doesn’t hit me until years later just how little we had. On our 10 year anniversary of being in the U.S., we decided to celebrate by reserving a room at the hotel that we first stayed in when we got to the U.S. The man at the front desk laughs, and he says, “You can’t reserve a room here. This is a homeless shelter.” And we were shocked. My husband Brian was also homeless as a kid. His family lost everything, and at age 11, he had to live in motels with his dad, motels that would round up all of their food and keep it hostage until they were able to pay the bill. And one time, when he finally got his box of Frosted Flakes back, it was crawling with roaches. But he did have one thing. He had this shoebox that he carried with him everywhere containing nine comic books, two G.I. Joes painted to look like Spider-Man and five Gobots. And this was his treasure. This was his own assembly of heroes that kept him from drugs and gangs and from giving up on his dreams. I’m going to tell you about one more formerly homeless member of our family. This is Scarlett. Once upon a time, Scarlet was used as bait in dog fights. She was tied up and thrown into the ring for other dogs to attack so they’d get more aggressive before the fight. And now, these days, she eats organic food and she sleeps on an orthopedic bed with her name on it, but when we pour water for her in her bowl, she still looks up and she wags her tail in gratitude. Sometimes Brian and I walk through the park with Scarlett, and she rolls through the grass, and we just look at her and then we look at each other and we feel gratitude. We forget about all of our new middle-class frustrations and disappointments, and we feel like millionaires. Thank you. (Applause)

  • 时长:5.5分钟
  • 来源:刘立军 宋葳 2017-06-09