Wednesday, 10 March 2010


In Sandvika upper secondary school we have so-called "subject days" where all the lessons of a subject during a week is taught in one day. For example, in English we have five English lessons a week, which means that on Tuesdays I have five English lessons in a row with one of my classes. This is in the afternoon and both my students and I tend to get a little bit tired towards the end of it. Therefore, I try to plan a varied day and include at least some assignments that will get my students (and preferably me) to move around a little bit. Yesterday I tried to combine the cooperative learning strategy "mix and mingle" with a look at the news. One of the competence aims for English in the first year in upper secondary is namely that students are to be able to "present and discuss international news and current events". Also, working with news seems to be something many students enjoy, but I have to admit that I don't get around to it often enough. However, yesterday I started out having my students individually search for a news story in a British online newspaper/ website. They were to pick a site from this web page and when they had chosen a news story, they were to read the article carefully and look up difficult words. After that they were to write a summary of the article of 3-5 sentences. So far this assignment was individual, quiet and not very active. As a next step, though, I asked them to mix and mingle. When I played music, they were supposed to just move around the classroom, and when the music stopped, they were supposed to pair up, greet each other politely and tell each other about the news story they had just read. After a few minutes, the music started playing again and they had to move on to eventually pair up with someone else. I had them pair up three times and while they were sharing their stories I moved around the room and listened in, and my impression was that they actually spoke English. Finally, I ended the assignment with a summing up-round where I walked around asking some of the students to tell me about the piece of news that the other person had just talked about. One advantage of this, if you do mix and mingle activities once in a while so that they get used to it, is that they learn that they have to listen very carefully to what the other person says. At the end of the assignment they are also supposed to have heard about at least three pieces of news and they will have spoken English with at least three other students. In the end, when I asked them if they found the activity useful, they were very positive, so I think I will do this again sometime. For students struggling with their English, cbbc newsround is be a good place to look for news.

No comments:

Post a Comment