Friday, 18 October 2013

Ideas For Current Events Lessons

This is a list of current events lessons that I have used in my classes recently. My students are at the age where they are becoming interested in the news and current events, however it is still hard for them to understand authentic news sources. These lessons are perfect as they can use their existing knowledge of current events in all these activities, without having to spend ages reading an article! They then have to try and express their opinions about these events in English. These are the five activities that my students enjoyed the most.

Question Survey.
This first lesson is a great way to get the students talking about current events. First split your class into groups of two or three. The students should then think of a current news story that they are interested in. They should then think of four questions about this news story. At least one of these questions should be asking for an opinion. Once every group has four questions the students should walk around asking their classmates the questions they wrote and collecting their answers in a survey. When this is finished you can ask each group to tell the class the answers to their questions and share any interesting opinions that the other students had.

This activity is great if your students aren't advanced enough to read a full article, but you still think using current events in your lessons would be interesting for them. First choose an article or news story and pick out the key words. Then ask the students to come up with a story using these words. Split the students into groups and ask them to share their stories with their groups. Finally tell the students what really happened. I use this activity in this heroes lesson.

Debates are another great way to use news stories in your classroom if your students aren't quite able to read full news articles. First summarise two big news stories (or use one that the students will already know) and ask them their opinions about the news story. Then introduce two sides to an argument about the story. Split the class into four groups and give two of the groups either side of an argument from story one and two either side of an argument from story two. The groups should then come up with an argument to back up the statement. At the end of the lesson tell the first two groups to present their arguments to the class. The other students should then have a vote about who was best. Finally the other two groups should present their arguments and the rest of the class should again vote on this.

News reader role play.
Tell the students to choose a current news story that they know a little about. Give the students some questions/ideas to get them thinking about the news story. For example:
What happened?
Why is it important?
Who does it effect?
How do you think the story will progress?
Give the students some time to think of answers to these questions and put them into the form of a presentation. The students should then tell the class/their groups what happened.

Interviewing Role Plays.
Put the students into groups of two and tell them to think of a current news story. The students should then decide who is the most important person in the story. They should then think of some questions they would like to ask this person and think of the answers to the questions. The students should then perform this role play in front of either their class or their groups.

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