I’m sure most of you are familiar with the “News” lesson in the Pre-Build Up section of our Smiths School of English curriculum. It’s a fun lesson and flexible enough that you can tweak it to suit various levels. I particularly like the second half of the lesson plan where students are encouraged to take the role of reporter and the others are posing questions to them regarding their news story. The curriculum provides some cards which when combined with other cards make for some pretty unique and sometimes outrageous stories. Some students have a really wild imagination and have a lot of fun creating their stories.
Recently, I decided to add an extra element to this lesson.
This activity is mainly geared toward higher proficiency students as the vocabulary necessary is a bit more advanced. I informed the students that for homework I wanted them to research 3 news stories on the internet, regarding anything, and then summarize the story in a short paragraph and report back at the next class.
The extra element I added was that they could report a completely false story, but I wanted them to make it so believable that the other students wouldn’t know. At the next class they would report their story, with much confidence and supporting data, and the other students would ask questions trying to determine if they were really telling the truth or lying.
In order to assist them I recommended they check out “The Onion”, an American news satire which reports both true stories and complete fabrications. As I mentioned earlier, this activity is geared toward higher proficiency students.
The students had a lot of fun with this website! It was the first time to see it and they continue to check it on their own. From time to time they will “inform” me of some event which “took place” in the world somewhere and I believe it, only to look up and see them laughing at me.
They have gotten really good at this!
They especially like to read the stories relating to Japan.
Type “Japan” in the top right hand “search box” and have fun.
Also, for those of you who enjoy these kinds of websites and are proficient in other languages, may I suggest the versions available in other languages?
I use them to brush up on my Spanish and Romanian from time to time.
Check it out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Onion (at the bottom of the screen)
We’ll be doing this activity in one of the classes today!
Alessandro “Alex” Stanciu
Smith’s School of English Fuse
月謝制 の スミス 英会話 布施 校