This idea for this activity kindly shared with me by my colleague from Serbia Svetlana Gavrilovic. In our conversations on this blog and emails we talked about ways to adapt it for different contexts and levels of English learners. Hopefully, it will be interesting for you to try (a version of it) out.
[Note: this post is a part of my ‘It’s in (Y)Our Hands’ project, and you can learn more about it by visiting this page, reading this post, and browsing through the list of ideas.]
The goal/aim of this writing activity is to provide the readers with information about what’s happening in the world/country/city. Students are learning to create a single piece of news item, which will focus on a specific event that has just happened.
Svetlana got the idea on one of the course she took part in, and then adapted it to the classes she taught. These are possible activity steps:
- Headline of the actual/local new item, asking students to brainstorm the purpose of it (for this activity, the news)
- Brainstorming questions a good news item would usually address (the Wh- Questions, as in the Hand Image above)
- Predicting the answers to the questions (this can be done individually or in pairs, or even as a whole group with teacher making notes on the board/on the slide)
- Group work and drafting the news story/report* (some variations can be a comic series, or a TV/YouTube Interview script). *This choice would certainly depend on the proficiency level of the learners, and how prepared they are for this type of task and familiar with the genre of writing.
- As an extension to this activity, the actual role play/interview can be arranged, and students can work on more input from the ‘parent’, ‘witness’, ‘government official’ or other contextually appropriate participants of the event being described.
We also discussed the following points to focus on in this activity/lesson:
- the age of learners and its impact on the time they need to come up with the ideas, and the writing itself
- the nature of the news item they are writing: real or imaginary, for example
- comparing the news formats in L1/L2 (some L1-s are quite different in their writing culture)
- this activity can lead to a fantastic writing lesson (with Drafts 2 and even 3) where students create quality news pieces about their city (school, country, etc.) and maybe share with wider audience
- a question I now have is how we can modify the focus of writing/speaking in this activity by changing the ‘big’ question in #6 on the template: what if it is the ‘Why?’ that has the larger space? Or the ‘Who?’
I am grateful to Svetlana for the inspiration and conversation, and hope we can keep new ideas coming.
As for the helping hand for Ukraine: I know I promised to share educational and cultural project links, however, there are more urgent needs that come up in the highly affected areas. My amazing Ukrainian colleague Natasha is currently working with the team from Soborna Ukraine and they are running a campaign* to raise funds for these projects:
- Providing the city of Mykholaiv with ten water drill wells.
- Providing the city of Chernihiv with basic construction materials for restoration/renovation there.
*at the time of writing this post*
There is more information and donation options on the website.
Thank you for reading, and #StandWithUkraine.
Thank you, Zhenya for sharing this. As always, you’ve brought it to another level.
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All the credit and appreciation go to you Svetlana! Learning a lot from our chats!
Thank you very much! 🙏
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