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ESL forum > Ask for help > Desperately seeking ideas    

Desperately seeking ideas


Desperately seeking ideas

Greetings everyone

I am desperately seeking your ideas for a troublesome class of intermediate teens that I have just inherited as the original teacher pulled the plug.  I have just a mere few days in which to concoct an enaging group current affairs project where the students have to use at least three different text types for both reading and writing using the computer (itīs a cluster of 3 subjects comprising computer skills and current affairs).  They have to be able to identify facts and supporting information about significant local and international current affairs and give their personal opinion.
It has to īconsumeī about 18 hours of class time over a 6 week period and must use internet and microsoft word skills in order to meet essential outcomes of those subjects.
So, I was thinking:
Reading use 3 text types - research a topic using online news, forum/blog, online research paper, [more ideas ??? - they need to use at least 3 text types]
Writing use 3 text types - Present findings via an opinion piece e.g. essay/letter to the editor, poster/pamphlet, script for an oral presentation, accompanying handout, script for a speech, written report, ????  Also, perhaps consider doing a survey to find class opinion
Group activity - choose 3 text types for both reading and writing to research and present the current affairs item and then orally present findings to the class
What do you think?  Does it sound engaging enough for a group of ībehaviour-challengedī teens who are on Facebook the minute my back is turned?  Do you have some other suggestions for me?

23 Aug 2012      


It sounds engaging enough for a normal group of adults. I īd have to say that teens are not very interested in the world around them unless it includes them and their likes and dislikes - perhaps I am being cynical and watching too much daytime TV! LOL

I īd considering including a reading/writing activity about their favorite actor/sports figure/singer/author, perhaps a survey or report about fashion/cars/fast food joints/curious or strange accidents/paranormal things/etc.

News clippings are good, but I think the stranger or weirder the topic the better. Cartoons, or researching a graphic novel artist or putting together a comic using Word...

I dunno. Kids today are hard to engage sometimes. Especially if they are unruly and bored.

23 Aug 2012     


A lot of people or institutions now have a Facebook/Twitter page so I was thinking why not using that as an option....?
Also with the recent London Olympics Lynda īs idea about an activity connected with sports figures sounds awesome, so how about intergrating it with some other news/topic... maybe dealing with a more serious topics like sports stars ī tips on handling stress & competitions/winning/losing, sports stars ī tips on nutrition, sports stars ī views on  doping... a webquest maybe (that would develop computer skills)?

As to the survey, why not create an online one?


Edit: Innovations could be a great reading/writing. What do you think? Something like this could be interesting http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00n4j0r 
or silly innovations?

23 Aug 2012     


I feel for you. I know how difficult they can be. Their type of disinterest enfuriates me endlessly. There is no rebellion in them, which is a horrible prospect for us - what will the world be like in future without any youth to rebell against stuff. Sophia and Zora are right.I don īt have a lot of time right now, but your problem seems generally interesting and I hope you get lots of ideas from people here. Here īs my bit:

1. why not let them use a Facebook survey asking people to suggest some new sports that should be included in the Olympics as an Olympic sport - then have them vote on three best suggestions and prepare a platform with arguments why their sport should be chosen. Split the class into three groups and have each promote one of the top three chosen sports. (It woud be spectacular if you had a friend sports journalist or reporter, or even an athlete, to whom they could send their reports and who would choose the best one and send you back his/her explanation, or even if you could have that friend visit via skype or any similar version of video phoning, so they could actually see and hear this person. It would be wonderful if you could then have them prepare questions for this person, but maybe this is all science fiction from your friendly dreamer here;))

2. dangers of internet use, esp facebook/twitter/etc. - I know this has been chewed up already, but I would first have them talk about this (it will be easy to find a text) and share their experiences, and then I īd stirr the discussion towards bullying and creating false accounts to smear sb īs reputation (which they īre so versatile and skillful in) and this is where we reach the real project - have them develop projects (you can split them into groups again) on how they could better sb īs life through Facebook (perhaps think about some local problem in your community) - have them create a project , you can even have them create an event to which they would invite people and actually set things in motion... again, perhaps a bit too ambitious, but the more you push them, the more likely it is to get a response. 

However, FB use here should be done in class, not on their personal profiles, which will give you possibility to control the conetents and timing. Don īt know about you, but I ask parents ī signed consent when I engage sts in an internet project (lets the parents know what īs happening and covers your back a bit, plus gives a more serious tone to your project so sts don īt slack). Unfortunately, it always helps to have some sort of a reward for the best project, but that īs up to you and your school. I know you need texts, but I always start from the content idea - if I hit that, then everything else seems to just develop easily from it and I find stuff rather easily.

I know I īve strayed a bit from your guidelines, but bear with me and I know your sense of wit will point you in the right direction;)! Hope this helps a bit.

23 Aug 2012     


What you need is a webquest - I have written a few, but not on īcurrent ī topics. One of my best was based on American History X - I don īt know how old your pupils are, but I would not show this film to under 15 īs unless they are very mature!

You can see it at: black and white I havent checked all of the links recently, so you would need to do that and write a pm to me if they are faulty :-)

You can see the other webquests I have made on the īabout ī page. I have been teaching smalls for the past year so I haven īt made any new ones for a while.

You could also take up a topic like the death penalty - a good film there is the life of David Gale.
There are many web pages about the topic both for and against, you could get your pupils to find arguments to support or not support it.

I could go on...

Hope that you find something to captivate them!

23 Aug 2012     

United States

Wow Cindy!  Thanks for the great tip--I had never heard of the movie, it looks very powerful (well designed Webquest too).
Excellent point about "no rebellion" Anita; it stimulates a lot of thought (Iīll be contemplating that for a few days at least).
Sorry Jayho--Iīm blank at the moment.

24 Aug 2012     

Mariethe House

dear Jayho! Happy belated birthday dear friend. Just come back from a holiday which explains I missed that important and crucial day!!
When it comes to otivation problems, I always turn to busy teacher.org. They īre amazing. Always have lots of ideas or give you other references. So, here īs a link for you . It is very general but might give you some ideas to get you started.


Someone posted an incredible video on motivation here , some time ago and it was fabulous but my memory fails me!Unhappy Maybe someone will remember! Sophia???? Wink

24 Aug 2012     


Thanks everyone
You have provided me with fantabulous ideas and links.

24 Aug 2012