Keeping up with the news in English

If you want to keep up with the news, these may be useful sources of information:

To see the front pages of newspapers every day, you can visit these links:

You can also watch these news channels: 

Radio:

Further ideas: https://natalialzam.wordpress.com/2018/10/31/la-radio-como-recurso-en-el-aula-idiomas/

Listening- Woman’s Hour: New Year’s Resolutions (C1)

Listen to this clip from BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour, where two speakers exchange their views on New Year’s resolutions. For questions 1-6, choose the best answer (a,b or c). You can listen to the clip twice.

listening- January fads (C1)

You may have heard of Januhairy, Veganuary, or Dry January. They are closely related to New Year’s resolutions, those challenges or pledges people tend to make at the beginning of every new year to better themselves. They are also labelled by some as ‘fads’ (intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived). Other such fads arise every year, however far-fetched some of those may be.

Listen to these clips from BBC Radio Jersey The two radio hosts discuss January fads related to New Year’s resolutions. Listen to the clips (1-7) and match each of the headings below to one of the clips. Then answer the questions on the google form below. Clip #0 is only intended as an introduction (there is no heading). There is one more heading than needed. You can listen to the clips twice:

  • a. both hosts had agreed on choosing this term before sharing their lists.
  • b.This challenge may imply going the extra mile in your interests or abilities.
  • c.This challenge may call for extra expenses.
  • d. The hosts disagree about the suitability of this challenge
  • e. This term is related to the Arts
  • f. In his view, it’s an activity you should only take up in January.
  • g. This term may have two meanings
  • h. The hosts are unsure about the pronunciation of the term.

Open the form in a new tab

You can finally listen again and read the transcripts:

Click on the image to download the transcripts

 

Follow-up: You can also watch this clip from the Breakfast TV show Good Morning Britain, where two commentators discuss the convenience of this sort of fads and resolutions:

You can also try this listening comprehension exercise: Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

mediation, spoken interaction and written production tasks about charities (C1)

The following tasks deal with the topic of charities, and they integrate mediation in speaking, spoken interaction and written production/interaction. They have been designed with groups of four students in mind, but can be carried out in pairs.

The context to the tasks is the following:

Your school is going to raise money for a charity by carrying out activities involving students and teaching staff. You have been appointed as class representatives, and have to decide which charity from the appeals your class group is going to support financially.  

  1. Mediation in speaking: 

Each team member will listen to a radio appeal for a charity. They will have to take notes, and then, with these notes, be able to relay that information to the rest of team members.

This first task has been designed bearing in mind the following descriptors from the Companion Volume:

  • NOTE-TAKING (LECTURES, SEMINARS, MEETINGS ETC.): Can select relevant, detailed information and arguments on complex, abstract topics from multiple spoken sources (e.g. lectures, podcasts, formal discussions and debates, interviews etc.), provided that standard language is delivered at normal speed in one of the range of accents familiar to the listener.
  • PROCESSING TEXT IN SPEECH: Can summarise clearly in well-structured speech (in Language B) the main points made in complex spoken and written texts (in Language A) in fields of specialisation other than his/her own, although he/she may occasionally check particular technical concepts.

Using cooperative learning mats, students are assigned a number in their group. Then, all the number 1 students get together in the same group; all the number 2, and so on, to listen to the same clip, using their headphones and a headphone splitter:

These are the instructions:

Listen and take notes about your charity. You can listen to it twice. You will then have to report back to your team. Take notes on:

• objectives/goals of the charity
• sample problem mentioned
• what the charity has done for the individual mentioned
• how the situation has improved after the charity’s action
• what the speaker is asking of the listener
• key words related to money and charities

INPUT- AUDIO CLIPS- Taken from BBC Radio 4 charity appeals

These appeals tend to be around 3’50”-4 minutes long, and they always have the same structure, which is ideal for students to listen to different appeals over the same amount of time, and be able to report back to their groups.

Mediation strategies to be used:

  • streamlining a text
  • simplifying language
  • adapting language

Here you can find useful language to relay the information you wrote down.

2. Spoken interaction:

Once all the members of the team have enough information about all four charities, everyone has to argue in favour of their charity. They will have to reach an agreement at the end of their discussion.

They can prepare for 2 minutes individually, and they will discuss their views for 7 minutes.

This is some language students can use to interact.

They can use talking sticks/talking chips, to help students share the same amount of talking time.

3. Follow-up- written production: Write a leaflet for the charity of your choice, to convince the rest of students to donate money. You can use Canva or Piktochart to create it. Please remember to use persuasive language:

Click on the image to open pdf file

Instagram to hide likes (self-image)

Listen to this news report about a new measure that Instagram is trialling in an effort to silence criticism that it has a negative effect on users’ self-esteem.

Source

Transcript

  • Can you see any positive aspects of Instagram? Can you see any downsides?
  • Has Instagram had any effect on society (relationships, money-making…)?
  • Would you say Instagram has changed the way people see themselves? If so, to what extent?
  • How different would your life be if Instagram hadn’t been developed?
  • Some people don’t use email anymore, because they prefer to communicate through social media. What’s your take on this?

School refusers- listening comprehension

Listen to this clip from Woman’s Hour about children and teenagers who refuse to go to school. Then answer the questions on the google form below. You can listen to the clip twice:

 

 

Open form in a new tab

Pay attention to the feedback given to both right and wrong answers.

You can finally listen again and read the transcript:

Starting secondary school: icebreaker ideas

Starting secondary school can be a nerve-racking experience for students. These are some suggested activities you can use on the first day of your English/literacy classes with year 1 secondary students.

  • Shonny’s first day at secondary school: the day before (Newsround). This British girl describes her feelings when making the jump from primary to secondary school, something most of your students can relate to. You can download the worksheet with some questions based on the video, as well as the transcription.

As a follow-up, you can also use Shonny’s video describing her actual first day at school.

  • What to expect when you start high school (Newsround). Some year 7 students (11-12 year-olds) who have been in a secondary school in the UK for some weeks now are asked about how they feel now. Based on the questions the kids on the video are asked, you can ask these questions to your own students:

    • How do you feel on the first day of high school? (elicit adjectives from your students, and suggest synonyms using a thesaurus).
    • What is the hardest thing about starting school?

Further ideas: Secondary school struggles: captioned video and article

Screenshot 2019-09-04 at 16.18.16

  • Time-capsule: one of my favourite activities to start school. Ask students to answer these questions individually. Nobody else will read their answers unless they want to share anything with their classmates by reading them aloud. Then, a ‘digital time-capsule’ can be created, which can, in turn, become the first element in a digital portfolio. Their worksheets can be scanned and then uploaded, for example, to Seesaw. That way, they could also record their voice explaining some of their answers.

What I did back then was to scan all the answer sheets as pdf files that I have kept on my drive. The students I did this activity with are in their year 4 secondary this year: it would be a nice end-of-year giveaway to show them what their thoughts and hopes were on their first days at secondary school.

  • Finally, another possible nice activity is for students to write a letter to their future selves. The website https://www.futureme.org/ allows you to write text, and schedule it to be sent to your email inbox at a given point in the future. The letter can be scheduled, for example, for the last class of the year, and it can describe, for example, students’ expectations, hopes, fears, and/or resolutions. Then, by the end of the school year, they can check what they wrote in the letter against what actually happened.