Number one for English language teachers

Imaginative materials: teaching with newspapers

Level: Starter/beginner, Elementary, Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Teaching notes

Teachers rarely have access to whole class sets of newspapers. Here are six ideas for things you can do using a single copy of a newspaper.


  1. Just one GW

    Teachers rarely have access to whole class sets of newspapers. Here are five ideas for things you can do using a single copy of The Guardian Weekly in class… though they do involve cutting up your precious copy!

  2. "Have you heard the news?"

    Cut up and distribute different mid-length stories to pairs who should then think about how they could retell their story in the most exciting, interesting way if they met their friends at a party. You could offer input on useful phrases, intonation etc. and discuss what makes one motivated to listen to a story. Ask them not to simply recite the facts.

    When everyone is ready, they stand up and mingle, buttonholing others to tell their story, starting, "Have you heard the news?" Listen and join in, encouraging lively interaction by dropping in a few phrases such as "No! I don't believe it!" and "Really? What happened?"

  3. Notes and Queries

    Read out a good question from the "Notes and Queries" column (e.g. "Why do we have noses?") and give the class 5 minutes to discuss and come up with the most amazing explanation they can.

    If you do not have access to a copy of The Guardian Weekly you can see this section online at: www.guardian.co.uk/notesandqueries/

  4. Scrunched-up stories

    Choose and cut out a number of longer stories (at least half a page). Scrunch up the pages into a ball so that it's impossible to read everything. Give one of these text-balls to each group, who can look all round it but may not touch or open it. Their task is to guess what the story is and write a one sentence summary of what they think their article is about. Collect these summaries in, then redistribute them. Groups now look at different texts around the room trying to work out which summary goes with which text. If you wanted to, you could then un-scrunch the texts and find out how well the learners guessed the full stories.

  5. Headline gaps

    Cut out a number of headlines (you'll need at least one for every 2 learners). In each one choose an interesting word to remove (e.g. "Hunting is good for trees, bad for _____ "). Glue the gapped headline at the top of a piece of paper with two columns. The pages are now passed around class. In the first column pairs should write their best guess at a possible word for each gap; in the second column they write a funny possibility. At the end compare answers and choose the best or funniest choices. The class could go on to predict the contents of the articles and maybe read a whole article of their choice.

  6. Around the walls

    On separate strips of paper write questions about facts that can be found on the odd-numbered pages of the newspaper e.g. "Who came third in the Grand Prix?" Pin the whole pages on the walls around the room. Hand out one question to each pair, who must now tour the room, find the answer, return and tell you - for which they receive a new question. Keep score if you wish.

 

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