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The story of ‘Hamlet’ – in pictures

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We have been studying Shakespeare with a group of A2-B1 level students for some time and as it is the bard’s 400th anniversary this year there are really loads of materials to study the life and works of Shakespeare – basically at any level.

I wanted to make my students produce something of their own and having finished the discussion of ‘Hamlet’, I came across an excellent website for digital storytelling: StoryboardThat.

So, at the end of the project I put my students into groups of 3 and each group created their own storyboard of ‘Hamlet’. Here are some of the storyboards they created:

Hamlet 1

Hamlet 2

Hamlet 3

Hamlet 4

Hamlet 5

 

Writing made buzzworthy: a magazine – written by students

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All right, this post still belongs to 2014, but I just didn’t find the time to blog about it.

The idea of a student-magazine came from earlier last year from a colleague of mine. We improved the idea with my students and they preapred an on-line magazine.

In Solutions Upper-Intermediate students learn about the rules of writing a magazine article and in the follow-up unit the topic is given for that article, too. Well, I would have never thought of making my students write about something absolutely indifferent for them – unenthusiastic work is the death of creativity. So I immediately decided to let my students write about anything they are interested in, but they had to stick to the rules of article-writing.

So here we have the result and I am simply proud of them! Good job, my dear students!

Follow-up lesson – one more connected to “Environment”

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In my previous post I described the project my B1 level students had done on the topic of “environment”. As they could choose the topic they were interested in and there were 4 groups but 5 topics, nobody had presented about “Invasive species”. So that was the topic of this follow-up lesson.

Before the lesson

The text about Invasive species had 5 parts. I didn’t want to change the grouping of the previous lesson, the homework was for everybody to read the introduction for “Invasive species” and the groups were assigned one part of the complete text. The parts were relatively short but because of the new vocabulary it gave them enough work.

During the lesson

Definition

Everything was done in groups. The introduction explained a lot about invasive species including a lengthy definition:

A species is regarded invasive if it has been introduced by human action to a location, area or region where it did not prevously occur naturally (i.e. is non-native),becomes capable of establishing a breeding population in the new location without further intervention by humans, and spreads widely throughout the new location.

I put the following on the board:

A species is regarded invasive if…

and divided the rest of the definition into 3 parts. The first part ended at “(i.e. is non-native)“. This first part was cut into words or phrases and put onto cards for each group that they had to rearrange to make it meaningful. The second part of the definition (until: without further intervention by humans) was written on slips without punctuation or spaces and the third part (and spreads widely throughout the new location) was written without vowels. The groups received the slips and the complete definition was finally solved.

Discussion

There was a short discussion about how these species “travel” and why they are dangerous.

Global divers, Impacts, Local Story, Success Story

Those are the titles of the short texts the 4 groups had been assigned to as homework. Now each group had 5 minutes to sit at a computer, revise quickly their bit and come up with one comprehension question about it. When they were ready, they were re-groupped so that in every “new” group there was one student from each “old” group. Now they gave a very short mini-presentation about their bit of the topic.The students were encouraged to take notes while listening to each other – which they did as they were aware of the fact that their would be a question about each sub-topic.

Finally the students went back to their original groups and answered the questions set by the others.

Conclusion:

Students are usually afraid of the topic of “environment”. The project and the follow-up lesson were only part of the whole picture as discussing that topic could take weeks or even months with all the vocabulary and skills development tasks that come naturally with it. But as they were working on the different aspects of biodiversity, endangered species, coral reefs etc. so many things came up that in the end they felt a lot more comfortable than before.