School of Schenk

activity: using 2 short texts to get students speaking

This is a quick recipe for an activity that works with a range of topics and skill levels. It gets your students summing up a short text with the help of 5 chunks of language they extract from the text.

ingredients: 2 short texts about interesting news items (My favorite source for these is Breakingnewsenglish.com) that relate to the same overall topic. Half of the class will get a copy of text 1, the other half will get text 2.

step 1: divide the class into two groups. hand each group a different text.

step 2: the students read their texts carefully.

step 3: the students write down 5 key chunks from the text on the back of the sheet of paper – 5 chunks they would use in a summary of the text.

step 4: the students walk over to somebody who belongs to the other group to tell them about their text and vice versa. They only use the backside of their sheets of paper – their chunks – for their summary.

step 5: have some of the students report about what they heard from their partner.

follow-up: focus on emergent language or language that came up in the texts and ask students to give their opinion on the news stories they heard about.