I don’t want to rub it in but we have less than two months of school left and that time is filled with school trips, bank holidays, exams etc.
This means we’re arriving at the time when we get to the end of the text book, now this post is not a debate on whether or not, or how to use a coursebook, I teach in a secondary school and am expected to use one so choose a good one and supplement it as I go along – so there!
Anyway, the “programme” is more or less done so now we can do some other stuff:
- Tapescript drama
Using the typescript as the dialogue, have students act out the scenes. Depending on the actual dialogue these mini-plays may take on very different aspects to the original book version.
2. Replace the characters
The characters and “celebrities” are often quite dated in books, -hardly any of my students have a clue who Victoria & David Beckham are! So ask students to rewrite a text or two with a celebrity of their choice – or themselves, including similar information to the original.
3. A good old cloze text
I don’t do this very often at all so when I do the students actually quite enjoy it. Give them a text they’ve already studied with various words blanked out. You can focus on verb tenses, prepositions of time (mine definitely find that one a challenge), or just give the first part and ask them to finish it in their own words.
As above, use a text you have already seen in class. Here’s an explanation if you’re unsure what a dictagloss is, or just want to see if you do it differently.
5. Rewire Comprehension
I love this activity, (not least because it takes very little teacher time and can easily be done in replacement classes when someone thrusts a book into your hand and pushes you into a room of teens!) Just give the class the comprehension questions and ask them to write the written text or listening text themselves, using the questions to guide them. You can then get the groups to swap their finished versions and use them to do a basic comprehension exercise. You may find their version better than the original in the book, keep them for next year, or at the end of next year hand these new versions out to the class and ask them to find which original text they could replace, before having them do a similar thing, and so on to infinity and beyond!
6. Organise an Outing
Chances are there may be an end-of-term trip, so get the class involved. Explain the limits – time, financial, distance, etc. and ask the students to research activities or places to visit. they can then present them to the class who votes on where to go. If they will need extra accompanying adults ask them to find them, asking other teachers or parents. Giving students power and choice is a great way of getting them on board, and the resulting trip is fab for getting to know students in a different context. This is also a great way to get to know everyone at the start of term.
If you know the school won’t allow a trip at this time, and your students are old enough , then organise something on a Saturday afternoon, even bowling or cinema – you’ll be surprised at how many turn up.
7. Start planning next year
Ask students to brainstorm what they would actually like to get from their classes next year/term. This gives you chance to incorporate some of their ideas into your plans for the future. See above for the benefits of empowering students in their own learning.
8. Rewrite the book
This may seem a little ambitious but can be done at various levels, it also reveals how little students actually know their book, I’m always surprised (well, actually I’m not anymore) about how few students realise there’s a lexical list at the back of the book, and a grammar explanation and about a billion practice exercises, oh and there’s a few longer texts to read. If you don’t present these activities as “rewriting the book” half the class don’t even realise that they are related to the book they’ve just spent a year studying with!
- Rewrite the chapter
Give students the headings and ask what they think it could talk about or what they would add. They can find texts or write their own to add under each topic. Can they find important people to include and research information on these people? Can they link these topics to current affairs?
- Give the language points and have students come up with texts
When do we use suggestions? Or the past continuous? Ask the students when they do. You can give the language explanation from the side bar, and/or the vocabulary tool box (many of mine never see these side boxes when we read the book!) and ask them to come up with an original way of presenting this language to the rest of the class. Give each group a different section and your new book is almost written.
You can then form new groups which contain one member from each of the original groups to “teach” the members of this new group what they prepared with their original group.
- Give the texts and have the students come up with the language points
Similar to the idea above but vice-versa, give each group a text/language presentation and ask them what they would teach from this. Students often find this quite challenging so it’s worth giving them a nudge, either when you go round or by writing titles on the board such as “prepositions”, “talking about the past”, “holiday vocab” which each group can choose from. Then get the groups to write their own grammar and vocabulary toolkits, which they can compare later to the version in the book.
- Come up with something completely different
Ask the class what they think they should have learnt this year, what they would have done differently, ask them to give a rough outline of the book they wish they had. Groups or pairs can present these new versions to the class who chooses the best. A great chance to get the artists involved by designing the front cover.
9. What Have I learnt
This is such an important part of the learning process, it should be done at the end of every lesson, unit, etc. and if I’m so bossy about about telling you this it’s because I don’t do it enough at all. Ask students to have a think-pair-share about what they have learnt this year, what was easy/difficult/etc, how they learnt, what advice they would give next year’s class, which leads on to the final idea…
10. Write a letter to next year’s students
Ask the class to write a letter/survival manual for next year’s class, and then keep them to give the next year’s class, it’s a great way of introducing your class to new students, mine get to know important stuff such as “Mrs Harris likes chocolate”, “If you get her talking about star wars you won’t do any work all lesson”!
Bonus idea: There are a hundred ideas in 100 Activities for Fast Finishers that can be used when you’ve finished the coursebook 😉