Saturday, 4 April 2015

History Lessons

Last week my students and I were discussing outstanding historical figures and remarkable events in our English classes as long as the topic of the unit was called "History lessons". As a rule, I like adding some extra activities to those suggested in a coursebook (and I believe I'm not alone here). Being a genuine history lover, I designed some activities based on information I'd come across surfing the net. So here's my list.

1. A funny warm-up "You'd never believe it". I found some unusual facts about well-known people and wrote down their names on the blackboard. Then I would present the facts like this: "This person .... did so and so..." and have students guess. After presenting all the facts I asked them what they remembered about each person from the list. We had a lot of fun! A worksheet can be found here.

2. Short jigsaw reading "Dating tips". I found this information in this blog and thought it would be cool to use it with my students. The post was about imaginary replies of famous historical figures to commonplace dating problems of different people. I arranged  problem letters and the replies in a table and printed it out. In class, some students got the letters and others got the replies. The task was to match a problem letter with a corresponding reply. The worksheet is here.

3. A speaking task "Portrait Interviews" (from How to Teach English by Jeremy Harmer). In pairs or small groups, students choose a portrait depicting a person or event from the past. Their task is to present a conversation that might have taken place between the people depicted in the picture. If there's only one person on the portrait, they could present it as an interview with him/her. I've just given this task to my students so I'm looking forward to their presentations. I'm sure they will come up with something special. I was also thinking to help them with a choice of a portrait by using this great tool by Classtools: 3D Gallery

.... and finally decided to do it:

The Arnolfini portrait by Jan van Eyck
Image source: wikipedia