In the News (Part 1)

Posted on March 24, 2010

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In the News (Part 1)

This is part one of a two-part blog post on the news. This part focuses on television/internet news and consists of a video listening activity, conversation questions and a final speaking activity which requires your students to record a short news bulletin. Part 2 will be dedicated to newspaper journalism. Both lessons are suitable for Upper intermediate and Advanced levels.

Step One : Listening to One-minute World News

  • Ask your students which are the best news websites in their country. Ask them if they have ever visited the BBC’s website.
  • Tell them that they are going to watch a BBC news bulletin called One-minute World News. As the name suggests, it is a one-minute summary of some of the most important news stories from around the globe.
  • There are normally about four or five news stories in each bulletin.
  • Go to http://news.bbc.co.uk and click on Watch One-minute World News at the top of the screen. (Note : Mike Harrison / @harrisonmike in London has kindly informed me that One-minute World News doesn’t seem to be available on the BBC’s site when viewed from the UK. Unfortunately, teachers in Blighty may have to find a similar news source elsewhere.)

One-minute world news

  • I normally break the listening activity into the following parts:

a) 1st listening : Just sound, no image. Students identify the countries in which the stories take place.
b) 2nd listening : Just sound, no image. Students listen again and take notes on the details of each story.
c) 3rd listening : Sound + image. Students watch video, no note-taking.
d) 4th listening : Sound + image. Students watch and take further notes on the details of the stories.
e) Get feedback and focus on vocabulary/expressions.

  • Very important : Bear in mind that One-minute World News is updated on a regular basis throughout the day, so what you see in the morning will not be the same as what you see in the evening. Personally, I don’t find this a problem. I normally watch the bulletin ten minutes before class, making a quick list of the countries mentioned and jotting down the most interesting vocabulary/expressions. Needless to say, it only takes a minute of your time!

Step Two : Conversation

  • As a follow-up to the listening, ask your students to discuss the questions below in pairs or groups of 3.

Step Three : Record a one-minute news bulletin

The final part of the lesson involves the students recording their own one-minute news bulletin using a greetings card application called Bubblejoy.

  • Ask your students to choose four or five news stories from a current newspaper, the more up to date the better. I normally ask them to choose a world story, a European story, a story about their country and a story about their city. You could also try thematic categories e.g. entertainment, technology, sport etc.
  • Now, ask them to prepare and create their news bulletins using Bubblejoy. Tell them to start with a welcome message e.g. Good evening, my name is …and here are the latest headlines from around the world. If you want to embed a bit of grammar into the activity, this might also be a good moment to go through the use of the Present Perfect to announce headlines (A plane has crashed in …) and the Past Simple + Past Continuous to provide the details of a story (it was carrying … / it failed to take off from … etc).
  • The application is really easy to use, but I’ve made a short Jing Thing to walk you through it. Click on the screenshot below to see the tutorial.

Bubblejoy tutorial

Hope you enjoy this activity!