In the News (Part 2)
This is the follow-up to In the News (Part 1), which focused on TV/Video news. This second post will look at written news from on-line newspapers and media channels. The first part of the post consists of 3 video tutorials which will show you how to use an application called Slinkset to build up a bank of news articles for your students. In the second part, I will suggest 12 ways of using news articles once you’ve got your Slinkset bank up and running. As we are dealing with authentic texts, these activities are aimed at higher levels.
BTW! If you like the articles from my Slinkset page (click on the screenshot below), please feel free to add them to your own.
Three-part video tutorial on Slinkset
12 things to do with your Slinkset texts
1. Students read an article, then give their opinion by using the Slinkset comment feature. This often results in interesting debates between students.
2. Invite your students to be Users (contributors). Set up a class or group slinkset and get your students to contribute articles that interest them.
4. Encourage students to use Cloze Test Creator to create a variety of different gap-fill exercises (see below) of texts that they have read. This is a nice autonomous post-reading activity. My students love using the gap “every X words” function.
5. Ask your students to write summaries of the articles that they’ve read. They might like to use the Newspaper Snippet Generator (see below) to create an embeddable graphic (max. 180 words) …
… or use a Powerpoint newspaper template to make something a little more graphically appealing.
6. Get your students to read a text for homework and then give a spoken summary in pairs or groups at the beginning of the next class.
8. Encourage your students to use a text-to-speech application for autonomous pre or post-reading listening practice. a) Text to Voice is a Firefox add-on. b) Yakitome is a web-based (you have to sign up to use it) text to speech application.
9. Many on-line newspapers and media channels invite readers to leave a comment at the end of an article. Put your students into pairs or groups and get them to write a response to one of your Slinkset articles (it’s obviously a good idea to correct them before sending them off!)
10. Provide slinkset links to two articles on the same news story, one from a sensationalist newspaper/channel, the other from a more serious media source. Get your students to discuss the differences between them.
11. Choose an article which contains some sort of controversy/disagreement and ask your students to roleplay the situation.
12. Once you’ve got a few articles in a particular category (e.g. the Celebrations category from the Slinkset tutorial above), write some questions to practice scan-reading (Which article mentions …?)
If you have any other ideas, please send them to me and I’ll include them in this list!
Hope you find these ideas useful!