Using English Current (EC) News Lesson Plans in Your Class
Each news lesson has been designed to take up one hour of class time. Lessons focus on speaking (50%), reading comprehension (30%), and vocabulary building (20%). This structure makes EC news lessons ideal for English conversation classes (group or one-on-one).
The articles have been limited to 250-350 words. This ensures the introduction of sufficient information and vocabulary without overwhelming the student(s).
Teachers who require a printout of the lesson should download and print the Microsoft Word (97) .DOC file attached to the top of each lesson.
Below is the recommended breakdown of each activity for your lesson. You may, of course, choose to use the material in whatever way you wish.
Warmup (5-10 mins)
The warm-up questions are designed as a segue into the news article. The questions will typically involve brainstorming about the general topic and language pertinent to the article. Cover as many questions as you deem adequate.
Reading (5-8 mins)
EC articles are approximately 300 words. This length allows for the introduction of 8-10 vocabulary items and sufficient details to serve as a basis for comprehension and discussion questions. Have your student(s) take turns reading the paragraphs aloud.
Comprehension Questions (5 mins)
Comprehension questions have been designed to cover the key ideas introduced in the text. Answers to the comprehension questions are available on the online version of the lessons. They are not provided in the printable .DOC lesson format but should be easily discernible from the article itself. Cover the questions.
Vocabulary Exercises (10 mins)
Eight to ten useful vocabulary items from the text are practiced in this section. Matching activities focus on contextual understanding. Other activities give the student(s) an opportunity to practice using the language items. Answers are once again only available in the online lessons.
Recommendation: Give your students a few minutes to do the matching activity in class, and then check the answers together. Then, once you are confident the students understand the meaning of each word, assign the following “Connect the ideas to make a sentence” activity as homework for next class.
Debate & Role-Play Activities (10-15 mins)
Most lessons contain some kind of debate or role-playing activities. These can be the most interesting part of the lesson so save time for them. The debates often focus on controversial or sensitive issues (which is why they are debatable), so be sure to preread the instructions to ensure the activity is appropriate for your students before having them execute it.
Discussion Questions (15 mins)
A variety of discussion questions are listed at the end of the lesson plan. There are likely too many questions to cover, so decide in advance which questions you’d like to ask or have your students pick questions to ask each other. Don’t be satisfied with simple one-sentence answers — have your students expand and debate each issue together whenever possible.
Total Class Time = 50-58 minutes
Be sure to review key vocabulary at the beginning of the next class. We recommend keeping a running list of the main vocabulary items you have covered and reviewing it frequently with the students, instead of merely jumping from one breaking news story or topical lesson plan to the next every lesson. Lastly, if time permits, discuss recent developments in the news story at the beginning of the next class.
The rest is up to you. If you have questions or feedback, please contact us.
Best of luck,
Matthew Barton / Englishcurrent.com