I love using authentic resources in my thematic units because when students read or watch a text from another culture, they make cultural observations. When you find a good authentic resource you will want to get as much out of it as possible, that is you will want to extend that authentic resource. In this post I want to remind you of ideas for communicative activities in all three modes to use to get the most out of authentic resources.
– For a reading, ask questions to lead the students to scan the text for words or to read the text to gleam the main idea.
– The first time you show a video, show it without sound and ask students to write three sentences to say what happened in the video. Then, students share what they wrote. Next, play the video with sound and afterwards ask students to compare what they understand now with what they thought the video was about.
– Make a script of a short segment of the video. The script can be the straight transcription of what was said or the script can be a simplified retelling.
– Have students make personal connections to the text by asking them questions about themselves that relate to what was explained. Ask questions and give answers either in pairs or groups.
– Discuss details on the topic of the reading or video, first in pairs and then in the large group. Then do a “shared writing” where students and the teacher construct a paragraph of linked sentences and the teacher acts as a scribe to write down the sentences on the white board as they go. As a final step, the teacher reads the sentences to the class while they read it from the board silently to themselves.
– If personal connections were explored in the interpersonal activity, then students can write about their own practices as they relate to the topic to explain them to a penpal or to offer explanation for a student who is new to school. Or, have students explain these personal connections in a video as a vlog post to share with students from a different country.
– After a “shared writing”, have students write a summary of what was said during the conversation. They can repeat what was written down by the teacher word for word, or change it to simplify it. Students can then be asked to elaborate on the topic by writing their own sentences.
To give you an opportunity to try out these activities here are a couple authentic documents that might be of interest to your students. I used them in my unit on describing family and friends.
To better understand how I am using these activities in the unit on Describing family and friends, check out the unit plan in this post.