All of the people who regularly come to visit me in this blog (thank you!) helped me a lot here. We've been discussing theories and different approaches together, we've shared experiences and we've tried to overcome our empasse points. I've often been asked to share some practical tips, worksheets or lesson-plans of my everyday teaching. Part of them are, as usual, uploaded in the TNG TwinSpace.
But since we are reaching the end of this 2011, I'd like to share here my favourite CLIL lesson of this year. Important: I didn't make up this lesson on my own, I worked on a structure suggested by Dr. Diana Hicks during my summer course. Anyway, it turned out to be so nice and motivating after being customized to my case, that I think anyone can take advantage of it.
So have a look at it, and see if it can work for you as well!
THE BACK-HOME PLAN
about 20 students - 12/13 years old
Pupils working on their own, in pairs when asked
Instructions given in English - pupils can answer and discuss, when needed, both in English and in mother tongue.
1) Take a piece of paper and draw a country - not an existing one, just make up your own. Place a capital city. Draw a river across the capital city. Give a name to the country, the capital city and the river (that's the funny part: pupils can be quite creative at times)
2) In the capital city, draw a Cathedral and a Town Hall (this will be useful later, when we'll set the story in the Middle Ages)
3) In this country there are two political parties. You're a politician of the leading party (if you want, you can have fun here again letting them name the parties). One day, you're sent on an important mission to the Pope, in Rome. While you're away, there's a rebellion in your country. The enemy party takes power, all of your friends are imprisoned or killed and you are exiled. Now, your family is still in the capital city, you love them and your city and you miss them. You want to go back. What would you do?
4) Write under your drawing at least 5 things you would do in order to go back home. (They have to start each sentence with "I would", then they can end it in English or mother tongue). Remember, if you go back and they catch you, you'll be executed.
5) Now work in pairs. Compare your answers with those of your partner. Are there any common ideas? Can you make up anything new together?
6) Now: the story is set in 1300. Please delete all of your ideas that don't suit this age (rest assured, there will always be plenty of bombing, alien-invading, and monster-related options).
7) All of the remaining ideas will be collected on the board.
That's all. It turned out to be a very active and involving lesson, and even the always-sleeping students had for once something to say. We had fun, they managed to speak a lot without the usual fears, and to their surprise they found out they would do lots of things Dante actually did. And even if they wouldn't have written the "Divina Commedia", believe me: they won't forget Dante and his story from now on !!!