Wednesday, 9 May 2012

A very special CLIL lesson plan for History & Geography

I've created this lesson plan together with Gaelle Farout for the capstone session of TED 2012.
During brilliant course (maybe you remember we talked about it in another post), we had the opportunity to work in groups, sharing opinions and experences with teachers coming from all around the EU and the US. During last session, each team presented a lesson idea - which was a huge boost for our creativity! Now, we all have lots of new lesson plans, lots of ideas for new projects... and lots of new friends.
So, there will definitely be a follow-up to this experience.

As for Gaelle and me, we worked on a simple CLIL lesson plan dealing with the topic of immigration. You will recognize the structure (thanks again Dr. Diana Hicks!), but I think you'll find the content and activities to be new, engaging and easy to customize to suit different topics and age range.
Note: of course you have to choose a specific aspect/period connected with immigration. I was thinking of the Italian immigration to America in the first two decades of the 20th century. It's up to you: and once you've chosen the specific subject, you can give more details to enrich the scenario.

Ok. Ready to become an inspector of the Immigration Service? or will you be a poor worker in need of a new home? Let the story go...


about 24 students - 12/13 years old

subjects: History/Geography/Languages

Pupils working in groups of six

Instructions given in English - pupils can answer and discuss, when needed, both in English and in mother tongue.


- 24 cards with States from Africa, Asia, Europe, USA (6 cards/continent, needed to make groups)

- blackboard / interactive board

- textbook.

And here’s what you will tell your students:

1) Pick a card, look at your image and at those of the others. Then form groups: you’ve to discuss how. The students will soon understand they have to divide into continents. Once they are in their group, ask the eldest of each one – who’ll be the team leader – to explain who they are and how they formed the team. Example “we are France, Italy, Slovakia, Spain, Germany and Finland. We are together because we are in Europe”. And so on. Check that all the students are in the right place. If one or more aren’t, their classmates will probably realize and tell them to move. Let them go to their correct group (this is a warming up, not a test).

2) - If your country belongs to EU or US, you are now 6 members of the immigration service.
Take a piece of paper and draw your immigration office, with your individual roles. Discuss your roles. The team leader is the member who takes the final decision. Who are the others? Find 5 important criteria according your taught about immigration.

- If your country belongs to Asia or Africa, you are the six members of a family. Take a piece of paper and draw your family tree. The team leader is the grandfather/grandmother, who rules the family. Who are the others? Remember there can be members of the family who are dead. Be as creative as you can: put names, dates, etc. And don’t forget to write in bold the family name above the tree! Think of a job for your character, if he or she is old enough to work. (This is supposed to be the motivating and amusing part, so leave them free as long as they’re actually into the role).

3) All the members of the family and the immigration service have now to introduce themselves to the others. Example “I’m Elena, the mother. I’m a journalist.” “I’m Fabio, the eldest son: I’m a singer.” "I'm Jaimie, the Director of the Immigration Office" etc.

4) - Families:
Suddenly, the two families are forced to leave their house and their country. They realize they can’t live in their homeland any more, and decide the only thing you can do is going away.
Remember, this means losing your house, friends, and much of what you have, so it should be something very serious.What has happened? Each student has to write five reasons why he could be forced to leave. Then, compare your list with those of your team mates. Are there any common ideas? Can you make up anything new together?
Write a “family list” – 10 reasons that could force your family to leave.
(They’ll probably think of natural disasters, spreading of a disease, war, etc. You’ll be surprised to see how close to real life they can get).

- Immigration service:
A family from Africa wants to immigrate in EU and a family from Asia wants to immigrate in US.
Remember, this means they've lost their house, friends, and much of what they had, so it should be something very serious.
What has happened? Each student has to write five reasons why he could accept this family in the country - what the family could do, how they can be useful for your country and its economy. And also what they have to do in order to be accepted. Then, compare your list with those of your team mates. Are there any common ideas? Can you make up anything new together?
Write an “immigration list” – 10 reasons that could convince your immigration service to accept this family.

5) Families and Immigration Services share their ideas. All of the ideas are collected on the board.

6) You’ve been acting as the millions of people who were forced to leave their countries during the 20th century and as the host countries that received them. You’ve been trying to understand their reasons, and you’ve been asking yourselves what can be so terrible as to have you leave your land. You've also tried to find out how immigration can be positive for the receiving country, and how to regulate it.
What did actually happen? Did you guess right? Let's take the book and find out together.

(...thank you Gaelle !!!)


  1. I liked this lesson plan a lot and I'm going to try it with my students. I'll let you know!
    Thanks a lot,

  2. I will try it too. It will be interesting to see how the immigration committeees will work. Nice idea Laura & Gaelle!

  3. Great! Looking forward to getting to know more :)
    Hope the pupils have fun and learn a lot,