In this activity learners use an online source to plan a family holiday. A key component of the activity is how learners use and develop language skills in a practical context. During the process they should collect words and phrases they come across and note them down. We love this activity because it develops their understanding of digital texts in a fun and useful way. We have used this activity with German students that were 12 to 16 years old and were learning English as a foreign language.
Provide students with background information e.g. “You’re planning to visit Scotland during the Easter Holiday. Your parents would like you to go because it will be a good way for you to practice your English.”
The students then use the internet to collect information about the country and places they’re going to visit e.g. attractions, cultural events, cities, population, highest mountain etc. We provided pupils with a work sheet containing cues for the information we wanted them to use. This helped them to focus their attention and ensured they could focus their reading whilst also collecting the relevant information. We spread this over several sessions to allow enough time.
Why not… use www.wikipedia.org and then hone in on the tourist board’s website.
The students decided which region they want to stay in and explain why. We chose Scotland and used www.visitscotland.org
When they had found all the information in English and calculated the cost, they had to write their holiday plans in their native language in order to inform their parents.
We asked them to use online dictionaries to look up new or unfamiliar words.
Why not… search for a dictionary using www.omniglot.com
To finish you could include a listening comprehension The Scottish Tourist Board has produced a podcast that will take them on a virtual tour of the city!
Why not… use www.padlet.com to evaluate the lesson. This could even be done as part of their homework.
- Hand-out (partly in mother-tongue). Adapting ours will save you loads of time!
- Ensure focus during on-line tasks (no free-for-all internet searches!)
- One computer per student or they can work in small groups.
Online, learners are provided with the most current information and material. There are also extra features not available in paper material e.g. videos, podcasts, games etc. learners have to use information stored in ‘layers’ and non-linear way compared to, say, travel brochures.
Also good for…
Developing literacy in a second language is at the core of this activity, but there are obvious possibilities for use in teaching geography, mathematics and economics.
- handout (partly in German)