Talking about the Top News StoriesGerard Counihan
profesorSs [at] blabla.es
These are a set of activities for low-intermediate and higher students.
Activity AGet students to list off what they think are the top international news stories so far this year. Make a list of them. Examples: (Students must find their own)
- Death of Frank Sinatra.
- War in Albania.
- Hurricane Mitch.
- Riots in Indonesia.
- Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky.
Activity BDiscuss suggestions and questions the students have on their lists. Students must justify their choices.
Activity CThe following is a list of the top ten international stories in 1997, according to a study carried out in the UK. I have changed the order about, so get the students to put them in order. If the students do not know about some of the events, you can explain them or skip them, and reduce the list correspondingly.
- The ending of the Lima hostage crisis
- Dolly, the cloned sheep
- Asian currency crisis
- Election of Tony Blair
- Princess Diana's death
- Middle-east peace process
- Hong Kong hand-over
- Death of mother Teresa
- 68 tourists shot dead in Eygpt
- Deng Xiaophing's death (Former Chinese prime minister)
Activity DDiscuss the answers.
This is the correct order of the top ten international stories in 1997.
- 1 Princess Diana death
- 2 Hong Kong hand-over
- 3 Asian currency crisis
- 4 Mother Teresa's death
- 5 Tony Blair's election
- 6 68 tourists dead
- 7 Deng Xiaophing's death
- 8 Mideast peace
- 9 Lima hostages 10 Dolly
Activity ECompare and contrast the choices made by gender. You will be surprised by the student's answers. In my classes, the men said that they were quite affected by Lady Di's death, whereas a lot of women mentioned the cloning of Dolly.
Activity FNow select the top ten news stories in your country/city/town. (Avoid anything too sensitive.)
Activity GIt seems that most big news is bad news. Is this true? Why? Can good news not be big news. Get the students to give examples of good news that made the news, either world-wide or in their town/country.
Activity HHave you, personally, had any good news this year? A job? A new baby? A new partner? A new car?
The Internet TESL Journal, Vol. IV, No. 12, December 1998