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2 Reading for writing questions

Péter Sík

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Lesson plan


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work


What you need

2 min Introduction and linking to previous lesson: . What kind of question structures did we see last time? Students recall and sum up Together with teacher Types of questions Attention
3 min Setting the task:,,
Form groups with 4-5 members. Get the web addresses on slips of paper. You will have to write down questions and on the back of the slip also the answers.
Do not touch anything, just listen to the instructions, then type in the web address On their own Did the…? When did the…? How long was the…? etc. Numbered slips of paper web addresses on a slip of paper

Answer sheets

15 min Finding and writing down relevant questions and answers
Please write down the questions and the answers on the back
Working individually Alone with teacher’s assistance Did men and women wear gold jewelry? Yes, if they could afford it. Numbered slips of paper
10 min Exchange questions with the ones who had the same site Students exchange slips Individually Answer sheet
5 min Read out one question you found very interesting Scanning for information
Students try to find the answer
Working alone and compete Compete individually Handout with list of incomplete sentences
5 min Wrap-up
What did you learn today?
Students reflect on the lesson. The whole class I never thought…I am glad I heard about …
5 min Setting writing assignment
Write a letter to your friend about the ancient culture you had and use the information on your answer sheet
Preferably sent as an e-mail. Individually You can also use question structures that have been practiced


Aims of the lesson
  • To practice question structures, skimming for finding good questions for a content-based text.
  • Scanning for information, reading and writing down answers.
  • Motivation and awareness raising for cross-curricular approach for cross-curricular opportunities.
  • To provide opportunities for self-correction, develop responsibility for progress.
General introduction

During this class cross-curricular education will be promoted by learning English using content-based materials. This is basically connected to a course book, but it can be used independently too. During the previous lesson, students visited a site where they had to find answers to questions. .

At home they had to take a look at question structures and revise word order too.

This time they will be given a site that they are supposed to go through and they will have to write their questions while they also read about the cultural background of ancient cultures.

Students will practice different types of questions that they will have to pass on to their peers, thus scanning for information makes everyone very busy. The overall aim is to enhance basic cultural knowledge background while using English.

The activity step by step
  1. Students are put into three different groups with their own computers.
  2. During task setting the teacher explains that each group will get a different site and while reading they will have to write down questions on numbered slips with the relevant answer on the back of each paper. Within the given time limit they can write more questions.
  3. The sites to be visited are:

  4. Then they can exchange their slips within the same group and they try to find the answers to the questions and write them down on an extra sheet, next to the numbers.
  5. They also do self-checking and tick or correct their own answers.
  6. When they are all finished, the groups can exchange the questions among themselves and do the same thing again. As an alternative, one student can read out a question and the others try to find the answer as quickly as possible.
  7. As homework they will have to use their own answer sheets to write a 120-word description of the facts they have learnt during the lesson about their own ancient civilization. All this in a letter format to a friend.
General advice

Any site can be used for this activity which has content-based materials.

As soon as students are familiar with question structures, like open-ended, yes/no and interview questions where the question already has some information in it, students can practice making their own questions.

Perhaps with a warmer, we might want to elicit ideas, revise question structures.

The time limit for making questions is only to make sure that students work intensively. These are always the slower ones, not necessarily the weaker students.

The same thing we can experience when they are giving their answers and they check them too. For some of them it will take longer, but they read intensively, and will do a fair amount of writing, with the teacher walking around to make some adjustments.

It is very important to draw their attention to clear, legible handwriting and they must use simple language with comprehensible words.

The end of the activity can be flexible. If students are doing fine answering questions in connection with their own sites, we can move on and make them read new and previously unknown texts to answer new questions.

Homework is basically summing up, making use of the newly acquired knowledge in a letter format. We might want to add that students can also use questions to find out how much they know about that ancient culture.

It is important that the teacher should walk around and provide assistance for those in need all through the activity.

Emphasize that the aim is to provide an opportunity for the others to find the answer, not to cause frustration with a very difficult question.

Make them limit their own time with each slip so that they do not waste time on one question only. They can move on to another one.

Tell students to stay at the surface of the site; if they find something in a deeper layer the others might not find it at all. Some other time they might go into it more deeply.

Technical tips

It is not obvious that a site that had worked in the evening would work in the morning too. Save the necessary parts to avoid frustration with system collapse, also print out some parts, just in case.

Always have some reserve activities, backup materials that might make your students busy if all goes wrong.

Ideally the room has enough space for the activity students can write their slips and they can work with the task individually. The teacher can walk around and monitor the activities, providing help, also making necessary adjustments.

There is always the threat that some students might want to cheat, this is something that can be explained and catered for. The are not getting a bad grade, they are competing with mainly themselves.

Preparation for class

The sites for this activity need thorough checking. If we ask for too much and the language level is too high for the group they might not be able to understand the text at all.

Access to the sites is essential and with clear, well paced instructions students will be able to follow the instructions. They need to get used to English language instructions, but if they are already familiar with the environment they should be able to cope.

It is also advisable to use different members in the groups from time to time so that they do not get bored with each other, thus also one can enhance tolerance.

Concept checking is important to see if all the students understand what they are expected to do.

The following checklist might be useful:

  1. Check computers before the session
  2. Turn them on by the time the class starts
  3. Decide on groupings
  4. Make sure ss understand the task
  5. Give individual feedback on progress
  6. Walk around for monitoring the activity
  7. Praise and encourage
  8. Sum up and set the homework clearly

It is also possible to do this activity as a competition on another occasion.

The task can be the same with different level groups but the level of the texts in the sites can be different.