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4 Selecting information from the web

Péter Sík

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Lesson plan

Preparing a poster for a school sister city competition: Cambridge


Questions / instructions

What students do

How students work

What you need

20 min. “We are going to have the sister city of Szeged competition soon. Today we are going to prepare a poster for this competition. You can browse the Internet for relevant information using the following sites.” Students allocate tasks among themselves to collect information from the given sites.Start writing and drawing on the poster. In groups Selected websites
Blank A2 size papers

Colour felt tip pens

Sites on the WB

10 min. “Now try to rehearse a bit because you will have to talk about your poster in your groups Ss discuss how they are going to introduce their pieces of information in a clear voice. In their groups Blutack or magnets to put up posters
10-12 min. “Please introduce your posters”
“Write a letter to a friend in Europe and invite a friend in 120 words to go to Cambridge with you.”
One by one students talk to their peers Group activity Draw attention to clear speech


General introduction

This activity is to keep the whole group very busy reading, selecting information, discussing and preparing for an oral introduction of the topic. One of the important issues with reading is to be able to pick and select useful things from a given text. To do this within a time limit makes learners realize that very often they do not have time to use a dictionary. Making inferences, guessing meaning from the context to understand the gist of the text needs to be practiced. The more information is gathered, the easier it is to talk about something, to get the message across in connection with a topic.

The activity step by step
  1. Students get the task to select information from two sites: and
  2. Teacher gives each group the areas where a search can be carried out.
  3. As soon as students find some useful piece of information, they write it down on an A2 site blank sheet.
  4. When their time is up and have filled the paper they discuss how they would introduce their poster in their group.
  5. One by one the groups introduce their posters, focusing on clear speech.
  6. Setting the homework for a writing task to write a letter.
General advice

We might allow students to have some time for a quick discussion, where they would decide on which areas to focus on. However it is quite useful to give them different areas on slips of papers. This way the groups will prepare really different posters, with different content. They might have overlaps, but the overall aim is also to feel responsible for finding relevant and interesting things, so that the groups might learn from each other as well.

Technical tips

It is important to have enough space for the poster. Use color felt tip pens as they can be seen much better from a distance. Quick short notes with legible handwriting makes every student remember the part to be introduced later. Long sentences take away too much time and it also takes away space from other members of the group to get closer to the poster. The layout of the poster may not be absolutely nice, but this is not the primary goal of the activity.

Preparation for class

Make sure there is enough space available for this activity. Have some extra sites available, in case the ones you picked do not function. Choose the right felt tip pens: they should not be too thin or too thick either. The language level of the site needs to be at the level of the group. If students are familiar with different reading techniques, skimming, scanning, skipping, or reading for gist the whole activity will go quite smoothly.

The following checklist might be useful:

  1. Pick a site where the information can be selected from.
  2. Make sure you have felt pens and A2 size paper for the posters.
  3. Find a space for each group in the PC room where the poster can be prepared
  4. Use blutack or magnet to put up posters
  5. Draw attention to legible handwriting
  6. The poster intro has to be loud enough, with clear and comprehensible speech

This activity can also be a useful competition, where students learn several things from each other.

Allocating task and the space on the poster, designing with using different elements and letter size.

The can evaluate each poster and the winner can get a prize. If this is not the first occasion with such posters, the really fine pieces can be hung up on one of the walls.