Collaborative idea generation for ELT

A free newspaper

As far as I know, most countries in Europe now have free newspapers available. Outside Europe, I’m not really sure, but feel free to let us know.

The most popular one is the Metro in the UK and the Czech Republic:

Here is a link to the UK website.

What would you do with one of these papers in your classroom, whether in English or not? You can make any assumptions you like about the context it is used in. Post your ideas in the comments below. All ideas are welcome (there are no wrong answers!)

Click here to find out the idea behind this blog.

Comments on: "A free newspaper" (4)

  1. I used the Metro paper last week for a ‘passive hunt’. I’d done it before where they just had to find as many passives as possible, but found this was too difficult to get feedback from, as they were all on different pages at different times, and it became a bit chaotic.

    So this time, I gave them a set amount of time for a particular article and told them how many passives there were in it, and it was a race to find as many as possible in the time limit. We had different rounds, by moving on to a different article in the paper, and scored points as we went along – a point per group for each correct passive they found.

    It was really useful for them to see passives in action, as I think some of them were feeling that it wasn’t a very useful grammar point! But when they saw how many there were, it helped them to understand why we were studying it, and also helped them to see when and why we use passives.

    It also helped raise awareness of the potential confusion with other uses of the verb ‘to be’. They picked out some examples of ‘to be’ and an adjective ending in ‘-ed’, and some present continuous examples. I think it was useful for them to make these mistakes, and then to look at why these ones weren’t winning them points! Then they were more selective in the next round, and were able to reject some sentences with the verb ‘to be’, successfully recognising that they weren’t passives.

    There were also a few phrases in one article that could have more naturally been expressed using the passive, but were active (perhaps for stylistic reasons, as the author had already used quite a few passives). Once we’d finished the game, I asked them to look in that one article for two active sentences that could be more naturally expressed using the passive, and then to change them. I thought this was quite a hard ask, but they found them and managed it, so I felt that the whole exercise had helped them make some progress.

    I think it was also useful just to raise awareness of the free paper, and I hope it encouraged them to pick it up themselves!

  2. Toronto has Metro as well and it too is a free newspaper, though I’m unsure if it is related to the one you have in Europe.

    • In General ESL classes, I often used articles from it as springboards into discussion topics and used lexical items in it in those discussions–pretty standard stuff really. It worked well because the articles are short summaries of items that would be longer in heavier papers and the vocabulary wasn’t over the top in terms of difficulty.

  3. 1. Cut out and keep Blackmail letters.
    2. Match the caption / headline to the picture
    3. Half a headline – cut out a bunch of headlines, then cut them (roughly) in half. Sts grab any two and create the story behind it. “G20 meeting / found in dustbin”, “Rare manuscript / achieves nothing”. They can write story or radio news script, or interview people involved.

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