The activity goes like this:
- First, I tell my students to read the first text we did for exactly 1 minute (I tell them not to read the whole text, just to scan the main points). When the time is up, I tell them to close the books, but they may open their copybooks.
On the board, I had already written 5 questions they should answer:
- What is the story in the text about?
- Who are the people in the story?
- What do they do?
- What can we learn from the text?
- What are the new words or expressions?
- e.g. I ask them to tell me 3 important verbs, 3 adjectives, 3 prepositions...
- I prompt their answers by writing this next to the questions:
- The story in the text is about...
- The people in the story are...
- We can learn that...
This is important because weaker students can easily get to grips with what I ask them to do, yet more advanced students put their efforts into making more complex sentences.
- Second, for each question I call for 3 different answers from 3 different students. That way, each student tries to give a better answer, someone combines 2 previous answers, someone gives a whole new idea of the context.
- I praise their comments, even if they are simple. And we all benefit from this quite lively and competitive spirit in the class.