Cambridge English Southern Europe

Experts in Language Assessment

Centenary Competition for Schools 2013 – Project 8

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This is the description of the eighth Project in the currently running Centenary Competition for Schools 2013.

Project 8: My ideal school (ages 10+) 

Description of project: Share information about your school with your partner school (you’ll first need to match with a partner school), allowing students to find out about the similarities and differences. Note: All activities below can be done in groups.

Age group: The majority of the activities are suitable for children aged 10+. Remember that some of the activities can be adapted to suit younger children. For example, for Activity 8 you can prepare the topics for the children to ask their parents.

Activity 1 (Teacher activity) 

Match with a partner school at Penfriends.

Activity 2 (aged 12+) 

Get your students to think about their ideal school: What would it be called? What kind of school would it be? (Would it be a traditional formal school or a more modern alternative school?) For some examples of alternative schools, look at Jamie Oliver’s Dream School on YouTube (note that some of these clips contain strong language so you may want to watch and select a clip beforehand to make sure it is suitable for your class) and at Summerhill School on Wikipedia. What motto would you give your school? For example, ‘Knowledge is power’ or ‘Children should make their own choices’. Is there a uniform and if so, what is it like?

Focus: Speaking and Listening, Reading 

Activity 3 (aged 10+) 

Review some structures that are often used in writing rules (‘Students must …’; ‘Students can …’; ‘Students have to/don’t have to …’. In groups, get your students to write a list of 10 rules for their school. Note that these don’t have to be traditional rules – they are rules that work for the type of school the group has chosen – so ‘Students don’t have to do homework’ could be a very good rule.

Focus: Language Development 

Activity 4 (aged 10+) 

Get groups to draw an organogram for their school (a plan showing the names and job titles for key staff and how they relate to each other). Is there a head teacher or are teachers all at the same level? What other staff work in the school?

Focus: Speaking and Listening, Writing 

Activity 5 (aged 10+) 

Ask your students to imagine that they work at their ideal school and they are going to teach a 10-minute lesson. Allow students to work in pairs to plan the lesson that they will give to the rest of the students. Students can teach the class about something they are interested in – they don’t have to stick to traditional lesson types. For example, in Jamie’s Dream School classes included creating a masterpiece (a work of art), how to argue, breakdancing, etc. The teacher monitors and helps students with their planning.

Focus: Speaking and Listening (and planning) 

Activity 6 (aged 10+) 

Each pair gives their lesson. At the end, ask your students to vote on which lesson they enjoyed most. Look at why the best lesson was so successful. Focus: Speaking and Listening

Activity 7 (aged 12+) 

Organise a debate about traditional versus alternative education. One half of the class should argue for traditional education and the other half should argue for alternative education. In order to plan for the debate, get students to look at the strengths and weaknesses of their type of education. Get them to think about how they could turn any weaknesses into strengths. This will help them to argue effectively in the debate.

Focus: Speaking and Listening 

Activity 8 (aged 10+) 

Ask students to discuss with their parents or grandparents what their school was like when they were children. It would help if students prepared a list of topics before talking to their relatives (e.g. school rules, homework, punishment, etc.). Students then use the topics to draw up a comparison table, comparing the school they go to with their parents’/grandparents’ school. Students discuss their findings with the class.

Focus: Speaking, Listening and Writing 

Activity 9 (aged 12+) 

Divide your students into pairs, and ask them to discuss their favourite studying techniques and why they are useful.

Focus: Speaking and Listening

Activity 10 (aged 12+)

After all the research and discussions, would the groups change anything about the ‘ideal school’ that they have designed? Get your students to look at their organograms, their list of rules, mottos, etc. and amend anything that they have changed their mind about.

Focus: Speaking and Listening

Written by Cambridge English Southern Europe

June 16, 2013 at 10:00 am

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