The new GCSE confronted teachers with some topics they may not have ever had to deal with in any great depth. This post looks at ideas for teaching our GCSE students about volunteering, helping charities and good causes.
Before I start, you should be aware of the following:
- AQA refers to “social issues” and refers to “charity/voluntary work.”
- Edexcel calls it “bringing the world together” and names this topic “campaigns and good causes.”
- WJEC simply refers to “social issues”.
I have done my best to put ideas that can be applied to all boards. There will be a lean towards one in terms of the language used as that is what I am currently teaching. There is certainly no intent to promote one above the other.
My enthusiasm for this topic stems from my year abroad. I spent a year working in a home in Cochabamba, Bolivia, for kids who had lived on the streets, were orphans or suffered abuse at a young age.
So how to teach the topic? I have tried to include a mixture of listening, speaking, reading and writing activities.
Students need to learn a lot of words that they have not come across before. Two of my go to starters are gap fills and match ups. This week I came across a match-up of synonyms which was really effective. Students matched up two sets of words looking for the words with the same meanings.
Narrow Reading: spot the difference
This is a phrase I learnt from Gianfranco Conti’s blog. The philosophy behind narrow reading can be found here. The idea I chose to use was called Spot the Differences. I produced a text about working as a volunteer, copied it, pasted it twice and then made subtle changes. Students had to say how each text differed from the other ones. The vocabulary that differed included phrases I want them to know for subsequent lessons. My experience was that students focused far more closely on the text rather than merely skim-reading it until they found the relevant detail. Definitely a keeper for future classes.
Find the phrases
This is a stock favourite of all GCSE textbooks. “Find the French/Spanish in the text for…” I gave students texts based on some real charities that I had contact with. The fact that these were real people, that I knew or worked with, seemed to motivate them more. One website used to help produce this was Manos con Libertad , another was Mosoj Yan. Both are Christian organisations that work with people in Cochabamba. Whether you have a faith or none at all, these organisations do some great work with people in tough circumstances. I used others as well but they don’t have websites! The excerpts were written from the point of view of someone who worked there and talked about what they do. Great opportunity to revise daily routine and reflexive verbs.
Textbook Speaking Grids
Many textbooks often give a grid and a few questions and answers to use. It is not the most exhilarating paired speaking task. I got thinking about how to spice it up a bit.
Method 1: Points for going beyond the grid. On your projector screen put a list of things that “go beyond the grid”. Students work in pairs.
Student 1: Asks questions and notes down a score of anything that goes beyond the grid.
Student 2: Answers questions trying to add other tenses, verbs, conjunctions, adverbs etc
Method 2: Beat your partner. If you have a tricky class you may wish to change the name here to prevent any wilful misinterpretation! Every student notes down 5 phrases from the grid without their partner seeing.
Student 1: asks the questions. This student receives 2 points each time the other uses on of their phrases. Maximum of 10 but probability of phrases being used is lessened.
Student 2: answers the questions, trying to use their pre-chosen phrases. This student receives one point per phrase used. Maximum of 5.
Method 3: Play a role. The grid in the textbook involved the questions ¿trabajas como voluntario ahora? and ¿Qué haces exactamente? along with a few others. Students were given a card with a role. They then had to pick answers using this perspective. The roles included:
- Charity Shop Assistant
- Care Home worker
- Aid worker in Haiti
- Aid worker in Sierra Leone.
Third World Diary
Mira 3 red does a brilliant diary of life for someone in the developing world. If you have access to it great. If not then use this site for inspiration.
You could produce a short diary script and then attempt any of the following:
- You could display the script and read it out loud. While you do this, miss out some words. Make the students write down the ones you miss.
- Use the desktop version of Imemorize and enter your own quote.
- Put your script into Cueprompter and have students read it out loud with you or alone.
- You could have multiple choice parts put in the script and students have to write down the one you read out. Por la mañana / tarde / noche me despierto a las siete y media / seis y media / cinco y media.
- You could remove a whole sentence and have students fill it in as a dictation/transcription exercise.
- You could even chop the text into pieces and give it to students to rearrange while you read it out loud.
- Go to Voki.com and put it into their text-to-speech converter, setting the voice to Spanish. Then challenge your pupils to see who can do a better job than Javier or Carmen!
- Be creative, there are so many options when it comes to a listening text.
Students could produce their own diary as a homework task. You could set a list of “ridiculous requirements” to challenge your high-flyers. For example: 7 lines of text, 6 reflexive verbs, 5 conjunctions, 4 clock times, 3 french hens, 2 higher level phrases and one subjunctive just for good measure.
The website was also tweeted to me at some point. I have yet to use it yet but it looks good, particularly if you are considering display work.
Verbs & Infinitives
This chapter is a great way to practise all those verbs that are followed by an infinitive:
- I’m going to raise money for..
- I would like to donate to …
- I can give £1 a month to
- I’m thinking about going to…
- I hope to help …
- I want to work with …
A game of TRAMPA / TRICHER would be a great way to practise this. Students take a piece of A4 paper and divide it into 8. In pencil, on 4 or 5 of the sections they write a sentence like the bullet points above. On the remaining 3 or 4 they write “Trampa” or “Tricher” (cheat). Cards are then shuffled and dealt out among their table. Students say what is on the card before putting it face down in the middle. If the card says trampa they have to convince the other players there is a sentence on the card. They do this by making a sentence up and placing the card face down. If a student thinks another is cheating then they can call them on it. If the student was indeed cheating; the cheater picks up the card. If the student was falsely and wrongfully accused in a heinous miscarriage of justice; the accuser takes the cards. Winner is the first person to get rid of all their cards.
If you have had any great ideas then please leave them in the comments section below: