There are times when I wish that instead of teaching in the format of a “mixed-level-learning-center”, all my advanced students would come at the same time for a more “traditional” kind of class.
I could then present a topic for discussion, and we could have discussions in small groups which would lead to the writing task.
In such a scenario I wouldn’t have had to create the worksheet I am sharing today.
Reading Maria Theologidou’s post “Rediscovering Bookmark Favourites, Part 1” introduced me to many sites I was not familiar with, and I truly appreciated the little explanatory blurb for each site. However, one site, in particular, blew me away “Oxplore – The Home of the BIG Questions”.
The deeper I delved into the site, the more excited I became.
Excited and frustrated.
“‘Oxplore is an engaging digital resource from the University of Oxford. As the ‘Home of Big Questions’, it aims to challenge those from 11 to 18 years with debates and ideas that go beyond what is covered in the classroom” (from the “About” page on the website).
The material there really IS geared toward teenagers. There are short texts, interactive questionnaires, and videos. The graphics are friendly.
There are a great many “BIG QUESTIONS”‘ to choose from!
My advanced Deaf and hard-of-hearing students do not come to class with others on their level, so peer discussions are not an option.
I had to have a written task for them to do, individually.
It took me several weeks to come up with a version I could use.
At first, it seemed logical for me to choose a topic and prepare a task for that specific topic. This way I could ensure that subtitles /captioning of the videos, which my students rely on, had correct English (the automatic captioning on YouTube is often riddled with errors and makes no sense). In addition, I could create specific questions for each section to ensure the students actually read information from different sections.
On second thought, me, the teacher, choosing the topic for the students was NOT a logical idea.
Not at all!
The site is geared toward choice, for students to go through the topics and choose the one to relate to.
I ABSOLUTELY adore the video about the four ways books make us who we are. I really wanted all the students to watch it and write about it. The content is important, the vocabulary used is enriching for these advanced students, and the engaging graphics are a treat. For some inexplicable reason, many of my smartest students with amazing language skills, think books are a waste of time…
So I compromised.
The first part of the worksheet is open-ended, and the students choose their topic. Three of my students are currently working on it (more to begin soon) and each one has chosen an entirely different topic!
The second part is related to the video.
It will be interesting to see how they react to it and what they write about it…
Here is the downloadable worksheet.
Would you use Oxplore in class? How? Share your thoughts in the comments.