- Key Words: Enrichment activity, technology, tour planner
- Learner English level: Beginner/elementary
- Learner maturity level: Elementary
- Preparation time: 15 minutes
- Activity time: 60-90 minutes, depending on class size
- Materials: Tablet computer, worksheet and example presentation slides (see Appendix)
Children in elementary schools have a strong desire to find out more about the world through the use of the Internet. Utilizing technology creatively in learning English as a second language can help motivate learners to acquire skills to function and communicate effectively. Now that English has become an official subject in grades five and six at elementary schools in Japan, enrichment activities using tablet computers, are, I think, an appropriate strategy to enhance learning. In this activity based on sixth-grade target language, students act as tour planners and conduct individual presentations of plans within a new group.
Step 1: Prepare a selection of printed country flags.
Step 2: Create a set of presentation slide templates to share with students.
Step 1: Put students into groups of four. Let each group choose a secretary, who will select a country by picking a flag.
Step 2: Explain the day’s goal and emphasize that everybody will play the role of a tour planner. All groups must decide on their travel agency’s name.
Step 3: Ask students about countries they dream of visiting, sightseeing spots they want to see, food they want to eat, and souvenir items they want to buy. Have them share their answers with their pairs and within their respective groups. Look for volunteers who are willing to share their answers with the class.
Step 4: Distribute the worksheet and model good pronunciation and intonation patterns. Review the target language, ask students the meaning of the statements in the worksheet, and show example slides (See Appendix).
Step 5: Encourage all groups to brainstorm for 20 minutes what to include in their presentations by searching online for images of famous places, food, and souvenir items of the chosen country. The secretary records what group members have decided.
Step 6: After students have copied and pasted selected images onto the given template, allot three to five minutes for individual practice. Move around and assist students with difficulties.
Step 7: Ask some volunteers to recall and share the standards to be observed when making a presentation and write them on the board to serve as a guide. Regroup the students and specify only two minutes for individual presentations.
Step 8: Provide feedback about the activity in general by explaining the good points and the areas that need improvement in the presentation. Let the students suggest some ideas to improve performance.
The thrill students have in presenting information about the country assigned to them can be motivating for communication practice of the target language. As students work in groups, they practice task interdependence that has a great impact on individual performance. Group interaction also hones positive relationships among members, especially in discussing and deciding on what to include in the presentation. Moreover, the use of technology such as tablet computers can facilitate the teaching of the content area—English language arts. Likewise, the Internet is a useful tool and a good source of knowledge and facts about countries. Finally, this lesson can be a great introduction to develop students’ academic skills through the use of the Internet to research information.
The appendix is available below.