Newsletters in the Classroom-One Page-Endless Uses
Sep 27, 2008 Classroom Materials 1937 Views
It’s time for class, and your students are all sitting in their places, pens poised, ready to begin the day’s work together...
Okay, let’s get back to the real world, where I used to teach English as a second language to parents of small children. Some students managed to get there early, many of them barely on time, and several more would drift in over the last few minutes until the cutoff time. It was hard to start any organized class activity during this unsettled period, but I had only two hours a week with these people, and I hated to waste any time.
Starting a class newsletter solved the problem.
I made up a simple template in MS Word, with a title, space for the date, and a few semi-regular headlines like “This Week in Class”, “News” (for program announcements), and “Next Class”. Each week, I took a few minutes to write up a new edition. If the headline categories didn’t give me enough to fill up the page, I threw in an irregular verb, a joke, a simple account of a current event, or something about the next holiday.
Each student got a copy when they came into the classroom. Meanwhile, I wrote four or five questions on the board under the heading “Find the answers in your newsletter”. The questions could be anything from “When is the Public Health Nurse visiting the center?” to “What is the past form of ‘take’?”
At the beginning of class, we went over the questions orally. Of course, the latecomers weren’t able to answer them – this was a little incentive to be on time for the next class. We had also given out information the students might otherwise have missed, and jump-started our lesson for the day.
One day, when I’d already left the center after class, I ran into a student on the street. She hadn’ t been able to make it to class that day, but said she was going to the center anyway because “I want that paper you hand out at the beginning.”
As I opened my briefcase there on the street to look for an extra copy of the newsletter, I knew it’d been one of my better ideas.
It can work for you, too.