Refreshing topics
17.02.2016

Refreshing topics

Teaching tip

‘Refresh Now’ - its lively, interesting and relevant topics are just the thing to help keep your focus on your teaching, and your students’ focus on their learning.

 

Do you ever go into the classroom a little bit unprepared, still thinking about the last lesson you taught, or thinking about what just happened on the way to the classroom? It happens to all of us from time to time and that’s why having Refresh Now with interesting, relevant and attractive topics can be just the thing to set you on the way to produce a tip-top lesson – at the drop of a hat.

The topic titles in Refresh Now B1 might look like ones you’ve seen before: for example Let’s get together, Money matters and Coffee time, but it’s how these topics are dealt with that makes them so interesting and relevant to your students.

Let’s get together is the topic of Unit 1 of Refresh Now B1 – and we meet a gay men’s walking group, a ukulele group from Nottingham and a social group where all the members are called Barbara. And in the Focus on Grammar page in this unit, there is a gap-fill activity about Toy Voyagers: toys that travel the world and have their own travelogue. Curious? Then look at page 10!

It’s this fun, modern approach to the topics that makes Refresh Now so lively and interesting.

In Refresh Now B1, Unit 2, Money matters, students are given contrasting advice (from a financial journalist and a family therapist) about giving pocket money to children. These opinions are sure to get your students talking - so many of us have battled (or are still battling) with pocket money quarrels. In Unit 6, Coffee time, students learn how to complete a customer feedback form – something that we are given with ever more frequency in our service-oriented world.

And there is the same innovative approach to Refresh Now A2: for example Home, Keep in touch! and Healthy living. Unit 6, Home, looks at alternatives to hotels, in particular Couchsurfing and Airbnb. This is a new angle to talk about the things we have and need in our homes – and gives a modern slant on holiday accommodation. In Unit 11, Keep in touch!, we meet a family who eat together – even though they live on opposite sides of the world: through the wonders of modern technology. In the Focus on English then and now page of this unit, we go back in time and look at William Shakespeare, surely the best known dramatist of all time. Students also get a taste of Romeo and Juliet – quite an achievement at A2 level. The final Unit in Refresh Now A2 is Healthy living, which starts with tips about how to feel better in the morning – something we could all benefit from, no doubt! And in the Focus on Fact or fiction students discuss Old wives tales’ about health. Do you think you shouldn’t swim soon after a meal? Turn to page 99 and find out whether this is superstition or fact.

Lively, refreshing, and offering a new angle on topics which are useful and practical for students.

And here’s an additional useful tip for refreshing reading texts:

Tip: Let’s refresh reading texts

Activity before reading:

  • Before students open their books and read a text, you should take all the verbs from the first five lines or so (except auxiliaries and the verb to be) and write them (in the order they appear in the text) on the board. For example, in Pocket money, page 14, Unit 2, Refresh Now B1 write: make, work, seems, have, need, get, want, have, increased, know, teach, agree.
  • Ask students to predict what they think the text is about. It doesn’t matter if they make an accurate prediction (though that is pleasing for them); this kind of activity naturally increases the students’ interest in the text they are about to read.

Activity after reading:

  • At the end of a lesson where students have read a text and completed the accompanying exercises, ask them to close their books.
  • Read the text aloud, but pause before the last word in each clause or sentence.
  • Let the class call out the missing word. For example, in Refresh Now B1, Unit 1, page 6, Let’s meet up!, A, read:
    When Barbara Stinton meets new members of the PAUSE (club), she doesn’t need to learn their PAUSE (names) – they’re all called PAUSE (Barbara).

 

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