Today, I’d like to share a lesson plan for personalising the Starting at a new school text (from the A2 Key for Schools Sample Paper).
In my previous post, I suggested how to train students to do this task.
Students should be able to relate to the content of the text. We’ve all probably changed schools at some point in our lives and can remember the nerves and the similarities and differences between the new and the old. And we probably remember feeling nervous, afraid and many other things.
Let’s go back to the text. Remember, it comes from the Sample Paper for A2 Key for Schools.
To start off, I would ask students to find adjectives in the text and what they refer to. Here are most of the adjectives. Put them in a box.
(*I’ve given you the adjectives here in the order they appear in the text. If you want to make it more challenging, jumble the words up so that they’re not in the same order.)
different excited strange new harder longer
more difficult so big easier worst fun
Next, I’d get students to turn the text over so that they can’t read it any more. And, then, I’d ask them to make sentences about Anna’s new school story using the words.
For example: On her first day at her new school, things were a bit strange.
Then, I’d continue on the topic of opinions and feelings, and show students some more adjectives from the A2 Key wordlist.
pleased ready kind useful alone lucky clever
And again, ask them to make sentences about Anna’s story.
Anna was ready to change schools.
Anna felt very pleased and lucky because the girl who was sitting next to her lived near her.
Anne didn’t have to walk home alone because she made a new friend in her maths class.
The teachers are very kind and help students with their new subjects.
The clever teachers gave students a useful map to help them find their classrooms.
After this, I’d set up a speaking or a writing activity for students to share their experiences (or, they could talk or write about the day they started school).
First, I’d get them to think about their answers to these questions:
Starting (at a new) school
How old were you when you started school?/changed schools?
Did you have to get anything ready before you started at the school? (e.g. buy a uniform, books, visit the school, etc)
On the first day
How did you feel when you got up in the morning?
Did you get up early?
Did you have a big breakfast?
How did you get to school?
Did you know everyone at the school?
Who was the first teacher you met?
What was the school like? Was it big? Were there lots of different buildings? What was the playground like? What did you do there?
(If you changed schools)
How was it different from your old school?
Did you have any different subjects?
Did you get a lot of homework?
Did you make new friends?
How did the teachers help?
Here is a very simple video that I think students would relate to.
And then, students could:
talk about their new schools together and compare their experiences, feelings and opinions.
write their story.
write some tips for someone who’s starting at a new school.
find out about a famous person and the school they went to.
find out about the school system in a different country to their own – what students change schools at, the subjects they study, when they do exams, etc.
Here’s a photo of me not long after I started at a new school, when I was 11. The school uniform doesn’t appear in all its splendor here because the photo is in black and white! Red socks, black and white pinafore, red tie, black blazer. And in summer, no tie, but we had a pink and white check nylon blouse!
I hope that these suggestions are useful and if you try them out with students, please send me feedback!