One of my first writing jobs, if not THE first writing job I had, was with iT’s for Teachers magazine. It was back in 2001 and I’ve told the story many times of how I got published with them (you can read it again here, or hear it here) and I’ve always been proud of the way they’ve edited and presenting any stuff I’ve written for them since. For a few years I was editing biTs, the beginner level version of the magazine.
iT’s for Teachers has now gone completely online, but they still produce amazing lesson ideas and material. Although of late I haven’t written as much as I wanted for them I wanted to share with you all six things I wrote over the past ten years with iT’s that I’m really happy with. I managed to twist their arms to give up the material for free, so please do yourself a favour and check out their site! A subscription is worth every penny!
Here, then, are my half dozen best from this part of my writing career. Click on the title of each one to download a free pdf of the activity. Teaching notes for all the activities are available at the end of the post.
1. Planet of the Apps From issue 115 of the magazine, 2010
In Planet of the Apps students find out about typical and rather strange apps for mobile phones, and design their own!
2. Googlegangers! From issue 106 of the magazine, 2007.
In googlegangers students find out what a doppleganger is, then go online to discover some facts about their own googleganger.
3. Mind Reader From issue 99 of the magazine 2006.
I loved making games for the magazine, and Mind reader was one that I played over and over again with a class of teens. It’s a word association and picture game, with lovely photos to cut out.
4. Lost also from issue 99 of the magazine 2006.
Lost was an ambitious role play activity, in which students each had a role card with a job, an objective and a key line. All based on the series Lost (remember how good it was back in 2006?), this was lots of fun. So for example you have “The Doctor. You want people to help you look for medicine. Your line: I’m a doctor, are you okay?” but I also threw in things like “The Priest. You want everyone to stay together. Your line: God will help us if we all pray.”
5. Language Academy Issue 84 of the magazine 2002
How I begged and pleaded to make this activity! Just listen to the pitch: Bored with Big Brother? Fed up with Survivors? Disgusted by Fantasy Island? Tired of the same old songs from the X factor? Are you looking for something newand original? Then welcome to… LANGUAGE ACADEMY!. Language Academy is the newest concept for a reality TV show. In Language Academy you are a contestant on an intensive English course at a very special school… The activity itself is a board game of the language academy school, with cafeteria, classroom, a confessional booth (yes! yes!), multimedia room etc. In each room there is a different “task” students have to do. We used it over a whole summer once. Oh, I’m too excited to go on, just download it for yourselves and see.
6. A Work_in_Progress from issue 81 of the magazine, 2001
Ten years ago! This is the lesson that started it all. It was the international year of the refugee and I wanted to do something connected to it. The result was a collection of now and then stories of refugees who had fled their countries and become well known in their field. I’m still proud of this lesson.
There you are. Six photocopiable lesson activity ideas on a variety of themes. Some of these may feel a bit outdated, but with some small tweaks I think you could make them relevant. One thing I love about iT’s for teachers magazine is how they can be consistently relevant with smart-looking and very workable materials. Nine pages of detailed teacher’s notes for all these activities, by the way, can be found here: Deluxe Teaching notes
Enjoy everyone! And if you already know of the magazine iT’s for teachers and have a favourite activity, post a comment below!
Oh, and by the way, if you’ve never heard of this magazine, you can find out all about it here. Don’t delay…