Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Activity Roundup: Space Oddity, The League Of Kitchens, and Obama's Achievements

Welcome to the winter term! Here are some ideas to get you started in your classes.

I created a lesson exploring David Bowie's Space Oddity in terms of lyrics, context, and legacy. Beginning students can simply read the lyrics as they listen to the song, and then discuss images in the lyrics. More advanced students can discuss the song in relation to space exploration of the 1960s and the present day. There are discussion, listening, and reading activities, as well as an incredible cover by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. Flip through the slideshow above to see all the companion materials; the lesson handout is here.

The League Of Kitchens is a new project in New York City where participants can learn to cook authentic food directly from a skilled immigrant home cook. I designed a reading and listening activity about it for the lower levels. Higher level teachers might adapt this great clip from The Late Show With Stephen Colbert in a more sophisticated way.

Finally, Kevin has created a research and critical thinking activity about Obama's presidential achievements. The video above is not necessary for the activity, but might help you to contextualize the subject and elicit some ideas from students. The activity itself lists 5 of Obama's achievements - the Affordable Care Act, same-sex marriage, the Iran nuclear deal, the reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership - and asks students to research 24 separate ideas and identify which achievement the idea represents or is a result of. You can follow this up with group debate or discussion through an evaluative "pro or con?" activity as well.

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