The Travel topic was scheduled to commence just a couple of lessons before the holidays but I held off teaching syllabus content so the teacher taking over the class next term could start at the beginning. The class was not aware of this change
Lesson 1: Travel Trivia
Main aim: engagement and fun way to introduce topic
I had 15 identical copies of the Traveller section of the Sydney Morning Herald. I found 20 obscure facts from it and turned them into a Traveller Trivia Quiz. Students worked in pairs to find the answers in their section. It was a very close race and at the end four teams were vying to have exactly the correct answers for first place. All four teams were rewarded with edible prizes in the next lesson.
Lesson 2: Round the world ticket
1) Memory Game: The first student says “During the holidays I plan to travel to…” and states a city in the world, eg Paris. The next student says “During the holidays I plan to travel to Paris and…” and adds a city starting with the end letter of the previous city, eg Stuttgart, and so on until the last person in the class repeats all the cities that have gone before. Students are not allowed to keep notes. Meanwhile the teacher writes all the cities down.
2) Teacher displays list of cities (I simply used a Word doc with an overhead projector). Students need to find all the cities in Google Earth or Google Maps and then find either the shortest or the quickest route around the world via these cities.
Problems when I did this lesson:
1) Students unable to think much beyond home. Solution: ban cities from home country. However, some students would struggle. Could allow access to atlases (online or book format).
2) Students lost interest in memory game quickly (it was the second last lesson before the holidays)
3) Google Maps only provided walking, car and public transport routes, no flying and Google Earth showed direct distance. Some students were very resourceful in their methods to overcome this, such as combining Google Maps and Google Earth for research and making calculations in Excel. Many students gave up. Everyone ran out of time.
Since this was my last lesson for the term and was meant to be fun and engaging but simply felt like it was a lot of work to maintain decorum in the classroom for little reward – very disappointing for my last lesson with them. I did hand out a bunch of award certificates in the last 5 mins which helped to end on a positive note. It has been a hard class to manage with a wide range of behaviours and abilities. In this class I have thrown one boy out once (for throwing the bathroom pass at the back of my student teacher’s head) and another twice (for slapping a girl on the thigh and for throwing his friend on the floor while shouting abuse at him). For the four years before this I hadn’t chucked anyone out. Oh well, I’m exchanging this Commerce class of 28 x 14-16 year olds for a Society and Culture class of 7 x 16-17 year olds. I’m looking forward to easier behaviour management.