Activity 31: Design a Club

▶ Duration:  20–30 min
▶ Aim:  Oral fluency practice
▶ Summary:  Students work in groups to design a club, guided by an example sheet.

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The aim of this activity is discussion, but rather than simply giving the vague directive "design a club", an example with six sub-headings is provided as a guide. Also, the groups have a clear goal: to devise their own idea for a club and write down the details using the same format as the example.

Write an example of a club, or use my "Chocolate Lovers Society" example: club_example.doc (html preview). The example should be as brief as possible, to encourage the students to also be brief, and should have the following sub-headings: Name, Target demographic (tong3ji4 dui4xiang4 in Chinese), Member requirements, Procedure for new members, and Calendar.

Make enough copies so that each group of 3 to 4 students can receive one. If you ask the students not to write on the sheets, then they can be collected after the activity and reused.

Write the word "club" on the blackboard and ask what it means. Ask if anybody in the class belongs to a club.

Say that the students will work in groups and design their own club. Brainstorm some ideas for clubs (e.g. films, guitar, painting, photography, mahjong, etc). Then describe the example that you have prepared. Write down each of the six sub-headings on the board as you go. (Do this before you hand out the sheets).

Explain that each group needs to write down the details of their club, but it does not need to be too neat, or too long. Tell them that you will collect it at the end of the lesson (it is unreasonable to ask your students to write down so much and then not even look at it).

Now hand out the example sheets (and blank paper to write on, if the students do not have any), and let the students begin. If any groups finish early, you can ask them to elaborate on something, for example if there is a test for new members of their club then ask them to design the test, or ask them to plan one of the activities mentioned on the calendar in more detail.

At the end of the activity, it would take too long for each group to describe their club in full to the class, so instead you can ask specific questions: for example, ask one group the name and purpose of their club, ask the next group the name and target demographic of their club, and so on.

I used this activity during a lesson on the topic of "college", because the textbook brought up college clubs. It might also be suitable for a lesson on the topic of "recreation".
Rating: 3 stars

The students seemed to enjoy the activity, but in terms of teaching outcomes it has some problems. Firstly, I found that many groups lapsed into Chinese. Secondly, it requires too much writing, which detracts from the main aim of the activity, namely speaking.

I am very interested in trying the idea for the Chocolate Club as our students are covering clubs in the course.As we are doing this over a period of time ,a light-hearted approach such as this ,is just what I needed to galvanise my co-worker.Thanks for the suggestion.
suzanne []
23.10.2005 , 10:23