So what's the process.
First up I find a vaguely interesting reading. With something, at least mildly, relatable to the class. Something to do with sport perhaps.
I find any tricky or complex vocabulary and preteach it. I draw students attention to the wide range of collocations used in the text and allow them to reflect for a moment or two on their own speaking and writing. It gives the students time to digest everything before the task.
Next I ask students to get into groups of 4 or 5 and have a quick talk about the topic of the text their about to read. (Perhaps it's one person speaking maybe it's 4/5 differdent people. There is, however, a central topic that can be discussed at length. I try and ensure students use some of the vocabulary taken from the text in order to solidify its meaning and useage.
In the example below I picked out
unstoppable Appitite (I also mentioned insatiable as a collocation)
Itching to do something
A drop in temperature
never be bothered
Next tell them the title of the text they are going to read and get students to hypothesize about what they are going to read.
In this case the title was from the online handbook sample paper:
Walking On Waves
Sarah Whiteley talks about her love of surfing and how it began
After they've spoken for 4-5 minutes tell students they are each going to get a paragraph of Part 7.
But first they are going to read through the questions, paying close attention to key words and underlining them (here they're in bold).
- feeling satisfaction that her determination resulted in better performance?
- the problem of having to wait for conditions to be favourable for surfing?
- a change which helped her to pursue her hobby?
- continuing to surf even when the conditions were unfavourable?
- the pleasure she gets from seeing others succeed?
- being aware that it would take time for her abilities to be recognised?
- her enthusiasm for the sea being recognised by someone else?
- an admission that she doesn’t think about what she is doing when surfing?
- not being concerned that she stood out from others?
- people appreciating her serious attitude towards her surfing?
This is when I give each student a different part of the exam.
Person A in each group gets:
When students have finished reading they tell each other abou their paragraph. Not only what it was about but also any interesting language or collocation they came across. EG: Person D might say, it mentions vast amounts of hanging around. Which is a better way to say we had to wait a long time.
Person C might mention something not happening overnight, which means it takes a long time.
Person B could talk about the collocation to be exceptionally good at something and how they'll try and use it in future.
After the students have talked about their paragraphs they again go over the questions and decide which paragraph pertains to which question. They then have to underline the relevant text.
When it's all finished they report back to the class. Low and behold most of them will get 8 or 9 at the very least.
My final step is to then give students 15 minutes to do a different part 7 of the exam. This tends to calm them down.
A worksheet is avilable here Walking on Waves.
Below are the answers for the about take.