Wikipedia writing task

19 Aug

QUESTION MARK

This great activity encourages writing through the use of recognisable social media courtesy of Luke Meddings on BBC Teaching English (extract below).

This is an activity ‘about’ the internet, but it doesn’t start online. In fact it has to start offline: the idea is that students try and predict the first paragraph of the Wikipedia entry for their town, region or country.

Preparation
Before the lesson, make sure there is a Wikipedia entry in English for the place you’re going to talk about. During the lesson, access to the internet in class is useful, though not essential; you could use print outs at the comparison stage.

Procedure
Ask students to work in pairs or groups. What facts would they include? What are the important things to say it? One way to do an activity like this is to start with students working on their own, then ask them to compare with a partner and agree a shared text, then get into small groups and make a further draft. They can share these drafts before the next stage.
If you can go online, do it now. Invite the learners to compare their own entries with the actual Wikipedia entry. What similarities and/or differences do they notice? What language features do they recognise in the ‘official’ text? What are the organising principles behind the Wikipedia entries?
If you like, you can add an element of competition by awarding a point for everything they correctly predict.

Extension
Change the task to focus on different Wikipedia entries. In each case the task is the same, to predict and compare their paragraph with the real thing. For example:
a favourite singer
an actor
a sportsman or football team
a character in a film or story

Ask them to write an ‘imaginary’ Wikipedia entry. These can’t be compared with a real one, but can be displayed around the class or shared on a blog. Here are some ideas for an imaginary Wikipedia entry:
my family
someone they know and admire (this could be someone in their family, or a friend)
me at the age of 50 – all the things I’ve achieved

Image: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net
Source: http://www.teachingenglish.org.uk/activities/my-wikipedia

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