Connect, Grow, Thrive

Film, TV, and Music

Book Review: ETAS Journal Volume 29 No. 1 Winter 2011

Multilevel activities for teenagers

Olha Madylus

Cambridge University Press (2009)

ISBN 978-0-521-72838-6

A teacher can approach this user-friendly, photocopiable activities book in many ways. Throughout the three sections of the book, divided by the subject matter, which is further subdivided based on level of complexity, there are several board games and vocabulary games that can quickly be put to use.

One that I found most delightful with a class of 17-year-old apprentices came from the TV section entitled Who’s who in the soap? Information was written below a grid describing various characters in the soap. The students had to fill out the grid. To my pleasant surprise they silently and intently worked on this. Oh happy day! In the next class which was the last before a break and didn’t lend itself to serious coursework, the students worked in groups to write a narrative for the series. Creativity and laughter flowed.

Approaching this book in a more academic frame of mind, it can be noted that the exercises are also identified by the multiple intelligence levels described by Howard Gardner in Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1985). This identification can assist the teacher in helping balance the four language skills that are practiced in the book.

Like most individuals, teenagers are quick to formulate and want to give their opinion about any given topic. Lead-in and follow-up activities that focus on their favorite type of music, film, or TV allow for this. There are short quizzes that let them test their knowledge of these areas or vocabulary/speaking exercises, such as crossword puzzles or speak-a-minute-on-this-topic exercises.

The book has triggered ideas for me on how pictures downloaded from the web can be substituted for some of the pictures or tasks in the book. This book would also be helpful to expand a theme the students are working on in their classbook or for use in a multilevel class for students that finish an exercise more quickly than others and let you know they are bored and fed up with the lesson. Certainly, I’m not the only one who has experienced this feedback from their teen students.

In short, this is a very helpful resource to have in your library.

Elizabeth Ulrich