Set it up
Think of sounds that are typically associated with the four seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. You may need to adapt these if you teach in a country where there are not really discernible seasons, let alone four of them. If this is the case, think of sounds that are closely associated with the kind of weather and climate you find in the country where you teach. Find a sound effect that you think evokes something about one of the seasons, or about the climate and weather in your country, and bring it to class. Alternatively, record a sound effect yourself using a mobile device such as an mp3 player or smartphone. An example sound is included in the activity description below.
Note – this activity is designed to be run over at least two sessions.
1. Ask the students for the names of the four seasons in English and write them on the board. You may want to double-check the students understand the meaning, form and pronunciation of these words, and how they are used in phrases. For example, in the UK, Spring typically runs from March to May, Summer from June to August, Autumn from September to November, and Winter from December to February.
2. Choose one of the seasons, or types of weather, for which you have a sound effect ready to play, but do not play it yet. Ask the students to tell you all the different things they associate with that season or weather. Write these up on the board. Do not reject any answers, but ask students to justify their choices.\
3. When you have a decent amount of language on the board, which could include individual words and longer phrases, tell the students that they are going to write a short text describing the chosen season or weather. Again, there are no correct answers here, but in their texts the students should justify what they choose to write.
4. Collect in these when the students have finished. Do not correct them. Note – it is important to allow a period of time to pass between this lesson and the next stage of this activity. As a general rule, a week would be fine.
5. The next time you have a lesson with the same group of students, tell them that you are going to play a sound effect that is linked to a particular season of the year or type of weather.
6. As they listen, the students should write a short paragraph about the season or weather.
7. Play the sound effect.
Note – these sounds were recorded in May in the UK
8. After the students have written their texts this time, give back the texts they wrote in the previous lesson.
9. Ask the students to look at the two texts they have written and find as many similarities and differences as they can. This could be in their choice of words and phrases, the areas they chose to focus on, the flow or readability of the two texts, among other things.
10. Put the students in groups and ask them to share what they found with each other
Ask the students to produce a final text, incorporating the elements they like the most from each of the texts they have written.