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I recently used an activity in my communication skills class that was inspired by an exercise I once did in a job interview. I had to work with another candidate to choose from a list of people we could send to a safe area during a devastating worldwide disaster. Because of limited space in the safe zone, we had to eliminate some people from the list. Some of the choices included a scientist, a priest, and a 16-year-old pregnant girl. We had to work together to whittle down the list. In my version of the activity, the students had to decide which items to leave on an island for a group of people expected to survive a fatal virus that would wipe out the rest of the world. The students didn’t seem very engaged at first, but then they really got into it.

So why am I telling you this? Because this blog is about exchanging ideas and tools that we can put to use in our classes. As a new teacher, I often rely on other teachers’ great suggestions and my own life experiences (like my job interview) when building my lessons. I will post many of the helpful tools I find. I hope you will share yours, too. Welcome to our blog! (By the way, my name is Kendra, I’m getting a master’s degree in TESOL, and I work at an Intensive English Program in Florida.)

I hope you’ll come back to get some ideas and join in the conversation. In the meantime, feel free to add your own twist to my Operation Survivor activity:

A virus has developed that is expected to wipe out most of the world’s population within a year. About 50 people are expected to survive because they are immune to the virus. However, with prolonged exposure to the virus, they could catch it, so they will be isolated on a previously uninhabited island. They will have to stay there for one year. They won’t be able to bring anything with them. You are part of a team that is collecting items to store on the island for the survivors. You have limited space and must make choices about what to leave for them. Your team has narrowed the list to the following items, but you must get rid of five more items for everything to fit:

1. cell phones

2.  money

3. medicine

4. fresh water

5. diapers

6. pens and paper

7. food

8. tents

9. English dictionaries

10. a gun

11. blankets

12. flashlights

13. clothes and shoes

14. soap

15. computers

About Kendra Johnson

Kendra Johnson
Kendra is pursuing her master's degree in TESOL at the University of Central Florida. She brings to teaching 10 years of experience as a reporter, writer, and editor for local newspapers. Just two years ago, she had never taught in a classroom, but she is slowly building her professional muscle in the field of education. She has worked as an instructor for an intensive English program and as a discussion group leader for a community English class. She has also tutored students preparing for the SPEAK exam. Through personal experience and picking the brains of veteran teachers, Kendra is filling her own bag of TESOL tricks. She'll share what she's learning and hopes you'll join the conversation.
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