Lesson ideas for High School?

I teach a high school class (2nd year) and we are finished our textbook. There are four more classes 'till the end of the semester and I have to find something to do with them. There are about 35 students in the class. I have been having a lot of trouble getting them to talk.

And ideas?

If they are unaccustomed to talking and thinking, perhaps start with some guided conversations.

Perhaps assign them to write up some dialogs with some specific criteria (what tense they will need to use, vocabulary to include, what task or situation they need to resolve).

Don’t just ask them to give you their opinion on international politics. They don’t have one. In fact, few of them probably have an opinion on very much beyond school life and their own family situations. Keep that in mind when creating activities. Asking them to generate conversation in English on a subject which they would have difficulty having a descent conversation in Chinese is unrealistic.

If you want them to do a debate or speak on an issue, give them relevant material to study beforehand.

Do a lot of small group work where students talk to each other. (This requires some serious consideration of how to get the kids to talk rather than sit there silently, but it is a good use of time.)

With 35 students in the class i wish you good luck getting them to talk freely (or at least try to) in English. The best bet with a group that size is scripted conversations and short skits. Short skits work very well in my experience. You can search the net or get the book “Skits in English.” Assign 4-5 students for each skit depending on how many people are involved. Make sure the skit doesn’t have too many roles or too little. Then have them break into their respective groups and practice while circulating around the classroom making sure they are doing the task. With a group that size you have to be both police and teacher. Make sure to give them some deadlines. Also tell them to make simple props. You can follow up by making a video if you have the equipment. If you tell them they will be recorded, they will tend to take it more seriously. In my experience this works really well. My students had fun through the whole process. The parents were pretty happy as well to see them on video. Also, you can ask them to make thier own skit. Come up with some themes like, “A Saturday at Ximending” or a television commercial. Lesson planning like this takes the pressure off of both the students and the teacher. They will see it more as an activitiy to be involved in rather than being lectured to as with all their other classes.