So here is another idea for getting post intermediate students to wake up in class and actually participate. At first it may seem morbid but the aim is to help students talk about ideas and beliefs that they doesn't usually get to discuss in class.
1 Write up the following headline on the board.
"13 year-old girl chooses to die"
2 Now ask students to imagine that they are reporters investigating this story and that they have to think of five questions using;
3 Just go around to help the students with any problems with grammar they may have.
4 The learners then ask and answer the questions. Make sure they understand there are no wrong answers for this part, just their imagination and opinion counts.
5 Now divide the class into two groups.
Group one will watch the video below.
Their job is to write down all the questions the presenter asks. If you don't have access to internet in your classroom you can download videos from YouTube etc using Real Player and play them on a PC, ipod or mobile phone.
6 The other group leaves the room and has ten minutes to find out as much as they can about the story using the headline and Google. If you do not have internet access in the classroom you can print out and photocopy some of the articles below. Tell the students that they have to find out what is happening and take notes as after the ten minutes are they will not have access to the internet or photocopies afterwards.
7 The students then come back in and those who watched the video interview them. Students in the group who were outside can either assume the role of Hannah or her parents. Remind those involved that the most important thing is to communicate the general idea of what is happening rather than getting all the details correct.
8 The interviews could be recorded or videoed using the students mobile phones and them put on a class blog via Youtube.
9 Finally, ask the students to debate whether Hannah and her parents have made the right decision. This could be done in the form of a formal debate or in smaller groups in a less formal manner.
As you can imagine this is a sensitive topic which needs to be handled carefully. As a teacher you are in the best position to judge if this activity is suitable for your learners. On the other hand it does allow students to express their own beliefs in English on a topic which likely to engage them.