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Monday, December 5, 2011

1938 Radio Broadcast of WAR OF THE WORLDS!

Do you and your students enjoy the works of H.G. Wells? If so, you will appreciate the radio broadcast of this work of art. Orson Welles and his Mercury Theatre turned the story into a radio play with repeated interruptions of reports of extraterrestrial invasions landing in New Jersey scattered throughout the show. To add to the drama was the absence of commercials which in turn raised the fright level of the listeners.

Of course, to avoid any hysteria in a day where radio as opposed to TV was the norm, Welles and company made it a point to intersperse announcements that this was just a Halloween prank. Though some newspapers painted a picture of widespread panic, most people knew it was not real.

So how might a teacher use this site with ELLs?

If you have a mixed ability class, you can find an adapted novel for the ELLs so that they may fully participate in class activities, projects, discussions, and projects. The shortened version relays most of the key information in a format that an ELL can follow.

Once the groundwork has been laid in the theme, a teacher could bring in clips of the radio show. Since it is 57 minutes long, a teacher needs to play it in segments of 10-15 minutes with note-taking sheets. Students could do a double-bubble comparing/contrasting the book with the radio show. This could be done in small cooperative learning groups so that the ELL has time to process his/her understanding of the assignment.

Here is the link to WAR OF THE WORLDS. Teachers could also assign a mini-research project on how people of the time reacted to the broadcast, what happened to Orson Welles and his theatrical group, or what might happen if an alien invasion ever happened to earth.

Hope you and your students enjoy the link:)

Denise
ELL TEACHER PROS

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