Dec 28, 2011

News quiz 2011 and end-of-year round-up


My blog celebrates its first birthday today. It’s been a busy year so I haven’t blogged as often as I should have – probably below the recommended once a week average. But I hope you've enjoyed my posts or rather used in class some of my ideas and activities. It seems Would you like it gift-wrapped? was my most viewed post in 2011, followed by the Cycles of Recycling.

Leo Selivan fires up his presentation!
Among the highlights of the year was speaking at two international conferences: IATEFL in Brighton in April and TESOL France in November not to mention a handful of local ones including the prestigious EnglishForum at the MOFET Institute.

Another defining moment was finally joining Twitter. Better late than never – and apparently I am in good company because Simon Cowell, Christina Aguilera and the Pope have all joined this year too! (according to this review). Thanks to Twitter I got to know lots of other enthusiastic teachers who, unlike me, blog on a more regular basis and are passionate about teaching and, not less importantly, learning. Some of the blogs I’ve picked can be found here or scroll down to the bottom of the page to see my blogroll (“Blogs worth checking out”).


And finally the activity which prompted me to start my own blog a year ago. I like to start the first lesson in a new year with the end-of-year quiz. If set up properly, it can actually last me two or three lessons with follow-up activities, student presentations and vocabulary reviews – suggestions on how to use the quiz can be found in the teachers notes:

Easier version
(lower-intermediate / young learners)
NB. "Easier" means simpler language, not easier questions

News Quiz 2011

  1. On 29th April the entire world's eyes were on Britain as more than a billion people tuned in to watch the fairy-tale Royal Wedding. Who did Prince William marry? 
  2. Who became the first Arab country leader to stand trial in 2011 for the deaths that occurred when his security forced tried to crush the protests? 
  3. A powerful earthquake measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale hit Japan in March 2011 causing a massive tsunami and nuclear meltdown. What is the highest number on the Richter’s scale? 
  4. Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs lost his battle to cancer at the age of 56 in October 2011. Often described as a college dropout, he actually hung around the college for a while and attended a course which, he admitted, helped him later in life. What was the course in? 
  5. The death of 27-year-old Amy Winehouse, who had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction for much of her short-lived career, came as a big shock. What is the name of her best-selling 2006 album which earned her critical praise and five Grammys? 
  6. After almost 10 years trying to track down the world’s most wanted and dangerous terrorist Osama bin Laden, the U.S. forces found and killed him in May 2011. In what country was he hiding? 
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 released in 2011 broke ticket sales record within hours of opening. The film is the final installment in the Harry Potter series based on the best-selling fantasy novels by J. K. Rowling. How many Harry Potter books has she written? 
  8. The issue of racism in football has reared its ugly head again as the Uruguayan footballer Luis Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing the Man United defender Patrice Evra and banned for eight matches. What British football club does Suarez play for? 
  9. The Internet giant Google launched its much-anticipated online social network as a potential rival for Facebook in June 2011. What is it called? 
  10. What pop star surprised the audience of the MTV Video Music Awards 2011 when she revealed that she was pregnant? 
  11. In a year marked by mass protests, London was no exception. What sparked widespread rioting in London last summer, ultimately leading to more than 2,500 arrests and five deaths? 
  12. The controversial Dutch Director Lars Von Trier caused outrage at the Cannes Film Festival last summer when he said he sympathized with what historical figure? 
  13. Whom did the French president Nicolas Sarkozy describe as a "liar" in a private exchange with Barack Obama which was caught on an open microphone at a G20 summit last November? 
  14. What politician was forced to step down as Prime Minister under pressure from a lurid sex scandal and amid a deepening economic crisis? 
  15. Thousands of protesters across the Arab world took to the streets in 2011 in what became known as the Arab Spring. But the uprising actually started at the end of 2010 after a young market worker set himself on fire. In what country? 
  16. The chief of the International Monetary Fund Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s visit to New York ended with criminal charges against him. How did he get into hot water? 
  17. The Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor died in March 2011 and was laid to rest at Forest Lawn memorial park in LA. What is the name of her close celebrity friend who had been buried in the same mausoleum two years earlier? 
  18. Where is Utoya Island and why did it make the headlines in the summer 2011? 
  19. Arnold Schwarzenegger announced that he would return to acting in 2011 but had to put his plans on hold after the details of his extramarital affair with his former housekeeper began to emerge. What was the last movie he starred in? 


 Click here for follow up activities for vocab recycling and consolidation.


  1. Nice I am gonna nick the quiz for next semester

  2. by all means
    let me know how it went

  3. leo - nice!
    piglet - didn't anyone ever teach you that "gonna" is not a word? :)

  4. I think I'll try this out with my 11th graders on Sunday (whoever shows up, that is :-( )
    Thanks, Leo!

  5. Hi Sara
    "gonna" is a word - you should know especially after my Spoken Grammar workshop :)

  6. Hi Adele
    Which version: harder or easier?
    "Whoever shows up"? You think most of your students will be out partying the night before?

  7. I am planning the same...not the partying but using it in my 11th grade class. Thanks. Great stuff.

  8. Sorry I didn't mean do I edit / change my post?

  9. just repost it as yourself and I'll delete your previous comment

  10. Happy Blog BIRTHDAY!
    It is great to hear about your conference presentations! Since I've attended some at ETAI I know people are in for a treat! Keep us posted of your future ones - will you be presenting in Glasgow?
    Thanks for sharing the quiz!

  11. hi
    I also think it is nice. I will try it with my students too.

  12. hi Naomi and Rose and thank you
    My nearest one is mini-ETAI in Ramat Gan on Jan 3rd. And yes, I will be presenting in Glasgow which reminds me I should update my Upcoming Talks page. Are you going too?

  13. Hi Leo!

    Happy Birthday to your blog! All the best! I have added it to my blogroll.

    Hope to see you at some event in 2012!

    All the best,

  14. Hi Vicky
    Thanks for checking my blog. Being added to your blogroll is like getting a blessing! After all you're one of the bloggers who inspired me and I'm sure many others too. Best wishes for 2012!

  15. Love this exercise! I usually start the year with a general conversation session based on asking and answering questions about the news in general, your best and worst news of last year, news you didn't hear and yu wish you had etc. I then present lerners with a baord game whch I prepare over Christmas. I add news topics to an empty board game which requires learners to roll a dice and then remember as much info as they can on the news topic they land on. Perhaps this task wouldcompletement yours, depending on how many news items I could think of!!

    Thanks for sharinbg this lesson plan again, I'll make sure to look at your b log regularly!

  16. Hi Gabrielle
    Thanks for popping in. Feel free to add my questions to your board game. I am going to post some post activities later focusing on lexis.
    Hope your 2012 is a great one!

  17. Even your "easy" version is too difficult for my students. I teach high school so the topic is interesting, but my students' vocab level is basic.

  18. hey

    Great Efforts!! Certainly I will use it !!

  19. If it's too difficult take fewer questions (only 10) and pre-teach all the "difficult" vocabulary. When I was writing the easier version I ran it through the Vocab profiler on and made sure that 90% of the words used are K1 words (the first most frequent 1000 words in English). It's difficult to make a news quiz any easier than that because of the news-related language involved.

    I am glad you liked it, Hanan

  20. thanks LEO i think it will motivate Ss very much. I will try it this monday.

  21. thank you so much leo - first time i have come across your blog. it looks like a great activity and i really appreciate all the ideas. will try it tomorrow!!

  22. You're welcome. I hope it goes well with your students. Hope you become a frequent visitor here in 2012 !

  23. Used it today in two classes- my 11th grade 5 points , where MANY kids were missing for different reasons. It went over GREAT! The kids said that I should do more activities like these (they especially liked the collocation lexical things at the end). Then Lily and I, expecting very few kids in our two 12th grade 5 point classes, did it with them both together. There were LOTS of kids in the end, and there was a lot of noise, but it went over well there, as well. Thanks a bundle Leo!

  24. I am glad to hear that it went well and I better get down to writing a follow-up activity asap. Give my regards to Lily!

  25. Thanks, once again , Leo, for your great activities. I gave the quiz in three different levels- changing a couple of questions to suit Ulpana girlss.
    In 9th and 10th grade, I split the class into 2 groups. Each received half the questions. Each group had a "secretary" who wrote down the answers.I then gave the answers and they checked themselves. Then they wrote 2 questions of their own.
    Next - The groups asked each other the questions, ading their own.
    In 12th grade I used the more difficult version for Oral Bagrut practice - after answering easch question we discussed the isssue.
    They really got into it. Great
    I Also bought in pictures that had appeared in the weekend newspaper about some of the events.

  26. Thank you, Aviva. I am really glad you used it with different levels and adapted it accordingly. I've just posted follow-up vocab activities (for both level) - check it out: I am sure you will find it useful for consolidating vocabulary.

  27. Great Quiz Leo. I just wish that I could have answered those questions without having to resort to the other half of my brain - Google.

  28. Here is what my students are doing as a follow up - it is in the process - they are supposed to all contribute by Sunday:


  29. Thanks for creating a fun quiz to end the first lesson of the new year, my adults students loved it, and so did I, having an activity ready made for me! Thank you again.

  30. Thank you Rosemary. I am happy to hear it. Do check out the follow-up activity.

    1. Thank you, I have, excellent...

  31. Lars von Trier is Danish not Dutch (question 12).

  32. Thanks! :)
    My students have already pointed out this mistake
    And apparently Terminator 3 was not really the last Schwarzenegger's movie

  33. hi. your blog seems quite interesting to read . have been following it for quite awhile. thanks for the interesting quiz.

    Free Online Quizzes


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