Apart from the official curriculum and all the good materials provided by textbook publishers, the members of our department came to the conclusion, quite a long time ago, that dealing with everyday topics and searching for information about them, elaborating a presentation or work and talking about it to their mates is one of the most complete and motivating learning task fro students, as it includes all four language skills and- according to the present education law-develops all the competences.
The students get used to looking up for information in the net or from their family or environment, organising it in a presentation, talking in front of people, which is something they find difficult to start with, managing their own time to meet the deadlines, working in a team; and they discover that learning is not a question of cramming what they find in a book or their class notes for the exam. Knowledge is everywhere and ti is very easily accessible today, you only have to take advantage of the possibilities the new technologies offer.
This does not mean that the contents of the textbook are not necessary- they are basic actually- but these contents are all around us, and we will find them useful, motivating and worth the effort of studying them if we use them for our daily tasks or for learning about things. In fact, learning by practising- for example watching O.V. films or series or reading books, magazines, etc..- and then studying grammar is much more efficient, easier and fun than the other way around.
Here are links to works our students have done all along the year following this learning method:
Final presentations 3C
Works 4th ESO