September is here and another school year is on its way. I’m just enjoying the last few lazy days reading and planning ahead. I’m reading “The Little Paris Bookshop” by Nina George at the moment. I loved the book. Not only for the plot, not only it is set in Paris along the River Seine but also the richness of the creative writing ideas that pop up in front of my eyes while reading it.
The book takes place in Paris and tells the story of a bookshop owner Jean Perdu who calls his bookshop the Literary Apothecary, because he doesn’t just sell books to his customers, he also prescribes them to suit their minor ailments he diagnoses in them.
I just don’t want to forget those brilliant ideas Mr Perdu brought into my mind so I decided to write them.
Here is one as a first week activity. Mr Perdu says “books are like people, and people are like books.” And continues “ I ask myself is he or she the main character in his or her life?” (pg 28) well, I’m not going to reveal more but I’m planning my first day activity as follows.
The activity will be suitable for any level if you plan it that way but I’ll do it with my year 12 students.
Tell students they are a character in a novel.
Tell them to describe themselves, their motives, ambitions, weak points, strengths.
Who else are in their story? What kind of characters are they? A short description for them as the characters of the story…
The blurb of their story, their problem and how they expect the story will end.
I’ll tell them to create a book cover and a few pages of their books to display on classroom walls.
I think this will be a good beginning for a class who will be studying hard for their university exam. This year their main concern is the exam and how they will shape their future so I guess starting the year with these book covers will be fun.
I’ll share a quick drama activity I learned from our drama club while performing at an event at school.
- Put 3 chairs in front of the board.
- Put labels on the chairs as “sad-1”, “happy-2″,”angry-3”
- Write some situations on slips of papers and put them in a box. (You are waiting at the bus stop and the bus is late / You are going to take an important exam /You are travelling to …
- Let students choose a slip of paper
- Give them a few minutes to prepare a very short story based on the situation they have on their papers.
Begin with the volunteers. Explain the rules.
Tell students that you will shout a number from 1 to 3 and she/he will sit on that chair and start telling the story according to the emotion written on the chair. While the student is telling the story change the numbers randomly.
This activity will be suitable for intermediate and above but I think it can also be tried with beginners as a reading aloud activity. The teacher can give a text to practise reading aloud and then asks the students to read the text sadly, angrily, cheerfully, etc
May is round the corner. This means another school is about to end. Here you can find some revision games and activities that you’d like to use.
When I’m 65 (to revise tenses, time clauses)
Team your students
Prepare small cards, on small cards write random numbers such as 18, 22, 56, 38, etc.
Put the cards upside down on the desk
Tell students, take one card and make a sentence.
- When I’m 65, I’ll probably have grandchildren.
- When I was 18, I was a student at university.
I had a great holiday there (to revise tenses)
Put some postcards or photos of places on the walls and tell students to walk around and imagine they were on holiday. They have to concentrate on one picture and then go back to their seats and write a paragraph, how they spent their holiday there. Then they can read and their friends try to guess which picture he has chosen.
I’m poem (to revise participles, relative clauses)
Ask them who they are. They will probably laugh and tell their names but tell them what roles do they have as a person in different places. Tell them that you’re their teacher, a mother, a wife, a friend, a colleague and although you are the same person but for your different roles, you have different responsibilities, feelings, emotions. Ask them if they are the same person as a sister, cousin, grandchild etc. Then give them the skeleton and ask them to write a poem describing who they are for different people and how they feel and react.
- I’m the girl who loves reading books
- I’m the sister watching you grow up
Last week, with a group of twelve-year olds we had great fun reading a short story. It was our first meeting so I started with a getting to know activity which came from freshly Leo Selivan’s latests blog post. Kids loved drawing stick figures and introducing themselves in third person.
Then we read the story and enjoyed ourselves a lot. On this blog post, I want to share some of the activities we did during the workshops.
1.I gave them word posters and asked them to work in groups. We checked the vocabulary together and then in groups they wrote a mini saga choosing 5 words from the word cloud.
2. We wrote a rap together about the characters and their meeting with the fantastic characters. Then we sang it all together.
3. When the characters met new fantasy characters, I put them in teams and asked them to write their songs together.
4. I also cut some of the illustrations from the book and gave each pair a different picture and asked them to write “a six word story” for each picture.
5. After reading the story, they created a fantasy character and the land of the character drawing the character and the land.
6. Finally, as they told me they loved the stick figure activity very much, I asked them to work in pairs and gave each pair a character. They wrote their memes on a padlet wall.
In the end for feedback I told the kids to write 3 things they loved, 2 things they learned and a feeling. I loved the feedbacks very much but one of them made my day.
I haven’t updated my blog for ages and I feel a bit guilty about it. However, I have some good reasons. I’d like to share something really important for me with you. I just started my own business, a Thought Shop = Düşünce Dükkanı in Turkish (as I also love to call it). Dream2Edu is a new stop where I will have a room of my own to deliver workshops and courses to teachers, parents and children, in short to people who will never cease learning. Some of my colleagues will assist me as well. Nowadays, I’m busy with school and watching the shop’s baby steps. I don’t know how it will do but I believe in this project and I hope I’ll manage to keep it open.
If you’d like to follow us, we are @dream2edu on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The website is here and the email is firstname.lastname@example.org.