Archive of ‘creative writing’ category

Stories, Stories, Stories

Using photos in EFL Classroom, part 3

We are all stories, right? We tell a new story, the same story, another story all the time and we do it in the class too.

Today I’m going to mention activities that can be used to create new stories for the theme “Using Photos in EFL Classes”.

You can either ask your students to bring some photos they have taken or you can choose the photos you’ve taken or as usual, go to #ELTpics and tell them to choose the pictures they want to think about and write their stories.

You can tell them to write

watching the sea from a distance

watching the sea from a distance

  • Twitter stories, that is 140 characters only per photo
On a cold sunny day in January, I took the tube to go to Covent Garden, I walked around a little. I heard a singer singing a beautiful song.

On a cold sunny day in January, I took the tube to go to Covent Garden, I walked around a little. I heard a singer singing a beautiful song.

  • A mini saga, which is a short piece of writing containing exactly 50 words, plus a title of up to 15 letters.
Going Home It was summer, a hot day in August. We were on our way home. We had a lovely holiday on an island and now we were heading to the big city, to chaos, to exhaustion, to stress. Suddenly my husband said “forget the city, let’s make that island our home.”

Going Home
It was summer, a hot day in August. We were on our way home. We had a lovely holiday on an island and now we were heading to the big city, to chaos, to exhaustion, to stress. Suddenly my husband said “forget the city, let’s make that island our home.”

You can read the previous posts here Using Photos in EFL Classroom Part 1 and here Using Photos in EFL Classroom Part 2 

 

Choices We Make, a Poetry Lesson

“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”

Virgil

th-6

Choices are important in our lives. Sometimes there are times we regret, there are times we pray for what we’ve chosen.

I have a group of mixed-ability students in grade 11 studying mostly languages. Some of them are not happy because that was not what they actually wanted but that was the only option to take.

I had a very disappointing lesson the other day and when I arrived home I thought what I could do for them to realize or do something for themselves until the next fork appears on the road they had chosen. And I decided to go to the class with a poem. Yes, I chose The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost as I thought with a little help, they would be able to understand the poem and we’d be able to talk about our decisions. To sum up, it was a great lesson. We all enjoyed it and I think they also revised their decisions or their attitudes towards their choices.

Now I’d like to tell you how I planned the lesson. First of all I found some very valuable lesson ideas on the poem and took some inspiration from them and I prepared one suitable for my students.

First I asked what the word ‘road’ meant. Then I asked what it could be used as a metaphor. We looked at the picture I chose as a warm up. ( If you search Google/Yahoo images as “Two Roads”, you’ll get some pictures of the woods that come to a fork)

The students described the picture and then I asked them what they would do if they were in this picture, how they would feel, how they would decide. The best part of the lesson was actually here and I hadn’t predicted that while preparing it. They talked about how they would be both nervous and excited. We talked about what they could encounter on the road, where these roads might take them.

Then we brainstormed words/ideas related with roads. I chose a recording of the poem on YouTube and told students to listen and jot down any words or phrases they heard/caught/liked.

After listening to the poem twice, I gave them the handouts and told them to read the poem and find if the words they had heard were really in the poem. Then we discussed the poem. We talked about if the poet was happy with his choice, if the poem was sad or happy or hopeful. Now I’m waiting for their bookmarks on the poem. They’ll use the ideas from here.

wordle created with AnswerGarden

wordle created with AnswerGarden

Tagxedo link of AnswerGarden words/phrases

Guided Collaborative Story Writing

Image source: http://mindshift.kqed.org/ Image source: http://mindshift.kqed.org/%5B/caption%5D

 

Find a photo story, pictures that can be used as sequences or some pictures that can form a story. Make enough copies for your students.

Put students in groups.

Give each group the 1st picture

Tell them to brainstorm anything that comes into their minds first and then tell them to organize their thoughts in sentences as the first part of their story. Don’t forget to mention before that they will write a story collaboratively and they will use past tenses. You may also want to suggest some linking words that they can use to organize their paragraphs.

Tell them to pass their paper to the other groups clockwise and give them the 2nd picture of the story and tell them to continue writing their 2nd paragraph.

Continue the process until the pictures you have all distributed.

Ask students to exchange papers once more to edit. Tell them to read the stories carefully and make necessary changes or corrections.

Ask them to read the stories aloud. Put them on the walls. They can read all the stories in groups and choose the best one. You can collect all the stories on youblisher or issuu, you can ask them to create a glogster, using the pictures and adding the paragraphs or PowerPoint Presentations recording their voices or they can upload their presentation on brainshark and record their story.

Getting Ready to Write A Story

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Level: All

Age: All

Target Language : Narrative Tenses, Adjectives to describe emotions, feelings, etc.                               

Give each student a handout with the chart below.

Play the sound effects you chose

Ask the students to fill in the following chart

What do you see?  
What do you hear?  
What do you feel?  
What do you taste?  
What do you smell?  

When your students finish completing their charts, ask them to share with their friends.

Remind them how we can start to write a first paragraph of a story. ( how we set the scene, etc)

Optional: you can ask your students to draw the scene based on their chart.

Then tell students to write an introduction paragraph for a short story or a novel.

You can download free sound effects

http://www.freesoundeffects.com/free-sounds/weather-sounds-10038/

http://www.soundsnap.com/browse

IMG_2599

 

 

The Challenging Case of Fast Finishers in a Mixed Ability Class

We all have more motivated, fast thinking students in our classes. Often we feel guilty that they can’t advance more as they wait for their classmates to finish the tasks given. I got the idea of more tasks for fast finishers from Pinterest pins. Some teachers prepared posters for them, some had jars with reviewing activities. I liked the idea of the jar but  as I move from class to class, it’s difficult for me to carry a jar along with my huge pencil case. Therefore I decided to have an envelope and fill in with creative writing ideas. I prepared colorful pieces of paper and index cards with topics to write. Even with younger learners, I started collecting wonderful paragraphs. Now I’m planning to have a fast finishers corner in the classrooms to showcase these good examples and praise their work.

Some of the writing activities on my cards are 

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