A Fun Activity for the Story You’re Reading in the Class

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I am working with graded readers, short stories and novels with my classes. I was also preparing my talk for TESOL France and looking for some new ideas to share, I designed the following lesson inspired from Chaz Pugliese’s Gossip activity from the book Being Creative. The activity may not sound similar but while reading it, I just thought this will be a fun activity. I’m planning to do it this week with my 12th graders.

Level: B2 and above

Put students in 3s

As and Bs will speak

Cs will eavesdrop and take notes while As and Bs are talking.

A and B are characters from the novel/short story you’re reading in the class. 

Tell them they are going to gossip about another character from the story. 

For example: Squealer and Napoleon gossip about Boxer (Animal Farm)

Cs are either a passerby, a student from your class or a 4th character from the story. They will take notes of what they’ve heard and will inform the class after the activity.

Variation: If the students will not be able to improvise, you can put them in 3s and give some time to write the dialogue. Then Cs from each group go to listen to another A and B’s gossip.

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

Ready, Steady, Cook

 

Materials: Prepare small ingredient cards. (One ingredient on card/with pictures if you want or you can either bring food to the classroom)

1 computer for 2 students 😉 or you may supply them with some magazines even in L1

Level: Upper-int and above

 

Watch a part from Ready Steady Cook. Tell them to jot down any cooking vocabulary they hear. After watching the segment talk about the programme. What do the participants do?

 

Brainstorm cooking vocabulary and utensils. Give them an exercise.

Brainstorm basic ingredients that they think they usually find in their own kitchen. Tell them the words on the board will be the ingredients of their kitchen cabinet.

 

Put them in pairs

Tell them to choose 4 ingredients from your box. ( The cards or the food)

Tell them they will search the web/ magazines and find a suitable recipe for a 2 course meal with the ingredients from their kitchen cabinet and they’ve chosen.

When they come up with their recipes, they have to present it to their friends.

 

Follow up:

1. As a class they can choose some best recipes from the presentations and create a mini cookery book.They can create a page explaining cooking techniques, utensils and basic ingredients.

2. They can create a class cookery slide show using photopeach.

3. Each team can create a glogter with pictures and their own videos explaining how to cook.

4. They can create a powerpoint presentation and record their voice explaining their recipes.

5. You can create a voicethread for the class and each team can record one of their recipes.

EVO, Digitalstorytelling4kids and the tool of the week

I took a challenge this month. Yes, it’s EVO time and there are wonderful sessions for every teacher’s needs. As I’m a big fan of using digital tools in the classroom I decided to take the Digital Storytelling for Young Learners. The course is moderated by a dream team, Shelly Terrell, Esra Girgin, Barbara Sakamoto, Özge Karaoglu, Jennifer Verschoor, David Dodgson, Michelle Worgan, and Sabrina De Vita. I’m very busy with lots of so many things these days, but from the very first day I realised how correct my decision was to be at the course.

The course has three working spaces:

  1. The wiki, for assigning tasks and tutorials.
  2. Yahoo group for discussions
  3. Posterous for showcasing participants’ digital stories.

As in all courses, the sessions started with greetings and introductions. The first task was very creative and the digital introductions were great. I learned new tools, saw how others used the ones that I love and use and saw how others used the ones that I didn’t like but seeing them convinced me to go back and try them again.

I discovered Google Search Stories via Esra Girgin’s introduction and I loved it very much.

It is very easy to use:

Just type in your searches and select the kind of results that is most suitable for your story. You add music and send it to YouTube to share it with the world.

I’m planning to use it

  • To introduce a topic
  • As a pre-reading and awareness raising activity before starting to read a short story or a novel

And also I will ask my students to use it

  • To summarise the story they’ve read
  • To introduce a topic

And I’m sure I’ll come up with something else later, but if you do please, tell me.

And you can watch my stories, the 1st one is a poem from our Comenius project reading list by the Nobel winner Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska

 

and an idea how to assign a writing task for my students