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.
“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”
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.
Without literature, language classes will be boring. I like ways to bring the novels, short stories, poems into the classroom and make my students think about things happening in them.
I believe we are pretty lucky because we have so many online resources and texts that we can recommend our students to read. To tell the truth, I prefer paper and I love preparing my own handouts but I liked the idea of Curriculet, an online reading platform I came across on Scoop.it.
It allows teachers to create reading classes and help students to understand and analyze the texts by assigning questions. Watching videos, they can listen to useful information that will help them see between the lines. It is free. Sign up and see how tempting it is to use.
One of the stories I love revisiting is Eveline from Dubliners. This year with my year 12 students we read it again. I’d like to share the follow-up activities we did. I grouped the students and assigned them with one task. They chose one and created the followings.
1. Adapt Eveline to 21st century and rewrite a short story with the same
characters in your own city.
2. Create a biography about the life of a character from the story.
3. Create a billboard for the story.
4. Create a movie trailer.
5. Write a poem about one of the characters.
Digitalising the story
1. Choosing a web 2.0 tool, summarise the story or analyse the characters or suggest the story to others
2. Direct your own movie or animation.
3. You can create a poster, an animation, a slideshow, a book cover
4. Create a Fakebook account for one of the characters.
Trailer created by Aris. Thank you Aris for the hard work.
Karin created an awesome Fakebook account using class tools.net
Christina’s adaptation to 21st century and Istanbul