Tried and tested (and approved!) games and activities to help English learning.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Story Consequences

Level: Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced.

Skills: writing.

Topic: grammar/vocabulary.

Materials: half the number of hats as there are students.

Time: 10 to 15 minutes.

The goal here is to students write parts of a text, guided by cues as to general purpose, but deprived of the ability to communicate with or see the contributions of one’s co-authors. It works out very nicely with students of any level.

Divide the class into groups of eight players. If you have smaller groups then some of the learners must write two sentences or more. 

Demonstrate how to fold a piece of A4 paper into eight strips: fold the paper in half, then in half again, and in half one last time; making all the folds parallel. Then, guided by the resulting creases, refold the paper into zigzags, like the squeezy parts of a concertina or accordion. Ask one student from each group to fold a piece of paper in the same way.

Explain that the game proceeds as follows: the first student writes his/her contribution on the first panel of the concertina, i.e. the topmost panel. This student should do this quietly and secretly, folding the panel over when he/she is done, so that no one else can see what was written. Next, the second student follows suit, then the third, and so on, until all eight contributions have been added. The last student has the task of unfolding the concertina and reading out loud to the others the full text of the little story that results.

If you want to guide the process more closely, you could tell the students the story is guided by the following formula, which prescribes what each student should contribute:
  • Fold 1 (time) …
  • Fold 2 (place) …
  • Fold 3 X (male character’s name) met …
  • Fold 4 Y (female character’s name)
  • Fold 5 He said …
  • Fold 6 She said …

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