- Last Tuesday we started with a funny warm-up activity called “Lateral Thinking Problems” where Tim told us a piece of a story with missing information and we had to guess it. We had to guess through questions but the answers could only be “yes” or “no”. If we went directly to the answer we would probably fair so we had to ask as many questions as we could. This was also a Task-Based Learning activity in order to introduce us to the main activities.
One of these activities was: “A man goes into the bar and asks for a glass of water. The barman doesn’t give him a glass of water and instead of that he shows him a gun. The man says thanks and left the bar”.
After that, Tim gave us a long list of similar PUZZLE STORIES and some IDEAS FOR WRITING ACTIVITIES. For example, we can mention the followings:
1. Written arguments / conversations: Give everyone situation and first line; they pass papers to the right and write a reply, then pass back to the left and continue the argument / conversation.
2. Thank-you letters that don’t name the gift / favour. Others have to guess what it is. And finally, for example:
3. My life story: can be spread over several sessions, with more stuck on walls each time.
Before going deeply with the writing activities we sat in pairs and we discussed some statements according to the way we have to correct or to introduce a writing activity. We reached that “In England everyone is a cyclist while here in Spain we are all mechanics and we don’t know how to ride a bicycle”. Because English students differs from Spanish ones that they are focused on speaking and writing instead of grammar.
The following activity was a Pre-Writing Activity getting students to think before they written assessment: Tim gave us a topic (hobbies) and we wrote down our favourite hobby: “My hobby is collecting cinema tickets”. Each piece of paper passed round and a new question added each time, e.g. “Do you go to special places to buy or find them?”. These questions then form the framework of the main writing activity and we have to tell to the rest what is our hobby and answer at least one question.
Then we continued with a similar activity but instead of writing questions we wrote a story. Each of us wrote a sentence or a pair of sentences with a word given by Tim. The first one was “Stormy night”. Then the sentences passed round and a new sentences added each time and we must incorporate our new sentence into the story. Every time Tim gave us a different word, as for example: “huge oak door”, “large rat with bloodshot”, “terrifying scream” and so on. It was funny because finally when we read the whole story, some of them were really unbelievable and it was funny to know how imagination can be a good tool to create a story. This activity is very useful for students because they can think and write at the same time.
At the last part of the lesson we did a dictation but this was a mixed of the genres of dictation and free-writing. This is called “Skeleton Dictation”. It’s half dictation and half free-writing. Another Skeleton dictation is called “Memory dictation”, basically the teacher shows us a picture and we have to continue writing. The first half what we hear and the other one what we remember of the picture. We finished the last lesson with this activity.