Headliners, the activity

This is an activity I shared on the #flashmobELT lino board.

(For more information about #flashmobELT, check out this, this, or this.)

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So here’s how this works:

My 6th grade (13 years old) students had been reading an article about fish farming and we were just wrapping up the unit. I asked them to form teams and choose a scribe for each team. The scribes went to the board and the teams called out all the words they remembered from the unit while the scribes wrote them down – pausing at times to ask for spelling. The result was a board full of words.

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Then the teams went to work together and formed headlines or titles from the words on the board. The rules: they cannot use words that are not on the board, but they can change the part of speech or form of the word. I wrote an example for them.

They wrote their headlines in their notebooks, checking with their groups for ideas and clarification. I checked all the headlines and made some suggestions.

The next step was writing a story to accompany the headline or title. They could, I told them, write any kind of story they want and did not need to stick to the topic or vocabulary from the unit. They attacked the task with determination and some of their resulting stories blew me away.

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The final step was creating a picture to go along with their stories. They could either find a picture they wanted to use or draw their own picture. I gave them paper to re-write their stories and add their pictures and asked them to bring them back the next class.

My original plan had been to post them up on the walls so that the students could walk around and read the stories, but they were a jump ahead of me. As soon as they were seated they started passing their stories around with pride and reading them anyway. Now the stories are all posted on the walls for other classes to read.

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I’m proud of the way my students approached this task, using all the resources at their disposal to help them work with the language and turn input into their very own output.

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  • annloseva  On December 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you, Anne!
    Beautiful example of how it can work. As I said, I am definitely trying it out as soon as I can! I am a big fan of playing with words like that, so it sort of fits into my own style very nicely. I used to do a similar activity but it involved cards drawn at random from a pool of topic vocabulary, and then making up a logical story with them, on the spot.
    Thanks a lot for #flashmobELT promotion and taking part!
    I’ll be reporting on how it goes with my students.

  • Ratna  On December 6, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Dear Anne,
    Brilliant idea snd love how you structured thr whole lesson. The lesson really contains lots of learning targets (and I wonder if you did have those objectives in mind when designing the lesson), involving all four language skills simultaneously and encouraging collaboration and scaffolding among learners as well! Honestly, these are the kind of ideas I’d love to try in class. Definitely gonna do so when I get back to class.

    Keep up your brilliant work!

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