My students have been doing a lot of writing recently, mainly because I want them to express their ideas and opinions, but they are still too shy to talk a lot.
We are using a book called Teen Talk (now out of print, I believe). The book was published in Korea for Korean students and is divided into Issues. The theme of Issue 9 is: “Everybody Does It.”
The issues all have a variety of activities designed to draw out students’ opinions verbally through readings and comprehension questions. This does not work very well with my class, so rather than badgering them one by one in a circle to give their opinion I have begun asking them to write down their opinion, either by themselves or in small groups, and then present it.
On Tuesday we read and discussed this poem:
During the discussion, this line from the poem: “Once I tarnish a reputation, it can never be the same again” required explanation. Stealing the idea from a description of a lesson on bullying that has been making the rounds, I pulled a piece of paper from my folder, crumpled it in my hand, and said, “your reputation is ruined!” Then I apologized to the paper and promised to make it right. I unfolded it and smoothed it out. And I asked the students if it was the same as before. They got the point. When we reviewed the lesson today, what they remembered is “gossip ruins lives.”
And I asked them to write a poem of their own for homework based on any of the topics in Issue 9.
These are the finished versions (after my edits) that they presented to the class today. I reproduce their poems here with their permission (actually they gave me permission to put them on Facebook, too. I think they like having an audience other than just me and each other).