You’ve Got Mail

This is a variation on a dogme activity I once saw presented by Scott Thurnbury.

1. Put the participants in pairs or small groups.

2. give them slips of paper and explain that they should find out about your last weekend (or last trip etc.).  They will need to write a question on a slip of paper (alternatively, they could text/IM/mail you the questions).

3. When they are happy with their question, one person delivers the slip to the trainer.

4.  If the question is grammatically correct, the trainer answers it by writing the answer on the slip and the mail carrier returns to the group with the slip.  If it is NOT grammatically correct, underline/highlight/add some kind of symbol or hint as to how it can be corrected.

5. They continue creating/sending questions to the trainer.  It will get busy with groups sending carriers to the trainer and the trainer will be writing a lot of short answers.  Let this continue for about 15-20 minutes.

6. Groups then take all their slips of paper and try to organize them in a logical way.  Ask them then to write out a summary using this information. Encourage them to use connectors so the text is not just a list of information.  I sometimes board phrases like:  Because he…. After that… So… I think he… and so on.

7. Either collect the summaries and correct them for the next lesson or have each group read out the summaries.  It is amazing how different they will be since they all focused on different questions.  As they read, the other groups should listen for differences from their own versions.

This activity is extremely interactive and the participants have a real need to communicate, so it is very motivating for them.  It integrates grammar, writing, reading, summarizing, speaking and listening.  The perfect activity after a long weekend or a break!

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