Lost in the Post

Lost in the Post

I learned this one from Scott Thornbury in a workshop on the dogme movement. I have adapted it a little and use it often because it is so easy and such a great hit. It’s best for elementary-intermediate levels.

  1. I explain that I had an interesting weekend/vacation and they can ask me questions about it.
  2. Put them in groups of 2-3. Hand out slips of scrap paper that they can write one question on and deliver it to you at the front. If the question is formulated grammatically correct, you will answer it. If not, the slip gets sent back to the group as it is. They can then correct and resend the slip. (If they still can’t get it, I underline the part that needs to be corrected or give little tips like “tense?” or “word order”). Note, you can also have the groups do this via whatsapp, text message etc. And if the question is not formulated correctly send a “?” as a response.
  3. Allow this to continue for about 10 minutes.
  4. Next, stop the groups and explain that they should order there slips of paper in a way that is logical, as when telling a story.
  5. Then have them write the story out. You can have them do this individually or as a group. All the while, the trainer should circle and help with language points. Encourage them to NOT just write the answers, but to embellish and add their opinion or information that is missing and connectors/linking words. For example if the slip said “Where did you go? I went to Malta”. They could then write “Justin went to Malta because he likes islands and warm weather.” This may also be given as homework. Just have everyone in the group photograph the slips with their smart phones.
  6. Finally, you can have the groups read out their stories. I ask the groups to compare the differences which often sparks new conversations.

1-1: This can work in a 1-1 setting, though it is quite (which might be a nice little break).


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