Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Analogue Story Generator - a dice & a homestay visitor

English: A pair of dice Español: Dados cúbicos.

This is a fun activity which worked very nicely in class with my returnee brothers and their English homestay guest in a one hour class last week.

I was expecting them to not be in the mood for a regular class, prepping for FCE, and also that our native-speaking guest would probably have a lot of raw language I could use more creatively...

Column 1: Superhero - think of silly name for the six rows, brainstorming eg people we know & admire, sports stars, anything silly...
Column 2: Villain - maybe a baddy we don't like from school or the news...
Column 3: Location - somewhere local, or a place we like or want to visit...
Column 4: An object - a favourite toy or super-power delivering tool...
Column 5: Main event - more dramatic/mundane the better...
Column 6: Ending - obvious? Challenged mine to come up with a sticky end, a twist, comic book, science fiction, sporty & surprising finishes.

Materials = piece of paper with 6 rows x 6 columns, and a dice. Pencils would be handy!

The brain storming actually took quite a while as I needed to filter suggestions a bit so we would end up with an interesting variety of outcomes (and publishable ones!).

Selection phase = students throw the dice in turn to choose a superhero from column one. Repeat for the other 5 columns: each student now has a very eclectic set of characters & bizarre storyline to concoct!

Embellishing = decide on a cast list for the main characters (Mum featured as did the teacher), a narrator, supporting cast, a title.

Homework - write a summary of the plot (rough draft). Aim = second draft with more detail, structure/organisation, Hollywood moment etc!

Immediate feedback = very entertaining interaction & entertaining suggestions - only told them the 'story' aim after we'd brainstormed all the 36 components (otherwise the'd have been filtering their own ideas - as it was they guessed they were going to make a story - but a horizontal one eg all #4s - and had tried to make things 'fit')

This activity would never work with my usual junior high school/high school crowd; it did work splendidly with noisy, energetic, imaginative, competitive teens. One-upmanship added a lot to the storyboard, and I for once was not 'the expert' - all I had to do was pass the dice around...and moderate the input!