Topic: How to write a Good Beginning
Aim: Introduce and practice writing beginnings (of short stories)
Language Level: Intermediate
Learner Type: Teenagers and Adults
Time: 90 minutes
Language Skills: Reading & Writing
Materials: A large copy of the text above with words missing. And a large copy of the completed text above.
Make enough copies of the ‘7 ingredients for a Good Beginning‘ for each group of 3-4 ss in the class. Cut up each copy into seven pieces.
Digital Tool: Curriculet
T boards the text above, with selected words missing. For example,
“At the young age of ___, Daniel was already ____ ____ and at the end of his ____ thanks to years of drug and ____ abuse”.
T invites the ss to read the text chorally.
T asks ss to work in pairs and fill in the gaps with as many different possibilities in 5 minutes. T encourages them to be as creative as possible.
Pairs take it in turns to read aloud their version. T organises a vote for the best suggestions. T provides the completed text on the board.
T organises a ‘game of speed’ and asks ss to count the number of words in the text. Group feedback.
T asks the ss what we learn about the main character, and what, if any, assumptions we can make about his life. T encourages to be creative and make intelligent guesses. Group discussion.
T asks ss to reflect on how a short number of words can stimulate the imagination
T asks ss to change seats so they are working in different pairs.
Each pair uses their own mobile device to find out the dictionary definitions and synonyms of these two phrases.
T asks ss to swap their synonyms into the text, and practice reading the sentence aloud.
Pairs take it in turns to read aloud their version to the class.
T asks ss to reflect on how similar words can have different meanings in different contexts. Group discussion on the importance of phrasal verbs and idioms in language learning.
Reading & Speaking Activity 1
T asks ss already in their new pairs to work with another pair.
T hands out seven slips of paper (7 ingredients for Good Beginnings) to each group and asks the ss to spread them on the table, face down.
T asks ss to turn them over one by one, have each st read the sentence aloud, find the common theme, and put the sentences in order. (FYI – there is no correct order).
T monitors and provides individual correction and feedback.
Reading & Speaking Activity 2
T asks the groups to analyse the original text with regards to the 7 ingredients for a Good Beginning.
T may ask: what ingredients are present in the original text? What ingredients are missing?
Delayed error correction
T asks ss to work in pairs again and add a few sentences to the original text which incorporate the missing ingredients.
T monitors and makes notes of any systematic lexical or grammatical errors.
Delayed error correction. (T asks ss to make corrections to their work)
T collects the ss work and sticks each short story up on the classroom walls.
T asks ss to work around and read the stories.
T asks to comment on the stories they like best and why.
T asks to choose a person as the main character, for example – best friend, family member, and use the 7 basic ingredients to write a beginning, with as few a number of words as possible.
Ss use curriculet to write and publish their stories. They share access allowing other students to read their work and make comments. T asks ss to read at least the work of at least two students and answer the following questions: does the beginning include the 7 basic ingredients, what are they? If any ingredients are missing, mention which ones they are and what they could do to improve their beginnings. What part of the beginning do you like best and why?
Why use Curriculet?
Curriculet is a digital reading platform which promotes comprehension through quizzes and assessment.
This tool aims to improve student reading skills through embedding questions, comments and other information media. Reports help teachers save time by tracking student progress. There is an in-built online library, and the teacher can exploit the platform’s potential by uploading additional reading content and supporting materials.
This tool could be used to encourage deeper, reflective learning. Being able to embed images, video and sound scaffolds learning and facilitates interaction with the content. And the assessment tools would save the teacher time and energy usually required to mark assignments. In a word, this seems to be a great online reading tool with the potential to increase learner’s reading ability, vocabulary and critical thinking skills. In turn, inspiration may be drawn from reading texts to inspire learners to write their own creative pieces.