1. This is a simple framework for creating a short story based on a given topic. T writes on the board:
2. T asks SS to think about a given topic and write down in their notebooks 4 people connected with it. Then T takes feedback from each group and chooses the most interesting (most promising) 4 people and writes them on the board, underneath the heading ‘Person’.
3. If it is the first time the class has done this activity, T could explain what they have to do. SS copy the grid from the board into their notebooks and, working as a team (or pair), think of a problem for each person, then a reason WHY it is a problem, then a possible resolution to the problem – positive or negative, or both, for example:
4. Option 1: After 10 mins, or so, T asks for feedback from each group and selects the best (most promising) problems, reasons, and resolutions, and writes them on the board. All groups have the same material with which to work.
Option 2: SS work with what they have produced with their group.
5. SS work in pairs. One of them imagines that they know the person in the first situation, e.g. they are neighbours. They have to improvise the story about that person’s problem, as if they are sharing gossip. Their partner asks questions and plays along, until the story comes to a natural end. T monitors, checks, and corrects.
6. SS change roles and the partner who listened last time talks about the next person and problem as if they know them. Again, T monitors, checks, and corrects.
7. T leads group feedback, asking SS from each pairs to talk about one or more of their stories. Some (or all) of the pairs might show examples of their work to the whole group.
8. T (or SS) could write errors from SS’s work on the board and elicit corrections.
- SS will get a lot of satisfaction from thinking up and developing their own creative work, rather than reading a dialogue aloud from a book, because the level of involvement and use of skills involved in the former far outweigh simply reading somebody else’s ideas aloud.
- SS could write up one or more of their stories for homework, using a given text form, e.g. a short story, formal email, newspaper article, and so on.