After a ‘heads down’ activity such as reading, where students have been actively but quietly focused, I try to counter-balance this with a speaking activity. (See ‘meat and rice’ weeks 1 and 2). Some texts lend themselves perfectly to a discussion or personalisation task, but here are some general ideas that can work with a narrative text, e.g. a story, or a newspaper article which describes a particular person’s experience:
– Ask students to work in pairs to re-tell the event from the point of view of one of the characters in the story, not the main character. For example you can ask students to ‘make a phone call to tell your best friend what happened’. The ‘best friend’ asks questions and reacts to the story.
– Invite one of the people from the story into the classroom for an interview. If your class set-up allows it, first sit everyone in a circle. Tell them that ‘Mr X’ from the story is here, selecting one of your (more confident) students. Let the others ask him/her questions. Do the same with other characters/students if your class responds well.
– Divide the class into teams and let them sit together. Each team in turn gives just one correct piece of information from the text. If they repeat something which has already been said, they lose a point. Ensure that only one fact is given at a time, e.g. The story happened in November. Give one point to each team, keeping a score on the board. Incidentally, this particular task can work with any type of content-rich text.