Instant folklore - building a spoken story
I first came upon this activity in a beginners Gaelic class, but it can be used at any level as the difficulty is set by the students' own knowledge of grammar and vocabulary.
Get the class to sit or stand in a clear order -- eg in a circle or a line.
Start the story off with a simple, short sentence. The first student has to repeat this and continue the story, the second has to repeat and extend what the first one said, the third has to repeat and extend the second...
An example of how this might turn out (/ separates individual contributions):
I am tired / because / I went to bed late / last night. / Now / I want / an ice-cream / and / a bath.
This is quite effective because it forces the students to retain the English for later repetition (as opposed to translating to their native language). However, as the story grows longer, it becomes impossible to remember purely by rote, so the students must hold both form and meaning in their mind, strengthening their association, and breaking down students' tendency to constantly translate back-and-forth between their home and target languages.
The first few students won't get the benefit of this the first time round. There are a few ways round this:
1) have the story go round the group twice. (Not practical with big groups as the story will get too long to remember.)
2) once the story has finished, have all students repeat the full story in turn.
3) start a second story, beginning at the other end of the group, and finishing with the student who started the first.
If a student can't remember what came next (this will probably happen several times in a game), let the person who originally said the next line repeat it for him. (If you let just anyone answer, the top student will end up doing all the work -- as usual.)
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