Here's a creative writing activity — or digital storytelling if you like to be modern — that went down well when I tested it on three willing teenagers and which we posted earlier today, along with two other similar activities on our Spanish teacher training blog (content in Spanish):
To really appreciate the photo in the tweet there, you perhaps really need to see the other photos in this Huffington Post article (and see the amazing video, below).
I'd recommend doing this in groups of at least 5, with one person being the Queen sitting there in the photo and the other members of the group being people that live and work in the castle (which you can just about see there on her knee — and see also the article mentioned above).
Stages of the activity
(1) Discuss and pick who should be Queen (there were only four of us and I finished up being the Queen (!) but in a bigger class I wouldn't want to do that).
(2) The "workers" should answer the following questions individually:
- What's your name?
- What's your job?
- What effect do the mushrooms have (see article, or the video below, for the images)
- Is the Queen good or bad — and why?
- What hidden secret do you have which — until now — you have never told anyone?
(3) Whole class — or with the class divided into however many groups you have — get together, in the presence of the Queen, to discuss the answers, and keep and/or iron out any contradictions as well as making any additions to the story desired.
(4) Write (or record) and share — and comment — on the different versions of the story.
Tools for the activity
With only 4 of us, we in fact did this in a shared Google Drive document, though it would work excellently on a class blog — one on which all your learners are authors — with each "worker" writing their story as a post, with text and images (their own!) as desired and/or audio versions (with Spreaker being my preferred tool for that).
On a blog, you could then get the Queen to "comment" (something which I did, as the Queen, in comments inside the Drive document). You want comments in this kind of activity — comments give you more interaction, more use of language!
In a bigger class, within the groups, you could pair people to tell their story-within-a-story — as husbands and wives living in the castle.
How it was made…
Into the Gloaming (Episode One) from Alexia Sinclair on Vimeo.