In a shop window…
Here's just a quick idea for a digital storytelling project: Kim asked me to suggest a fun writing task ("Is that an oxymoron?" some of the teens in her class might have thought… 😉 ! )
In Catalonia, we celebrate St George's Day (known here as Sant Jordi) and in many schools they include writing competitions as part of the events, so this one had to be related — to be done with 15-16 year olds.
The VW microbus model in the image was in a shop window here in Barcelona and the aging hippy in me had to have a photo of it. I then suggested it as the starting point of the story, of which we provided the learners with the barest of bones, including this very rough one-minute sketch:
This was how the story has been presented to the learners, who have to complete it, in groups, by Thursday:
A person (man…? woman…?) leaves Town A (why…?), driving a VW microbus to go to Town B (in what country…? how far away…?), traveling over mountain roads, as per the sketch. On the way s/he picks up various other travelers (how many fit in a VW…?) who are trying to get to (where…? why…?).
One of the people is St George, one is a dragon (not necessarily a real dragon, possibly a very fiery little old lady, for example…)
We don't know anything else: you have to fill in all the missing details, each of you in your groups being one of the travelers, writing your own version of the same story.
My thinking was that this would be an ideal project for a class blog but would also have worked well on Tackk if you don't have a blog you already use with your class. Tackk is super easy to use, though you'd need one person to post all the different stories there, or else all use the same login.
A nice simple alternative would be to use shared Google Drive documents.
The original plan was:
- One lesson (50 minutes) working the story/stories out in groups (varying in size from 5 to 7, approx.), with as much help with vocabulary and ideas as possible coming from the teacher
- Writing the stories up at home, with as much collaboration as possible (Google Drive, Skype, WhatsApp… more or less whatever tools the learners wanted to use for that)
- One lesson, in class, putting the finishing touches to the stories, reading everyone else's stories, commenting on them, presenting them, getting feedback on the project, etc.
Learners sometimes — often! — say they "hate" writing (these learners said that last week!) but such projects are fun to do once you get people into them.
I think I'd in fact rather do such things than anything else in a language classroom.