It can be especially useful if you have to substitute a class at the last minute as it takes no preparation at all. Each student needs a blank piece of paper and a pen. Tell them they are going into a pre-historic internet chat room so they all need to decide on a nickname. Tell students that you are going to be the net and you will need to stand in the middle of the circle to exchange the papers. Explain that the net has gone a little bit crazy and they can’t send messages to specific people. If you have a big group ask a student or two to help you be the net in the middle.
Give students an example of how to start. Eg. Pingu: How are you feeling today? As students complete their questions they should hold the paper in the air and then you swap the papers over as if their messages are being sent. They then reply to the one they’ve just received and so it goes on until each student has a page full of ‘chat’. Then give the papers back to the student who wrote the initial question and they can see how the chat developed. This could lead on to talking about the internet or chat rooms, or you could use the text to do some error correction. As students have been writing quickly there will probably be lots of silly mistakes they can correct themselves.
This activity was presented to me by a teacher I met a couple of years ago on a training course, so thanks go to Carme for this one.