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A multi-level writing class
It gives the students a chance to find about you, their new teacher, and it also gives you a valuable opportunity to assess your students' level. It can also be a useful and productive class if you ever find yourself substituting a class at short notice.
You will need the following materials:
- strips of scrap paper
- coloured pens
- large A3 paper (or if you have an overhead projector students can write on transparencies)
- Divide your class into small groups (between three and six students depending on how big your class is) and give each group a pile of strips of paper (about 15 or so).
- Tell the class that they are going to write about you and they need to find out as much information as possible for their piece of writing. The groups work together to prepare questions for you on the strips of paper. You should sit in the middle of the groups and have something to lean on. Tell the class you will answer their questions by writing your reply on the strip of paper if their questions are written correctly. If there are mistakes in the questions you will circle the mistake and give the question back to the group to correct. The group can then re-submit the question to you. Set a time limit for students to write the questions, give them to you, wait for you to reply and so on. Ten or fifteen minutes should be enough for this stage. If there are a lot of small groups, students should queue quietly when they bring their questions to you to answer.
- When all the groups have had time to gather between ten and fifteen questions with answers, tell students they are now going to use this information to write a short paragraph or two about you in their groups. If you like, ask students to write a rough draft, then copy it in neat, large writing onto A3 paper (or transparency if you have access to an over-head projector).
- When all the groups have finished they should take it in turns to bring their writing up to the board. Stick it on the board with blu-tak and ask one of the group members to read it to the class. The rest of the class should come and sit close to the board now so they can all see the writing. (If you have an over head projector this is easier!) Now, each group, in order, has a chance to correct one mistake, with a coloured pen, that they find in the text. Award points to the groups for each mistake they find and correct. Ensure you are fair by going in order and giving each group a fair chance at correcting an error when it's their turn.
- The winning group is the one who has corrected the most mistakes. You can also give marks for the quality and quantity of work each group produces to add to each group's total.
For homework, students can write a similar paragraph about themselves.
Thanks to Lisa Wood who showed me this activity many years ago!