They work together to choose a situation, a setting and characters. Then they think of some catch phrases and a title. They finish by presenting their ideas to the class. As a follow on task they can write a section of the script for their sitcom.
You will need to make copies of photocopiable sheet sitcoms 7. Make one copy per group of four or five students.
Introduce the topic of sitcoms. Draw the following table on the board:
|Situation:||Flat share and cafe|
|Main characters:||Ross, Chandler, Joey etc.|
|Other info:||Ross is Monica's brother|
Elicit the titles of 2 or 3 sitcoms from your students' culture and write them in the first row. Then elicit information to fill in the other cells in the table. Explain that the "setting" is the place where the sitcom takes place; a town or a country. The "situation" is more detailed. Examples are things like an office, a shop, a staff room etc. An example is included here for the US sitcom ‘Friends' but students should be encouraged to come up with the examples themselves. They can use sitcoms from their own country or any other.
When students are familiar with the terms and are talking about the sitcoms that they are familiar with explain that they are going to create a new sitcom.
Divide the students into groups of four or five. Give each group a copy of the handout. Students should discuss each point and make notes. Give them about 20 minutes for this stage. Explain that they should try to be as original as possible and that when the time is up they are going to share their ideas with the rest of the class. Monitor while the groups are creating their sitcoms and offer help where needed.
Ask each group to present their ideas to the rest of the class, explaining their reasons for choosing their particular setting and situation and describing their characters. They can either choose one student to be the spokesperson or they can each present a different section.
As a follow-up activity students could write a section of the script for an episode of their sitcom. They should try to write it in the form of a real script (students can go to www.simplyscripts.com to see how scripts are written).
Great idea. I have not tried it with a sitcom, but I have tried something very similar with TV commercials, especially longer ones that have a short story built in. I have them re-enact a popular commercial; then, in groups they come up with their own version attempting to sell the same product. It works with all levels. Rania