A couple of weeks ago I was due to revise the grammar of ‘have’ with Advanced students, covered a couple of months previously. Wanting to make it more student-centred but being short of inspiration, I put a call out on Twitter for help. @fionamau came to the rescue with this suggestion:
Give the students five minutes to write as many sentences as they can using the word ‘have’ in any tense.
With this as my starting point, I then created a whole lesson:
- SS did a very quick controlled practice exercise to remind them of different uses of ‘have’.
- They had five minutes to write their sentences.
- With a partner, they checked their sentences. I also quickly went round and offered advice.
- With the same partner, SS wrote a text in any format they wanted to (story, review, letter…) which had to include one sentence from their list.
- They switched texts with another group and had to find the hidden sentence.
- They then got their original text back and with the help of a monolingual dictionary, a collocations dictionary, a thesaurus and the Internet (in the form of my laptop) they then had to make the text more advanced. By this, I meant moving away from short S + V + O sentences (if appropriate to the text type) and trying to incorporate some of the grammar and vocabulary we have looked at throughout the year. I also challenged them to include more description / emotion etc depending on the text type they had chosen. The final thing for them to look at was punctuation – in Czech, the longer a sentence is, the better.
With their permission, here is an example of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ transformation of one of the texts:
Before (sorry about the format – it’s easier to read if you click on the image)
New Irish restaurant is big disappointment
A new Irish restaurant was opened in the city centre two weeks ago so I decided to visit it and look the menu over. I had a delicious lunch in the afternoon, so I was expecting a tasty meal in the evening as well. I was excited to have a kind of traditional Irishfeast , but it turned out this wasn´t such a good idea. It took the waiter 15 minutes to come with the carte du jour and finally, when I chose my meal, I was told that they didn´t have it that day . I started to be really annoyed. However, I picked something else.
I really didn´t know what my meal was going to be because the name was written in Irish, so it was quite surprising when I got undercooked potatoes with a bloody steak. It made me feel sick so I had to go home. I must say it was disgusting.
I taught the same basic lesson with two different groups and both of them really enjoyed it. They also found it useful to analyse the grammar using their own sentences, as it highlighted the problems THEY had, and not the ones which I ‘guessed’ at.
It would be great to hear your suggestions for variations / improvements on this.