Friday, 29 June 2012

A Writing Activity: Big Numbers

The following is an activity from my activity book, The Activist, again (in the future, I will be sharing with you some activities other than the ones in my book). This game-like activity aims to raise students' awareness of the mistakes they commonly make in writing. I have benefited a lot from this activity whenever I conducted it in my classes. I hope you'll enjoy it...

Level: Pre-intermediate and above
Materials Needed: None
a.    Find two sample student paragraphs, which have both strong and weak points.Make sure these points are relevant to your students’ writing; for example, the mistakes in these paragraphs must be similar to those your students keep on making.
b.    Give feedback on these paragraphs with numbers instead of words; each number will signify a different point (see the sample paragraph in the attached worksheet below).
c.    Photocopy these paragraphs for each group before class.
Interaction Patterns: Group work, whole-class activity, individual work
Time: 50 minutes

-    Students work in groups of four.
-    Give each group a copy of the paragraphs.
-    Students read the paragraphs and try to figure out what each number signifies in terms of feedback.
-    After the groups decipher the coded feedback, elicit what each number signifies from the groups.
-    Ask students to select one of the paragraphs and improve it in the light of the numbered feedback.  

•    For weaker students, you may give the list in the answer key in a jumbled order and ask students to match the answers with the numbers.

Personal Comment:
- Numbered feedback was something I was introduced to when I first started teaching at Bilkent University, School of English Language. I then adapted this useful feedback style into such a classroom activity and noticed that students enjoy decoding such feedback and learn a lot from giving feedback to these sample student paragraphs.

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