Lesser controlled computer room writing activity. This activity can be adapted to the level and grammar area of your choice.
Level: Intermediate & above
Location: Computer room
Topic: Writing direct speech in a cartoon
Language Focus: Direct speech, present tenses etc
Time: 30 minutes
Game: Zimmer Twins
Screenshot of Zimmer Twins game
1 Play the game yourself and make a note of any language to preteach that appear in the four file categories:
Screenshot of the four types of clips
2 In class ask your learners to make a table in their books with four columns and to label them ‘talking’, ‘doing’, ‘feeling’ and ‘writing’ (based on categories in clip screenshot above).
3 Call out vocabulary (that appears in the game and learners have to write the words in the correct category.
4 Encourage learners to ask for the meaning of any unfamiliar words.
5 Go to the computer room and direct learners to the site. Click on ‘Make a movie’ and then ‘Make from scratch’.
You should tell tell your learners that they are going to make a cartoon by listening to your instructions. Tell them you are going to tell them the order which they have to use the ‘clip icons’. This is to make sure that they concentrate on the speech bubble and star icon which involves learners having to write something. Other than that they can write the story that they want. Allow them to discuss the storyline as well as what to write between each ‘dictation’.
Also tell them that they can change the person, place and other things by clicking on the green writing in the middle.
Dictate the icons in the following order: STAR (clapperboard), SPEECH BUBBLE, SPEECH BUBBLE, SMILEY, RUNNER, YOU DECIDE, RUNNER, SMILEY, SPEECH BUBBLE, SPEECH BUBBLE, YOU DECIDE etc
Learners write their story. When they have finished they can go and look at the cartoons their classmates have done.
In the preparation stage instead of asking your learners to make a table, ask them to tear up a piece of scrap paper into four pieces. Then ask them to draw a “speech bubble, a stick man running, a smiley face and a star”. Learners place the four icons they’ve drawn in the middle of the table. Learners play this game in groups of 2s, 3s or 4s. Call out the vocabulary from the game and learners have to grab the correct icon from the middle of the table. The fastest to get the right one is the winner. Mix the vocabulary you call out with words they are familiar with and possibly unfamiliar with.
You could also control the activity a little more by asking your learners to include targetted language. e.g. if you’ve just done a specific tense, phrasal verbs or other language area, then tell them they have to include 5 examples of that in their story.
The disadvantage of this game is that it doesn’t save your work unless you have registered as a member with the site. It’s free and doesn’t require too much information so you should consider joining.