Writing a post-card
Beginner, A1 level
For students to practice productive writing skills, using appropriate language to describe a particular place in the context of writing a postcard.
For students to practice using the present simple, frequency adverbs, and vocabulary connected to places in a real and relevant context.
Procedure (35-45 minutes)
I will divide the class into two groups, making sure that there is an even distribution of stronger and weaker students in each group. Each group will be seated around a table and will be given an image of a different famous place, one image per group, which will be placed face down in the middle of the table. Ten images of famous places (2 of which are also on the student's tables) will be stuck around the edges of the whiteboard. I will tell the students that it is very important that they do not show the other group their image. Students will work in groups to think of, talk about, and note down as many things as they can to describe their image. Example questions (mimed and drawn to elicit vocab from students): Where? When? Hot? Cold? What? Buildings? Mountains? One group will have to describe their image to the opposite group and that group will have to guess which is the corresponding image on the whiteboard, and visa versa. If any topic relevant vocabulary is used then it will be written in a list on the right hand side of the whiteboard, for students to refer to throughout the lesson. NOTE: Students must not tell the class the name of the place, but describe the place for the other students to guess!
Students will be given an example of a postcard text, but the text will be jumbled up, divided onto separate strips of paper. Students will have to work in groups to put the text in the correct order. They will stand up and check their answer against the other groups. I will end this stage of the lesson by checking that the whole class is happy with the order, and check comprehension of the text with a few CCQs, nominating individual students. Students will match the text with the corresponding image on the whiteboard (Sydney). I will give students an answer key of the unjumbled text.
Students will have 2 minutes to read the now-unjumbled model text individually and to identify, by circling, some 'key' words and phrases in the text. Students will then be given a series of statements about the place being described in the text, and the person writing the postcard. Students will work individually to decide whether the statements are correct or false and then check their answers against another person's answers. During whole class feedback students will give answers in full sentences using There is/there are... She is... etc. I will then give each group a set of flash cards which will include some of the key words in the text and words connected to those key words. Students will have to work in groups to match the lexical sets. They will check their answers against the other group's by standing up and mingling. As a class we will look at ways of beginning and ending postcards i.e. 'Dear...', 'Greetings from...', 'With love...', 'Best wishes...', 'See you soon!', 'Wish you were here!'.
I will ask students to think of a place they have been on holiday, or a place they would like to go but have never been, and to imagine that they are sending a postcard home to their friends/family from this special place. CCQ - Are you at work or on holiday? Are you writing for business or for fun/for pleasure? Who are you writing to? I will give students one minute to think of the place they are writing from, and to jot down as many ideas as possible, without worrying about the writing. I will monitor and give positive feedback to individual students as I walk around the class. Before the students begin to write their first drafts, I will elicit the different 'parts' of a postcard from the whole class i.e. greeting, describing where you are, what you are doing, how you are feeling, goodbyes, and write these prompts on the whiteboard. Students will then have 10 minutes to write individually.
I will put students in pairs, with a student from the opposite group. In pairs they will check each other's texts and error-correct where they think necessary. I will give students 3 minutes to do this before asking the whole class to tell me of any sentences/vocabulary that they were unsure of, that didn't sound quite right. I will write two or three of these sentences/vocabulary on the whiteboard and elicit the correct answers from the class. Students will then have another 3 minutes to check their texts and make any necessary error corrections. I will end the class by nominating two students to read out their post cards and ask the rest of the class to guess the places being described.