Thursday, September 18, 2014

Activity Roundup: Everyday USA, New from StoryCorps, and Writing Prompts

Welcome to the fall term! Here are some current things you can use in your classes.

Everyday USA is an Instagram project started this summer by a collective of photojournalists. I created an activity that could be used in an intermediate to advanced class of any skill - there are conversation, writing, and reading elements in this activity, so you can choose how you want to focus on this material. The reading activity is a skimming exercise based on this interview in National Geographic.

If you are in a lab, students can work on this activity at their own pace, on their own computers. You could also do this in a classroom, with one projection overhead, and students using their phones to move through the photography feed. That last option is for the more adventurous teacher, of course, but maybe give it a try!

A new animated short form StoryCorps! I created a listening comprehension activity to go with it. The first exercise is on basic comprehension, and the second exercise incorporates closer listening and some dictation. I drafted a few conversation questions to close the activity as well.

Here's a great site I found for generating all sorts of prompts. It's meant to be used for writing, but I see no reason you couldn't use this to generate new topics for oral communications exercises as well! Some of the prompts that came up for me just now were:

  • What's in your fridge? 
  • The little boy's idea of heaven was...
  • "Sweetheart, what did you bury in the garden?"

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