Wednesday, 24 February 2016


Drawing by Denis & Simone 2scA
In January we had a so - called Students' Week in our school,  during  which we didn't follow the regular timetable: classes were open and  students split into sub-groups or gathered into mixed groups, our lessons were based on extra activities.

To the groups of students I met in those days, I proposed a writing workshop (B1 level). The activity had been designed to prepare candidates for the ISE I exam of Trinity College. I used it to improve students' writing skills through amusing and engaging tasks. 

Introducing story frames

There are usually 6 stages to a short story:
a. Introduction: introduces characters, setting, time, weather, etc.
b. Starting action: the point of a story that starts the rising action.
c. Rising action: events leading up to the climax or turning point.
d. Climax: the most exciting part or turning point of the story.
e. Falling action: the story begins to conclude.
f. Resolution: a satisfying ending to the story

Story Writing Activity

The students worked in pairs, taking turns to be "the writer". The teacher dictated the first sentence (introduction) from the  chosen frame story  and students wrote it down.   Two different frame stories were used. The students decided which one they preferred after listening to the reading of the first sentence from both.  (See Story Frame 1 - John's Cat    See Story Frame 2 - Jane's Talent).

Pairs then had 5 minutes to discuss how they would continue the story and write it down. Then their paper was passed to the next pair.
The pairs had a couple of minutes to read the story so far. Then the second prompt was dictated (starting action) and students wrote it down.
The process was repeated 6 times until the story was completed. The pair who worked on the finale (resolution) was responsible for the editing and the correction of the entire story (discourse, coherence, grammar, spelling, etc.)
The teacher collected all the stories,  read and corrected them and, in the end, printed them all assigning a number to each story. 
All the students in the classes involved worked as a jury in the following weeks. In pairs students read all the stories and assigned to each one a score from 1 to 5.
5 short stories were chosen from the ones based on Story frame 1 - John's Cat and one was chosen among the ones based on Story frame 2 - Jane's talent 


John 's Cat

5. Story by Denis and Simone 2scA  - score 86  
(Read the story)

4. Story by Lorenzo D. and Francesco V.  3scA - score 89 
(Read the story)

3. Story by Maria Vittoria and Benedetta  3scA - score 90
(Read the story)

2. Story by Roberta and Simone 3scA - score 92
(Read the story)

1. Story by Roberto and Lorenzo C. 3scA - score 103
(Read the story)

Jane's Talent

The best story was the one by Irene and Marco from 4scA - score 93
(Read the story)

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