Monday, March 26, 2012

A class full of Super Heroes

Does not happen to you that your students are always complaining about writing?

Motivation and involvement are the keys. They need a purpose to write and we must offer them an amazing and an amusing prompt to develop this basic language skill.

In elementary ESL classes we usually write descriptions (personal, physical, animal, objects), talk about our daily routines, places in a town or rooms in a house, habitats, food, sports and hobbies, ... in a non connected way; all of this because these topics comes in separated units.

A year ago, in a British Council Seminar in Barcelona, I discovered a web site that allow children to design their own Super Hero, with hundreds of possibilities (different parts of the body, clothes, weapons, mascots, colours...)

HeroMachine 2.5
The idea came to me as a sort of final task in Primary (year 6) which involved all the above mentioned topics in one single activity. Using the Heromachine 2.5 Generator, giving some simple rules and using some individualised supports, the writing process has become much more enjoyable for us all. I especially have noticed that my students are more willing to finish their assignments. As an added bonus, they have learnt about publishing through the process of writing.

In the following PowerPoint you will have an idea of the process, as we were taking some photos and recording our “steps” towards the final goal.
And now have a look to our Super Heroes and descriptions!
After publishing it, in our school blog, we did some extra activities: 1. We had to read aloud the descriptions we made and record our voice voices. So, we used the script as a support for reading and speaking.
This is Oumaima's Super Heroine...
Or Rafa's Super Hero...
2. Finally we had to post a comment about our work, telling what we feel or what we think about doing this activity.
    Of course, there are many other possibilities using this type of “prompt” for writing (or even talking!). If you have new ideas, please share!

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