This is a creative writing activity inspired by a book by Edward de Bono called “Creativity Workout”. Students obtain random words and write down what they think happened either before or after an event given to them by the teacher. To increase curiosity and engagement, I used examples from my own life and it worked like a dream. Enjoy.
Level: B1 +
Time: 45 minutes
- To recycle recently studied vocabulary in a new and memorable context.
- One die per pair or small group.
- Draw a 6 x 6 grid on the board.
- Ask the students to review recently studied vocabulary and provide a word for each square. Make sure the students know the meaning of all the words.
- When the grid is complete, put students in pairs or small groups. To obtain words for the activity students throw the die twice: the first throw indicates which column they are going to use and the second indicates which row they are going to use. Depending on the task, they must roll for the number of words and use them repetitively to complete the activity.
- Before the class think of some interesting things that happened to you and that your students might not know about you. Give them the first sentence (look at the examples below) and ask them to write down what they think happened BEFORE or AFTER that event using the random words. This activity proved very motivating for my students as they wanted to find out what actually happened. You can also make it more competitive by telling your students that the pair who gets closest to the truth will win/ get a point. I encourage you to come up with your own examples or even to ask students to prepare their own sentence(s) each before they begin the activity. If you want to use my examples and make it a creative activity less based on actual events, use my sentences and alter them according to the level of your class.
- Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: We have deleted each other’s contact details and decided to meet at the main train station in Milan in EXACTLY six month’s time.
- Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up in the middle of the night completely soaked.
- Obtain four random words and guess what happened next: On a cold December night, my mother was walking home from work when suddenly she was stopped by a stranger. He did his best to cover his face and my mother began to feel uneasy.
- Obtain five random words and guess what happened next: I was getting ready to move to Zaragoza and was about to book my flight to Spain when my ex called. “Wait, don’t book anything, I will drive you to Spain”.
- Obtain four random words and guess what happened the night before: I woke up and realised I had missed my flight. I was in Salamanca and had to be back at work, in England, the following day.
- Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: I was drowning. My whole life was flashing before my eyes and I could see people looking at me and laughing. Cameramen, local journalists and my coworkers just kept staring and nobody moved.
- Obtain five random words and guess what happened before: We were taken to a large room and told to wait. After a few minutes Pope John Paul II entered the room.