Anna of Magpie Moments has been blogging recently about student-generated material. I too am in love with the idea of no-teacher's-materials - the portablility, the minimalism, the concentration, the lack of faffing and distraction. Recently with several classes I've been trying out in-class fiction writing various ways.
Today just before my class with a small group of adult lower intermediates, I remembered an activity from a Rinvolucri book - the Expanding Sentence - or some similar name. I started by putting a very short but complete sentence on the board - in this case "He went to hospital." For this exercise you have to space out the words using the whole board:
Each player then has to add a short phrase (1-3 words) to the sentence, at any place, and leave the sentence still making sense. A nice touch was to give each player a different colour of marker. We had something like this halfway through:
What we finished up with 20 minutes later was:
After eating a breakfast - the usual eggs and bacon, against medical advice - HE didn't go to work in Asturias, but instead WENT quickly and nervously by his new, red scooter through the snow and the ice TO the University HOSPITAL in Madrid to have a coronary checkup on the 4th floor, east side, with Doctor Green, not the best expert in the country, and his incompetent team of hungover students.
Now that, to my mind, is practically a chapter's worth of information. And there was a good sense of involvement and giggling, which is always a bonus.
What I intend to do next lesson is to recap the sentence approximately, and then ask the students each to write a couple of paragraphs more on one subject like this:
His coronary problem; his journey to hospital through the bad weather; some background about the incompetent Dr Green, and so on.
I might see if they can write a little about the consultation with the doctor in another lesson.
I'd love to hear from you, especially if you try writing fiction in class.