I am not using an unplugged approach with any of the three classes with whom I tried out the wandrous whiteboard activity. In fact, all three are "exam classes" and are or will be either using a course book or a folder full of photocopied materials. The reason for using the activity was not the same with all three groups.
The first group of students I tried it out with are a teenage CAE class. There were only three students that day, and our course book has not yet arrived. I wanted to try something that would get them speaking, since they are not exactly the most talkative bunch of students I have ever met. They usually only give fairly short answers to questions, despite having the ability to express themselves perfectly in English. They are teenagers though, and are still shy or embarrassed to spend large amounts of time airing their opinions. So I gave each student a piece of chalk at the beginning of the lesson, told them to write anything they wanted on the board, and left the room for five minutes.
This is what they came up with:
|Advanced teenagers' babbling blackboard|
(By the way, the sentence about moles digging holes was written by a colleague of mine! It did spark off some discussion as to what he had meant though, and one of the students ended up going to ask him what it was about.)
I wanted to use the activity in a similar way with my FCE teens towards the end of the lesson, but we didn't really have enough time to talk about many of the things they had written. In any case, the activity turned out to be more of a vocabulary recycling exercise, as the girls wrote down all the new words they had come across in that lesson, and previous classes. Here is a diagram of their babbling blackboard:
In each case then, and depending on the level, the babbling blackboard was used in a different way. For higher levels as a base for conversation, but with lower levels to focus on grammar or vocabulary.
How would you use this activity?