I have a small group of teenage FCE students who like to do a piece of writing for homework once a week. I usually set them an exam type task since they need practice in writing reports, articles, essays and formal letters. However, sometimes I set them something freer - there is nothing that dampens the imagination more than a FCE task to write yet another story that must begin or end the story with the sentence "it was the worst day of my life".
So after reading some fantastic stories they had written with the only instructions "write a story about whatever you want with no maximum word limit", I decided to give them another creative piece to do.
The piece they are going to write this weekend is this:
Imagine you are one of the Chilean miners trapped underground. Write a diary entry explaining your feelings, hopes and fears.
First we discussed the situation - what the students knew (very little since they don't seem to read newspapers or watch the news very often) and I explained basically what had happened and what was ocurring at the moment (the rescue operation). We then brainstormed vocabulary that we might need to talk about the topic. This involved words to talk about mining, escape and rescue, and started a discussion on how one might feel when trapped 700m below the surface.
I hinted that the students might like to look on the internet to find out what the freed miners have said about their experince to help them.
I am really looking forward to reading their accounts of being in the mine. I will post the best pieces here next week.