About two weeks ago, to celebrate Halloween, I decided to set up a contest where my students could try their hands at writing a paranormal story. The task was to write a story beginning with:
I don't believe in paranormal, but one day...
I want to thank my students for making the contest a resounding success as 58 students wrote 58 great stories. Thank you very much for your effort. Your contribution was vital to the success of the contest.Now, it’s time to choose a winner!
I have selected these 4 stories. Please, read them and help me pick a winner. After reading the four stories, you can vote. Please, vote only once!
Thanks for voting. Now, here’s the winner of the contest, Remedios Gámez. Thank you very much for your story “Hide-and-Seek”
Fall has finally hit!This is Halloween’s week and it seems the weather has finally chilled out and stopped being silly. The truth is that I don’t see myself telling scary stories in class while the sun outside is shining bright. It just wouldn’t do! Telling scary stories requires a dark, grey, gloomy day; one cannot be telling scary stories and thinking about going to the beach.
to introduce and revise vocabulary used to talk about paranormal or unnatural phenomena
to give students’ some listening and speaking practice.
to develop students’ writing skills
STEP 1. INTRODUCTION
Write Paranormal on the whiteboard. Ask students if they know what it means (if necessary, explain that a paranormal activity is not scientifically explainable), and ask them if they believe in paranormal phenomena.
STEP 2. LISTENING COMPREHENSION. A PARANORMAL STORY.
Ask students if they know what a Ouija board is and ask them whether they, or anybody they know, have ever played with a Ouija board. I have a real experience to share with them but in case you don’t, there are plenty of terrifying stories online you might want to share with your students (just to build the right kind of atmosphere).
Play the first 0:53 seconds of the video and ask students to predict what will happen next. Listen to their predictions and then, play the rest of the story.
Play the video a second time and ask the following questions:
True or False? Justify your answer
The narrator and his brother had just bought a Ouija board
The narrator’s brother was willing to play with the board
The first time, the narrator’s brother moved the planchette.
Answer the following questions in your own words:
Why did they decide to play a second time?
What is the ideal environment for a Ouija board?
Why did the narrator leave the room?
Why did he run back to the room and what did he see?
STEP 3. SPEAKING
Before asking students to discuss the questions you might want to pre-teach or revise some vocabulary.
To set the mood: gloomy, desolate, haunted, abandoned, scary, spooky, frightening, creepy and supernatural
To say how you feel: horrified, terrified, petrified, panic-stricken, trembling, paralysed, shuddering
To talk about “people”: a ghost ( a ghostly figure), an apparition, a shadow, an entity, an (evil) spirit, a hallucination, a medium, a UFO.
Ask students to work in groups and answer the following questions.
Do you believe in ghosts? If not, how do you explain people’s claims to have seen them?
Have you experienced the feeling of déjà vu? How do you explain this strange feeling?
Telepathy is communication directly from one mind to another. Is it possible to communicate this way?
Sometimes, the police use psychics to help them. What do you think about this?
Do you believe in hypnosis? What happens when a person is hypnotized?
Can people predict the future? Have you ever had a feeling about the future that turned out to be true?
Have you ever visited a fortune teller?
What do you think about UFO sightings?
Are you a superstitious person? What things are you superstitious about?
STEP 4. WRITING CONTEST. I DON’T BELIEVE IN PARANORMAL, BUT….
I love telling stories, don’t you? Well, the heading in this Step 4 needs no explanation. A contest. A contest which will give me the opportunity to revise narrative tenses and connectors to help students sequence their ideas.
I’m going to use this excellent post from Thought.Co
A good contest, deserves a nice poster. Here it is.
Raise your hand if you have never seen Michael Jackson’s Thriller video. No hands? Right! Just what I thought! You might like it or not, but what is undeniable is that this video has become a classic.
I was racking my brains about the activity I could give my students for Halloween this year when suddenly the image of the undead rising out from their graves in Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” appeared in my mind out of nowhere. Yeah! I know! Weird!
A spooky video but also a masterpiece. I hope you enjoy the activity and also the homework.
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Time required: about 60 minutes
SETTING THE ATMOSPHERE.
Ask students some of these questions:
Do you believe in ghosts? Do you know any stories about ghosts?
Has anything ever happened to you that you cannot explain?
Do you believe that vampires or zombies exist?
What is the most frightening experience you have had?
Ask students if they know who Michael Jackson was. Can they name any of his songs? Most probably students will know who Michael Jackson was and will probably mention the song “Thriller”. If you deem it appropriate, give students some information about this video, like for example, that it was voted the most influential pop video of all time.
The video lasts about 13 minutes. It is going to be divided into two parts, with a different task for each part .
TASK 1. Dictation (from the beginning to 4.40)
Tell students they are going to see the first part of the video where there is a dialogue between Michael Jackson and his girlfriend. Half the class will take Michael’s role and half the class the girl’s role.
Have the students work in pairs. Half the pairs in the class will write down the part of Michael Jackson and the other half the part of the girlfriend.
I suggest you give students the beginning of the dialogue as M. Jackson’s first sentence might be difficult to understand.
Jackson: Honestly, we’re out of gas.
Girlfriend: So, what are we going to do now?
You might need to play it twice.
Students help each other complete the dialogue
Pair students once again, this time you want to pair a student with Michael’s part and a student with the girlfriend’s part.
Ask students to act it out.
TASK 2. The Song (from 4.40 until the end)
Write/display the following words on the board and ask students to guess meanings. Explain if necessary and drill pronunciation.
Play the song and ask students to fill in the gaps with the words in the box. Words can be used more than once.
Play the video a second time
Students complete task 1 and try to fill in the blanks for the words in phonemic transcription.
Check and listen again to enjoy the video and maybe… sing along?
TASK 3. The homework
I am well aware that I won’t be able to check this homework and I am also pretty sure my students, which are all adults, won’t be volunteering to show how much they have learnt from doing this homework, but I guess that at home they will be having a great time and that’s important too. Enjoy!
Open to all my students at intermediate level until October 31st!
Are you willing to try your hand at writing a short scary story in English? This could be your chance to be internationally known. Who knows who might be visiting the blog and reading your stories. You might end up being a well-known writer !!!
Yeah! I know ! Probably too far-fetched ! But, what is undeniable is that this activity can help you improve writing and this is what really matters!
As in every single contest of some importance, there are RULES. These are mine:
Please ensure you read the rules carefully before entering the competition.Entry implies acceptance of all the rules and failure to comply may result in disqualification.
♥Theme: a scary/horror story
♥Stories must be written in English
♥Stories must be entirely your own work and must be previously unpublished
♥Only one entry per person can be submitted
♥ Stories may be of any length
♥Stories shall be titled
♥Submit your story via email by 11.50 p.m on October 31, 2015. Late entries will not be considered. Please, don’t paste your work into the body of the email, send it as an attachment with your name in the upper left-hand corner of the page
♥Prizes to be determined
♥Winners will be announced the first week of November, online and on this blog
Now, I promise this will be the last post about Halloween but I took some nice pictures of our Halloween party at the high school and I wanted to show you how much fun we had and how hard students worked; because not only did they spookily decorate our common room and prepared the games for the party but , they also cooked delicious creepy dishes,which I’m afraid are right now sitting comfortably around my hips.
Anyways , thank you guys for making our Halloween celebration a big creepy crawly success!!!
Enjoy the video!!!!!
I hope you’re not getting sick of so many posts about Halloween. This, if my memory doesn’t fail, is my third post about this tradition but I’m afraid you haven’t seen the last of it as we’ll be throwing our Halloween party on Wednesda . I’ve boarded the Halloween train and I have no intention of getting off .
As if cooking and decorating were not enough for my students, this video about the history of Jack O’Latern will set the mood for the halloween party and do the trick
QUESTIONS FOR PRE-INTERMEDIATE STUDENTS. Click here