Saturday, September 15, 2007


"This is a picture I did not take of a woman in fitness workout wear; running shoes, shorts and an active top; standing by herself in a deserted aisle of a flourescent-lit supermarket, her arms crossed in front of her chest, tears smearing her cheeks while she unwaveringly stared at the store's selection of baby diapers."

copyright 2004-2007 Michael David Murphy

I came across the Unphotographable site a few weeks ago and thought that it would be a great way to teach my students story telling skills. Michael David Murphy gives a short description of something that he has seen recently. A word picture of beautiful intensity. In addition he has recorded these in the form of a podcast (click here) which are wonderful.

Lesson Plan

This is aimed at upper intermediate and advanced ESL/EFL/ESOL students.

1 Give the students a copy of the story above and ask them to read it. deal with any difficulties in vocabulary etc.

2 In pairs students discuss what the background to the situation might be.

3 Elicit answers from the class.

4 Divide the class into two groups. Ask one of the groups tp leave the classroom for two minutes.

5 Tell the other group that they are going to hear a description similar to the one they have just read.

6 Play one part of Micheal David Murphy's podcast (twice if necessary) and ask the students to listen carefully and write down as much as they can.

7 This griup then leaves the classroom and compares their notes.

8 Ask the other group outside to come back in and get them to listen to another short section.

9 When both groups have had enough time to discuss their answers everyone comes back into the class and gets into pairs (one from each group) and discuss what the other person heard.

10 Play both sections again and ask the students to comment on how accurate their partner's description was. If necessary give them a printout of the descriptions.

Follow up exercises could include;

A Their own descriptions which could be writtean and recorded on their cell/mobile phones.
B Finding a picture on the internet which could go with the text.

No comments: