As a form of taking a break from writing actual materials, I thought I would write about writing materials. After all, it’s something I’m starting to nerd out about and this seems like the best place to write about it.
A cast of characters
I guess that the stories began as a creative outlet for me. Now, however, I’m taking what I learned about my students’ reception of the stories and making them into constraints with the goal of spurning my creativity.
To that end, I’ll continue the O’Malley stories someday (weirdly, they’re being held up by my inability to complete an art project that I want to complete) but I’ve enjoyed filling the Geldsack Mansion out with ever more characters.
For now, these characters are being introduced in a new series of simpler stories (suited for students around the A1 or A2 level). After the stories have been read by my students, I’ll post them here.
My goal is to cover more types of characters and more situations, with the goal that individual students will be able to see themselves–and their own communication needs–in at least a few of the situations covered.
Loose integration with grammar activities
If you’ve read the passive grammar worksheets I’ve shared, you’ll know that I like absurd little anecdotes to illustrate the grammar. Unfortunately, students need to have a relatively high level of mastery to appreciate the humor of the absurdity, rather than being confused by it.
So, I’ve resolved to start using the characters from the house to illustrate the grammar in the worksheets I’m currently creating. I’ll post them here as soon as the first set of test students has run through them all.
The idea is that reading the stories will make understanding the situations in the grammar worksheets easier, but that neither will require the other. After all, I plan to use everything willy-nilly in class with the idea that it creates a world that is slowly built up for the students.
A minor reference, mostly for myself
To that end, I’ve started collecting my random thoughts on the universe of New Spork City in one location. Originally, I thought I’d make it a private Google Doc, but if you’re using the stories and your students have questions, the New Spork City Reference is probably the first place to look.
The long and the short of it is, I’m still making stuff and hope to share it. If you have feedback, I’d love to hear it.