This is an oldie, but a goody. It's a writing exercise that combines communication, grammatical accuracy and listening skills.
Get a written passage about 100-200 words long and tell your students to put down their pens and pay attention (of course they should be paying attention anyway!). Read the passage to them twice at normal speed, without telling them why you are reading it or what's going to happen next. Then write down certain words from the passage on the board in strict chronological order. Some people advocate writing just the nouns, or adjectives, some prefer a mixture (if I'm feeling cruel, I'll just write down the indefinite articles?only joking). Then students are told that, in pairs or groups, they must re-write the story as close to the original as possible, using a combination of their memories of the passage that was read to them, the prompts on the board and their own structural control.
They will have a time limit, say, 20 minutes, and at the end of it, the passages will be collected in, and students will lose a point from a maximum of twenty for every mistake they make or every word that is different from the original. Finally, the passages are given back and the passages are read back to the students, and error correction can be done.
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Angus Savory 18/08/2011