Friday, April 28, 2006

Passive Voice Lesson

The first thing the san-nensei's (Ninth Graders) learn in English is how to use the passive voice. So I came up with an activity so they could actually use it in coversation. In writing, I've always been taught to avoid it, but it does have it's uses. One of the other ALTs in Hokkaido suggested that one of the best uses of the passive voice in conversation is to complain about things. For example: My wallet was stolen! My seat on the bus was taken! My mom was abducted by aliens!

So, using his suggestion, I designed an activity based around the students' worst day ever. A terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The kind that makes them want to move to Australia.

I made up a worksheet and had the students write sentences (using passive voice) about their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Then, in groups they got to choose which sentence was the worst. Er, best. The best worst sentence. Those went up on the board and were given points. One point for each sentence, two points for correctness, one point for creativity, and the last point for horribleness. The last point was awarded by the students.

Here are some of the sentences I got, as written by the students in the Grade 9 Advanced English class:

My friend was eaten by Mr. Kousaka. (The English teacher.)

My father was smashed into pieces in the world.

My dog was eaten by the cat.

When I went to school, my school was destroyed. Because I came back to my house but my house was destroyed, too. I am shock!!

My mom was abducted by Donald (Donald Duck). Today diner is Donald Duck!!

Mr. Yokoyama (the gym teacher) was crushed by a stone.

And my personal favorite, even though she forgot to use passive voice... (she fixed it after it was on the board)

My friend made dinner for me. I was very happy. I ate it.
This tastes shit!!!
So, she put her shit in my dinner!! Our friendship is finished.

I would have liked it better if she had used the grammar I wanted her to focus on.

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