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Graffiti Wall

WRITTEN BYRaegina Taylor     ADDED: Jun 23, 2008

What is it?
A graffiti wall is a place where students can write freely in English about any subject they choose. It is a fun, artistic and visual way to allow students to practice their English without grades.

Activity Objectives:

The main objective is to get students to stop relating written English as a means to pass a test. The more students relate different mediums and accesses to English, the more daring they become in trying new ways off communication and learning.

Types:

1.  Temporary

A temporary board is one which can be cleaned and changed easily. This can include a whiteboard or blackboard where students can edit their work at any time. It also means less waste as there is no paper and students really enjoy writing random things, knowing they can erase it.

 

I find that when students know that what they have written is not permanent, then more students will participate in the activity. It alleviates fear of mistakes or belief of attainment of a certain academic level. Any students of any level can participate in the activity.

 

Every week I clean the board and write up a new ‘thinking question’ and picture. This can be something like ‘Do you like cats?’. Reponses from students included the ‘Yes, I do, No I don’t’ generic answers, but also some students started conversations with each other on the board asking each other what they like. Students subscripted in unknown words with pictures and topics grew and diverted to the point where the topic became English.

2.  Permanent

A permanent board is one made from paper or perhaps even an existing wall of a school classroom. On the permanent board, whatever students write is displayed for a long time, so it may be a good idea to have a practice whiteboard or paper close by for students to try out on. You could also make this type of board into a project by writing a topic or word or picture and seeing where the students take it. Maybe have the students submit their desired responses to be checked before writing it on the board.

Preparation & Planning:

Minimal preparation is required. Buy a whiteboard (large is best) and some markers to write on the board with. An eraser nearby is also good for students to use. Write up a topic, picture or question to make the students see that they are not the first ones to write on the board (an important step). After a couple of changes, write nothing on the board and see what the first idea to come form your students is. They will surprise you!

You could have year group boards too (of either the permanent or temporary types) and have a competition to see which level is the most daring and unique with their board. It could be judged on the manipulation of grammar, presentation and vocabulary. It is a fun way to challenge students to think outside the textbook examples.

Summary:
Graffiti boards give students access to using English; not just the study of it. It also allows the teacher to see how the students are performing on the fly (I.e. with no backup textbook handy). Over time, you can map the progress of students as they become more comfortable with this new access and try out new sentences, words and ideas. One problem I found is that kids will flock to the board in free conversation time (its now out of bounds during class time). Generating a fresh view on the application of English and making it more relaxed and artistic focused instead of textbook and drills.


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This page was last modified on Wednesday, March 19, 2014 09:57:26 AM