If you want to fire the imagination of your students you can use this individual writing activity. This is an adaptation of one of the great Scott Thornbury’s ‘grammaring’ activities. I have used it for years and it always works well with teenagers or adults, from intermediate to advanced levels.
Aim: For students to change the prose description into a poem and vice versa to change the poem into a prose description; and to practise the use of the present participle
1. Ask the students to change this prose description into a poem:
We were walking in the forest to the Salt River lagoon surrounded by a crescent of pale sand. There was a strong wind blowing and above us dark clouds were forming. We were flying down through the treetops over a steep, forested hill. It was getting dark. Then suddenly, we saw the moon rising over the forest. We could see the path leading to the chalet. There was a light burning in the window. We were home at last!
2. Monitor as the students write their poems. You can read your own example of the poem to help the students start writing. For example:
walking in the forest
to the Salt River lagoon
a strong wind blowing
dark and ominous clouds forming
it was getting dark
the moon rising over the forest
flying down through the treetops
over a steep, forested hill
we could see the path
leading to the chalet
a light burning in the window
home at last!
3. Ask each student to read their poem to the class.
4. Now ask the students to change the poem by Ruth Norby into a prose description.
parting at dawn
clouds turning from red to gold
a light rain falling
somewhere a dog is barking
and the car stands humming
your hand in mine
eyes not meeting
only two hearts beating
the night too short
and too long
the day that is coming
5. Students then read their prose descriptions to the class.