I used the following quick starter activity today to get my students to think about language and purpose. I was really pleased with what they came up with so I thought I’d share!

I started by writing the following on the board:

Sally walked down the street. She heard a noise. She looked around. She saw something she didn’t like. She decided to run. It was too late.

We discussed that it had simple sentences but it wasn’t very interesting. I asked them, in pairs, to add language devices to turn this into a paragraph from a horror story. We then had “story time” (even though it was a group of adults!) when they read them out. This led to an excellent discussion about the language used for writing to entertain. I was really impressed with how they managed to consciously craft the language and analyse how and why they had done so.

I then asked them to turn the following into a persuasive piece:

Sally didn’t do her homework. She needs to do her homework. She’ll fall behind. The consequences are serious. If she doesn’t improve she will fail.

This again had some great results and they were able to compare the language features they had used for the different purposes.

This was one of those lovely activities that worked much better than I had expected it to – give it a go!



Playing with Purpose

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