*A Trip to Owl Creek Bridge by Douglas Adams
This group bonding activity for intermediate or higher level students, practices descriptive as well as narrative skills.It is a fluency activity that enhances student's speaking, listening, and grammar skills in a highly communicative way. I suggest this activity be done around the fifth week of class after students have begun to form relationships with one another.
A trip to Owl Creek Bridge is connected to a story by Ambrose Bierce entitled An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge(in Great American Stories V.1). I usually have students read the story before we do this activity. However, the activity can be used in isolation as well. Within this story Bierce uses descriptive language to paint a picture of various scenes and to try to coney an emotional impact to the reader.
Materials & Method:
All you will need for this activity is some blank copy paper and some colored markers and/or crayons. Start by asking students to remember a place that made a strong impression on them. This could be a good memory or even a bad one. Take a few moments to discuss the expression,'to make a strong impression on...', being sure to give and elicit examples. Next, divide the students into partners and give each person a piece of paper. Seat the partners so that they are facing one another across the table or desk; and place a small partition between them so they can not see each other's paper. One partner begins by describing their place to the other and explaining why it made a strong impression on them. Using colors selected by the describer, the other partner draws what they think the scene looks like. Afterwards they partners switch roles and repeat the process. When everyone has finished the teacher goes around the group and one by one holds up each picture and asks the artist to tell the class about the place in the picture and why it made a strong impression on their partner.
I have used this activity with five different groups and have received very positive results each time.It's a good way for students to learn about each other through the stories of their own lives.