Junk Activity

ELI80 (4)
Fall 2004
Junk Activity
General description
In this activity, students work in small groups. Each group picks out several pieces of
“junk” and comes up with a way in which they use a particular set of junk. They have to
write out a sales advertisement and read the advertisement in front of the whole class, paying
closer attention to the aspects of pronunciation that they have learned in the class by then.
 To practice pronunciation that we have learned this semester—It can be any aspect of
pronunciation, but here, I am focusing on linking, palatalization, reduced forms, pause,
stress, and intonation because they are the ones that we covered in our class this
 To raise students’ awareness about creativity and the existence of different views about
something—In order to achieve this activity, students have to be creative and see objects
from various views.
This activity is used toward the end of the semester as one of review activities of this
semester. At the same time, I hope to develop the concept of an autonomous learner among
students since after they finish taking ELI80, it is their responsibility to continue brushing up
their English listening/speaking skill. While trying to improve their English skills, they
might have to think of what is the best way for them to continue developing their skills. In
other words, they have to be creative and try out different techniques so that they can find the
way which is most suitable for them.
<In a previous class>
In a previous class, teacher tells students to bring one piece of “junk” to the next class (e.g.,
pencil, mirror, ruler, tissue, stapler). Warn them NOT TO BRING TRASH/GARBAGE!
Teachers should also bring some pieces so that there will be enough pieces. They can also
bring a dictionary if they want.
<On the day of the activity>
1. Ask students to bring the piece of junk they brought to class to the teacher’s desk of the
classroom. Place all the pieces, including the ones that teacher brought, on the desk. (2
2. Students get into small groups (e.g., groups of three or four). (2 minutes)
3. The first member of each group comes to front and chooses one piece of junk. Then, the
second member from each group comes to front and chooses another piece of junk.
Continue this process until all pieces are gone. (5 minutes)
4. Now that each group has several pieces of junk, they, as a group, have to think of a way in
which they use those pieces as a set. They can ignore the size of the object. Each
group should come up with one idea. (10-15 minutes)
e.g., envelope, one piece of paper, tissue, sunglasses
“travel kit to the space”
 paper—magic carpet that takes you to the space
 tissue—bed cover you can use when you sleep
 sunglasses—There are things that aliens can see, but human beings cannot.
ELI80 (4)
Fall 2004
But with these sunglasses, you can see them.
 envelope—a bag to keep all these items together so that you can carry them
5. Once they come up with an idea, the next step is for them to think of a sales
advertisement for the kit and write it down on a sheet of paper. It can be as long as half
a page to one page. They can use a dictionary if they wish. (15-18 minutes)—After
trying out this activity, I found that this part was actually very difficult for students
especially because they are working on in a big group. It might have worked better if
they had small groups.
e.g., travel kit to the space
“A private trip to space is no longer a dream! You can now easily travel to the
space, if you have this kit that we want to introduce to you today. This kit, called
“Meet Aliens!”, can let you travel to other planets in the space, stay there for several
days, communicate with aliens, and come back safely to the earth. Let me show
you what we have in this kit. First, you need transportation to travel to the space.
Well, we have a magic carpet here!.....”
Note: Students do not have to worry too much about grammar when they write it out.
6. Have students mark on each sentence for pronunciation keys using appropriate symbols,
e.g., “ ” for linking, underline for reduced forms, “|” for pause, and so on. They can
focus on only a few aspects, not all, of pronunciation. While students are doing this,
teacher walks around and gives feedback as needed. (5-8 minutes)
7. Have students practice the reading (pronunciation) of the advertisement. Each member
of the group should read at least one sentence of the advertisement when they give a sales
presentation in front of the whole class. Since this is a sales advertisement, they have to
stress on content words very clearly with a variety of intonation (instead of a flat pattern
of intonation) so that their customers get interested in buying it! Teacher walks around
and gives feedback as needed. (8-10 minutes)
8. Each group comes to front and gives a sales presentation. (10-12 minutes)
9. After all the presentations, ask students to bring back all the pieces of junk to front so that
each student can take it back. (2 minutes)