Collaborative idea generation for ELT

A fish

What would you do with this fish in your classroom? It’s about 15cm in diameter and fits comfortably into an adult hand.

You can make any assumptions you like about the context it is used in. Post your ideas in the comments below.

Click here to find out the idea behind this blog.

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Comments on: "A fish" (13)

  1. Hmm, kinda drawing a blank apart from the obvious kinaesthetic use of throwing it around to nominate speakers for an activity.

    Could you use it as a silent student that the other students need to teach something to?

    How about a class mascot that you and the student could build a history and personality for depending on the topic in question? If you are talking about attributes, “Joe is strong but screams at horror movies.” or if the students don’t have anything to say about the weekend, “Joe had an amazing weekend because…” Make a log as you build up the fish’s backstory and personality over the weeks and months.

    It would allow for some creative storytelling group work and takes the burden off the students for their own lives to be subject of discussion in class. It would also always give a neutral subject for examples of anything you are trying to cover in class.

    Best I can manage I’m afraid. This one was a challenge.

  2. Brad Patterson said:

    Likewise, the fish seems mighty fine throw-around prop material. If it were a small group, maybe a chain story ? 🙂

  3. I like the other ideas so far, making it even more difficult! How about…

    The students could take turns to take the fish home, like a class pet, and take photos of it in different places. The photos could be printed or uploaded to somewhere so that the student could give a talk (in an imaginative and perhaps slightly surreal way) about their adventures with ‘Bluey the Fish’!

    Alternatively, the photos could be used to create a cartoon, or a bookr or fotobabble or something similar.

    Or the fish could be hidden somewhere in the school and the students do a treasure hunt, following clues in order to find it, that would be a good one for summer school!

  4. rliberni said:

    Some good ideas here. I was thinking about how I could use it with my students (who are adults and need work-related English). Could be sales and marketing discussion on how to sell it, or a new food concept (blue fish). I might just leave it on the table and see what came out of its presence there during the lesson!

  5. Richard! I love that idea!

    What about dividing the class into two groups. One group has to come up with a bunch of ideas for what this fish can do. The other group has to think of all of the things this fish cannot do. Which group can create a bigger list in ten minutes? I love a good challenge.

    For example:
    This fish can cheer up a lonely child.
    This fish can double as a ball.

    This fish can’t sing you a lullaby.
    This fish can’t do your homework.

  6. Whehey – I just love your site and reading through the smashing ideas by Richard, Tara, Berni, Gordon – so… not much to add, um, how about putting the fish on the table without saying a word and then going to the whiteboard and writing:

    How would you use this fish in a lesson to teach English and what would you teach? Then put them in pairs and write up the answers for us here 😀

    • richardwhiteside said:

      There’s a teaching workshop in that, I’m sure! It could lead to an analysis of the ideas and what pedagogical beliefs inform them, or (particularly with newbies) discussing the staging of the activities and what scaffolding the learners would need to complete the tasks. All based on one blue fish ; )

  7. Since you’ve suggested my ideas already (!) I’ll have to come up with something new:
    the two photos make me think of a mug shot – from the front and from the side. So you could create different identities for it, then make wanted posters.
    You could also get the students to take the fish around their home town and take pictures of it in different locations – other students then have to ask questions to find out where it was (like 20 questions) – could be used as a warmer

  8. Pavla Milerski said:

    At this point in my FCE year I would turn it into some kind of writing practice, such as an argumentative essay:
    -stuffed toy safety
    -advantages and disadvantages of buying fluffy toys
    -advertising cuddly toys

  9. Very random idea, but might be worth a try:

    Get the students to imagine that they’ve got lost in the jungle, with only the fish. They have to brainstorm possible uses for the fish to help them survive in the jungle, eg. as a lure for catching…other fish, destuffed, as a glove to protect against biting jungle ants (bit cruel, but hey!), etc.

  10. Matt Ledding said:

    If that long awkward pause (which is good) gets too long and awkward while waiting for someone to respond… I’d ask the fish. Next time I have to ask the fish, I’d give him to someone else to “channel”.

    Aside from that… how about throwing in the occasional “10 PHRASAL VERBS WITH GET, OR THE FISH GETS IT!” (stuffed animal violence has been sadly neglected in elt.)

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