Conducting the Activity
Take what follows as a suggestion. Feel free to modify it in any way
you think appropriate given the group with which you work.
- Ask students who have seen or played a game called "What's wrong with this
picture?" to raise their hands.
- For those who are unfamiliar with it, you can explain that it involves looking at a
picture that at first glance appears unremarkable. However, on closer examination,
one finds things that make no sense or that communicate interesting thoughts. The
game is to find these "hidden" items, and to ferret out the meaning of the
picture and its contents.
- Go on to say that you are going to play a slightly different game: What is wrong with
this sentence? The object is to figure out what the author of the sentence intended,
and what needs to be done to it to clarify and transmit that meaning.
- Explain that the sentence you are about to put on the board is purportedly from a letter
to a welfare office. After doing so, write the following:
In accordance with your instructions, I have given birth to
twins in the enclosed envelope.
- Lead a discussion where your students attempt to "right" the sentence.
- Distribute and review copies of the student assignment.
- Depending on available time, you can have your students work on the assignment in class
or afterwards as an out of class assignment.
- After they have finished it, discuss
- what needs to be done to each "note" to correct it
- why people make mistakes like these
- how one learns to recognize and correct such mistakes before embarrassing oneself
- how different individuals went about making the corrections, and what makes some
solutions better than others
- As a followup, you might want to consider
- having students contact attendance, welfare or other offices seeking real examples to
bring in for examination
- having students intentionally write sentences like these to share with their classmates
- searching your own archives of student work for examples (or begin collecting them for
return to the Ain't This Write? page
copyright © 1998-2004 classroomtools.com. All Rights Reserved.
original web posting: Thursday, September 10, 1998
Sunday, November 21, 2004