I was looking for a more unusual Valentine’s lesson for my students and came a cross a quirky talk by Hannah Brencher on TED.com – it’s called ‘Love Letters to Strangers’.
I showed my students her profile and elicited from them what she does. It’s a bit complicated. She runs a website which allows people to write letters to one another anonymously – something that was inspired by her mother’s love of writing letters.
We watched the video and as a gist task I got my students to listen out for people and places in her speech. The clip is only about 4 minutes long (I love that TED have started doing this!).
Then we watched with the subtitles and went through the transcript picking out any unfamiliar vocabulary like scribble, doodle, hand-penned.
I explained that I was giving the students the opportunity to do the same as Hannah used to – write letters to strangers and leave them in places they’ll be found, such as libraries, on trains, in cafes etc. Obviously, they’d be writing in English, so they’d have to choose their locations accordingly.
We thought about what might be appropriate to write in a letter to a stranger and how we could structure such an unusual piece of writing. They came up with some great ideas…
Then they wrote their letters and they really got into it, so much so that they asked to take them home and finish them so that I could check them in the next class. I’m looking forward to seeing what they bring in.
NB: This was a YL class, so I made it clear to students that they must not include any personal information or contacts, but gave my email as a contact if they wanted to put that on the letter.
When they bring their letters in I’ll update!