Level: High intermediate – advanced
Writing Skills Focus: Writing a narrative.
Task: To write a description of events that occurred during a weekend trip.
Step 1: Discuss the best and worst places to take a weekend trip.
Step 2: Read the model narrative. Discuss what made the trip unforgettable.
Last weekend my friend and I took a trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Everyone told us it was the best place to go for a weekend trip in New England. We left on Friday in a rental car. We soon found ourselves in heavy traffic. It was awful. We tried to be patient, but we soon became upset. By the time we reached our hotel, we were hot, tired, and not interested in anything.
On Saturday morning we woke up happier. Our hotel room had an ocean view, and it was lovely to see the water. We went to the hotel’s breakfast buffet, but we were angry to discover that most of the food was gone. It was only 9:00 a.m., but people had been eating at the buffet since 6:30 a.m. The day didn’t get much better. The beach was crowded, and the water was cold.
By Saturday evening, the sky had become cloudy. We enjoyed our seafood dinner in town, but on the way home we got caught in the rain. Back at the hotel, we took turns in the Jacuzzi bath and then sat by the fireplace to stay warm. We might have had a peaceful night, but in the middle of the night the ceiling began to leak.
By Sunday morning, we were ready to leave Cape Cod. I won’t be ready to return for a long time.
Step 3: Before this lesson, you will need to prepare some advertisements for weekend resorts, etc. You can cut out ads from a magazine or print out online ads. If you only prepare two or three in advance, you may present all of them and allow students to choose their destination. You might also take the time to find one ad per student and then randomly hand them out. (Tell the students they’ve each won a free trip to a surprise destination!)
Step 4: Tell students that they will write a similar narrative of an unforgettable weekend based on the travel ads. (It can be an unforgettably good or bad trip.) Note the use of the simple past tense and the time markers: Last weekend, since 6:30 a.m., by Saturday evening… List additional time markers on the board.
Step 5: Supervise and assist as needed. Final compositions may be shared with a partner or in small groups.
ADDITIONAL SUGGESTION: This task could also serve to practice reported speech. Final compositions can be exchanged. Each student then has several minutes to read another’s narrative and prepare its presentation to a small group. The model narrative from above can be reported as follows:
“Last weekend Carlos and his friend took a trip to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Everyone told them it was the best place to go for a weekend trip in New England…”