This activity is aimed at motivated students who understand the importance of learner autonomy. They may be few and far between (not sure if I’m being pessimistic or realistic here), but I think we should try and do what we can to feed their enthusiasm and reward their effort.
The challenge is simple: try and get your students to write a daily entry in an online diary application called OhLife. Before continuing, watch this short video tutorial to get an idea of how it works.
Although you’ll want to give’em the old the-more-you-write-the-better-you’ll-get-at-it line, for many students the thought of having to write a diary entry everyday may seem daunting. In order to lighten the load a bit tell your students that an entry doesn’t have to be very long – a single sentence is fine if they don’t feel like writing more. If they’re still not convinced, you can also point out that it’s not obligatory to write every single day. They will get an email everyday, but whether or not they reply to it will be their decision.
As regards whether the teacher should monitor / give feedback and how to go about this, I invite you to leave a suggestion or comment below. As I said in the tutorial, the application doesn’t lend itself very well to sharing, so let’s make this the “teacher challenge”. All ideas welcome!
What to write about
If you want to give your students some ideas for diary entries, you might like to refer them to the random topic generator you’ll find here. Every time the page is opened (or refreshed) it will generate a new topic for your students to write about, there are 40 topics in total. If you’d like to design your own generator, have a look at my previous blog post titled Random Text Generator.