For want of anything more interesting to waffle about, I thought I might write up, every now and then, some of the lesson ideas which come to me under the influence of opium pipes and pints of industrial drain cleaner –and which I then inflict upon my long-suffering students.
Today, I present Mad Men.
Named after the US series which my missus watches and which, from what I can see through an occasional glance over her shoulder, seems to be a show about chain smoking –the Mad Men lesson is an exercise in Creative Thinking under pressure.
First compile a list of two columns of words. Each word in Column A should be able to be paired with a word in Column B to make some kind of vague sense.
Next cut up the list into individual words and put all the words from column A into one hat [or crappy envelope in my case] and all the words from column B in another hat [or another crappy envelope in my case]
Students then draw one word at random from hat [or envelope] A and one word at random from hat [or envelope] B. When the words are put together, whatever they end up with is the name of their “product”.
The students then have a set time [say an hour] to go away and come up with an advertising poster promoting their particular product.
It’s a good, fun way to get the class thinking creatively and, since 99% of the generated product names are completely nonsensical, impractical, or downright dangerous, it’s also a good exercise in getting the students to think outside of the proverbial box and let their imaginations really run wild.
As a starting point, for anyone wanting to try this themselves, here is the list of words I used to get the ball rolling. As I said before, you need to design your list so that any word from column A can be paired with any word from column B and still make some kind of [albeit vague] sense. [Apologies for the screengrab but Tumblr doesn’t support proper table layout]:
When, as I like to on occasion, I played along too, I drew out the words “FISH” and ”HOLIDAYS”. Here is the poster I came up with: