Anne Lamott, in Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, says just what her father told her anxious brother who had to write an assignment on birds he’d had three months to write and which was due the next day. “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
In this pair activity, we'll take it step by step.
Students pair up: one takes the role of listener. This student (B) needs a paper and a pencil to draw what their partner (A) tells them.
A tells B exactly how to retrieve an object of special sentimental value from his/her apartment or house. A explains exactly what B will see/have to do to get the object, describe the object and also explain why it is so important. B has to be able to repeat all the steps, based on the drawing she did, and ask questions to fill the gaps.
The objective of this activity can be language function-related (giving instructions, describing, etc.). From a storyteller's view, though, it illustrates the difficult to bridge gap between what we see in our mind’s eye and what we tell.
The important thing is to remember to just take it step by step:
Anna Witte is a writer, artist, and educator, and the author of award-winning, bilingual (Spanish-English) children’s books including The Parrot Tico Tango (El Loro Tico Tango), Lola’s Fandango (El Fandango de Lola), and of the sung stories for the Tikitiklip Precolombino Series.