• Inspirational English

Insight Friday-Graffiti Punished by Reading

Are you feeling overwhelmed because another weekend is coming up and instead of spending quality time with your family you're aware of the pile of tests you've got to check? Moreover, you want to implement some new ideas next week but inspiration does not seem to be on your side.

I know that feeling quite well. Working over 60 hours a week ( Yes, I'm deadly serious!) in two schools for eleven years back in my home country, pushed me to make lots of positive changes in my teaching regime.

So from this week I am introducing a new feature on my blog, called INSIDE FRIDAY. It aims to help you allocate more "ME" time during the weekend because I'll share an activity/lesson plan or a teaching tip that proved to be successful with my students during the week.

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Without further ado, let me share with you a lesson plan that I did with my students whose level is B2+. It was inspired by the article Graffiti punished by reading - 'It worked!' says prosecutor I came across on the BBC website a couple of weeks ago. This is what I did:

Step 1

I showed this collection of graffiti that I took in Folkestone last weekend.

Download the images here

We discussed the following questions:

*What is graffiti?

*Do you like the graffiti in the pictures?

*Where can you see graffiti in your area?

*Do you think that graffiti is a form of art?

*When isn't graffiti art?

Step 2

I explained that they would read an article about a group of youngsters who wrote some rude graffiti on the walls of an old school for African-Americans during the period of segregation in America. I asked them what punishment they think the young offenders were given.

Then I handed out the text and asked the pupils to find out what exactly the crime was and how the prosecutor punished the young people. At this stage we ignored the gaps.

After checking the answers, I asked them to read the article more carefully and fill in the gaps with the missing sentences.

Download the handout here

Key- 1-c, 2-d. 3-e, 4-a, 5-f, 6-b

Step 3

I asked the students to discuss the following questions:

*Why did the prosecutor decide to hand out this punishment?

*How did the locals react to this form of punishment?

*Have you read any of the books on the list? What do they have in common?

*What other books would you add to the list?

*What impact did the reading assignment have on the offenders?

Step 4

Then I handed out the second worksheet which includes an extract from one of the youngsters' essays. The students had to fill in the gaps with the missing words.

Download the second handout here

Key- 1-in-depth, 2-symbol, 3-affected, 4-pain, 5-hateful, 6-oppression, 7-less, 8-equality, 9-ignorant

Step 5

Group discussion:

*What insights did the young person have after reading the books?

*Use examples from the essay to illustrate how the person's behaviour could change in the future.

*Which book has had a powerful effect on your mindset?


The students have to write an essay about a book which has had a great impact on them. Another option is to prepare a talk on the same topic.

Hope your students find the lesson as enjoyable and thought-provoking as mine.

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See you next Friday,

Marusya Price

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