A few weeks ago I had my sophomore students create a postcard (or use a real one or photo). The assignment started by asking them to think of something that represented themselves. In class they wrote and shared about it, then I asked them to create a postcard for the following week. One-by-one they presented and described the postcard and why it was important to them.
I heard the most fascinating things. Students talked about Paris, beaches, and space travel. They talked about their hometowns and famous sites in China. One told a wonderful story about raising a cow and how it was important in her life. Another student drew a kite and wrote a poem about being like a kite. One brought in a real postcard of Seattle.
Although they have studied many years of English, generally their speaking skills are lacking. This was good practice using a topic they have interest in. So much emphasis has already been placed on testing and filling in correct boxes, that I choose to emphasize enabling fluency, correct use of what they know, and unlearning mistakes they’ve been taught.