I do not know if this would be a spooky in-class activity. Maybe the title does seem bizarre, and it should read “Facebook for historical characters” instead. Here is the story: I was a bit shocked not long ago as I was scrolling down my facebook newsfeed and I noticed that there had been a recent status update by a former colleague who had passed away a few years back. I was curious and I went to visit his profile page just to realize that it had been created by his brother as a way to remember him, and to share old pictures and memories with his closest friends. Regardless of my opinion about this approach to remembering a dear one, I could not avoid thinking about all this when I happened to find this facebook template for historical figures. Richard Byrne believes it may be useful to have students find connections between historical characters. I personally think that besides the research which students need to make in order to come up with their dead people profiles, this is an excellent way to promote a fun classroom speaking activity which students can use to practice simple past. Though it may have a number of variations, the way the information is structured allows easily a pairwork activity in which students keep at hand their dead character’s facebook profile and ask each other the following questions: Where did you spend most of your life? What was your marital status? When were you born? What was your hometown? Where did you travel during your life? Who were your closest friends? Did you join any groups or associations? What schools did you attend? Who did you work for? These questions can of course be used for a team interview activity, for a guess who game, and so forth. Students may afterwards practice reported speech forms by sharing their findings about their partners with the class. It is important to realize that the questions proposed are indeed realistic as they might be used in real-life conversational exchanges. As a follow-up activity, students may form a facebook group with their historical characters and come up with this kind of written interactions by commenting on each others’ status updates.  Facebook in the classroom seems to be such a hot topic nowadays, that I believe it is just natural to try to find luring, communicative tasks to use this popular social network tool creatively.

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