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Have You Seen Jack? An ESL Role-play by Chris Gunn





Student 1 activity Sheet


Student 2 Activity Sheet





Student 1 Role Cards


Student 2 Role Cards



Purpose and Audience:

The purpose of this role-play is to get students at levels from false beginners to intermediate to use relative clauses and appositives to describe people.


Target Language:

           Appositives plus relative clauses:

          Jack, the guy who plays on the school basketball team.


Class Set-up:

It's important to give the students some time to look over their role cards because the role cards, especially for group 2, are quite lengthy. They will need some time to figure out any vocabulary that they don't know.


The class is divided into two groups: Student Group 1 and Student Group 2. In the role-play, students from one group (student group 1) will go around the room and ask students from the other group (student group 2) if they have seen Jack using the dialogue on the activity sheets as a guide. Students from group 2 will ask the students from group 1 to clarify because there are many 'Jacks' around. Group 1 students will clarify using an appositive and a relative clause: Jack, the guy who plays guitar. You know, Jack, the guy who works at the gas station.


The students from group 1 will keep clarifying until the students from group 2 finally figure out which Jack the student from group 1 are talking about. The students fill out the tables on their activity sheets recording items such as things they didn't know about Jack, the reason for looking for Jack, where Jack was last seen and what Jack was doing.



The inspiration for this role-play comes from a dialogue between Baudolino and Hypatia in Umberto Eco's Baudolino. Baudolino who is a knight in Frederick's court goes to the East in search of the kingdom of Prestor John. He encounters a tribe of hypatias who are all named Hypatia. Baudolino then tries to determine how they distinguish one another:


                    "So all of you then are called Hypatia."

                    "Naturaly. All hypatias are called Hypatia, no one is different from

                      the others, otherwise they wouldn't be a hypatia."

                    "But if one hypatia or another is looking for you, just now, when you

                     are absent, and asks another hypatia if she has seen that hypatia who

                     goes around with a unicorn named Acacios, how would she say it?"

                     "Just as you did. She is looking for the hypatia who goes around with

                      a unicorn named Acacios." (Eco, Baudolino)


And so, as the example illustrates, hypatias must be very good at using relative clauses, otherwise they wouldn't be able to find each other. And so, wanting students who would be proficient at using relative clauses, I made the role-play along these lines where the class was packed with people named Jack.




 All materials (c) 2007 Lanternfish ESL