The Burning House is a beautiful webpage I learn about today through the blog ESL Activities.
The idea behind the webpage is presented in just one paragraph:
"If your house was burning, what would you take with you? It's a conflict between what's practical, valuable and sentimental. What you would take reflects your interests, background and priorities. Think of it as an interview condensed into one question."
From here tens of people have posted entries with their list of the objects they would save together with a short explanation and a photograph showing them.
So what's in The Burning House for the English student? First of all, the sheer feast of prying into so many life stories summarised in just one photograph and a list of objects. Then the opportunity to develop our reading and vocabulary skills while going over the posts.
Finally, and if we have the opportunity to get together with some other English students, the chance to develop our speaking ability by answering the question "what would you take with you if your house was burning?". We don't need to gather all the objects together. Drawing them or just naming them would be enough, but going over the objects would allow us to have lots of speaking time while we go over personal stories.