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Life Stories

Tim’s AI Writing Escapade: Whales, Woes, and Creativity

This lesson is designed to build your critical-thinking skills in English as you read, listen, and answer different types of comprehension and discussion questions.

Pre-Listening Activities for Teachers

Although these questions are related to classroom instruction, independent learners can reflect on the ideas and topic to prepare for the listening portion of the lesson.

  1. Brainstorming: Ask students to brainstorm and write down as many challenges they can think of when it comes to writing research papers. After a few minutes, facilitate a class discussion where students share their ideas and create a collective list of challenges.
  2. Reflective Writing: Pose the following question to students: “Have you ever faced a situation where you struggled with a writing assignment? What were the difficulties you encountered and how did you approach them?” Give students a few minutes to reflect and write down their responses. Then, ask a few volunteers to share their experiences with the class.
  3. Debate: Divide the class into two groups and assign them opposing viewpoints on the use of AI writing assistants. For example, one group can argue in favor of AI writing assistants as helpful tools, while the other group can argue against their use, emphasizing the importance of developing one’s own writing skills. Give the groups time to prepare their arguments, and then have a lively debate where students present and defend their positions.
  4. Ethical Dilemma Discussion: Present students with the following scenario: “You have a research paper due, but you are struggling to write it. A friend offers to let you use their AI writing assistant to complete the paper quickly and effectively. What would you do in this situation? Would you accept the offer? Why or why not?” Encourage students to share their thoughts and engage in a class discussion about the ethical considerations surrounding the use of AI tools in academic writing.


Listen and read the story and answer the questions. 


A language activity at Randall’s E-S-L Cyber Listening Lab.

Not too long ago in the bustling world of a local university, there was a freshman named Tim, an earnest young student with a big heart, but he had a problem weighing heavily on his mind.

You see, Tim had been assigned a research paper on whales, a topic that held great significance for him, as it happened to be one of his girlfriend’s favorite interests. He had to impress her with his knowledge of these majestic creatures, but unfortunately, his attempts at writing the paper had been nothing short of a disaster.

For three long weeks, Tim had wrestled with the assignment, struggling to find the right words and ideas. The blank page mocked him, and he grew increasingly worried that his girlfriend would lose interest in him if he couldn’t deliver a captivating paper on her beloved whales.- It was in this moment of desperation that he stumbled upon an online AI writing assistant.

With trembling hands, Tim inputted his research topic into the AI’s interface, hoping for a miracle. And a miracle is precisely what he got—or so he thought.

In a matter of minutes, the AI online writing service presented him with a fully formed, meticulously crafted research paper on whales. It was as if the AI had unlocked the secrets of the ocean and woven them into the very fabric of the document. Excited by his newfound success, Tim submitted the paper without a second thought.

Little did Tim know that his teacher, Professor Wiseman, possessed a keen intuition that extended beyond the confines of academia. As Professor Wiseman read Tim’s paper, his eyebrows furrowed with suspicion.

The writing was impeccable, far beyond what he had come to expect from a freshman. Doubts arose in the professor’s mind, and he decided to investigate further.

A few days later, Professor Wiseman called Tim into his office. Tim’s heart raced, and his mind raced even faster. He feared the worst, knowing deep down that he had taken an unethical shortcut. As he sat before the professor’s desk, his palms sweaty, Professor Wiseman began, “Tim, I must say, your paper on whales was quite remarkable.

It displayed a level of sophistication far beyond what I anticipated from a freshman. However, something tells me that this might not be entirely your own work. Can you shed some light on this?”

Tim’s face turned as red as a blushing rose. He confessed to using the AI writing assistant, sharing his worries about losing his girlfriend’s interest due to his inability to write an engaging paper on whales. Professor Wiseman sighed, understanding the weight of Tim’s concerns but also recognizing the importance of integrity in academic pursuits.

“Tim, I understand your desire to impress your girlfriend, but taking shortcuts won’t lead to true growth,” the professor gently admonished. “Writing is a process of exploration and self-discovery. It’s about diving deep into the subject matter, developing your own thoughts, and expressing them in a way that resonates with your readers.”

Feeling a mixture of guilt and remorse, Tim apologized to Professor Wiseman, fully aware of the consequences of his actions. However, to his surprise, the professor smiled sympathetically and said, “Let’s turn this situation around, Tim. I believe there’s an opportunity for you to learn and grow from this experience, with the help of AI, but not as a crutch.”

From that day forward, Tim and Professor Wiseman embarked on a joint journey to explore the true essence of writing. They decided to use AI as a research tool, finding relevant sources and organizing information. The professor encouraged Tim to immerse himself in the subject of whales, visiting the library, interviewing experts, and observing these majestic creatures in their natural habitats.

Together, they embraced the wonders of technology, employing AI-based grammar and style checkers to refine Tim’s writing. However, the professor was clear that these tools were mere guides, not replacements for Tim’s own unique voice and creativity.

As days turned into weeks, Tim discovered a newfound passion for whales. His own ideas blossomed, and he fused them with the knowledge gathered through AI assistance. His papers began to reflect his personal connection with these incredible creatures, infused with a touch of humor and wit that Tim had always possessed. 

Upon reading his latest work, his girlfriend was captivated by the subject matter and Tim’s genuine enthusiasm and growth as a writer.

In the end, Tim realized that the journey itself was more important than the destination. Technology had its place in supporting his writing development, but it was his own dedication, curiosity, and commitment to growth that made him a better writer. Tim went on to become an accomplished researcher and writer, known for his insightful perspectives and engaging storytelling.

And as for Tim’s girlfriend . . . Well, she remained by his side, fascinated not only by the wonders of whales but also by the remarkable journey of her beloved Tim—the young man who had learned the importance of hard work, integrity, and the irreplaceable human genius that lies within each and every one of us.

Comprehension Questions: Self-Grading Quiz

Comprehension Questions in Text Format

1. What was Tim’s problem with writing research papers?
A) Lack of interest in the topics
B) Difficulty finding relevant sources
C) Inability to express his ideas creatively
D) Poor grammar and spelling skills

2. Why did Tim decide to use an AI writing assistant?
A) To impress his girlfriend
B) To improve his grammar and spelling
C) To find relevant sources for his paper
D) To learn more about whales

3. How did Professor Wiseman catch Tim’s use of the AI writing assistant?
A) Tim turned in his paper very quickly.
B) Tim admitted to using the AI assistant during class.
C) Professor Wiseman noticed an unusual level of sophistication in Tim’s writing.
D) Another student reported Tim’s use of AI technology.

4. What did Professor Wiseman emphasize during his conversation with Tim?
A) The importance of using AI as a crutch for writing papers
B) The significance of integrating technology in academic writing
C) The necessity of expressing one’s own creativity and voice in writing
D) The need to impress others with well-crafted research papers

5. How did Tim’s writing improve with the guidance of Professor Wiseman?
A) Tim was able to use these writing skills in other languages.
B) Tim’s papers began to appear in academic journals.
C) Tim developed a unique voice, blending creativity and knowledge.
D) Tim’s papers focused solely on his girlfriend’s interests.

Answers and Explanations

Question 1: C) Inability to express his ideas creatively
Explanation: Tim struggled with writing research papers because he found it challenging to convey his thoughts and ideas in an engaging and creative manner.

Question 2: A) To impress his girlfriend
Explanation: Tim was worried that his girlfriend, who had a keen interest in whales, would lose interest in him if he couldn’t write an engaging paper on the subject. Therefore, he turned to AI technology as a means to impress her.

Question 3: C) Professor Wiseman noticed an unusual level of sophistication in Tim’s writing.
Explanation: Professor Wiseman , with his keen eye for detail, noticed that Tim’s writing displayed a level of sophistication and coherence beyond what was expected from a freshman student. This raised suspicion and prompted the professor to investigate further.

Question 4: C) The necessity of expressing one’s own creativity and voice in writing
Explanation: Professor Wiseman emphasized to Tim that writing is about conveying information and self-expression and creativity. He wanted Tim to understand the importance of developing his own voice as a writer rather than relying solely on AI assistance.

Question 5: C) Tim developed a unique voice, blending creativity and knowledge.
Explanation: With the guidance of Professor Wisebaum, Tim learned to use AI tools as a support rather than a crutch. This allowed him to develop his own distinctive voice as a writer, combining creativity, wit, and a deep understanding of his subjects. His papers became a joy to read, reflecting his growth as a writer.

Discussion Questions

Easy (Recall and Comprehend):

  1. What was Tim’s problem with writing research papers, and why did it worry him?
  2. How did Professor Wisebaum catch Tim’s use of the AI writing assistant?

Intermediate (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. How did Tim initially feel when he discovered the AI writing assistant? Why did he decide to use it?
  2. In what ways did Professor Wiseman help Tim improve his writing? Explain with examples from the story.
  3. Reflecting on the story, do you think using AI as a tool for writing assistance is a good idea? Why or why not?

Advanced (Analyze and Interpret):

  1. Discuss the ethical implications of using AI writing assistants in academic settings. What are some potential advantages and disadvantages?
  2. Professor Wiseman emphasized the importance of developing one’s own voice and style in writing. Why do you think this is important, and how does it impact the quality of a written piece?
  3. Reflecting on your own writing experiences, how do you strike a balance between utilizing AI tools and maintaining your own creativity and originality in your writing?

Class Activities

These post-listening activities add visual (seeing), auditory (listening), kinesthetic (moving), and tactile (touching) elements to engage students in meaningful ways based on their learning styles.

  1. Reflective Writing: Ask students to write a reflection on the story, focusing on a specific aspect that resonated with them or an important lesson they learned. Encourage them to express their thoughts, emotions, and any connections they made to their own experiences. After writing, students can share their reflections in pairs or small groups, fostering discussion and deeper understanding of the story’s themes.

  2. Character Analysis: Assign students to choose a character from the story and create a character analysis. They can describe the character’s traits, motivations, and growth throughout the story. Students should provide evidence from the text to support their analysis. This activity encourages critical thinking and literary analysis skills.

  3. Debate: Divide the class into two groups and assign them opposing viewpoints on the use of AI writing assistants. One group can argue in favor of AI writing assistants as helpful tools, while the other group can argue against their use, emphasizing the importance of developing one’s own writing skills. Give the groups time to prepare their arguments, and then facilitate a debate where students present and defend their positions. Encourage respectful and evidence-based discussion.

  4. Writing Workshop: Conduct a writing workshop where students practice incorporating AI tools into their writing process. Ask students to bring their own writing assignments or prompts. In small groups, have students use AI writing assistants to generate ideas, improve grammar and style, or find relevant sources. Encourage students to discuss their experiences with AI tools and how they impacted their writing. Finally, have students revise their work based on the feedback received from the AI tools and share their revised pieces with the class.

Language Game

Here’s a fun and high-energetic game based on the topic of the story called “Whale of Words.”

Materials needed:

  • Flashcards with various words related to the story (e.g., whales, research, writing, AI, creativity, voice, integrity, technology, etc.)
  • Timer or stopwatch
  • Whiteboard or large sheet of paper
  • Marker or chalk


  1. Divide the class into two teams.
  2. Set up a large game board on the whiteboard or paper. Create a path from start to finish, with spaces for each team to move forward.
  3. Each team selects a representative to participate in the game.
  4. The game consists of rounds, and each round focuses on a specific word related to the story.
  5. The chosen representative from each team stands facing the board.
  6. Show a flashcard with a word related to the story.
  7. Set the timer for 30 seconds.
  8. Both representatives quickly brainstorm and shout out as many words related to the given word as possible within the given time limit.
  9. The representative who shouts out the most related words correctly gets to move their team’s game piece forward one space.
  10. Repeat the process with different flashcards and words, allowing each team member to have a turn as the representative.
  11. Continue playing rounds until one team reaches the finish line.


  • Increase or decrease the difficulty by adjusting the time limit or the complexity of the words on the flashcards.
  • Include additional challenging tasks or questions related to the story between rounds to earn bonus points or advantages.
  • Add interactive elements, such as incorporating physical movements or actions related to the words, to make the game even more energetic.

Here are specific words for the flashcards, along with some possible related words for each:

  1. Whales

    • Related words: ocean, marine life, mammals, cetaceans, humpback, blue whale, sperm whale, orca, migration.
  2. Research

    • Related words: investigation, study, data, analysis, findings, methodology, experiment, hypothesis, scholarly.
  3. Writing

    • Related words: composition, essay, paper, storytelling, communication, expression, wordsmith, authorship, prose, literature.
  4. AI (Artificial Intelligence)

    • Related words: technology, automation, machine learning, algorithms, computer science, data analysis, chatbots, neural networks, automation.
  5. Creativity

    • Related words: imagination, innovation, originality, inspiration, artistic, thinking outside the box, inventiveness, imagination, imagination.
  6. Voice

    • Related words: perspective, individuality, style, tone, author’s voice, unique, point of view, expression, authenticity.
  7. Integrity

    • Related words: honesty, ethics, trustworthiness, principles, moral values, reliability, honor, uprightness, sincerity.
  8. Technology

    • Related words: innovation, advancement, digital, gadgets, devices, internet, coding, software, hardware, progress.

Feel free to mix and match these words on flashcards according to the desired level of difficulty and relevance to the story. The game can include additional flashcards and related words as well to provide variety and challenge during gameplay.

Different AI technologies, including ChatGPT and an AI voice generator, were used in a collaborative way to prepare the content for this lesson.
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