Using photos in EFL Classroom, part 3
We are all stories, right? We tell a new story, the same story, another story all the time and we do it in the class too.
Today I’m going to mention activities that can be used to create new stories for the theme “Using Photos in EFL Classes”.
You can either ask your students to bring some photos they have taken or you can choose the photos you’ve taken or as usual, go to #ELTpics and tell them to choose the pictures they want to think about and write their stories.
You can tell them to write
watching the sea from a distance
- Twitter stories, that is 140 characters only per photo
On a cold sunny day in January, I took the tube to go to Covent Garden, I walked around a little. I heard a singer singing a beautiful song.
- A mini saga, which is a short piece of writing containing exactly 50 words, plus a title of up to 15 letters.
It was summer, a hot day in August. We were on our way home. We had a lovely holiday on an island and now we were heading to the big city, to chaos, to exhaustion, to stress. Suddenly my husband said “forget the city, let’s make that island our home.”
You can read the previous posts here Using Photos in EFL Classroom Part 1 and here Using Photos in EFL Classroom Part 2
If you are working on a “theme” that you think can be photographed easily, you can ask your students take photos and add them to the Padlet wall you’ve created for that specific “theme” and ask students to write what made them to take the photo, how they felt about that photo. You may also ask them to describe the photo or write a few words to predict what will happen after the moment they took the photo. You can also ask them to write captions for the photos they have taken.
If you haven’t used Padlet before, you can check one of my previous posts here
And here is the Padlet wall I created for this post as an example.
“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange
Visuals are useful and powerful tools to enhance the use of language, combining the images and the concepts they refer in the minds of the learners. Photos, as all visual images, also encourage the learners to predict and guess the story of the photo they are looking at. It is easy to bring the real world into the classroom and talk and discuss about it.
Today’s children love taking photos. They love taking “selfies” but they also take photos of everyday objects, food, the place they live, the place they visit and they don’t need a camera for taking photos anymore. They don’t even need to go somewhere to develop them to bring into the classroom. There is even no need for a printer, a computer as long as they have a smart phone, Internet connection and Google Tools to share it with you and their class mates. Moreover, as they are addicted to use the phone and can’t live a minute apart from them, why shouldn’t we take advantage of this and challenge them?
I think we can ask them to take their own photos or we can bring the ones that we have taken or chosen from other people’s sets. I’d suggest #ELTpics for projects with photos if you don’t want to use your own photos or the student photos.
In the early years the photos can be used to
Teach, revise vocabulary
Drill the target language
Describe the photo
However in the advanced levels photos encourage students to write and tell stories, to discuss certain issues, and do a lot more things.
So I’m planning to write a few posts on using photos in the language classrooms. I will list some activities that can be used with any level.
Caption Writing Project
- Tell students to take photos on their way home or at the weekend, etc.
- You can guide them to take photos of food, supermarkets, street markets, people commuting in the morning, etc.
- Start a Google Slide and share with your class.
- Tell students to upload their photos to the slide.
- Depending on the size of the class, divide students in teams and give each team a set of photos (depending on the number of photos uploaded)
- Tell each team to write captions for the photos they have for their teams.
- Choose the best photo, best caption, the most creative caption, etc. (optional)
- You can print them out and create a class display.
- You can download the Slide as pdf and upload the file to “youblisher” and create an ebook that can be shared or embedded to your class blog or school website. This very easy activity can be turned into a class project as well.
- If you decide to continue the project all year long, you may then decide to print the sets and turn them into a printed “class catalogue”.
To be continued …
LEVEL: A1, BEGINNER
MATERIALS: HEART SHAPED PAPER CUT-OUTS
Using paper, prepare heart-shaped cut-outs, as shown below.
Give students the handout. Ask them to complete the categories with the given words, phrases. Or you can prepare your own categories according to your students’ likes.
A piece of cake, a piece of chocolate, a piece of apple pie, a slice of pizza, a big hamburger, a parrot, a tiny kitten, a friendly dog, goldfish, sister, brother, grandmother, friend, cousin, a cup of hot chocolate, a cup of tea, a glass of fruit juice, sea, mountain, lake, river, city, town
Then give them heart-shaped cut-outs and tell them they are going to create their heart-shaped books. On each heart they will write
Love is …
and continue with the phrases from the categories or they can add their own words or phrases. Tell them to illustrate and colour their books.
If you are learning English in the 21st century, you are lucky because you will have numerous alternatives to practise the things you’ve been learning.
There are thousands of great sites which will help you, but if you don’t have a place to store these cool sites, then you’ll lose track so I will suggest you to bookmark them.
I use scoop.it, diigo and pinterest for the sites I love. You can start a pinterest board for the listening, reading or writing sites, or start using scoop.it to curate links for learning vocabulary, practising reading, etc. You can follow other learners and learn from them as well.
Here you will find some cool tools for you to practise what you’ve been learning.
EngVid is a free site to learn English for free with video lessons. New Lessons are added regularly, covering grammar, vocabulary, TOEFL and more. Students who are willing to improve their English can visit the site at least once or twice a week.
5 Minute English is a site designed to give the learners short and easy explanations and exercises. The learners can have a quick look at grammar, reading, listening, vocabulary and idioms. They can also find answers to questions that can be confusing for other learners. This is under the Question and Answer section.
If you spend 5 minutes a day here regularly, you will benefit a lot.
News in Levels is another great site that can be recommended to enthusiastic ESL learners to study English.
There are short news articles for different levels. You can choose your level and read the news and listen to it. You then can try the other levels for the same article. The words in the original news have been changed and adapted to 3 levels. The vocabulary definitions are also given.
I just came across with ETTC, a site where you can try writing poems on your own. The site allows the users to write fun poems, guiding them to use certain vocabulary.
This is a great way to learn and recycle vocabulary.
Listening to songs is one of the greatest ways to study a foreign language. That’s why Lyrics Training is another site you can visit daily. You can listen to the songs and try to fill in the gaps according to your level. If you can’t catch up the words, the video stops and you have to listen to it again.
oneword.com is a great site which will allow the learners to write on a word given in 60 seconds. When you click on the link and access the site you will see how simple it is to use. Click on ‘GO’, you will see a word and will have 60 seconds to write about it. The words given are very simple and that way even the beginners can find something to write.
Esl.fis.edu is a site to provide resources that will help ESL learners improve their grammar, reading and vocabulary skills. The site contains activities and quizzes which will facilitate learning. You can choose an activity and start doing and you get immediate feedback.