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 …
Nowadays there is a TV commercial of a fizzy drink that we talk a lot about. The dances used in the commercial is Bollywood style and we have just come across the original song on YouTube and it was not a surprise to find out that the song was from a Bollywood movie. The lyrics are in English but when I first listened I thought they were in Indian. Only when I focused, I caught the words. Then the idea emerged in my mind. Alas, it’s the end of year. I will not be able to use it this year but for the coming academic year, the song is on my list.
You can use the Soup Song to
1. teach pronunciation, comparing the British or the American pronunciation with the one in the song.
2. talk about English as a Lingua Franca, even conduct a discussion on different pronunciations of English.
3. talk about different accents.
You can try Lyric Race with your class. It will be fun.
If you think moving in the class will be difficult because you have a big class, then maybe you can try the following activity with them
1. Prepare a gap fill activity with the lyrics. On slips of papers, preferably on a colored paper, write the omitted words.
2. Divide your class into teams.
3. Give them the handouts and the omitted words. Tell students to lay all the words open on the desk before you start the song.
4. Play the song and ask them to fill in the gaps with the omitted words.
5. The winner is the one who finishes first.
I’d like to hear about your thoughts about the lesson and if you use it before I can use, I’ll be happy to hear how your lesson went.
I’d like to share a quick activity that I’m planning to do with my students tomorrow.
1. Tell students to think about the characters in the book/story/novel you’re working on
2. Ask them to prepare a list of characters traits and then ask their friends if the adjectives they chose for these characters are correct or they are the opposites.
For example: (from Animal Farm)
Variation: Prepare cards with characters’ names and an adjective to describe them. Ask students to choose a card at a time and decide if the adjective is correct or it must be the opposite to describe the character.
I am working with graded readers, short stories and novels with my classes. I was also preparing my talk for TESOL France and looking for some new ideas to share, I designed the following lesson inspired from Chaz Pugliese’s Gossip activity from the book Being Creative. The activity may not sound similar but while reading it, I just thought this will be a fun activity. I’m planning to do it this week with my 12th graders.
Level: B2 and above
Put students in 3s
As and Bs will speak
Cs will eavesdrop and take notes while As and Bs are talking.
A and B are characters from the novel/short story you’re reading in the class.
Tell them they are going to gossip about another character from the story.
For example: Squealer and Napoleon gossip about Boxer (Animal Farm)
Cs are either a passerby, a student from your class or a 4th character from the story. They will take notes of what they’ve heard and will inform the class after the activity.
Variation: If the students will not be able to improvise, you can put them in 3s and give some time to write the dialogue. Then Cs from each group go to listen to another A and B’s gossip.