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.
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”.
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.
“Let us go singing as far as we go: the road will be less tedious.”
Choices are important in our lives. Sometimes there are times we regret, there are times we pray for what we’ve chosen.
I have a group of mixed-ability students in grade 11 studying mostly languages. Some of them are not happy because that was not what they actually wanted but that was the only option to take.
I had a very disappointing lesson the other day and when I arrived home I thought what I could do for them to realize or do something for themselves until the next fork appears on the road they had chosen. And I decided to go to the class with a poem. Yes, I chose The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost as I thought with a little help, they would be able to understand the poem and we’d be able to talk about our decisions. To sum up, it was a great lesson. We all enjoyed it and I think they also revised their decisions or their attitudes towards their choices.
Now I’d like to tell you how I planned the lesson. First of all I found some very valuable lesson ideas on the poem and took some inspiration from them and I prepared one suitable for my students.
First I asked what the word ‘road’ meant. Then I asked what it could be used as a metaphor. We looked at the picture I chose as a warm up. ( If you search Google/Yahoo images as “Two Roads”, you’ll get some pictures of the woods that come to a fork)
The students described the picture and then I asked them what they would do if they were in this picture, how they would feel, how they would decide. The best part of the lesson was actually here and I hadn’t predicted that while preparing it. They talked about how they would be both nervous and excited. We talked about what they could encounter on the road, where these roads might take them.
Then we brainstormed words/ideas related with roads. I chose a recording of the poem on YouTube and told students to listen and jot down any words or phrases they heard/caught/liked.
After listening to the poem twice, I gave them the handouts and told them to read the poem and find if the words they had heard were really in the poem. Then we discussed the poem. We talked about if the poet was happy with his choice, if the poem was sad or happy or hopeful. Now I’m waiting for their bookmarks on the poem. They’ll use the ideas from here.