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 …
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.
1. Each person is given a sheet of paper with a series of instructions to follow. Each student’s instructions should be different. Tell them to stand up and mingle until you stop them. Then ask them to share their answers. Your instructions can be as “Find someone who …”
- Find out who has been abroad before.
- Who can play any instruments?
- Find what your classmates have for their breakfast.
- Who spent their summer holiday on an island?
2. Give each student a post-it note. Tell them to write their names at the top. Then ask them to write 1 adjective that will describe their physical appearance and 5 adjectives that will describe their character. Collect the post-it notes. Tell students they will guess the person you chose. Ask them to stand up next to their seats. Read one adjective each time and if they think that adjective doesn’t describe them, they have to sit down (whether they have written the adjective or not) Once they sit, they can’t stand up again. Continue calling an adjective, till they guess who the person is.
3. Divide the class into teams. Tell them they will advertise themselves to you. Prepare a bank of advertisements for them to get inspired. This will work well with a group of students who know each other well but the teacher meets them for the first time.
4. Provide A4 size paper, crayons, markers for each student. Ask each student to prepare a poster which contains some symbols or pictures describing who they are, what’s important to them or what they enjoy.
Each poster should be divided into 4 or 6 segments. Each segment can contain a picture of favourite emotion, favourite food, a hobby, a skill, a motto etc. Set time limits. When they finish, tell them to stand up, play some music and tell them to walk around till you stop the music and ask them to find a partner and introduce themselves to each other, then they have to exchange the papers and they will introduce their new friend to the class.
Some other activities from the archives of A Journey in TEFL
My 9th graders are difficult to teach, they are not motivated but whenever I want them to play a game, they become very eager. They are very competitive and even the weakest of them, try to do their bests to win a point for their teams so we play lots of games.Sometimes I adapt drill-like activities to games or interesting activities.
We were revising If Clauses and I decided to do it as tweets. I explained them how we write chain stories. Then put them in groups, gave them poster size paper and three sentences that they could start their story. They really enjoyed working in the groups and the 8th lesson of a very long day needed happily.
Another Twitter inspired activity
More Conditional Activities