A Visual Bucket List: A Life Lesson for Learners

Well. Two years. It’s ELTpics second birthday!! And that means Take a photo and… is a year old! A whole year….  So, to celebrate, for the next month there will be a special post each week, three written by Special Guest Stars :)

The first of those stars is, as A-Listers go, probably ELT’s answer to Meg Ryan in her heyday (a dark-haired, Texan Meg Ryan) with all her bounce and contagious optimism. Let’s face it, anyone who has been with this lady with her brilliant smile and amazing energy (ELTpics set this week, by chance) is likely to place the same order: ‘I’m having what she’s having…’. As the giver of free webinars every Friday, come rain or shine, an integral part of eConsultants, the creator of The 30 Goals Challenge… her achievements speak for themselves.

So without further ado or waffle, I give you…. Shelly Terrell :) (and if you’d like to read our interview with Shelly, it’s here.)

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You may be familiar with the euphemism, “Kick the bucket,” which is another way of saying someone has died. Now, you might be wondering how such a morbid topic would make such a powerful and engaging lesson for learners. From this idiom, evolved a custom or practice that my students living in Germany told me must be American and this custom is the bucket list. When I first introduced this activity to my students, they had never heard of it and that is where ELTPics comes in. A bucket list is simply a list of things you want to do before you die (UrbanDictionary).

Introducing the Topic

In order to introduce this topic, show students a few pictures representing things you would include in your bucket list and have them guess what activities the pictures could represent. Can you guess from the pictures below what is on my bucket list? Whoever guesses right gets to tell me what kind of Roscothepugpic I should add next to the ELTPics pool.

Images for eltpics by @dfogarty , @sandymillin and @mscro1

Discussion and Tasks

After this discussion, have students quickly jot down items to include on their bucket lists but ask them not to show anyone, yet. Then encourage them to search through the ELTPicssets to find pictures that represent three of these ideas. Instruct learners to use their mobile devices or laptops to go to the #ELTPicswebsite and browse through the themed sets. Let them know they might find their activities listed under various categories. By browsing through the sets the learners are categorizing the vocabulary and associating the vocabulary with various images which is very effective for learning.

Pair or group students and have them play the same guessing game. Give them time to share their lists with each other and discuss their lists. A lot of language will naturally emerge from sharing their lists. I walk around during this time and take notes for group feedback and also to bring up during our class discussion.
Now it is time to regroup and have a whole class discussion. I ask my students to share the most interesting or surprising item they discovered on their partners’ lists. I write these as I want to statements on the board and also write down any vocabulary or phrases that emerge during the discussion. We also review any grammar structures that we come across. You can see what my board looks like below. I have horrific handwriting, but you can get an idea of the very interesting ideas my students in Germany came up with. The best part of the discussion are the personal stories and reasons behind their choices. I learn a lot about my students from this lesson. From this specific class, I learned about heliskiing and one student also shared how he wanted to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro because he was born in Africa but lived in Germany most of his life and had never been back since he was a child. Climbing the mountain would be a symbol of him visiting his birthplace. I have repeated this lesson again and again and my students really enjoy it. They learn about culture, each other, and it is a lesson they can apply to their lives.

Board work…

Taking it Further

I like to encourage my students to share their lists online. This way they continue to use the language outside the classroom. Students can read other bucket lists and watch videos at the Bucketlist.org community or help others accomplish their bucket lists in thiscommunity.

Another idea is to have a follow-up class where students share items they already accomplished from their bucket lists. You can either have this lesson straight away or give them till the end of the semester to encourage them to either share something they accomplished from the past that would have been on the list or for the very brave to try and accomplish by that class date. I believe everyone has thought of what they would like to accomplish or do before they pass away. Have students share videos and pictures of one of these accomplishments and reflect upon how they felt about the experience in a video or Pecha Kucha like presentation. They can add these images and videos to the ELTPics collection. Here’s a recent picture I added to the collection of me riding an elephant in Thailand which was on my bucket list.

Wave your flag

Normally I introduce our guest posters, but on this occasion the post includes a photo and bio at the end :), so there is little for me to add apart from saying it is a genuine pleasure to be able to offer you the ideas below, the timing of which is perfect, and to say THANK YOU to….. Sue Lyon-Jones….

Take a photo and…. cultivate parsnips with it, by Sue Lyon-Jones

Image made with BigHugeLabs Mosaic Maker using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @mrsdkrebs, @aClilToClimb, @sandymillin (x3), @teacherphili, @pysproblem81, @elt_pics (x2) used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial licence, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/”

In the wake of the Diamond Jubilee and the UEFA cup, and with the 204-nation-strong summer Olympics just underway, I thought patriotism might be an interesting topic to explore with students for those amongst us who are brave enough to venture into parsnips territory… parsnips being an acronym for politics, alcohol, religion, sex, narcotics, -isms (and/or Israel) and pork, in case you didn’t know :-)

With that in mind, here are a few ideas that could be used with Intermediate level learners in an unplugged conversation class.

Age group Level

Adults and older teenagers Intermediate +

Lesson Focus

Taking part in group discussions

Aims

  • To practise using polite phrases used for expressing agreement and disagreement

  • To listen and respond appropriately to questions

  • To respect turn-taking in group situations

  • To use and understand non-verbal cues

Discussion ideas

  • To explore a range of differing viewpoints about patriotism

  • To encourage students to reflect on and critically examine their personal view of patriotism

  • To consider ways in which patriotism might be regarded as a force for good

  • To discuss ways in which patriotism and/or nationalism can be used to mislead, manipulate or oppress

  • To consider and explore differences between patriotism and nationalism

  • To discuss strategies for guarding against those who seek to misuse patriotism

Important Note

Image from ELTpics by @mkofab

Make sure your students have bonded as a group and you know them really well if you are thinking of using these activities, and proceed with caution if you have asylum seekers or refugees in your class who may have fled from situations where they were being oppressed or victimised by others, in the name of patriotism or nationalism. Even if you think you are on safe ground, I would still recommend checking that all your students were happy to discuss the topic before beginning the lesson, and arrive prepared to do something else instead if needs be.

Pre-task activity 1

Explain to learners that they will be debating a controversial issue in today’s class, to practise taking part in group discussions. Elicit polite expressions and phrases that can be used to interrupt the flow of conversation or express disagreement with someone’s point of view, and get students to write them on the board. Run through turn taking conventions and non-verbal cues that are used to convey information during discussions.

Pre-task activity 2

  • Write or display the sentence ‘What is patriotism?” on the board.

  • Ask learners to discuss the question for a minute or two with another student.

  • Give each learner a post-it note and ask them to make a note of what patriotism means to them.

  • Instruct students not to show their post-it note to anyone yet, and to put it away till later.

Lesson Activities

I prefer to avoid taking a “do this” or “do that” approach to mapping out lesson activities, because I think the most important factor in the equation is the learners, and what works well with one class may be entirely the wrong approach to use with another group of students. The slide show here provides some suggestions that can be adapted to suit most contexts.

I’d probably start off by displaying slide three, and asking learners to discuss it with the person next to them before feeding back to the whole class. As it’s a fairly provocative quote, hopefully this would spark sufficient interest to get the ball rolling; but if not, I’d repeat the process until things clicked.

Image from ELTpics by @amandalanguage

Be prepared for the discussion to head off at a tangent at any point and let it do so, as long as it turns out to be a productive one. Step back, monitor and make a note of any language which emerges and how the learners interact with each other. Play Devil’s advocate to nudge the conversation back on track if it reaches a dead end or starts running out of steam. Make sure you allow enough time at the end of the lesson to run through anything you picked up on that needs clarifying, wrap things up, and give feedback. Encourage students to evaluate the lesson, and reflect on whether they enjoyed it and found it useful.

Post-task activity

Ask learners to look at the post-it note they used for the pre-task activity. Does it still reflect the way they feel about patriotism, or not? Invite them to share what they wrote on their post-it note with the rest of the class compared to how they feel now, if they feel comfortable doing so.

Ideas for follow-up activities that students can do at home between lessons, using technology

  • Encourage students to create their own word clouds about patriotism, using tagxedo.

  • Ask learners to create their own twitter hashtag to crowd source people’s views about patriotism, and feed the results into visibletweets to create an animated presentation.

  • Ask students to blog report of the lesson using posterous or record a summary of it with vocaroo, for the benefit of any learners who may have missed the session.

  • Ask students to create an electronic poster about a patriotic event or aspect of patriotism, using Glogster.

    All images used in this blog are taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics and used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial licence, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/”

 Biography

Sue Lyon-Jones is a freelance ELT materials developer, ESOL tutor and teaching with ICT consultant based in the UK. She publishes and writes the content for the free English lessons and ELT resources site, ESOL Courses. Her current areas of interest include teaching with web based technologies, interactive materials development, educational games, mobile learning, and Dogme ELT.

Note: This article by Sue Lyon-Jones originally appeared as a guest post on take a photo and… The eltpics ideas site for teachers, and is licensed under a Creative Commons, Attribution-Non Commercial, No Derivatives 3.0 License. If you wish to share it you must re-publish it “as is”, and retain any credits, acknowledgements, and hyperlinks within it.

A Word in Your Shell-Like…

A word about #eltpics’ Creative Commons licence

#eltpics are created and curated by people involved in some way in teaching and training, especially in ELT. From the very beginning the idea has been for these to be a useful and used resource in the classroom, on blogs etc.. The success of #eltpics and the associated blogs http://takeaphotoand.wordpress.com and http://burningquestionnaire.wordpress.com has been phenomenal. The culture of co-operation and shared ideas is alive and well and hugely evident in these initiatives.

It’s great to see that the images are being put to such splendid use in classrooms and on blogs all over the world. As we become more digitally literate, we should share a sense of responsibility with our students. By using a Creative Commons (CC) resource such as #eltpics (and making clear that we are using a CC resource by using proper attribution) we are highlighting an important area of present and future digital literacy.

The licence associated with #eltpics is Attribution Non-Commercial Use. [link to http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/ ] In practical terms, this is quite straightforward in most areas. One area which has caused some concern has been the use of #eltpics in blogs/ webpages which use advertising. If the revenue from the advertising goes to the blogger/ author then that blog page and its content are commercial and, as such, the use of an #eltpics image is not allowed under the CC licence. However, one thing to remember is that you can always get in touch with the photographer and they can waive any of the conditions.

Attribution
Under the attribution aspect of the Creative Commons licence, any use of an image from #eltpics has to be annotated with a suitable attribution. This can be put after the image, at the end of a page, blog, slideshow etc.. As people have asked about how to attribute #eltpics in blogs on worksheets etc., we thought it might be useful to set out an attribution guideline following the Creative Commons license recommendations. So…

From 01/07/2012 the following guidelines apply to attributing #eltpics.

If you’re using an unmodified, original #eltpic, the attribution should read like this:

“Photo taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @ij64, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial licence, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/”

If you’re using derivative work:

Reflecting in Red

“Image made using a photo taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @ij64, used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial licence, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/”

If you’re using more than one #eltpics image the twitter names can be listed:

                                                           The Colour of Summer

“Image made using photos taken from http://flickr.com/eltpics by @ij64, @goldsteinben, @elt_pics used under a CC Attribution Non-Commercial licence, http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/”

If you use #eltpics a lot, then it may be worth keeping a copy of these attributions to hand so they can be copied and pasted (with relevant twitter username )
As we move towards #eltpic 10,000 (ha! Unbelievable!) I hope more and more people get involved with contributing and using this fabulous resource. As always, huge thanks go out to all those who’ve been involved in the contribution, uploading and promoting of these images that say so much.

Victoria Boobyer
@elt_pics

Double snippets

Things are frantic at the moment – it’s that time of year – so while I get my act together and find enough time to upload, and do justice to, some of the wonderful guest posts that are coming in, I thought I’d post a ‘double-whammy': a link to an article about eltpics, and the shortest of the guest posts – short does mean sweet, though.

The post has been written for us by Clive Elsmore, who is based in England, is originally from Scotland and has spent happy times in climes that make for wonderful photos.

Some of the images by Clive Elsmore (@CliveSir) at eltpics

Clive took the 8,000th eltpics image, so we invited him to send a few words on how he would use eltpics in class. Over to Clive:

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Thinking back to my time in India, without exception all my students struggled to invent stories. They couldn’t do it in their own language let alone in English. Even personalising it would result in requests for a model which, if given, would then restrict ideas and language. This difficulty was really a reflection of their own life experiences – these particular kids had had a patchy education and often received little encouragement for verbal creativity outside school. Owning a book was uncommon.

So, a way to help develop creative writing or more fluent speech might be to group the children in fours or fives and to give them a larger number of selected photos. These could be cut from magazines or, given the facilities, printed from the ELTpics collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/eltpics/sets/. Choosing from ELTpics would make it easier to establish a theme if one was needed. The kids would select a picture, be encouraged to talk about it, collaboratively invent a story using all of the visual cues, and then each would tell another group, the class, or write down, his or her part of the story. Extra stimulation might come from mixing in realia such as an old key, a hairbrush, a used envelope containing a scrap of newspaper, a broken pot and so on, all drawn from a bag.

ELTpics number 8,000 by @CliveSir (Clive Elsmore).

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The second item for this post is a link to a summary written by Shaun Wilden. Every Wednesday at 12.00 and 21.00 GMT or BST as appropriate, Twitter hosts a chat for educators called ELTchat. People from around the world ‘meet’ on twitter to discuss the day’s topics, using the #eltchat hashtag, and the chat has become so popular it was

Bathroom sink. An eltpic by Shaun Wilden, in the Household Objects set.

nominated for an ELTon award this year. On 30th May this year, the midday eltchat was about using ELTpics, and Shaun, one of ELTchat’s founders, wrote the summary, which you can read here.

 

 

Buddha and Oral Exams

Anne Robinson, from the North East of England but based in Santander in Northern Spain for, well, a few years now, is a teacher, teacher trainer, author and the Senior Presenter for Cambridge ESOL in Spain. This of course makes her an expert in exam preparation classes! She uses photos and eltpics in her classes, so I invited her to share some of her ideas here. As Anne sent me various smaller pictures, I’ve dotted them through the post to keep you guessing – it’s not a case of either of us going slightly mad, honest.

(Check out Anne’s Burning Questionnaire here – nice reading.)

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Pictures and photos play a prominent part in the University of Cambridge ESOL Speaking Tests. They are there to stimulate candidates’ imagination and language production.

What we examiners often notice is that certain details in a picture are missed. Not a problem, because it’s not a question of being stuck for words – just that certain things about pictures leap out straight away and others can pass by unnoticed.

In the Cambridge English: Preliminary Speaking Test, each candidate is given a photo on a particular theme and is asked to describe it.

Please tell us what you can see in your photograph’.

Image by @sandymillin for eltpics

Candidates should speak for about one minute, without help or intervention from the interlocutor or the other candidate. This can prove to be a difficult task. They often get off to a spurt with a few sentences, then dry up and start repeating things they have already mentioned.

So, picking up on details in the photograph can help tremendously to give them enough to say.

One way of training students to think about and notice where things are is to give them parts of a scene.

Each student/group of students is given (or shown) one part of the photo only.

They are asked to think about and discuss:

  1. Where they think their piece of the photo fits: at the top/bottom/in the middle of the photo? On the right/left/in the centre?
  2. What else they think is in the photo?

They then get together and try and reconstruct the whole photograph.

Finally, show them the whole picture and see how it compares with the ones they built together from their imagination.

Three legged Buddha Image by Anne Robinson for eltpics

Then, give them the Preliminary Speaking Test instructions:

I’m going to give you a photograph of an art display. Please tell us what you can see in your photograph.

Then they could be given another photograph such as this one and asked to talk about it:

Living (?) statue Image by @fionamau for eltpics

To complete the activity in the way they would in the Cambridge English: Preliminary exam, you can then ask them to discuss:

Your photographs showed examples of street art. Now, I’d like you to talk together about the art you like and the kind of art you don’t like to go and see.’ (Allow about 3 minutes for this.)

I love the java jive….

Love the Jave Jive? Busting for a cuppa? When Canadian teacher Vicky Loras, one of the lovely founders of eltpics, based in Zug, Switzerland, tweeted us her morning coffee and, in doing so, took eltpics to the 7,000 mark, I knew I just had to have her as guest blogger on Take a photo and… Vicky inspires many teachers around the world via her beautiful blog, so here she is to inspire you too. Also check her out on our Burning Questionnaire blog, where she shares a bit about her life with us.

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That cup of coffee. Picture 7,000 at eltpics by Vicky Loras.

Things I Do Every Day –

An Activity for Beginner English Learners

I am very happy the picture of my favourite coffee cup came up number 7,000 in #eltpics, in the Daily Routines set! This is how I would use it in class, along with the other photos in the same set – I think it would be great to use with my true beginners to practice the Present Simple (my German speakers would benefit a lot, as there is only one present tense in German and only time adverbs distinguish between doing something as a regular activity and doing something at the moment of speaking).

I would start by showing them the photo(s) and saying:

- I drink coffee every day. What do you do (stressing this part to him) every day, Werner?

- I wake up early.

- Werner wakes up early, I would then say, writing it on the board to stress the change of person and ending. Then I would ask another student to model it one more time and then have others ask each other What do you do every day? And then repeat the other person’s answer in the third person, until they have all had a turn or two and understand the change in person. The sentences can become progressively more complex: I drink four or five cups of coffee every day.

Perhaps then we would move to other question form, such as How many cups of coffee do you drink every day? How often do you wake up early? Anything to help them practise the question form (do you) and asking about the regularity of an activity in the Present Simple and answering for all persons.

This would also help them a lot in understanding the use of the Present Simple, as it can be quite a tricky tense. If you have any other ideas of how to use the same photo, I would love to hear them!

What…… like…?

This week’s post is by Sandy Millin, co-curator of #eltpics.

Last week I was looking for ideas to help me revise personality adjectives with an intermediate class. In my bookmarks I rediscovered Ceri Jones’ Back to the Drawing Board lesson plan, in which she started with an egg shape on the board, and the students ended up with profiles of people they had drawn themselves. It worked really well, and led to us focussing on four questions which are often confused by students at many levels:

  • What does he like?
  • What does he look like?
  • What was he like?
  • What would he like to do?

By the end of the lesson, we had revised the personality adjectives a lot, but the students were still struggling with these questions, and especially how to answer them – they tried to start every answer with ‘He likes…’ regardless of which question it was.

For the next class I turned to the eltpics ‘Every Picture Tells a Story‘ set and created the following handouts:

Images by: @ij64, @klizbarker, @aClilToClimb (x2), @mkofab, @jinotaj

[To download, click ‘view on slideshare’. You may have to log in (not sure), but it’s completely free. You should then be able to click on ‘download’ above the document.]

Each pair was given one picture with the associated questions and instructed not to show it to anyone else. They had to work together to answer the questions in as much detail as possible. I helped them with vocabulary where necessary.

They then folded the paper in half so that they could only see the answers and not the picture.

Pairs then got together in groups of four. They looked at the other pair’s answers and tried to imagine what was on their original picture. If they wanted to, the readers could sketch what they imagined. After a few minutes, they were then allowed to look at the original image and describe how it differed from what they expected. I tried to choose images which would promote discussion for my students – other images may be better for your class.

Other ideas

  • Every Picture Tells a Story‘ is a great set for modals of speculation. What must have happened? What could happen next? What could they be thinking? What might you do in the same situation?
  • In a similar way to Ceri’s lesson, students could use the questions as the basis for profiles of the people in the pictures.
  • They could also use ‘What would they like to do?’ as the start of a story describing what happened after the photo was taken.
  • The picture could accompany a newspaper article describing where the person was seen or a ‘wanted’ poster.
  • Any of the images from the same set could even be the centrepiece of a whole storytelling lesson. Laura Patsko explains how.

Next week, a special guest……..

 

20 x 20

Shortly after his ‘star turn’ as Pecha Kucha compere at IATEFL this year (held in Glasgow), Jeremy Harmer sent me a short description of his experience and asked if it might be of use or interest for this blog. ‘It certainly would be!’ was my immediate reaction. However, rather than just upload Jeremy’s description as is, I’ve been a bit cheeky. I decided to send him a few questions – a gentle interrogation, if you like – to expand a bit on how it felt to be The Main Man at such a big, annual event. The following post is, therefore, the initial description, followed by my interview with….. Jeremy Harmer.

20 x 20

This year, for the second time, I was asked to host the Pecha Kucha evening at the 2012 IATEFL conference in Glasgow. I agreed to do so with a mixture of excitement and trepidation. Excitement, because I knew (if we got the choice of speakers right – and we did [see below]) that it could/would be a great evening; trepidation because it is difficult and demanding (boo hoo, I hear you say) to do something amusing which, at the same time, sets the scene, explains what Pecha Kucha is (see the link below), introduces the speakers and gets some audience involvement.

...keep counting..... Image by @vickyloras

I found myself searching for a theme. And then I had this great idea! Because people worry about using pictures and whether pictures are in copyright etc, why not use ‘creative commons’ pictures – i.e. pictures where the photographers/publishers say that anyone can use them! And the best resource (for us ELT practitioners)? Eltpics, of course.

And so I set about searching the various collections on the eltpics site. I consulted @fionamau and she made some great suggestions. But I found other funny pictures too which had nothing to do with my main theme which was ‘how to encourage terrified Pecha Kucha speakers’. That meant finding pictures of people from the collection and I found some great ones. I was spoilt for choice.

Did it work?

One of the stars.......... Image by elt_pics

Well that’s for you to judge. You can watch my Pecha Kucha introduction here. Much more importantly, you can see the 8 2012 ‘stars’, and very good they were.

I hope you enjoy it.  

What I discovered (as I was preparing my PK introduction) is how versatile any picture can be. Ss readers of this blogsite know, you can do anything with a great picture, and that’s why eltpics (I can say this because I was not an instigator and I am not a curator) is so damn good!

INTERVIEW: ON PECHA KUCHAS

Jeremy, when was the first time you hosted or ‘compered’ a Pecha Kucha?

I first hosted a Pecha Kucha in 2011 – but I had been a Pecha Kucha speaker three times before that. My first ever PK ‘appearance’ was at IATEFL Exeter in 2008 (the first time IATEFL did one). I think I may have been more frightened and on edge than at any time I have ever performed before or since. But a kind of delicious edginess!

How did you feel the first time you were asked to compere? Was it not a bit daunting?

It’s both more and less daunting to host than to be a speaker. Less because you are not expected to ‘star’, as speakers are. More because I guess it’s up to you to ‘set the tone’, and most importantly to make the speakers feel good and comfortable.

What did you speak about then?

Time! (Because of the 20-seconds-per-slide thing!)

A little extra time.... Image by @SueAnnan

How would you describe the ideal Pecha Kucha?

I think the ideal Pecha Kucha event has (a) a big, friendly audience, a range of speaker personalities, and (c) a range of PK ‘moods’. Not all PKs have to be funny – though it’s great if SOME are!

What advice would you give to someone considering trying it?

Try it, try it try it!

Try it, try it, try it! Image by Victoria Boobyer

Why do you think this has become a popular form of conference entertainment?

I think it’s a combination of awe at the courage of the speakers – and it does take some ‘nerve’ – together with a wonderful mixture of the audience wishing them well but enjoying the spectacle of seeing them suffer a little bit! And (this is the important bit) the format actually ‘concentrates the mind’. In all the PKs I have seen, everyone finds their own unique way of rising to the challenge – and that’s great to observe.

ON USING ELTPICS

How did you go about using eltpics when you were preparing? Did you look for pictures to match your ideas, or did you look for pictures that would give you those ideas?

I can’t remember where the idea first came from – but I was desperately searching for some kind of a theme to make what is essentially an introduction mildly amusing/interesting. The job (as I see it) of the ‘compere’ is to warm the audience up and introduce the speakers. I had no idea how to do that. Then perhaps someone mentioned ELTpics on twitter or somewhere (I really can’t remember). Or perhaps it was one of the speakers asking me about pernission to use images or something. Anyway, I just decideD to go and have a look.

I started by just looking around, browsing through categories. Then I got in touch with one of the curators, who suggested some eltpics with expressions/faces and that got me going. After that I just kept browsing – finding, for example, a picture of Rome’s Colisseum (which gave me a humorous line), a bowl of cherries and the boy facing backwards on the donkey! The more you look the more you find! I ‘collected’ about 35 pictures, and then had to discard them as the pecha kucha took shape. Once I had decided to get the audience to yell things out that kind of narrowed things down a bit.

Do it your own way.... Image by @klizbarker

Do you think you’ll use eltpics again?

Well I’m in the niddle of preparing a ‘big’ talk about using, abusing, and not using technology (whatever that is!) in language teaching. I will certainly go back to ELTpics (a) to tell my audience about them, and (b) to demonstrate some ideas. But I will also be using them for some time to come.

When are you sending us your next photo? ;)

I sent one recently of an extraordinary parking sign I saw. There will be more – especially if they have something ‘interesting’ to say.

* Have you read Jeremy’s answers to eltpics’ The Burning Questionnaire? Click here.

Image by @Harmerj

Could be, must be, might be me….

by Fiona Mauchline

Take One.

Some years ago – and I mean something like 12 – I went to a day of workshops with Herbert Puchta. At that time, multiple intelligences were the In Thing, much as CLIL and technology are now, and Herbert’s sessions offered a fascinating smörgasbord of classroom activities that worked via each of the original 7 intelligences as described by Howard Gardner at that time. One of the activities we tried was an interesting titbit involving the intrapersonal, then interpersonal intelligences. We were invited to observe our neighbour in silence, then write I don’t recall how many sentences about him or her – pure conjecture, and adaptable to many grammatical structures such as the dreaded present perfect or modals of deduction/hypothesis. When we had finished, we showed our sentences to our neighbour, who told us how many were correct but not which. We then had a conversation along the lines of ‘I think the first one, ‘he must have bought his shoes recently’ is correct, as you’ve left the price label on the sole‘… To this day I not only use this activity frequently, in both classes and teacher development sessions, but it’s a great ice-breaker and of course requires no materials other than pen and paper. Learner-centred, learner-generated. How does this link to eltpics? Well how about this. There are two ways, and then a third variation on the theme.

Could be you

#eltpics (Credits at end of section)

Prepare some mosaics of a fairly large number of eltpics. Allocate each student a partner and tell each student to look through the photos. Choose five that make them think of their partner. Students then think about why the pictures make them think of their partner and write their reasons down. This can be simple sentences at lower levels – I think Xavi has a red motorbike – or paragraphs at higher levels or with groups you are encouraging to develop self-expression – I think Frank likes surfing, and these flowers remind me of surfing too, as I think they’re the kind of flowers you often see on board shorts or beach skirts. They remind me of exotic places and beaches – the kind of places I think Frank might like to live. Etc.

Students then exchange their written pieces and read. Ask them to add a written comment saying how many sentences/paragraphs they agree with or are correct, but not which ones – you may ask them to guess which pictures have been chosen, too. When students return the written pieces with the comments, students then discuss why they wrote what they wrote, which ones they think they got right, and so on. Finally, students may like to write a complete written response to each sentence or paragraph. ‘You’re right, I love the beach and surfing but I really don’t like the colour orange. I might like the flowers if they were yellow, but these flowers remind me more of my grandmother than of exotic places‘….

(Mosaic images by @sandymillin, @yearinthelifeof, @cgoodey, @mkofab, @ij64, @ricsili, @jinotaj, @pterolaur, @CliveSir, @elt_pics, @cerirhiannon and @fionamau.)

Could be me

Ask students to look through eltpics and choose three or four pictures that say something about themselves. Ask them to write an explanation on a separate piece of paper (I’ll spare you my example, unless I get fifteen comments requesting it). Students either exchange their images for a partner to write their ideas down ‘I think you might have had a pet duck when you were a child‘, or you can put students’ image collages on the wall for the group to look at as if they were exhibits in an art exhibition. As students look, they make notes – this can be done in L1 and you can then have a ‘vocab surgery’ (wonderful emergent language opportunity) between the looking and thinking, and the writing in English stages – then they write down their impressions on either one student’s images or on various. They could also guess which images were chosen by whom and write their explanations. Students can then discuss their ideas together, explain why they’ve written what they’ve written and eventually read the original pieces and compare. As an example, here’s a mosaic that tells you things about me… but what might those things be?

Something about Fiona.... Images by @aClilToClimb, self, @sandymillin and @harrisonmike

This is me

Finally, a ‘me’ idea that doesn’t actually use eltpics but students’ own photos, and is essentially the same as the idea Could be me above. Ask students to make a pair of photos of things that tell a story about themselves; ask them to take one photo, then remove one or two things and take a second. First of all, in pairs, students play Kim’s Game. They look at the first image for 30 seconds and try to memorise the things in the photo – have a look at my photo way up at the top of this post. They then put the photos away and try to remember the items in it. Can you remember what’s in my photo? After a minute or two, students show their partner the second photo to check what they’ve noted down. They should also try to spot what is missing from the second image.

Here’s my second photo.

Ah, but what's missing? Use your memory, though, not your scrollbar...

Students then conjecture about the items in the photos, as in the idea above. What do you think my photo could tell you about me? If you pop any guesses in comments below, I’ll let you know if you’re right…..eventually.

Have fun.

Food for thought

This week, we have another guest post. So far, most of our contributions have been from folks based in Europe (apart from Tara), so when I heard that Beth Konomoto was an avid #eltpics user, I asked her to join us here. Beth, who is Canadian (something else she has in common with Tara), is based in Japan and has been there since 2005. She works with EFL students of all ages, and is finishing up a masters in TEFL/TESL. She’s also not long started a blog, so if you’d like to welcome her to the blogosphere and give her some encouragement, you can find her at http://englishcoachbeth.blogspot.com/

Warning: don’t read this if you’re hungry ;)

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Feeling hungry?    All images from the #eltpics food set.

I regularly use ELTpics as supplemental vocabulary and conversation practice for my junior high and high school conversation classes. The class sizes are usually small, 1-4 students, so I bring my laptop into the class. We have wifi in the rooms where I usually teach, so it makes it easy to work directly with the site. 

I usually choose a set of pictures that goes with what we are studying in the book, but sometimes for a warmup or quick activity I let the students choose what they think will be interesting based on the set titles. The pics naturally bring up language negotiation, asking questions, and asking for clarification when we brainstorm the topic, set title, or individual pic title. The pics also easily work for sorting activities.

Here are some of the ways I use the sets on ELTpics.

One really successful set has been the ‘food’ set. In the textbook we use there is a unit on food with linguistic goals for countable/uncountable nouns and “Do you have any ~?” “How much/many ~?” However, most of the food in the book is generic ‘American’ food which leaves a lot out.

I start off this lesson by using the top page of the ‘food’ set and leave the thumbnails small so that the students can see the pictures, but not very well in order to peak their curiosity. Then we brainstorm food on the board. We go back and look at the small thumbnails and try to fill out our brainstorm a bit more. 

We go through the pics in a slideshow on the flickr page and briefly talk about them. I also print out the thumbnails page and cut them up for a sorting activity. After spreading the thumbnails out all over the table, the pics get sorted into countable and uncountable and then we count what we can.

The other set that has generated a lot of discussion is the ‘-ing’ set.

Mostly, this set generates questions: who? what? when? where? why? what time? what country? 

With the pics in slideshow view, I stick a post-it on the screen over the title (I know it’s not very high tech, but it works!). Usually when we are asking questions and talking about the pics, we get the “wrong” idea about what the pic is “do-ing”. This leads perfectly into writing new titles for each pic and we try to make at least 2 different titles for each. 

Similar to the sorting activity with the ‘food’ set, we sort the pics into categories like: times of day (morning, afternoon, after school, after dinner, etc.), things we ‘have to do’ vs. things we ‘like to do’, and even more general pics we like and don’t like.  

ELTpics is a great resource for enhancing lessons that use a textbook. It makes class more personal and more connected to real people in real life!

Thanks ELTpics!