Landscape Stories

This week’s post is by our second guest – and second Welsh guest, at that – Ian James (@ij64). Ian was the artist behind eltpics 2000th photo and other great, atmospheric shots (including a ‘personal’ Corcovado). Originally from Cardiff, Ian has been in Barcelona for – oh – more than half his life – and works at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (having passed through The Big Two elt establishments..). I leave you in his very capable hands:

Prepositional Landscape Stories

First of all, I’d like to thank the kind folks at eltpics for allowing me this opportunity to combine two activities that take up rather a lot of my time: teaching (at work) and landscape photography (in my free time). With no further ado, here’s my contribution to the eltpics blog: a lesson based around photographs from the “landscape features” folder … and a few others snacked from other folders!

Step One : Lead-in

a) Ask your students what they know about Google Street View.

b) Use an application called Mapcrunch to show them a few randomly-selected Google Street View images and ask them to speculate as to where the images are from. Encourage them to justify their guesses by referring to the landscape features in the photos. Make sure the Hide location checkbox (bottom right corner) is checked as you click (Go!) through the images.

Mapcrunch : randomly selected landscapes from around the world

Step Two : Prepositional stories

a) Show your students the collage of photos below (thanks to Ceri for introducing me to Mosaic Maker) and use them to elicit more vocabulary related to landscapes (cliff, valley, hill, waterfall etc)

Eltpics : landscape features

b) Write up two lists on the board. In the first you should include verbs of movement e.g. walk, climb, fly, jump, dive row, swim, drive, run, get etc. In the second list, write a series of prepositions of movement e.g. around, up, down, into, out of, across, over, under, through, between, towards, onto, off, past, up to etc.

c) Give them a few minutes to think, then ask your students to find as many possible verb-preposition-noun combinations as they can e.g. you can dive into a lake, you can jump off a cliff, you can run through a forest, you can fly over a mountain etc.

Note : Instead of the lists, you might like to use this Wordle.

d) Now you’ve gone through the possible combinations, it’s time to put them into action. Tell your students that you want them to imagine a story based around the photos in the collage. Tell them to choose 6 photos (or more … or less … it’s up to you, or them!) and prepare a story which includes some of their verb-preposition-noun combinations. Encourage them to establish logical connections between the main events, which should take place using the collage images as setting/background. They could start with something like “We set off at 7.00 in the morning. We were … etc”. (Optional language focus: Narrative tenses (Past simple, Past continuous, Past Perfect) and/or adjective order (e.g. a deep dark Welsh lake).

e) Give them time to prepare, making notes if they like, then ask them to tell each other their stories in pairs or small groups. Listeners should look at the collage and identify the photos mentioned.

f) Ask your students to write up their stories for homework.

Step Three : Personalised discussion activity

Project the following document on the screen and ask your students to go through the questions in pairs or small groups.

That’s about all for now! Thanks to the following people for contributing their fantastic photos: @pacogascon @mkofab @mk_elt @VictoriaB52 @mrsdkrebs @worldteacher @pysproblem81 @sandymillin @escocesa_madrid @SueAnnan @elt_pics

Ian James | Tefltecher | @ij64


4 thoughts on “Landscape Stories

  1. Brilliant. I’ll definitely use this one with secondary education kids, especially steps two and three. English prepositions are a particularly hard issue for Spanish learners and your proposal is a very good way to tackle them. Thank you.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Paco, let me know how it goes!
      I tend to do a lot of work on prepositions of movement, which an area often neglected by course books. The Spanish (forgive my generalising) are wonderful story-tellers, and I try to impress on them how important verb / preposition combinations are when explaining anecdotes, narratives etc … “I was walking along the road with Pepe when a car drove onto the pavement into a shop window etc etc” Thanks once again, Paco! Un abrazo from BCN!

  2. Pingback: The Burning Questionnaire: Ian James | The Burning Questionnaire

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