The Getaway

This week’s guest has provided me with a ready-made introduction 🙂 so what can I say? One of #eltpics more recent but incredibly supportive contributors, Paco Gascón is about to take you on a trip…


When I asked Fiona to post an article for the eltpics blog I had some ideas in mind I found totally original but, after going through all the stuff published, I just realized there was nothing new under the sun…

I’m a Secondary Education teacher in a state school in Martos, (South East Spain), so my target groups are made up of teens with a low/low-intermediate command of English. Most of them are mixed-ability groups that normally include some students with special educational needs, so it is important to provide assignments and activities that cater for such a wide range of abilities, motivations and interests. Pictures are valuable resources as they allow for a variety of multilevel tasks.

Lesson planning #1: The getaway

These activities – based on the eltpics Roads set – was intended for intermediate level students (15 year olds, equivalent to KS4, roughly) and was (fairly) successfully carried out a few days before the Christmas holidays. The educational objectives include:

  • Writing a collaborative narrative text.
  • Using sequence connectors to make texts cohesive.
  • Making landscape descriptions.

  • Using different ICT tools to carry out a task.

  • Valuing the advantages of collaboration and group work

Warm up : How to make an omelette

Students brainstorm all the steps to follow to cook a delicious omelette and the sequence is arranged on the board after the appropriate sequence linker:

First, we get a couple of fresh eggs

– Then, we crack them open and pour them into a bowl.

– After that, […]

– Finally, we serve the omelette very hot

This is an easy way to review connectors and arrange events chronologically.

The getaway

Two criminals have escaped from prison, stolen a car and now they are being chased by the police. They’ll try to reach the coast where a partner will be waiting on his yacht to take them away to another country. While trying to get away, they drive across different places which are shown in the pictures. In pairs, students will share a computer to type a collaborative description of this getaway. They’re shown a mosaic of landscapes and each pair chooses one of them as the setting for their contribution to the collective task. The starting out and winning post places (top left corner and bottom right corner pictures, by @cerihiannon and @SueAnnan) are provided together with the beginning and the end of our story:

Doc McCoy, a dangerous criminal who was convicted of bank robbery, broke out of Folston prison early this morning. His wife, who had stolen a sports car in a private car park nearby, was suspected to be waiting for him to get away with part of the loot she’s believed to have been keeping since her husband was jailed. The police was immediately warned, but the criminals managed to get away. Several witnesses maintain they’ve seen Doc and Carol driving fast down Southern Avenue, dashing out of town…

Now they could see the sea down there, at the end of the winding road that began to slope downwards into the waves. They knew Sascha would be round the bend, waiting for them to take them on his boat somewhere safe.

Pairs are assigned turns and a text document is opened on GoodleDocs for all to share. We’ll use the slide projector to show the photo mosaic on screen so that each pair chooses an only image that will constitute the background of their part of the story. The first ones resume the narrative at the point where it’s been left and according to their choice picture. Kids are asked to write a single paragraph including no more than four sentences and strongly advised to include sequence connectors that will be the glue that brings every chunk together into a cohesive text. They’re also allowed to look up key words in online bilingual dictionaries. Once they’re done, they pass the baton on to the next pair, who must ease the story they receive into their own landscape. It is important that the pairs are balanced and tasks are fairly distributed according to individual capabilities.

When they’ve all finished, the text will be printed and copies of it will be given out for all to read. They will also download the mosaic and open the image to re-edit it by drawing the route the couple has followed – this will ensure a full and comprehensive reading. Finally, sketches will be reviewed and corrected.


As a follow-up activity, students who wish to could brush up the collective story, polish and rewrite it, so it can be published on the class blog.

Lesson planning #2: Landscape contest

This time, landscape eltpics will be used. I created a mosaic on Adobe Flash and embedded it on a web page where students can black out images by clicking on them. There is a serious disadvantage about this format: it can not be reproduced on iphones or ipads and html5 yields similar results, but I’m afraid I’m not acquainted with this script language. If you’d like to embed this flash movie on your own website, see it here or you can just watch it here:: eltpics on flash

The mosaic will initially look like this:

Images are buttons, so students will wipe them out by clicking on them. In fact, we can switch images on and off by alternatively clicking on them:

I haven’t put this activity into practise yet, but it was thought for 2nd year secondary students (KS3 equivalent) aged 13. The educational objectives include:

– Asking and answering yes/no questions.

– Assimilating intonation patterns.

– Talking about landscape features.

– Reaching agreements in teams.

Students gather in teams of two or three people. We can use a laptop to open the swf file with the images and project them on a wall or an in-ceiling projection screen. The first group of students is asked to go out of the classroom and the rest of them choose a picture from the set (the teacher can take down picture number on a piece of paper to avoid cheating). Students are called back in and sit in front of the computer: they’ll have to find the picture their classmates have chosen by asking them ten questions, at the most, being yes or no the only possible answers. When they get the answer they have thirty seconds to discuss and decide which images to discard. They must be careful to ask relevant questions that allow for multiple discarding and not to switch off the target image; if that’s the case, their turn will automatically end and they’ll get no points at all. If they aren’t able to come up with the right image after using up all ten questions, they won’t score, either. Teams that manage to find the chosen picture will score according to the number of remaining pictures (each one will get them two points). Obviously, the team with the highest score is the winner.

Photographs authorship (left to right, top to bottom)

The Getaway panel

@cerihiannon @abfromz @JoeMcVeigh @VictoriaB52 @thornburyscott

@thornburyscott @VictoriaB52 @cgoodey @VictoriaB52 @GoldsteinBen

@Harmerj @cgoodey @abfromz @ALiCe__M @cecilialcoelho

@thornburyscott @melgarrish @ShellTerrell @ShellTerrell @SueAnnan

The landscape contest panel

@fionamau @Raquel_EFL @Raquel_EFL @worldteacher @ij64

@thornburyscott @pysproblem81 @escocesa_madrid @thornburyscott @sandymillin

@ij64 @ij64 @pysproblem81 @sandymillin @CliveSir

@thornburyscott @pysproblem81 @malusciamarelli @SueAnnan @cerirhiannon

@worldteacher @ij64 @worldteacher @cerirhiannon @thornburyscott


6 thoughts on “The Getaway

  1. Hi Paco,

    I’ve edited the link in the main article, so it now leads to the one above (ie the one in your comment) for embedding. Sorry about the delay.

  2. Pingback: A quickie | take a photo and….

  3. Hi

    I really like your blog – its really creative and wholly original! I use it a lot in my lessons.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the .swf file is no longer available. Is there any way (pretty please!) to get it uploaded again?

    Thanks in advance…

  4. Pingback: The Burning Questionnaire: Paco Gascón | The Burning Questionnaire

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s