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.
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.
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.
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.