Monday, January 14, 2013

"What's going on in this picture?"

Today I found a new resource of photos to use in my Spanish classes. It is a weekly feature of The New York Times website in the education section.

I plan to use these photos as a variation of my Character Sketch activity.  For the Character Sketch activity, I project a photo of a person.  Then I guide the students in developing information about the person: where they live (lived); where they work (worked); describe their personality; are they married or single; and other information.  Keep in mind that you, as the teacher, are in charge of making sure the character sketch uses the structures and vocabulary that you want to stress and that the students stay within bounds in their descriptions.  

The new resource, "What's going on in this picture?", can be used in a similar way.  An advantage is that the photos capture your attention immediately.  If you have a class that doesn't compete to give their suggestions for a character sketch, the intriguing photos on this website should make it easier for them to think of possibilities for what is happening in the photo.  

For lower levels you can begin by describing who/what is in the photo and what they are doing.  For upper levels, you can slip in questions and descriptions using the subjunctive, the conditional tense, and a wider range of vocabulary.

I enjoy these type of activities because many times one student has an idea and the others "run with it", building on the information a piece at a time.  It provides ample opportunity for PQA and for circling.  It's like a ready-made lesson plan that can easily last for 30 minutes or more and that's 30 minutes of compelling input (because the students are the ones helping to create it) in the Target Language.  

So many choices for different types of input activities - so little time.

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