More Language Learning Opportunities Found in Online Photos

As a continuation of my previous posting, here are two more whole language activities centered around online news photos:

2. Photoblogging. Some of the same sites that post weekly albums offer community interaction through photoblogging. Share one of the editor’s picks of the week with the class. Read the caption aloud and explain the meaning of any unfamiliar vocabulary or grammar. In pairs students can discuss their reactions to the photo. Prompts can be given, for example:

  • Have you seen anything similar to this before?
  • Does this photo help you learn anything new?
  • What do you feel when you look at this photo?
  • If you had to title this photo yourself, what title would you choose?

This brief oral exchange should serve as preparation for a writing activity. Have students write a personal reaction to the photo in 4-5 sentences.  Once they submit it to you and receive feedback, they can be encouraged to post their comments online.

TIP 1:  A selected photo can be the springboard for classroom discussion. On the MSNBC site, the editor includes a thought-provoking question that nicely suits this purpose.

TIP 2: Choose a photo with a caption that contextualizes vocabulary or grammar recently learned.

3. Audio commentaries. This is a variation of the previous activity and would have to be done in a language lab. Have students view 6-8 of the editor’s picks.  Allow them time to select one photo and write 4-5 sentences about their personal reaction to it. Have them submit their writings to you for review. While you are providing corrections and feedback, students can work in pairs to come up with original titles for all the photos. Come back together as a class, view the photos again, and have volunteers call out suggested titles. Next, using their corrected writings, students must record their comments and send the audio files to you. As a class, you can playback these short recordings. The author will remain silent while the others guess which photo he or she is talking about.

TIP: Listen to the audio recordings once more after class and provide one-on-one feedback regarding each student’s pronunciation.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Indeed, there are so many language learning opportunities available online. And a lot of them, for free. I even hope many non-English speakers will take advantage of these opportunities to learn English and adopt it as a second language. English will really connect them to the rest of the world.

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