I’m a big proponent of the Picture Word Inductive Model as a strategy for English Language Learners to develop reading and writing skills (I describe it in detail in this month’s ASCD Educational Leadership in my article, Get Organized Around Assets). It begins with the teacher labeling items in thematic photos with the help of students.
The webtool Thinglink could be a great deal to help ELL’s maximize the advantages of this instructional strategy.
I had tried out Thinglink when it first came out, but, for some reason, didn’t think it was particularly useful at the time. I really can’t remember why — perhaps because there might have been a cost involved at first?
But a post about it in Richard Byrne’s blog today prompted me to take a second look.
Thinglink lets you upload or grab an image or video off the web and annotate items with the image or video super-easily. It basically looks like a photo in the Picture Word Inductive Model, just online.
Richard wrote in his post about Thinglink’s recent announcement for educators and students that you can now annotate fifty images free, and the cost for far more is next-to-nothing.
Here’s an image I annotated in the PWIM style (you can embed images, too) Just put your cursor on the photo (if you’re reading this on an RSS Reader, you’ll have to click through to the actual blog post):
Students can pick photos online or upload ones that are reinforcing the theme we’re studying, and label the items. In fact, you can even choose to have your photos/videos be able to be annotated by others, too!
I’m definitely adding this to The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons.
Where are you on the global pay scale? is a new interactive from the BBC.
Type your monthly income in (they make a point of saying the calculations are done on your own computer so that your data is safe) and then it will tell you where on the global scale you rank.
I’ve written a lot about different ways to use photos in class with English Language Learners and with native English speakers (see The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons). By far, my favorite way is through the Picture Word Inductive Model. A key element of the PWIM process is a series of cloze (fill-in-the-gap) sentences about a photo. Students have to choose the correct word that completes the sentence from a “word bank.”
The Week has an intriguing weekly game called the Weird news photo quiz which is a variation of this process. They show a series of…weird news photos and the beginning of a caption, and then players have to choose among several possibilities to correctly complete it.
Though The Week’s game is probably not accessible to ELL’s, the photos they use definitely grab your attention (you can see their archive of past photos here). I’m going to experiment with using some of their photos (along with others I come upon), create my own captions, and then provide multiple choice phrase options to complete them. I think it can work as a fun game with students in groups or pairs with whiteboards. Students eventually can create their own “picture quizzes,” too.
It has elements of another games I’ve written about in The Best Learning Games For Advanced ELL’s & Non-ELL’s:
Headline Clues from Michigan State University is a great activity. In the game, you’re shown the lead paragraph, but letters from two words in the headline are missing. Players have to use clues in the first paragraph to identify what the missing words should be. As you play the online version, you can ask for clues. One of the great things about using this game is that students can create their own with pen and paper and have classmates try to figure out the answers, as well as giving them clues if needed.
Obviously, having students create photo captions is not a new lesson idea. I just hadn’t heard of using it as sort of a cloze activity.
What about you — have you done anything like this with your students?