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Get students talking with a picture!

Back in October when we had our teacher training week, we had an exciting lesson in How to Use Pictures in the English Classroom. Alex Warren from National Geographic joined us via teams, and gave us many creative and easy ideas, which we easily could incorporate into our own lessons.

One of the ideas, which I have used in three of my English classes, is the 5 senses. You find a picture, preferably a picture, where a lot happens, so all 5 sense can come into play. Then the students have to imagine, they are in the picture and what their 5 senses will notice.

It is a very easy task, and it makes room for all levels of English speakers to take part.

With my 4th graders we used a picture from their textbook. We were working with the theme Thanksgiving, and in their book, there was a painting, which had to look like the First Thanksgiving. Then I asked the students to help me name the 5 senses - see, smell, hear, test and feel. I divided the board into 5 sections, one for each word. Then I asked the students to come up with all the things they could use their 5 senses for.

Some examples were:

I can see a man, a woman, a gun, food. I can feel the dog. I can hear the people talking.

Everyone can take part

The things that is good about this exercise is that everyone can take part, because your dyslexic students do not have to worry about reading something, and only have to come up with the words in their head. Even the students, who only have a very small vocabulary in English, can usually join in with a word or two. They will usually just say a single word, where the more proficient English speakers will answer using sentences.

Writing it down

In my 6th grade, we looked at a picture of a Winter Wonderland. I asked the students to write down a sentence for each sense. Together we wrote down the 5 senses, and I showed them an example of how to write it into a sentence.

Ex. I can see a polar bear.

Here the differentiation happened when some students just stuck to the example I gave them, and only switched out some words. Where other students wrote more descriptive sentences, such as: The snow tastes like water, when it melts on the tongue.

For all my three classes it was a very easy task to follow, and every student could take part. This was only one of the many ideas we got, and I am excited to try some of the other ideas in my lessons to come.

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