Photographs of the Day – Learn English and Make New Discoveries
Carefully picked photographs from reputable news websites provide a wide variety of contents relating to culture, travel, education, technology, science, humanities, and social and environmental issues that are very useful in most of my classes, especially Afterschool. They help build students` knowledge and vocabulary. They stimulate curiosity and creative thinking as well as encourage class participation and endless discussions.
For my Afterschool classes, I pick the best photographs of the day from The Guardian, BBC, CNN, NHK or The Telegraph that my students might find interesting and relevant, as part of our 2-hour lessons. Using these pictures as visuals, I introduce new vocabulary and language. I encourage students to describe them and express their personal thoughts and opinions. I also challenge them to look beyond each picture or think outside of the box to jumpstart another topic.
For example, describing a photograph of a “Winter Scene” we could talk about the four seasons, fashion, clothing, seasonal foods, winter sports and activities. It could lead to discussions about winter destinations and holidays, worldwide traditions and celebrations, even animal habitats and migration. Possibly, some kids would also be curious how snowflakes, icicles, sleets, icebergs and hails form or why some animals hibernate in winter. Once we get the ball rolling, kids take turns describing pictures, giving answers and asking questions. It is crucial to keep the momentum going in order to maximize the students` learning.
Using photographs in the classroom has been a great part of my Afterschool classes. Grade schoolers get a lot of chance to communicate in English. They get to express their individual opinions from personal knowledge or experience without fear of making mistakes or getting criticized by their classmates and their teachers. These pictures are windows to the world and they provide a lot of information and language opportunities.
As the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Look beyond it, and make new discoveries!