It has been a while since I have written a lesson plan for ELT Experiences and I thought I would share a wonderful picture dictation activity that is very popular for young learners. I have used this lesson numerous times with different nationalities and they all seem to enjoy the picture dictation and the extension. It gets students to practice describing objects but in a fun and humorous way. This lesson could be geared towards adult students.
Aim: By the end of the lesson, students will have practiced listening to and providing descriptions of pictures.
Level: Pre-Intermediate or above
Focus: Dictating and drawing pictures from descriptions
Timing: 60 minutes or more
- Ask students what inventions they consider important and board these up on the whiteboard. Try to elicit and write up at least 10 important inventions.
- When you have elicited these different inventions, ask students to put them in order of importance (1 = very important and 10 = not important). Students should do this by themselves.
- Once students have finished the order of importance of inventions, get students to compare in pairs or small groups and prompt discussion.
- After discussion, elicit a class order of importance and put this up on the board for all students to see.
- Tell students that you are going to describe an important invention (as a demonstration) and students should try and draw the invention from the description, You could choose a suitable invention (lightbulb, airplane, etc) rather than the Japanese inventions and try to find a corresponding picture for this demonstration activity.
- Show the invention to the class (airplane, lightbulb, etc) and compare this to what they have drawn.
- Next tell students that one learner will describe a picture and the other students have to draw the invention in their notebook or on a piece of scrap paper. Students could work in pairs to help each other. Nominate one student from a small group or pair of students and that student has to describe the picture to the rest of the class in English.
- You could get students to self-nominate after the first learner has been chosen by yourself and you could bring the nominated learners to the front of the class and handing them a Japanese invention flashcard (please refer to below for recommended pictures – it is sure to bring some laughter to your class).
- Ensure that the student describing the picture is not showing this to the rest of the class and keeps them secret.
- Students could number the pictures that they are drawing and try to keep the inventions in order so you know which is described.
- The next activity could be getting students to choose a name of the invention (please refer below for suggested names for these Japanese inventions), so “The Baby Mop” could also be named “Baby Cleaner”, etc. Again students could be working in small groups for this activity.
- To finish off with, you could review descriptive language or prepositions of place. You could also scaffold any language which emerged during the dictation activity.
- A possible extension could be getting students to create an advertisement, poster or write a review for a Japanese Invention. Students could work in small groups to complete a selected task.