This lesson plan demonstrates how we can use drawing to seed language emergence.
- Language level: Elementary – Intermediate (A2 – B1)
- Learner type: Young learners; Teens; Adults
- Time: 35 minutes (+ Follow up)
- Activity: Drawing; Writing sentences
- Topic: Stereotypes; Men and women
- Language: Expressing reason; Present perfect; Present continuous; ‘Going to’
- Materials: Materials free
Lesson plan outline
Note: This activity will work best for classes of 6 or more students.
- Give every student in the class a scrap piece of paper.
- Divide the class into two groups.
- Tell Group A that you would like them to draw a picture of a woman buying flowers. Tell Group B that you would like them to draw a picture of a man buying flowers.
- Ask everyone to give their flower buyer a name. Students should write the names on their drawings.
- Each student is going to think of a reason why his/her flower buyer is buying flowers. Ask all members of Group A to work together and all members of Group B to work together. Group members should share ideas and make sure that no one in the group chooses the same reason.
- Ask everyone to write their reason for buying flowers on the reverse sides of their drawings (i.e. the blank, non-picture sides). They should write a single sentence that starts like this: [Flower buyer’s name] is buying flowers because …
- Circulate and offer help and corrections as your student write their sentences. See Comment below for information about a possible grammar focus.
- Ask students from Group A to mingle with students from Group B. Ask them to show their drawings to each other, introduce their characters and say why they are buying flowers.
- Take all drawings from your learners to prepare Follow up 1 (see below).
Note: Some of your students may be reluctant artists. If so, let them know that you don’t expect masterpieces – just quick sketches. One way to get students started is to lead by example – draw a picture of your own on the board – the simpler, the better.
Note: This collaborative process ensures diversity of ideas and more importantly, language. Without the collaboration, it is possible that too many students will focus on the obvious reasons for buying flowers – Valentine’s Day, for example.
Example: This is Miriam. She is buying flowers because she has bought a new flat and wants to decorate it.
Follow up 1
Before the next class, remodel students’ sentences where necessary (i.e. offer corrections or alternative ways of expressing their ideas). Scan or photograph all of their drawings and then create a slideshow in which each image is followed by the character’s reason for buying flowers (See video at the top of the page for an example.) Slideshows can be made using PowerPoint or film-editing software (e.g. Windows Movie Maker or iMovie).
Create a gap fill exercise to draw students’ attention to structural aspects of language in the sentences, especially present perfect and structures with ‘going to’. For example:
In the next class, give out the gap fill and ask students to complete it. Following this, show students the slide show and let them check their answers.
Follow up 2
Refer students back to their drawings. Ask them to identify generalisations that they made about the different reasons for men and women buying flowers (Recall that Group A students drew women and Group B students drew men.) Turn this into a class discussion or a writing activity about generalisations and stereotypes.
Before the writing stage (step 6) you may want to clarify the structures that the activity has a natural relationship with:
The present perfect
- Reasons before now
- María is buying flowers because she has fallen in love.
Structures with ‘going to’
- Reasons after now
- Jeremy is buying flowers because he is going to visit his mother (‘going to’ + verb).
- Jeremy is buying flowers because he is going to a wedding (‘going to’ + place/event).
The sentence writing can then be made more restrictive. For a group of 8 students for example, tell them that between them, they have to construct:
- 4 sentences with present perfect structures
- 2 sentences with ‘going to’ + verb structures
- 2 sentences with ‘going to’ + place/event structures
Try this same activity with different scenarios. Bear in mind, however, that different scenarios will give rise to different grammar structures. Some examples:
- A man/woman is looking out of the window.
- A man/woman is buying a rubber chicken.
- A man/woman is sitting in the middle of the road.
- A man/woman is running to the toilet.
All of these images came from the same class – a particularly artistic group. But sorry – I have completely forgotten which class it was. Can anyone help? The image at the very top of the screen was done by a professional – Nicolás Dionis who also produced two illustrations for my OUP book on images.
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Last Friday, a woman from Barcelona bought flowers for some policemen. You can see her distributing the flowers at the end of the clip below: