Thursday, May 23, 2013

Teaching English with Norman Rockwell

I paint life as I would like it to be.  
~ Normal Rockwell

One of the best investments I've made for my ESL class is a set of 11 x 17 inch reproduction prints by Norman Rockwell on scouting.  I use these images for all kinds of language activities in class - speaking, listening comprehension, grammar lessons, you name it...  

They are perfect in so many ways - full of concrete, every day objects and relationships - each is different, and yet there is enough overlap that I can pull a set of 3 or 4 images that have a lot in common.  

This summer, I am using the images to get my students to generate language and to reiterate two key grammar concepts that we have been studying all year - constructing negative sentences and questions.  

First, I break the class into groups of 3-4 students and give each group an image.  Then I ask each group to generate a series of positive statements about their image.  

Once the positive statements have been generated, we reconvene as a class and practice turning them into negative statements and/or questions.  

Here are some examples that my students generated last week, based on the two pictures above:

Image #1
There is a dog.
The boy is on top of the chair.
The man has exercise equipment.
The boy's pants are blue.  

Image #2
The boy is carrying two big bags.
Father wishes luck to the boy.
Mother says goodbye to the boy.  
The dog is happy.  

I'll leave it as an exercise to my readers to turn those positive statements into negative statements and questions...  ;)

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