Using Easy English Picture Lessons in Class

So you can see that we’ve got several types of lessons on the site and one of the newest categories we have added is “Easy English”.  As for now, “Easy English” consists of a series of articles called “Pictures”.  In these lessons, we supply you with a photograph and four or five questions about it.  You can use this in your classes to provide students with some sentence-level comprehension practice.  These are also good lessons for practicing vocabulary, verb tense, and prepositions.  In short, we think these lessons are great for beginner level students.  So how do I use lessons in class?

1 – Vocabulary Preview:  I usually give the students the photograph without any of the questions at first.  I ask them to look at the photo and talk to a partner about what they see.  They don’t need to talk in complete sentences – just individual words like “chair” or “boy” are fine.  The students write down the words together in a notebook and they also find any words they don’t know in a dictionary.  I then ask the students to talk to other pairs in the class to compare what they wrote.

2 – Sentence Builder Preview:  After talking about vocabulary words that apply to the photograph in the lesson, I ask the students to work together in pairs and speak complete sentences about the things they see in the photograph.    The students will take turns here – one of them says a sentence and the other writes it down before they switch.  I then ask the students to talk to other pairs in the classroom to share what they wrote.  After that, I ask the students to sit down and look at the sentences they wrote down and look at parts of the sentences they have written.  They circle prepositions and underline verbs.  The point here is to get them to notice these parts of speech and prompt them to think about these parts of speech.

3 – Answer the Questions:  I now hand out the questions that go with the photograph in the lesson.  I ask the students to look at the photograph and circle the answer they think is correct.  I don’t ask them to check their answers nor do I give them the answers at this point.

4 – Play the Audio:  After the students have answered the questions, I play the audio MP3 file for the lesson and the students have another chance to answer the questions.  The audio is there to help any of the students who have had difficulty with the reading and need a bit of extra help.   It also gives the students a chance to hear pronunciation, stress, and rhythm.

5 – Answer Check:  I ask the students to check their answers with a partner by standing up and reading out the answers they selected for each question.  This introduces more of a speaking/listening component to the activity rather than just handing the sheets to their partners and circling correct answers (or crossing out incorrect ones).

There are many different kinds of activities you can try with this lesson.  I’ve just scratched the surface here with a simple routine you can do in class.  If you want to practice listening more than reading, for example, you could show the students the photograph and play the audio while students write down the correct answer in their notebooks.  Alternatively, you can make it into a pure reading task by not using the audio at all.  I hope this helps!