Classroom Activities

These activities can be done in a non-Silent Way class as well. This is a collection of classroom ideas to trigger language learning. The main idea is to have non-ambiguous situations where the meaning is clearly visible.

Using Visual Prompts

Images and videos are great to use but not everything makes sense. I prefer using simple ones rather than overloaded visual stimuli because it allows the learners to have wider perspectives.
  • Photos to chose from a series:
Present the learner with a series of pictures and ask him to chose one and justify his choice. This is a activity that I learnt from the “Photolangage” method. The pictures can be chosen by individual students or in a group. A variation of this activity is to select 2 photos and connect them to tell a story.
  • The Map on the Floor Activity
Write down names of countries on A4 pages (or cities or other locations according to your scale) and place them on the floor as if you were mapping them in the space. The student can use various tenses in different locations and move from one to the other according to their real life-story. They could start with past tense: tell where they were born, where they went to school or lived and then start using present: where they are now, what they are doing now and in future: where they will go and what they will do…
Students can speak for themselves or tell about a class-mate’s itinerary. They can also have a smaller scale like a neighborhood (at the baker’s, in the market, at school, at the library…)
  • Using short-films
Using short-films enables the learners to describe, anticipate, imagine, make hypothesis and of course discuss the topic covered in interaction with others.
  • Silent videos or Mute ones
Chose videos with no or less talking and ask the student to explain what is happening. These videos can be silent or you can also mute videos. Before you watch the entire video, you could show a particular instant or sequence and ask the opinion of the student about what happened before and/or what will happen next. Eric Lepoint likes to use Simon’s cat’s videos which are very good to describe emotions as we can observe a lot of expressions. I also like Minuscule’s videos. All are great resources!
  • Video dubbing
Using short videos to mute and dub is also a very funny group activity in class.
  • Answer a real time questionnaire
Prepare a questionnaire using google docs to ask questions reusing structures and vocabulary you want your students to review. Using a google doc enables everyone to see each other typing their answers in real time and increases the group’s cohesion. You can also display the document on your screen  and go to individual students to help them improve their sentences.
  • Games using 3 categories of labels: a time expression + a subject + a verb
Make a series of 3 colored cards. One color for a time expression, one for a subject and one for a verb.
Give your student a card of each and ask them to make sentences with those.
  • Talking about an issue
Images are representations. We can describe them and use them to talk about an issue. Check out this wonderful website from the artist Dina Goldstein on fairy tales in modern times. These pictures can be used to discuss many issues including the image of the woman, health problems, poverty, social relationships, etc. I also like the reflection of the past by Tom Hussey to talk about memories and generations.