Literature in the Classroom: Photostories

You may all know by now that since last year, I’ve been trying to incorporate literature in my classroom. Last year I worked with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (you can see some activities related to it here and here). This year I started a project called “Myths, Legends and Folktales from Around the World”. I have started a wiki for the project here.

In both cases, I thought that a good way of checking understanding and having fun at the same time was by creating photostories. At first, I thought of using voicethread, and I even wrote a tutorial to explain my students how to use it. However, as soon as I started explaining them what we were going to do, one of my students said “Why don’t we just use powerpoint instead?”. He really had a point there. He made me realise that sometimes the simpler, the better. If they already know how to use powerpoint, why not just let them use that programme, and forget about spending a lot of time trying to teach them how to use another application that would serve the same purpose.

Another lesson they taught me on that day, is that whenever we want our students to start doing something totally new for them, we have to allow them some time to toy around, to get acquainted with the idea, to get the point of what they are expected to do. The first time I asked them to create a photostory, they spent ages to create just the first slide. You can imagine I was walking up the walls. However, the next class they all managed to finish the other 5 slides in just one hour. We, teachers, have to relax sometimes, lots of things are going on inside our students minds that we can’t even imagine.

My two experiences with photostories were very rewarding. The students final productions were great. Here you can see the ones about The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and here the ones about an Asian folktale called Who Will Marry Mousie? Hope you like them.


Posted on April 4, 2011, in Lesson Plans, web 20 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Really cool idea! Thanks for sharing! Just wondering . . . what did you do as a follow up? I realize that the slideshows are the students work without you being overly corrective. I like that. Did you later go back and work with them on corrections? Or was this merely a review activity? I’d love to hear what you did, this is great! Thanks!

  2. I think you make a great point: students need time to play around with new technology before being expected to use it for an activity. It never ceases to amaze me about how long my students (no matter how “advanced”) take when using a webtool for the first time.

  3. Hi Kilie and Tyson ! I’m so sorry I haven’t answered before but I’ve been too busy with some personal affairs. Thanks a lot for passing by!
    @kilie Yeah, you are right I haven’t been overly corrective as that wasn’t the aim of the activity, This was one of the firsts activities I did with this class, so the aim was for them to be able to communicate and have fun (why not?) Apart from that, they used a lot of expressions that were beyond their English level of competence. They were taking risks with the language and that’s great. Then, there would be another moment in the lesson in which accuracy would be the focus. What do you think? What would you have done?

  1. Pingback: » ELT news feed » Photostories and wikis

  2. Pingback: Drama is tiptoing into my classes! « Sabrina’s Weblog

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