When you start working with a new class or on a new European project, the first steps are introductions. Students are eager to know who their partners are and also to tell them who they are, what they like and everything that helps create a relationship.
Sometimes this is quite boring, with students just repeating things, but with the right tools, this activity can turn into a joyful experience.
Let’s see how you can:
make students describe people using appropriate lexis and grammar
make students ask questions and make deductions
make students create a presentation with audio recording
First of all the students can create an avatar that represents themselves: this way you don’t need to use pictures of your students if you need to publish them on the web.
The avatar should show each of them and also give an idea of what they like.
Useful sites you can use to create avatars are:
and here you can find further suggestions
Instead of creating an avatar, students who are good at drawing can also draw a picture which represents themselves. You can then scan it or just take a picture of it in order to upload it on any site.
They exchange their avatars and wordclouds and must ask their partners questions to find out about them. You can also set a number of questions for each word:
ex. Do you like cats? Have you got a cat? What’s its name …
In the end, each student is invited to prepare his/her partner’s presentation.
A tool which I really like for this type of activity is educreations (both web and tablet tool).
Educreations is just like an interactive whiteboard where the students can upload the avatars and then describe their partners using the information they have got.
Students usually like this activity because they prepare funny avatars but they have also to think of appropriate words for the cloud, read what their partners write, make deductions, ask questions and speak in the presentation.
As a follow up activity, all the presentations could be shared (ex. uploaded on Edmodo) and the students could group them according to the likes or dislikes expressed in them in order to find out differences or similarities between themselves.
It is an activity which can easily be adapted to different levels of language knowledge.