Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Picture Talk - World's Worst Album Covers

Yesterday, I was cleaning out files on my computer and came across a number of folders related to Picture Talk, an activity which I had done years ago but had completely forgotten about it these past two years. I do not know why Picture Talk had slipped my mind, because it is a great way to dialogue with students in the target language and to get students to interact with it.

Picture Talk is part Movie Talk (without the movie), One Word Picture, and part story-asking. The basic idea is to project a picture and to narrate what is happening in it in the target language, to ask questions about it, and maybe to create a story based upon it. Primarily, I have used it to preview new vocabulary. Like Movie Talks, in order for this activity to be effective, it needs to be compelling for students to want to take part in it. Since movie shorts have a built-in plot, pictures can be difficult, because it can be hit-or-miss with students depending on how they engaged they are with what it is presented. I have heard Katya Paukova often say that the best movie talks are those which emotionally engage students, so with pictures, I try to do the same using the "World's Worst Album Covers"!

If you do an online search of "World's Worst Album Covers," you will see that there are TONS of websites dedicated to this topic. In addition, if you take a look at these album covers, you will find that there are TONS which are definitely INAPPROPRIATE to show in a classroom (let alone wanting to discuss them in the target language with native speakers!). However, there are some which are absolute gems for use in a Picture Talk - here is one of my favorites with possible questions to ask. For those of you Latin teachers who use the Cambridge Latin Course, I was previewing vocabulary in Stage 9 related to Quintus' birthday celebration:

  1. What objects/people do you see in the picture?
  2. Is this a girl or woman?
  3. Is this girl Julie?
  4. How old is Julie?
  5. Do you think that Julie is having a birthday party in the picture?
  6. Is Julie celebrating her birthday at Chuck E. Cheese? at Build-A-Bear?
  7. Why do you think that Julie in this place?
  8. Is Julie happy or sad?
  9. Why do you think is Julie sad?
  10. Why do you think that is Julie alone on her birthday - did she not invite anyone?
  11. Did no one show up to Julie's birthday party?
  12. Why do you think that no one came to Julie's birthday party?
  13. Is this a boy or man?
  14. Do you think that this man is Julie's father?
  15. What do you think is happening in this picture?
  16. What do you think happens next?
As you begin to ask questions about things in the picture, you can start creating a story in the target language. For the above picture, I recall a class creating a story about Julie running away from home on her 16th birthday. She was fighting with her parents, because they wanted to have a Hello-Kitty themed party, but Julie wanted to go to the movies with her friends. As a a result, she ran away to a bar to celebrate, but immediately Julie was sorry when she was approached by an older man who wanted her to run away with him. Julie ran home and happily celebrated her 16th birthday with her parents and Hello Kitty. Julie learned a valuable lesson (I like for my stories to have a moral at the end if possible).

Here are some other world's worst album covers which I have used:
So consider giving Picture Talk a try with some of these pictures!

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