Friday, August 9, 2019

Find the Disney/Pixar Character

I like to do class warmups/bellringers which involve the "forgetting hypothesis" - a warm up activity in the target language where the task becomes such the focus that students forget that they are in the target language or the target language becomes secondary. The key point is that these warmups need to be very compelling. Here is one which I created on a whim today (and I am certain that I am not the only one who does this, so I can take no credit for it. If you do this, let me know!).

It simply involves a picture of all of the Disney characters or Pixar characters and a laser pointer. This is very much like a Where's Waldo kind of activity.

Retrieved from

Retrieved from

  1. Project the picture on the screen.
  2. Introduce it by saying in the target language, "In the picture there are very many Disney/Pixar characters." 
  3. First, ask students in the target language to find specific characters "Where is Aladdin?" "Where is Ursula?" Where is Mulan"? etc.
  4. Then ask in the target language "Who (of you) is able to find Aladdin in the picture?"
  5. Then hand the laser pointer to a student volunteer and have that student locate Aladdin in the picture.
  6. From there you can start asking questions about the character, such as "Is Aladdin a young man or old man? What is the name of the friend of Aladdin? What kind of animal is Aladdin's friend? Whom does Aladdin love? Where is the Genie? What color is the Genie?"
  7. After you do the simple "where" questions, then state "Find a character who does not have a mother," "Find a character who is an animal," "Find one of the seven dwarves, "Find a character who is evil," etc. Because there are so many different characters who match that description, there are lots of possibilities.
  8. From there, discuss the character in the target language.
Example for a Pixar character
Find Mike Wazowski. How many eyes does Mike Wazowski have? What is the name of Mike Wazowski's friend? What is the name of the little girl? What color is Sully?   

  1. I was surprised at how long this warmup actually lasted. Maybe because there was much to discuss and many options.
  2. I was also pleasantly surprised by how engaged high school students were. I do not know if it was the Where's Waldo aspect or because it was dealing with Disney/Pixar characters. I am sure that elementary school students will like this.
  3. This is definitely one which can be used many times in the future due to the number of characters and possible questions/discussions.
  4. Letting students use the laser pointer to find characters added novelty to the warmup activity.
  5. Asking students to find characters which fit particular parameters made the activity a little more higher-thinking.
  6. This is a great listening comprehension activity for students since it just requires them to listen and to "find" the character.
  7. Students want to talk about Disney/Pixar characters forever!

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