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Pictures Worth a Thousand Misspelled Words

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Gather some interesting pictures from your personal collection, a magazine, or anywhere else you can find them. Before class, quickly take a look at the pictures, and make mental notes of some of the things that you think would stand out most to the students.

Divide the class into teams. Show them one of the pictures, and have them discuss in their groups the different things that catch their eyes. Silently pick one "thing" (a dolphin, a refrigerator, etc.) in the picture, in your mind. Tell the students that you have picked one item in the picture and that they have to guess what it is.

Have the groups send up one member at a time to the blackboard to spell out things that they see in the picture that they think that you have selected. The groups will keep sending members up until one student properly spells out the item in your mind.

Along the way, you and your co-teacher should help the students with their random spellings, and occasionally ask them to say out, in their native language, translations of the English words that they wrote on the board. The first group to correctly spell the word that you are thinking of wins the game, or gets one point if you are playing multiple rounds. If you want to extend the game, you could pick a different item on the same picture for them to find, or you could post more pictures up.

To make the activity easier, go over, as a class, the various things that you all see in the picture: Help the students spell out on the blackboard the things that you all see in the picture, prior to beginning the game.

To make the game more difficult, instead of selecting only nouns for the students to guess, you could also pick verbs or adjectives that you see in the picture; to make the game very difficult, you and the co-teacher could have advanced students write short sentences containing the words that they are guessing, instead of only making single-word guesses.


Shane Menza
Aomori, Japan (By way of Honolulu, Hawaii)

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