Beth Southern, an EAL consultant from near Manchester, explores ways to build the vocabulary and writing confidence in EAL learners within international Summer Schools or mainstream classrooms via the use of images. Today she shares one of those ideas with SSD.

Children learning English (EAL pupils) need structure to build their vocabulary and understanding of grammar structures. A writing lesson may fill an intermediate learner of English with a sense of dread but there are so many ways that a teacher can build up language and a piece of writing from one small starter activity. Today I will share a concept that I coined “photo blooming” – from one photo stems a whole host of writing activities which eventually blooms in to a piece of writing that the child didn’t even realise they were producing! Photo Blooming can be used in so many areas from pre-teaching topic themes to building understanding of class texts or even simple thematic areas such as teaching colours and animals.

Photo Blooming – Step 1

Choose an image that is relevant to your learners and an area in which you would like to build vocabulary and understanding. I have chosen a classroom for the benefit of this blog.

Study the photo with learners and ask them to name anything they recognise, add labels. Now ask them to point out any features on the photo (even if they don’t know the name). Write these labels on too and ask the children to say the labels as you go.

Give children a copy of the photo to stick in their books and have them label the photo themselves, using the group image as required.