Posterama Ideas for the ESL/EFL classroom
As I depend more and more on technology in the classroom, despite the potential for a technical problem or two to throw a wrench into my lessons, I also like to take a step back and let my students do the occasional poster activity with their classmates. With a few sets of colored pencils and a few big pieces of paper, it can work quite well and as a bonus, it allows for a cheap and fun way to decorate those bare walls in the classroom at the beginning of term or to add some new content at different points in the term. With these goals in mind, here are a few of the poster activities I use over and over again.
1. With a new class, I like to do an “I hate English because… poster” in pairs or groups since most of my students have had bad experiences with English classes in the past and this lets them clear the air. Further, as the term progresses, the students and I can use it to gauge which fears have been dealt with and which are still there.
2. The above can be paired with an “I (now) love English because…” poster at the end of term (or as an alternative to number 1 if you have an enthusiastic English class).
3. Using this article as a start, about half way through my freshmen classes, I present these and have students create their own list of advice for their juniors who will be incoming students the following term and present it to the rest of the class.
The procedure for these activities is always the same. I break students into groups of 3-4, give each group a business (or A4) sized sheet of paper to brainstorm ideas for about 10 minutes. Next, I give each group a piece of paper for the poster and have them share colored pencils with other groups. After about 30 minutes, each group has to present their poster to the rest of the class and, if possible, the finished posters are put on the wall or bulletin board. Time permitting, I have groups look at each other’s posters and discuss which ideas they agree or disagree with.
Each of these lessons takes a full 90minute class in my experience, and having the posters on the walls reminds students and the instructor what was said and discussed about these topics in the relevant class. They are low tech, interactive and involve everyone in a way that technology or the textbook is often unable to do. As a bonus, you and the rest of the class quickly find out who is artistically inclined and who is not and those bare classroom walls get covered in colorful and meaningful content for you are your students.