22 September 2013

Scaffolding Writing: Fotobabble

Last week, I wrote about how I broke down informal writing for my second language IGCSE class.

This post outlines the second part of the learning - you can read about the first part, on my post, Scaffolding Beginner ESL. Briefly, the first part involved:

  • using an image of a beach to label and provide vocabulary
  • cloze sentences using the vocabulary
  • writing their own sentences using the vocabulary
  • scanning and skimming postcards for language patterns
  • drafting postcards to someone in the room
  • writing responses to these drafts
This week, I included some speaking and listening using FOTOBABBLE. 

Fotobabble is an easy to use website that allows learners to upload a photograph or image of their choice and then record themselves talking about it.

First, we found images of either places they had been, or places they have always wanted to go to. They also had the opportunity to use Facebook or Instagram to use photos of themselves in the actual places they wanted to talk about.

They then made some bullet point notes about their chosen image using some prompts I gave them, and topics we had identified as common from the last lesson.

Learners then signed up to Fotobabble.com - where you can sign in using Facebook OR email. Once signed in, all they needed to do was click CREATE A FOTOBABBLE and add the photo or image they had decided to use (these can be from the hard drive, the Internet or Facebook). There is also a range of themes to add to the background of their image.

Next, they recorded themselves talking about their image, based on the notes they had made. To record, they pressed 'record'. When they were done, they pressed 'stop'. We had to try this twice as they forgot to press SAVE the first time - see my Fotobabble below, which I created to trial the recording, and to remind them to press save!


Once they had finished their recordings, I paired them up. Each had to listen to their partner and ask at least two W questions. We have been working on open questions using the five W words (what, when, where, why, who) following sustained silent reading (SSR) time, and this was a great opportunity to transfer this skill, as well as ensure their listening was active.

Next, we are going to do some more listening, reading and writing by linking up with another school, viewing their blogs and then writing actual postcards to post to them. Click here to read about this opportunity to engage learners with an Authentic Audience.