Saturday, October 27, 2012

Describing Physical Appearances

The old saying goes, "don't judge a book by its cover". Though I wholeheartedly agree that it is never good to make assumptions, having students make judgements and predictions is a great way to not only check their comprehension but also a creative way to have them organize, analyze and synthesize new information.Here are some ways they can do just that with description words and body vocabulary.


Sketch Artist

This activity requires students to be put into pairs. Ideally each partner should receive a print out of a different caricature but if you don't have access to a printer you could also just have one student face the board where the picture is projected and one have their back to it. Once the caricature is shown they must help their partner draw a picture by describing in English or whatever the target language may be (I also used this when teaching Italian), the features of the person's face. You could also change this a bit and give a crime scene scenario. Later, after the allotted time is finished, the students can finally see the picture, share theirs with the class and then switch.

Below is a website of some caricatures of famous celebrities but if you don't see any you like, a simple google search will do the trick.

Guess Who?

 Another fun activity is to split students in groups and have them describe the person in the picture given to them. Later, after the students all finish, they give the picture back and the class has to describe who is who or which descriptions belong to which people. This is also fun because in my experience it has led into a debate of opinion. For example, my students argued whether or not Justin Bieber was talented or Madonna was beautiful.

Readings and Discussion Starters

Easy Group Discussıon Questıons:
Is it better to be feared or loved?
........................  tall or short?
........................  rich or beautiful?
........................  intelligent or artistic?
........................  athletic or intelligent?

Body Language from around the World 

Is the "OK" hand symbol okay in every country? Does a thumbs up always mean good job? This is a fun activity for students of all ages, though it may be better for older students since some may not be age -appropriate or taboo. A fun way to have students interact with the information is to ask them to first make a list of common symbols from their country and then guess the meaning of images from other countries.

Here is one of many articles about different examples of body language from around the world.:

The Most Beautiful Woman/Man in the World
This is a great activity for young adults and teens that is educational and fun.


Students are put into groups of 3 or 4 (depending on the class size) and given the materials. They are asked to cut out images of (appropriate) body parts and glue them on their poster boards to create "the perfect" person. Then, they will present to the class their findings using the vocabulary they learned in previous classes. This is a great group exercise because students can also be assigned many different challenging roles such as image finder, description writer, speaker etc. not to mention it's just alot of fun (which is always a perk!)

Wacky Body Part Reading

Something that can include pop culture and would be funny for students would be to read an article about how valuable (socially and financially) some famous people's body parts are. It sounds strange, which it is, but supposedly some celebrities have actually insured their various body parts for millions of dollars. Below is a link.

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