You can employ Pic-your-wits to introduce a topic you are working on in class or as support material for it. It will also work well as a standalone activity that energises your class and changes its dynamics. In addition, it can be used by students as a self-study resource or for homework. Here I’m going to talk about how you can use it in a whole class context.
Activity type: Vocabulary building
Level: A1 upwards
Age: Young learners upwards
- For using Pic-your-wits in a whole class context you’ll need an internet connection plus a computer attached to a data projector with a screen or an Interactive White Board.
- Each Pic-your-wits game practises a particular vocabulary set. You can choose the vocabulary set that you want to focus on by selecting from the small thumb-size pictures at the top of the screen or by clicking on the More Pic-your-wits tab which offers more options.
Before playing Pic-your-wits
- If you your students don’t know a lot of the words in the vocabulary set that you’ve chosen, with Pic-your-wits game open, click on the Learn these words button. This opens a new page. Here you can click on the different words in the set and show your students simple definitions of them (unusually with a picture provided). If you consider your students would benefit from practising the words more before attempting the more challenging Pic-your-wits game, you’ll also find on this page a simple match the words to the image game that you can get them to help you play.
- With the main Pic-your-wits game open and on the screen, point to the vocabulary words on the buttons and ask your students: What do these words have in common? If, for example, you’re working with the vocabulary set clothes, add some follow up questions e.g.: What are your favourite clothes? What are your least favourite clothes? Why?
- Get your students to take turns miming an action that relates to one of the words. For example, for the clothes vocabulary set, ask: Can someone mime putting on one of these clothes? Then get the other students to guess which is word that the student is miming.
- Invite one of your students to come to the front of the class with their back facing the screen. Point to one of the vocabulary words. Tell the rest of the students that they have to help their classmate to guess the word you are pointing to by giving him/her clues. Warn them that they can only use English and that they can’t mention the word itself.
- Divide your students into teams. Get the students in each team to select a representative or chose one student yourself from each team. Ask the student representative from the first team to operate the computer (or the Interactive White Board, if you have one).
- Tell the students in his/her team that they need to help their representative to guess what the picture is as fast as s/he can in order to score as many points as possible for their team. For each picture that have 20 seconds to beat the clock.
- Ask the student representative to click on the START button. The first (of 12) pictures will then be displayed. Each picture is initially shown out of focus and gradually becomes clearer as the time passes. The student has to click on the button that shows the word that s/he and their team thinks goes with the picture that is being displayed before the time runs out.
- If you are logged into Facebook, at the end of the game (when all the pictures have been displayed) you will be given the option to post the score that the team has obtained to your wall. If you are happy about that, go ahead – you won’t in fact need to show your personal wall to your students. Add the name of the team to the post. Now click on the League table tab (at the top of the screen) and you will see the score displayed there.
- Repeat the process with each of the teams and check in the League table which team is the winner.
- Set another Pic-your-wits game for homework and ask you students to write a sentence using 6 or more of the vocabulary words featured.
- Click on the Try more activities button or the Activities tab and choose one of the different activities displayed there to work through in class or to set for your students as homework. (All of the activities come with brief description and are tagged with the age group and language level that they are appropriate for).
by Ann Foreman
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