Sep 25

Practice prepositions with Autodraw

teaching grammar
Practice prepositions with Autodraw
A fab activity using tech for a communicative way to practice prepositions of location in online English classes. This short video will show you how it works.
Transcript

Sometimes tech is just brilliant. If you haven't come across an Autodraw yet, then I suggest you google it. It's fantastic. It's free, you don't even have to download anything. And I'm going to show you a really great idea for using it in class for a really communicative activity. I'm Jo Gakonga from ELT-training.com and this is another in my series on communication activities. If you liked this video, please like it down below and comment and subscribe to my YouTube channel. It really helps me to keep making this kind of content.

So the activity is for low-level learners to practice prepositions of location. Now, the idea isn't new at all. But using the tech gives it an added interest, I think, and makes it very engaging for learners. So let me show you how it works.

Drawing a picture and describing it to your partner for prepositions of location is something we've probably been doing for years.'The cat is on the table', 'the mouse is under the chair' - these kinds of things are great for prepositions of location, as I said, but also for 'there is', 'there are' and also for articles.

So - 'There's a cat on a table, next to the cat, there's a bag'. 'There's a picture on the wall and next to the picture, there's a window'.

So it's super easy to do, you just start drawing your own (very bad in my case) drawing of whatever you want to. And then you can choose from these pictures which will be automatically generated, like this. You can change the color and size and position. But I wouldn't get too worried about this, the artistic merits of the thing don't matter very much as long as there are some pictures there.

So, start with an example that you already did, something I did earlier, and elicit from the class what's in it. This is a good time to present the language, elicit the prepositions from them, perhaps look at the article use and the 'there is/there are'.  Now give them the link to Autodraw and get them to draw their own picture. I would give a time limit here. You don't want to spend too long on this, it's not an art class, it's an English class. But it is worth spending a bit of time allowing them to do something that they'll be happy with. Because they're going to talk about it to two or three different people. So they'll get a fair amount of value out of this. Tell them that it's got to include at least six elements, but that they don't have to make visual sense. It doesn't have to be a whole picture if they don't want it to be, although it could be.

Now for the exercise. Now this is a little bit complicated, so personally, I would do a demonstration with one of your stronger learners, it's definitely going to be the easiest way to explain what you want them to do. Share a blank Autodraw screen with your learners, and then get your stronger learner to describe what's in their picture. And you try and draw it as they go along. You could use this time to do some correction if they make any mistakes with the prepositions' location, with articles with 'there is/there are'. Elicit that from them or from the group.

When they've described the picture and you've drawn it, get them to share the link to their original picture. You can find that really easily like this. Share that in the chat so that everybody can see what the original picture looked like and also what your attempt looked like. Doesn't matter if they're not the same. But it'd be interesting to see what's different.

Now put everybody in pairs in breakout rooms, and get them to take it in turns to describe their picture and draw the other person's picture. You could give them a time limit for this. Get them to send their links to the finished picture to each other in the chat to check that they've got the same sort of answer. Or you could just get them to share their screen.

I would swap the pairs over and do this exercise at least twice, if not three times. It gives the person who's describing their picture, another opportunity to describe it and to hone their language and to correct their mistakes. But it's not boring for the other person because they haven't heard about that picture before, so they get more practice in listening to those prepositions too.

So there you go. I think that this would work really well for all sorts of ages from young learners through teenagers, right up to adults. I think it'd be quite engaging for everybody. Try it out and see how you get on. Do let me know. And if you've got any other great ideas for using Autodraw for other activities, then do comment on that too.

Thanks for watching. Bye bye

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