Finding good activities for large classes is not easy.
Recently at the KOTESOL conference I was speaking with a friend of mine, a prolific blogger, about one thing or another. He told me about the success he had with poster presentations. Intrigued I asked, “What’s a poster presentation?”
Apparently this is when each student in class creates a poster of their life, interests, weekend, etc. When all posters are completed half the students stand up around the class holding their poster. The other half of the class walks around observing and asking questions of the “presenter”. After some time the class flips roles.
I thought this was a neat idea, but struggled to think how I could implement it with a large class (30+) on a once a week meeting schedule.
What I decided to try was to have groups of 3 and 4 create a 4-way poster. Each group divided a poster into 3/4 sections and created their own part of the poster. Then I had groups stand and present as a whole.
Now while this did not give each student as much talking time as with a solo presentation, I found the students actively listening to each other speaking. Low level students could hear a question to the first member of the group and work to reform that same question to the second, third or fourth member. In addition, the students might have felt more comfortable and confident standing with their group rather than alone.
A second modification
A different mod i tried was with my daily, much smaller, conversation class. We were working on the past progressive tense. I had the students take out their phones and choose their favorite picture with family, friends, pets, etc. Half the class held their phones while the others inquired into who and where it was taken. What were they doing in the picture, and so on.
This again seemed to gain people interest, take them out of themselves and begin to interact with the language on a more real (whatever that means) level.
All in all a general success.
Some things to consider next time. Creation time could be cut in order to increase amount of time for sharing. Regarding pictures and phones, students could use more guidance on what a good picture for sharing might be. In doing so more pertinent language should come out.