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Images to Support Language Learning

Hello Colleagues, Many members are probably familiar with Norma Shapiro, master teacher and co-author with Jayme Adelson-Goldstein of the award-winning Oxford Picture Dictionary. (Where would we be without the OPD?!). Norma is also well known for her approach to ESL teaching called Chalk Talks in which she supports ESL teachers to use drawing in their instruction -- especially those of us (like me!) who claim to have no artistic ability at all. Norma has been gone for years, but Sandra Heyer, also a gifted teacher, materials writer and teacher trainer, has routinely integrated Norma's "Chalk Talk" ideas in her own practice and recently wrote a blog about it.

To represent people, Norma Shapiro recommended drawing figures she called "blobs" instead of stick figures. To find out what a "blob" looks like, check out Sandra Heyer's article, "Drawing in the Classroom: It's Simpler than You Think," in which she offers six quick "Chalk Talk" tips and highlights some practical suggestions for using this approach. .

I've incorporated Chalk Talk into my own teaching for years. In fact, just this morning I was able to readily illustrate the word jail for the beginning students in my class. Most, if not all, ESL teachers find the need to draw from time to time.

I also use the Oxford Picture Dictionary routinely as well as the internet to locate photos. What strategies and resources have you found effective for quickly conveying ideas to adult English learners?

Cheers, Susan Finn Miller

Moderator, AELL CoP