This VoiceThread shows how students can engage with a work of art in an active, personal and innovative way while practicing new vocabulary and grammar structures in the target language. This conversation also fosters collaboration among students inside and outside the language classroom.
Note that comments begin after the assignment description, on slide 5.
I selected art works by Austrian artists that depict houses. I wanted students to engage with the work of art in a way that goes beyond merely talking about what you see. The doodling function provided an excellent way to engage with the work of art by diagramming the imagined daily routine in and around the house. The students made it “their” house.
The discussion of art was already part of my lesson plan for my second semester German course. I was looking for ways to engage my students with works of art that go beyond merely talking about what they see in the image. Also, it was important to me that students use the newly acquired vocabulary and grammar related to the home.
First, in the conversation students see three different images of houses. Students are asked to choose their favorite house and - recording their voice - say briefly why they like the house the best. Students then describe a typical daily routine in and around “their” house, using the recording and doodling function.
Second, I asked students to listen to the daily routine of one of their peers, selecting the image of a house they did not choose. In a short essay, students then fill in their peers’ narratives about the daily routine by imagining how the life of a fictive person or family in that house would look like.
Third, students read their short essays to each other in groups of 3 or 4, making everyone guess which house they wrote about. In the group, students ask each other questions about the narrative.
To get students used to VoiceThread, you might want to split up the first assignment and ask students to explain why they like the house they chose in a separate VoiceThread.
- Instead of asking students to listen to the daily routine of a different house, students are asked to compare all comments of their peers of “their” house, talking about similarities and differences they find in the individual routines.
- Write a story about a fictional character of one of the houses in pairs or group.
- Find other images of houses you like (art work or photography) and talk about them in VoiceThread in the target language.
- Doodle your own house (imagined or real) or the area where you grew up in.
- Write or talk about a different topic, for example comparing two of the discussed art works and the imagined daily routines with each other.
- Reflect on how the architecture of the individual painted houses shape and structure the life in and around them.