See, Wonder, Think


Here is a great routine that can work in combinaison with images or short movies. It’s really easy to do, and can create a lot of vocabulary. I tried it with all levels: primary and secondary alike. Even IB students can benefit from it. All you need is a picture or a film, a whiteboard and a marker and, of course, to ask the right questions.

Step 1 – Prepare the board

On the board, make three columns of equal size. On top of the column, write the following labels (in the target language):

  • What do you see?
  • What do you wonder?
  • What do you think?

If your students ask you what it means, don’t tell them yet.

Step 2 – Show the image or the short movie

If your using a movie, you’ll probably be using the screen in front of your class. Try to do the same for an image. If you don’t have the resources to do so, a paper copy of the picture will do. Give your students enough time (in silence) to really observe the picture, and try to choose a picture that has enough potential to generate a good conversation.

Step 3 – What do you see?

After you students observed the image (or watched the movie), ask them what they have seen in it. If they don’t know how to say it in the target language, let them say it in English and translate it on the board. If a student ask a question about the picture, don’t answer it. Remind them to tell you only what they actually see on the image.

Step 4 – What do you wonder?

After you exhausted all the vocabulary from the image, move to the second column. Ask your students: “What do you wonder about this picture?” and write down their answers on the board. Don’t use censorship, and write everything that they would like to know about the picture. If a student tries to give an explanation, ask him or her to wait for the third part of the activity.

Step 5 – What do you think?

Ask your student to answer the questions that they were asking themselves in the second part. “What do you think about this picture? What do you think this is?” Let them come up with their own theories and hypothesis and write them down on the board.

Step 6 – Reveal the truth

When you’re finished with the three steps, reveal the true identity of the picture. You need to choose a picture that has a story to tell (see some examples bellow). In the case of a movie, you can play only the beginning of the movie, and leave the rest for after the activity is done (see the Guillame Canet short film bellow).

This is a great activity to build up vocabulary around certain themes, or to provoque a discussion on a particular topic. Use it!

A few good pictures…



Controlled aggression exercise

…and a movie: Guillaume Canet – Ivresse (stop at 1:10, then play the rest at the end)

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