This post is the second post (the first one was Web 2.0 Tools For Beginning English Language Learners – “Phrase.It”) in a lengthy series where I will be sharing the Web 2.0 tools that I’m using with my Beginning English Language Learners, along with explaining how we’re using and sharing student examples of each one.

Padlet (formerly known as WallWisher), lets you create a sort of online bulletin board and easily add images or videos from the web, along with text. It’s one of many similar tools out there (see The Best Online Virtual “Corkboards” (or “Bulletin Boards”) ), and is the “granddaddy” of them all.  It is also the easiest to use.

You might remember in my previous post a few days ago students created “speech/thought bubbles” on images related to food (that’s the theme we’re studying now).

After they each created five of them and posted the url addresses of their creations, students then left comments about what they liked about their classmates’ images. You can see those comments and links to their creations here.

Next, Alma Avalos, an extraordinarily talented bilingual aide, then created this chart:


In keeping with our strong emphasis on inductive teaching and learning, we had students then list every kind of food each student wrote about in their speech bubbles. Then, they categorized them on a piece of paper.

That led us to the next step — creating a “Picture Data Set” (which you can read more about at The Best Ways To Use Photos In Lessons). Picture data sets are just adding the higher-ordering-thinking ability of categorization to the visual domain.

Students went to Padlet, which requires no registration, and grabbed images off the web of each food item their classmates had chosen earlier. They then added a text description to each image and categorized them. You can easily embed a Padlet Board, but since they’re still working on them, I decided to show a screenshot instead:


The final step in an inductive learning task like this is “expansion,” so students will find and add new items to each category.

Obviously, a similar project can be done with papers, pencils and pictures cut-out of magazines (or student drawings) — and I’ve done it that way in the past. However, one of the major reasons I’m being so intentional these days with Web tools is because I want students to be creators as well as consumers of online content when we’re in the computer lab, and I want them to feel comfortable doing so with minimal instruction from me.  As usual, my multi-level and multi-grade class is growing with new students at this time of the year, and a higher-order thinking task like this is an easy one students can do in each thematic unit we study.

If you have other suggestions on how to enhance this activity, I’m all ears!