Things I take to class #6: 6 secret letters

From my session at the APABAL Convention in Palma, September 10th…

Shoes. Discuss… A great activity for Edmodo.

The 6 secret letters I take to class are the access code to the very best of the "Web 2.0 tools" that I've tried with learners: Edmodo.

Edmodo allows you to set up groups [see Edmodo Help section] which then give you a private walled garden, a digital space in which your learners can do and share things. It's very easy to use, very like Facebook, and thus immediately familiar to anyone who might already be a Facebook user, with one big difference: greater privacy.

In my APABAL session I demonstrated the following activity, which has proved very successful with both teens and adults, the idea for which came from an article on Yahoo News about how much can you tell about someone's personality from his/her shoes.


  • The article is read and discussed first, either in class or from home, using Edmodo for the discussion
  • Learners take photos of each others' shoes; if this is done outside class time, photos can also be of shoes of parents, siblings, friends etc.
  • (Optionally) If the photos are taken outside class, the learners edit them with the excellent Pixlr Express
  • Photos are pooled and then distributed at random (assigning a kid or kids to deal with this saves the teacher a lot of work); optionally, the teacher can add a few photos of his/her own (self? friends? willing colleagues…); no one should get their own shoes, though it doesn't matter if they do
  • In class, assuming access to computers is available, in pairs, learners post one or more pictures to the Edmodo group, describing them and commenting on whether or not they are fashionable; who would wear them; and what the shoes say about the wearer's personality
  • Learners comment on what other people have posted (and, with any Edmodo activity, we want our learners to write lots of comments!)
  • Language feedback

Note that, particularly with young learners, you might want to warn them in advance not to say anything unkind or hurtful; and that no one should be identified at any stage as the wearer or owner of the shoes.

Instead of using Edmodo, the same activity could also be done on a class blog.

See also

10 things I take to class
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six | Seven | Eight | Nine | Ten

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