Introduction : this is a fun activity which allows students to recycle and learn new vocabulary related to clothes and appearance
1. To increase speaking fluency and accuracy
2. To practise descriptions of appearance and / or clothes
3. To develop writing skills
1. Put students into groups and ask them to brainstorm adjectives describing appearance.
2. Feedback: add new adjectives to students’ lists e.g. chubby, curvy, muscular , plump, presentable , scruffy, etc.
3. Introduce the idea of reliable memory.Ask students if they think memory is reliable, if they remember what they were wearing last week, what someone new they had recently been introduced to looked like. Tell them to shut their eyes and ask them questions about other people in the class: what colour is Sara’s coat, what is the pattern on Jacob’s jumper, etc.
4. Divide the class into two groups – police officers (A) and witnesses (B).
5. Give the witnesses a picture of a person in a detailed background location. For example, a picture of a woman in a bank. It could be a picture cut out from a magazine or a picture of a family member or even the teacher. They have 1 minute to look at the picture and memorise it.
6. Put police officers and witnesses into pairs and tell the witnesses they have witnessed a crime and they saw the suspect. They must try and describe the suspect as accurately as possible to the police officer in front of them. The police officers’ job is to write down the details given by the witnesses.
7. Allow three to four minutes for the interview and then ask the witnesses to move to another police officer and repeat the statement. Once the police officers are finished they compare their notes on the suspect’s appearance with the original photo. If there are few differences the suspect will be brought to justice.
8. The students swap roles and repeat with a different image.
• Students design ‘Wanted’ posters and write a detailed description of the suspect based on the notes they made during the interview.They bring their descriptions to class and ask the “witness” to read the statement and confirm that the information is true and correct ( it allows students to recycle the vocabulary yet again whilst role playing )
• Students could also compare the two suspects and write sentences e.g. Suspect 1 is not as chubby as suspect 2
• Encourage students to watch a fascinating Ted talk about the fiction of memory http://www.ted.com/talks/elizabeth_loftus_the_fiction_of_memory
P.S. A quick thank you note to my friend Alex. Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to offer feedback and share your ideas.