If it involves any type of collage-making, I am all in. The vision board does not disappoint because there are so many variations you can do with your students. All you have to ask yourself is: What do you want your students to focus on for this year or semester? Is there one thing you want them to hone in on, or multiple?
As an ESL teacher, I like them to reflect on the vocabulary and grammar they have learned and what they may need to work on along with other academic and personal things. A little bit of school related ideas, and a little bit of their world to make it relevant and important to them.
At the beginning of the year, I had them make collages of what represented them. They then put them in the front of their binders and they still talk about them halfway through the year. With vision boards, it's important to steer them into the growth mindset and ultimately get them thinking about things that they want to improve. Here are some example questions to get them headed in the right way:
1. What was easy for you this year? What was hard?
2. What made these things easy or hard for you?
3. How can you overcome the hard things?
4. How can this help your other classmates?
These are some questions I included in my vision board activity that I plan to have my students do when we get back from winter break. Since my students are beginning to intermediate level proficiency, I included sentence stems for them and will pre-teach some vocabulary like challenge, overcome, easy, and hard. We will also look at the past and future tenses as well as introductory phrases.
After they answer the questions, they can cut out images from magazines or they can draw their items for their visions. To make it a little more interactive, students will then engage in some speaking and listening practice by asking a partner questions about their vision boards and recording their partner's responses.
But the most exciting part? Doing it yourself of course! Modeling what your students should be creating is important, but also fun sometimes too! Please share your own ideas and comments below!
To learn more about strategies for incorporating language into your lessons, check out my course, My EL Mentor: Creating a Language-Rich Classroom! And if you are a high school teacher, consider joining my membership, My MLL Mentor, to discuss ideas like this with other high school ESL teachers!
I support middle and high school teachers through monthly lesson plans, coaching, and guest speaker offerings in our Secondary ESL Teacher Membership.