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Word As Image

Posted on November 11, 2011 by kierandonaghy

This EFL lesson is based on a short film to promote Word As Image, a book by graphic artist Ji Lee who is Facebook creative director. In his book and the short film Lee creates images out of words, using only the letters contained within the word itself. He melds texts image, image and meaning into an instantly recognisable concept which may make words easier for students to learn.

Language level: Pre-intermediate (A2) – Intermediate  (B1)

Learner type: All ages

Time: 60 minutes

Activity: Watching  short video, memorising vocabulary and writing a narrative

Topic: Words as images

Language: Vocabulary, narrative tenses

Material: Short film, narrative

Downloadable material: word as image lesson instructions     eclipse of moon story

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Step 1

Show your students this image.

 

Step 2

Tell your students they are going to watch a short film in which images are created out of words, using only the letters contained within the word itself.

 

 

After watching the film they should try to remember as many of the words as they can. Show them the film again to check their answers.

The words are idea, horizon, elevator, gravity, comedy, drama, capitalism, oil, the last supper, vampire, robbery, inflation, stock market, vertigo, voyeur, silicone, ill, balloons, tsunami, spiderman, zipper, clock, pirate, exit, magic, fast food, diet, moon, parallel, tunnel, Marilyn, rabbit, homosexuals, heterosexuals, condom, superstitious, Dali, Van Gogh and eclipse.

 

Step 3

Now tell your students that they are going to read a story which includes some of the words which they have seen in the film. They should read the story and then in pairs complete the missing words using words from the film. Tell them that some of the words are repeated. Get feedback and then show them the complete story on the second page of the Scribd document.

 

 

Step 4

Put your students in small groups and ask them to write a narrative using the words in the film in 10 minutes. Next ask your students to join another pair and explain their stories.

 

Homework

Ask your students to complete their stories using as many of the words as they can.

 

I hope you enjoy this English language lesson.

Support Film English

Film English remains ad-free and takes many hours a month to research and write, and hundreds of dollars to sustain. If you find any joy or value in it, please consider supporting Film English with a monthly subscription, or by contributing a one-off payment.

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11 thoughts on “Word As Image

    • Hello David,
      I wasn’t apware of the similarity between the 2 artists’ work. Joel Guenon’s work is really beautiful andsome of the designs are almost identical. By the way, your English is excellent.
      All the best,
      Kieran

  1. I find this activity both fun and thought-provoking while being at the same time ‘simple’, will be trying it out with a group of French teenagers. I must admit that I am a little troubled by the similarity of the two works. Which articts published his work first ?
    I’ll be transforming the activity and asking my students to prepare their own ‘still’ words as images; I believe that the actual thinking about the creation will dig the groove of said word deeper than the word itself and conjure up images and parallel thinking.

    • Hi Chantal, Thanks a lot for your comments. Please let me know how it goes with your students, I’d love to hear. You’re right, the work of the two artists are very similar.
      All the best,
      Kieran

      • Right, I used the video with my 16 year-old French students as a teaser to a project on short films, began as per your suggestions (memorising etc, on a chain game basis). The I got my students to give a definition of the process, definition which brought up the concepts of ‘meaning’ and ‘symbolises/stands for’ which then led to ‘code’, so we were where I wanted to be with the notions of genre and codes/conventions.
        I then paired off my students and asked them to pick words from a list (common topic of film-making) so as to prepare some still ‘word(s) as image(s)’. We were thus ready to attend a European Festival of Short Films after some fun activities.
        There doesn’t seem to be any means by which I can upload their productions.
        Anyway, thanks.

          • Hi Chantal, I know you posted a while ago but I really liked the sound of your version of the class – did you ever find a way to get the examples of student work uploaded? I’ve used bits of this lessons with teenagers several times and love it – When pushed for time, instead of the story writing we have used the film as a springboard for discussing ways of remembering lexis, and had students look back at lexis from previous lessons and create their own desgins using only the letters in the words. They make lovely displays and flashcards for recycling vocab in future lessons. A short film would be the logical next step! Nice lesson Kieran.

  2. A lovely video and great lesson idea. I used it successfully with a group of adults – they loved the clip and were able to recall a lot of the words. However, I made a couple of changes:

    * after the gapfill, we did a bit of language focus on the phrasal verbs in the text, then looked at the tenses and the use of ‘as’. We have ‘as’ meaning ‘while’ with past continuous, and ‘as’ meaning ‘because’.

    * rather than put the Ss straight onto the story creation part, we put the words from the gapfill in correct sequence on the board. They then had to retell the story without referring to the text. This was useful because it allowed me to hear how well they were controlling the tenses as well as using the various expressions (‘as I was leaving …’, ‘couldn’t do the zipper up’, for example).

    Anyway, hope this gives other people some alternative approaches. Thanks again for a great post and a great site.

    • Hi Neil, thanks a lot for commenting and for your fantastic suggestions. the way you’ve adapted the lesson sounds great. I’m really happy that you find the lessons useful. All the best, Kieran

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