Suitable for: young learners and adults (pre-intermediate and up); descriptions, speculation and comparative forms
Necessary materials: PC and projector/IWB
If any students don’t have a gaming avatar, direct them to one of the following websites, where they can make a character representation of themselves:
- Planet Creation - allows users to create a free cartoon-style avatar, which they can then send to an email address.
- My Manga - here, users can create an anime-style manga avatar and take a screenshot to save it.
- Online Mii Creator - a website that copies the Nintendo Wii's Mii Creator. Again, a screenshot is necessary to save the image.
- Create Your Own Superhero - a website from Marvel where users can create and download their own superhero.
Once you have collected the images, arrange them on a Powerpoint slide or something similar, like this:
Display the avatars on the screen and give the students a few moments to look at them.
Ask students to guess which avatar belongs to you and why they think it is yours (see what language they come up with first and help when necessary).
Show the students your avatar and tell them which game/website it is from. Invite questions about your avatar and the game.
Next, divide the students into small groups and ask them to discuss who they think each avatar belongs to and which game it is from. Remind the owners of the avatars not to reveal anything! (Not yet anyway ;-))
Once each group has some ideas, ask them to tell the class who they think each avatar belongs to and why. Encourage other groups to state whether they agree or disagree.
To round off the discussion, ask each student to reveal which avatar is theirs and the game/website it is from. Encourage questions about the character and the game.
Once the creators of each avatar have been revealed, ask the students to describe differences between the avatars and the people who made them. Start with a class example using your own avatar, highlighting useful language as you do so (e.g. The avatar is taller than you; He has got longer hair; and so on).
NOTE: It can be a good idea (especially if you work with young learners) to emphasise the need for polite language here to avoid any cries of ‘The avatar is beautiful but she is not!’ or ‘The avatar looks strong but you are fat!’
In pairs or small groups, the students can choose 3 or 4 avatars and describe the differences.
Follow up with some language focus based on the students’ own examples/mistakes.
As a final discussion activity, ask the students whether they prefer to make avatars that look like themselves or that look completely different and why they have that preference.