Exploiting a picture - Van Gogh's bedroom (French)

I recently came across an activity on the mflresources forum (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mflresources/) suggested by Vincent Everett (http://languagesatnorthgate.wordpress.com/), and it got me thinking about exploiting images for language practice using TaskMagic3.

Vincent introduced his activity as "a bit of reading, dictionary work, colouring in and culture". The activity was aimed at getting students involved in a bit of independent learning. As Vincent says: " I would like to emphasise the fact that this activity was designed to motivate the pupils to read and find out things for themselves. They had not met either furniture words or prepositions before. I think the activity would be a different kettle of fish if they already knew the words and it was just colouring in."

Here's a pdf of the activity, which includes links to access the Van Gogh original as well as a colouring sheet based on the original.

Here's another link to the Van Gogh painting:

I really liked the activity and it got me thinking about other ways of exploiting pictures. Some ideas and resources below based on having access to the original painting. This means that students have to use visual information from the painting to help them to complete the various exercises.

I copied and pasted the text into Mix and Gap in TaskMagic3. After a short while working on a few of the non-automatically-generated exercise formats (and after removing a few exercises that I thought weren't best suited to this text) I ended up with the following range of interactive exercises based on the text:

See sreenshots of a small selection of these exercises below, as well as pdfs. Remember, the idea is that the students have access to the image / painting to help them.

Gap-fill - dragging the words from below into the gaps in the text:

Gap-fill worksheet:

Find the French:

Find the French worksheet:

Tile 4x4: dragging the tiles of text into the correct position.

The same activity as a worksheet:

Prompt Gaps: some nouns from the text have been removed and anagram prompts provided:

Prompt Gaps worksheet:

Write Gaps: the picture is definitely needed for this one:

Write Gaps worksheet:

Long Gaps: fit the chunks of text back into the text:

Long Gaps worksheet:

I'll be selective with the screenshots, as there are another dozen that I could include. Here are a few more worksheets that you might find useful:

1 in 3:



And then I thought it might be a nice idea to use elements from the picture itself to make a Picture Match file. You can use any image editor to select bits of a picture and re-save them with different names. Here's the result:

So all of those exercises in the above screenshot are available. Here's just one of them, the Click and Match exercise:

And a few worksheets...




Write the French:

So many possibilities...

If you have TaskMagic3, you can access the files used to create all of the above exercises, below:

Mix and Gap (ie. the text based stuff)

Picture Match

If you don't have TaskMagic3, you can get a free trial from http://www.mdlsoft.co.uk/trialdownloads.htm

Visit the TaskMagic website for lots more information about TaskMagic3.

SEE THESE DETAILED VIDEO TUTORIALS on making your own MIX and Gap files to exploit texts of all sorts in TaskMagic3.




5 responses
J'adore! Really nice cross curricular activity. This will help to consolidate the link with the Expressive Arts department and sell our trip to Paris in 2012. I will try some of the activities with my KS3 and 4 pupils. Good introductory or even consolidation material.
Merci beaucoup!!
Thanks for your comment Heather. I'm glad you found the materials useful. (I'm amazed that, finally, after more than 16000 site views, yours is the first comment on my blog ! ! ! ! Thank you !)
Thank you so much for all of your hard work putting this activity together and sharing it with the MFL teaching community. It's fabulous!
Thanks Sylvia. That's so nice of you to say so :0)


I am pleased to be the first!! Yippee! I like good ideas and I will definitely try it with my groups and keep you posted.

I now need to share some of my ideas with others...why reinvent the wheel?

Merci et Amitiés,
H. Finn-David
French Teacher (B2)
Languages Department
Washwood Heath Technology College
Burney Lane
Birmingham, B8 2AS
Tel: 0121 675 7272
Fax: 0121 675 9077