Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Face Morphing (Teaching one use of the present perfect)

This blog post looks at how I introduced the present perfect tense when we are talking about things that have changed. For example: You're English has improved since I last saw you! (Which is what we all want to say to our students, right?)
The first thing I thought of for introducing this concept was one of those videos that I have seen a lot of on TV recently (at least out here in Japan) where one particular thing in an image changes veeeery slowly over 20 seconds or so. However, I had really trouble finding a suitable video on the Internet (If you [know what I am talking about and] find one, please let me know!). So instead, I found a video of how a man's face changed over a number of years. The video uses morphing technology, and is presented below. It starts with the man as a one year old child and finishes with him as he is now (well actually in 2008, but for the purposes of the lesson...) a 36 year old man.  
The second part of the lesson uses a "spot the difference" set of two images where one of the images has been changed. Students are told to find the changes and report on them as a group. There are nine changes, and I have provided both the unedited image and the one with the changes separately, as well as the answer sheet.
  • Language level: Beginner - Low-intermediate
  • Learner type: Any
  • Time: 60~90 minutes
  • Main activity: finding differences; discussion
  • Topic: changes over time
  • Language: present perfect; talking about changes
  •  Materials: Video clip and worksheet available here (.docx) and here (pdf) as well as the three image files for use in the second half of the lesson available as a zip here.

The video can be seen on YouTube here and the description reads:
All my bad haircuts from the 70s can be blamed on my mum and her selection of saucepans. Any after that are my own fault.
The program used for this was Sqirlz-Morph 2.0, which is free and simple to use. Google it or down load it here:
The description thus provides a link to the software that he used, should any of you more adventurous teachers out there(!) like to try morphing your own face.

Lesson Plan

Part 1: Face Morph
  1. Print out the worksheet and images. (Alternatively, use the images from your computer attached to a projector)
  2. Start a discussion about what has changed about yourself since you were younger. E.g. I have lost my hair, I have gained a few pounds, I've grown a beard...
  3. Ask students to give some examples about themselves. If they find this difficult, ask them to compare themselves to when they were one years old!
  4. Show students the above video.
  5. Give out the worksheet and ask students to think of things that have changed about the man. Simple things are of course acceptable. 
  6. After a few minutes, put students into groups so that they can pool their answers together. Tell them that the group that comes up with the most things will be declared the winners. Give them a few minutes to think of a few more answers. 
  7. Ask groups how many changes they have found. 
  8. Students then read and compare answers with other groups.
Part 2: Spot the difference puzzle
(Originally found here)
  1. Show the two pictures and let students think about what has changed. Let them know that there are 9 differences altogether.
  2. Ask students to write any changes they can see onto the bottom half of their worksheet.
  3. Collate answers in groups.
  4. Once a group has all the answers, they should take it in turns to tell you (meaning that all members get a chance to speak).
Following the spot the difference activity, I would then go into an explicit explanation of the present perfect tense grammar point covered. Of course, the grammar point could be covered in between the two activities, with students focusing more on linguistic accuracy during the second activity.

Student work will be uploaded soon.

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