In the Freeze Frame ESL activity, students describe what they think their classmates are doing based on their positions.
Divide the class into groups of three or four students.
- Each group of students has five minutes to create a freeze frame situation. This is a snapshot of the students doing a particular activity, with them frozen in position. Possible examples include “riding a rollercoaster”, “doing surgery”, or “cleaning the house”. Encourage the students to be creative and use funny activities. Separate the groups so that none of the groups overhear each other.
- When they have their situations ready, each group takes turns in coming to the front and performing their freeze frame. Remember to strictly enforce no movement or speaking!
- If the students have camera phones available, one member of each group should take a photo of all the freeze frames. The groups then review all the photos, writing three or more sentences (depending on the number of groups) about what the students are doing, using the target language. At the end, review all the ideas for each freeze frame as a class.
- Alternatively, if taking photos is not possible/appropriate, you could ask each group to hold the freeze for a little longer. In this time you could discuss ideas as a class, or each group could quickly write down one or two sentences.
You can use the Freeze Frame ESL activity to practise the present continuous or past continuous, by having the students state what the groups are/were doing (We think they are/were riding a rollercoaster).
For another similar activity to practise this grammar (in which the students are still moving but with multiple actions), try Crazy Classroom.
However, because the action in question is usually not clear, the Freeze Frame ESL activity lends itself particularly well to practising modal verbs of possibility or modal verbs of past possibility. Here the students can speculate on activities/emotions using the appropriate modal verb. For example, They could be on a rollercoaster, or They must have been scared.
Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.