English with Instagram celebrities

English with Instagram celebrities

Instagram is gaining more and more popularity due to its simplicity and visual attractiveness. Lots of people follow the stars’ accounts on this social network. We have already written how celebrities can help to teach grammar and vocabulary in this article. Such materials can add a fun element to your lessons and encourage learners to be more active. 

Today let’s see how to use celebrities’ Instagram profiles for practicing the language. Here are some possible tasks for pre-intermediate – upper-intermediate students. 

What did you do last week? (Past Simple)

Discussing last weekend or last week using Past Simple has become a traditional task for any warm-up. Not everyone likes talking about themselves and their life can be not as interesting as celebrities’ are. Choose a popular Instagram star and show students their page or a screenshot from it. For example, Selena Gomez seems to be very active. Ask learners what she did last week. For lower levels scaffold the task by giving a list of useful expressions: go hiking, go clubbing, wear a smart dress etc. 

Source: https://www.instagram.com/selenagomez/?hl=ru

It’s also possible to use the Past Continuous to describe actions in progress.

What had you done before you …? (Past Perfect)

The similar task to the previous one but the target language is the Past Perfect tense. Show a picture with a significant event like the wedding, the graduation etc. Scroll down the page. Ask students to make sentences about what had happened in the star’s life before this event: 

What had Dwayne Johnson done before he got married?

Possible answers:

He had been to the gym.

Dwayne had received a nice present.

He had been on a Disney’s Jungle cruise.

Source:  https://www.instagram.com/therock/?hl=en

They must be (modals of deductions)

Show a photo of a celebrity with other people. This photo should have many details.

For example,

Source: https://www.instagram.com/cristiano/?hl=en

Learners speculate about the picture using modals of deductions ‘must’, ‘might’, ‘could’, ‘can’t’:  Christiano must be with his wife and kids. His eldest child can be 4 and the twins can be 2. They could be in a hotel or a restaurant. I think it might be early morning because the sun is rising

Lower levels can speak about this picture using I think+ Present Continuous: 

I think Christiano is having lunch or dinner with his family. His wife is wearing black clothes etc.

If I were there, I would… (Second Conditional)

Some stars, for example, Justin Timberlake, have a travel Instagram. Choose some photos representing interesting places. And ask learners to complete a sentence If I were there, I would

Possible answers:

If I were in London, I would walk across the Tower Bridge.

If I were in Bordeaux at night, I would drink some vine in the street.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/justintimberlake/

This exercise can also have a vocabulary focus. Students use adjectives for describing cities and towns to talk about the places.

What does she look like? (appearance and clothes)

Instagram is a great source of pictures for describing clothes, accessories, makeup, and hair. For example, Beyonce @beyonce has lots of extravagant looks which is interesting to analyze.

Source: https://www.instagram.com/beyonce/

We hope you find this article useful. Be creative and inspirational!

Юлия Белоног

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