“Children are likely to live up to what you believe of them.”
—Lady Bird Johnson
If you are planning to get your young learners to use web tools and navigate the web this year, then plan on teaching about digital footprints and citizenship. One way to get your young learners to be aware of their digital footprints is to have them create digital avatars. An avatar is a graphic or digital representation of a person often used in video games or virtual worlds. Avatars can also be used as profile pictures on various social networks or for digital projects to protect students’ identities.
Have students reflect on their roles and responsibilities as digital citizens when they create their digital avatars. The choices their avatars make online impact others in their online communities. Your young language learners will enjoy creating avatars and practicing their English with the web tools, apps, and activities shared below.
Recommended Web Tools to Create Avatars
When children create an avatar, they are asked to choose the physical features, clothing, and characteristics of the character. This provides an opportunity for your students to learn about parts of the body, personality traits, clothing, gear, and much more! (For vocabulary review and lesson ideas, see the Related Lessons section at the end of this post.) Check out the free web tools below for creating digital avatars:
- Build Your Wild Self – Kids will have fun adding different animal parts to their colorful human avatar.
- Doppel Me – Kids can create cartoon-like avatars that resemble humans. Choose clothing and features.
- Mini-Mizer – Children create Lego characters that resemble them.
- Gatorade’s Athletic Heroes creator – Children will enjoy creating an avatar of an athletic hero. They choose the sport and attire along with the features.
- Mii character – A Mii is a game avatar for Nintendo. Children can create a Mii character online.
- Marvel superhero – Kids can create an avatar of a Marvel superhero.
- Create a monster – Children will have fun creating a funny monster that sings and sneezes.
- Pokémon GO – Students create a trainer’s avatar. Find ideas for using Pokémon GO with language learners here.
Create a Talking Avatar
- Plotagon – Children can create fun videos on their PC, Mac, or iOS device that feature talking avatars.
- Voki – Kids can create an animated avatar that can look like a human, animal, or famous character. Children can make the avatar speak by text to speech or by recording their own voice. Voki is available on the web and as an iOS and Android app.
- Tellagami (iOS app) – Children can make a video of an adult avatar with voice and movement.
- Buddy Poke 3D – This app allows children to create animated 3D avatars that look like children with voice and movement. The Android app is free, but the iOS app has a cost.
Here are a few activities your young language learners can do to practice English with their digital avatars:
Children can provide facts about a place, describe a landmark, or act as tour guide with their speaking avatars. Find a rubric for creating an avatar as a virtual tour guide to copy and adapt here.
Children can fill out a profile card for their avatars where they enter details such as the made-up name, gender, age, occupation, interests, and talents. Find a rubric for creating a character description for an avatar to copy and adapt here.
If your young learners have created a Voki avatar, they can find an activity for character development with their Voki avatars here.
ESL Library flashcards are great for teaching parts of the body, clothing, and more.
Students can introduce their avatars in pairs or small groups.
Students can create digital stories featuring their avatars.
Try some of Sprout English‘s lessons and activities to introduce or review vocabulary for the face, body parts, clothes, and adjectives.
- The Face: Vocabulary Lesson
- Adjectives for Describing the Face
- Draw My Face: Listening Activity
- Body Parts: Vocabulary Lesson
- Adjectives: Grammar Lesson
- Adjective Sentence Patterns & Suffixes
- Clothing Flashcards
- Clothing & Shopping Activities Using Flashcards
What other avatar creators do you think are fun for young language learners?
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