Seven picture activities for English learners

Picture activities

These are seven picture activities that English teachers can use in EFL or ESL classrooms. They can be used to teach vocabulary writing or grammar.

1. Identifying pictures

You need to choose appropriate pictures to practice language items such as colors, clothes adjectives, the present continuous, prepositions… The teacher sticks the pictures on the board and number them. S/he describes one of the pictures and the students try to guess the number.

2. Memorizing details of a picture

The teacher shows a picture and then hide it. The teacher reads out statements about the picture and the students answer with true or false.

As a variation of this activity, instead of reading out statements about the pictures, the students write themselves true statements describing the picture. They later compare their statements in pair or group work.

3. Picture dictation

The teacher chooses a picture according to the level of the students. S/he describes the picture without showing it to the students. The students’ task is to draw the picture as accurately as possible. This activity is best used to teach different types of vocabulary, including preposition of place (in the middle, on the left, on, in, under, above…)

4. Partially covered picture

The teacher chooses a picture and cover it partially. The students try to guess the things in the covered part.

5. Humor

Choose funny pictures and let the students explain why the pictures make them laugh.

6. Story

Choose a picture that can be used to prompt the imagination of the students and ask the to write a story about the picture.

7. One-word picture

Choose pictures that reflect a controversy and ask students to describe the pictures by providing just one word for each picture, a word that best summarizes the pictures.

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