Glossary of ESL terms

 

 

 

 

EFL Activities for the TEFL Teacher!

 

 Home |  Crosswords |   Word Searches   |   Flash Cards   |  Verbs   |  Songs   |  Creative Writing   |   Work Sheets  |  Phonics    ABCs   Survival English | Business ESL  |  ESL for Adults  |  Articles |  Lesson Plans  |   Young Learners 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       

Describing and Captioning a Picture by Chris Gunn

(There is now also a young learners version of this activity).

 

 

 

Captioning and describing a picture, though incredibly simple as a resource idea, has proved to be an extremely valuable teaching resource for both oral and written communication. Simply put: teachers provide a picture –preferably with lots going on—and then ask students to describe what they see. As students describe what they see, they write it down on the blank space surrounding the picture. Alternatively, teachers can have the students write the descriptions down on a separate piece of paper though I find this is probably unnecessary.  While this is going on, teachers have ample opportunity to provide feedback to students. Depending on the age, the proficiency of students, the image, and whether we are doing it in class or for homework, I usually have students come up with between 10 and 30 sentences to describe the images on each sheet. As well, on some sheets, I have the students write a main caption which is helpful for developing the skill of identifying and describing main ideas. In a similar vein, I sometimes edit the title out of the image and ask the students to supply a title.

I have included a large selection of images for describing as this is an activity that I use again and again because the long term benefits are dramatic. In particular, students get a great deal of sentence level writing practice and really become comfortable with a few select areas of grammar such as writing in the present progressive, using prepositions of place, using ?˜there is??expletive constructions, and writing about causes and effects. The images also allow for the introduction of select vocabulary in a very meaning focused way.

Using Present Progressive:

Because pictures are moments frozen in time, it is natural to use the present continuous to describe actions contained within the picture. In the first student sample, the students have produced sentences such as:

They are planting trees.

She is looking up.

he is digging.

She is holding an umbrella.

Preposition of Place:

The images also provide opportunities to describe the position of objects in relation to other objects using prepositions of place.

He is on the hay.

The hay is on the pole.

Expletive 'There'

The images also present opportunities to say what is in the picture using expletive construction with 'there'.

In student sample 2, the students write:

There are many roads.

There are two bridges.

There is a river.

There is a town in the castle wall.

As students are writing sentences like these, teachers have a chance to give feedback such as explaining subject verb agreement (there is versus there are).

Other areas of language that come out naturally using images like these are saying what something looks like: The dog looks sad. The horses look tires. Identify in cause and effects: She is unhappy because it is raining.

 

 

 

Simple Pictures

 

Planting Trees

 

Parade

 

Campfire

 

Gingerbread Man I

 

Gingerbread Man II

 

Saying Sorry

 

Intermediate

 

Dinosaurs I

 

Dinosaurs II

 

Desert

 

Wetland

 

Nile River

 

Medieval Town

 

Country Life

 

Farm Life

 

Farm Life II

 

Pioneer Family

 

Titanic

 

Viking Long Ship

 

Under the Sea

 

Maya Temple

 

Aztec Warriors

 

Wild West Explorers

 

Gold Rush

 

Cowboys

 

Japanese Festival

 

Japanese Fisherman

 

Homestead

 

Conquistadors

 

Age of Exploration

 

Aztec Market

 

Outlaws

 

San Francisco Gold Rush

 

Wild West Town

 

Train

 

Civil War

 

Castle Siege

 

Medieval Aristocaracy

 

Medieval Battle

 

Medieval Fair

 

Medieval Feast

 

Medieval Hunt

 

Medieval Port

 

Medieval Tournament

 

Medieval Market

 

Medieval Village Life

 

Norse Village

 

Halloween Costumes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All materials  (c) 2007 Lanternfish ESL