An ESL Picture Activity

An ESL Activity That Costs Nothing

esl curriculum

A picture like this would make a great story.

The real enemy of any ESL Curriculum teacher is boredom. When your class becomes bored with your lessons, they stop learning. Once that happens, they lose enthusiasm and stop coming to class. To combat this, we devised a motto that we found very useful: keep them guessing! If the students were never quite sure what would happen in their class, they would come because of curiosity, and join in with enthusiasm. Here is an activity you can make yourself, or if you are short of time, you can download a free one.We found this activity was always enjoyed. It involves pictures cut out of magazines. Often you can find old magazines that no one wants. If not, usually you can pick up old magazines for next to nothing in thrift stores or second hand stores. Cut out unusual pictures, you will need 10 or 15. Old photography magazines are good for this, because they usually have some very unusual pictures in them. Next make captions for each picture. Computer labels are very good for this. The caption should form the basis that the students will be required to use for a story about the picture. Of course, if you can think up crazy captions for the pictures, it will make the activity much more fun for the students.

esl curriculum

Where is she going in such a hurry?

Here are some sample captions: a picture of a speeding car – “Why did this man steal his father-in-law’s car?” A picture of two men carrying a big box – “What are they going to do with the body in the box?” a picture of camels crossing the desert – “Why did our neighbors go here for a holiday? Is there something strange going on?”

Divide your class into groups of two or three. Give one picture to each group, and tell them to make a story about the picture, using the caption that you have provided. We suggest giving them a time limit for this, one that is generous enough for them to finish, but not too long. (Without a time limit, you will usually find that one group will take a very long time to finish.) When each of the groups has finished their story, ask a spokesperson from each group to show the class their picture and read their story.

To add to the learning, the teacher can go to each group as they finish their story and correct any errors. In this way, the small group has a chance to see the correction, and the large group hears the correct English from each group.

We kept the pictures for years and used them over and over. We always found this activity to be lots of fun.

For teachers who are busy, we have made a complimentary book that you can download, with the pictures and captions ready for use.

The PDF password to open the book is: roy

For your free book, click below>>


We have a few other related blogs. See also:

Our curriculum is in more than 75 countries around the world.



About brian_mu8dft39

Successful ESL was created out of our first company, Learning English With Laughter which began in 1990 when we, George and Daisy Stocker, traveled to the historic city of Karlovy Vary in Czechoslovakia, to teach English in a private language school. Communism was over and the people were embarking along the road to democracy. There were hundreds of students eager to learn the English Language, but suitable textbooks were non-existent. Consequently, we wrote as we taught, making countless revisions as we listened to the students' special needs. Upon returning to our home in Victoria, Canada, we have adapted the Teen-adult Series to meet the cultural needs of students in a number of different countries. A variety of adaptations have been achieved through contacts with many countries. Thousands of students have encouraged us to use a conversational approach to English that stresses communication in a variety of everyday situations. See our facebook page:
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3 Responses to An ESL Picture Activity

  1. Dustin says:

    Excellent information and facts! I have been looking for anything like that for some time today. With thanks!

  2. Michaele says:

    It will be difficult to find skilled people with this topic, however you sound like you understand what you are sharing! Thank you

  3. Pingback: Fun using adjectives

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