Picture This

Picture This enables students to practice giving clear, concise, and meaningful instructions. Students practice talking both in small groups and to the whole class. It also requires them to listen for key information. 

  • Work in pairs, groups, or whole class (initially model using the whole class)
  • Each round takes 3-5 minutes or 10 minutes if a pair is taking one turn each
  • Materials – “Picture This” cards and pencil and paper for drawing

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  1. The speaker selects a picture card from the pack
  2. The card is kept hidden and the name of the object is NOT revealed
  3. The speaker describes the image on the card using the names of geometric shapes and relational descriptors e.g.: “a small square centrally above the triangle”
  4. The listeners draw what they think the described shape is
  5. The listeners can ask for an instruction to be repeated but not ask any other questions
  6. The speaker must not see what is being drawn (because they can’t help but point and correct!)
  7. At the end of the description, the listeners hold up their drawings and the speaker identify those who are closest
  8. The speaker reveals the image on the card.


  1. Each student could be given their own card from which to write a set of instructions. These instructions could be used immediately or stored for a later date
  2. Students can draw and label their own picture cards to add to the Picture This pack 


  1. Revise prepositions to remind students how to describe the relationship between shapes in the image.
  2. Remind students of the names of geometric shapes.
  3. Remind students that the speaker cannot give new information after they have described the image, so they MUST listen carefully.
  4. The speaker cannot interact with the listeners. They must keep the image hidden and describe it as clearly as they can.  

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