An ESL Teaching Activity – What’s going on?

esl curriculum

What’s Going On?

In teaching ESL classes in different countries, we found that students enjoyed working in small groups. Usually, they needed something to spark their imaginations, so that they could try out their English skills. We found that picture activities are good for this.

esl curriculum

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The following is a typical picture activity that you can try out, and the interesting part is that there can be endless different variations, using different pictures and different ideas.

Divide the class into small groups of two to four.

Give each group a copy of this picture, and some details about the background of this picture. The students are to work together in their groups to make a plausible story based upon this picture. The story should answer all of the questions, and may include anything else the group wishes to add.

It is best to give a time limit for writing the presentation, or you will find that one group will never be ready. When the groups have written their stories, ask each group to appoint a spokesperson to read the group’s story.

It is important for the teacher to stress that there is no “correct” answer to this, but the students should use their imaginations to come up with a good story. If suitable, the teacher can ask the students to vote to determine which group wrote the best story.


Two young women are moving a big box.

We don’t know what they were doing before this picture was taken.

There might be something in the box, or is it empty?

It looks to be quite heavy.

The story should answer these questions:

Who are these women?

Are they relations or just friends?

Why are they doing this?

Are they doing this in secret, or is this just something normal?

Have they done anything bad?

What is in the box?

Where are they taking the box?

What will be the result?

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Modified: June 7th, 2018 June 7th, 2018
Published: February 1st, 2012

Comments (2)

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  1. Nigel says:

    Very good tips! I have been searching for some thing similar to this for a time these days. Regards!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Challenge your students to use the clues they see to solve a crime.

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