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Teaching English by the BBC: Using Picture Prompts for Writing Practice

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

More Ways

Computer, Internet access, projector, (optional) - microphone, Microsoft Word and/or Audacity software

Activity Description

In this activity, students are shown a picture of a man on the telephone and asked to write questions in groups about the photo. This student-centered activity encourages collaboration and teamwork while offering speaking, writing, and grammar practice (question forms, simple present, present progressive), and encourages creativity.


Use the picture provided or find a picture that promotes the use of vocabulary and grammar that your class has been studying. Here is a link to one used for this example.


  1. Show a picture and have students brainstorm questions about the picture in groups.
  2. When the students are working together, monitor and help with the question forming. Provide advice and correction if necessary. If students are struggling to think of questions, provide prompts.
  3. When you feel the students have produced enough questions ask students to ask you the questions orally.
  4. When you receive a question, ask another group to answer. When they answer (using their imaginations) write their answers on the board.
  5. When you have exhausted all the questions, have the students work in pairs and tell a story to each other based on the answers given. If they want to change any details tell them that this is fine.
  6. Change pairs and have the students tell their stories again.
  7. Now change pairs again. This time ask them to write the story they have told together.
  8. Monitor and offer advice and help if necessary.
  9. Post the finished stories on the walls and encourage students to read each others and comment.
  10. Find more pictures on Pixabay

More Ways

  • Have students do their writing on the computer to encourage word processing skills.
  • Give each pair of students a different picture. They must write a story based on the picture. If you have a microphone available students could record their completed stories using a free program like Audacity. This could then be played to all students while they look at a copy of all the original pictures. Students could then match the pictures to the recorded stories.
  • Alternatively they could read the stories and match them to the pictures.


  • Beginning High
  • Intermediate Low
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.