The Comprehensible Classroom

Re-tell using pictures

An excellent speaking activity (or assessment) for your students is to have them re-tell a familiar story using only picture cues. (This is not a revolutionary idea for most of you!) Today, for example, my Spanish II students read a new story in pairs or groups of three. At the bottom of the page, I drew six pictures that illustrated the story. You can see the story that we used in class here: La voz de un ángel, but please note that it is copyrighted and posted with permission. Visit TPRS Publishing Inc. to find all of the lesson plans, novels, and other TPRS/CI resources that you could ever want!

Activity Description

After completing some comprehension activities, the students began rehearsing what will be a speaking assessment tomorrow. Since this is the first time that we are doing this activity this year, I am easing them into it–they will divide up the six pictures amongst the group members (2-3 each) and will have the opportunity to rehearse before they present. Once they are more comfortable with the activity, they will need to speak on demand, without rehearsal time. Each student will need to describe what is happening in their images using only the images as a prop–no note cards.

Presentation Format

If you are just using this as an activity, you could have the students share their work using the simultaneous presentation model. If you’d rather use it as an assessment, I would recommend recording the work or using a traditional presentation format. (I’d avoid traditional presentations, especially if everyone is expected to re-tell the same story…talk about boring!!). I will have the rest of the class working on an independent activity while I pull groups out in the hall to record them. An even better option would be to have students record themselves in Garage Band or a similar program; they could even make an iMovie out of it if you have the time and resources!


Make sure that you are clear about your expectations, with regard to content and accuracy as well as delivery. Here are some ideas; but obviously, the possibilities are endless!