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Here is a quick idea for you. Images, and photos in particular, lend themselves terribly well to storytelling activities. You can make the most of this in the language classroom by taking the bare details from a photo and the context in which it was taken and turning these into a collaborative storytelling event.

Here is an example, using a photo I took of a football boot left on the pavement one morning.

First of all, set the scene. Tell the students that you are going to describe a photo and the situation in which it was taken. Tell them that you’re not sure of some details about the photo, and you’d like some help ‘reimagining’ it.

Tell the students it was the morning and it was a nice day. Elicit vocabulary for describing this and board any useful phrases. ‘Well, it *was* sunny, but it was winter so it wasn’t really warm. There was a lot of light, that’s right, it was a bright, sunny day…’

Tell the students you were walking along, but can’t remember where you were going. ‘Hmm, teacher, I think you was [sic] going to see your grandma…’ Decide how close to the real situation you’d like this to be, perhaps leaving a few possible situations on the board. Again elicit and board any useful language.

You saw something on the floor (elicit this, and associated phrases like ‘looking down at the ground’, ‘bend down to check something out’, etc.). Again board useful vocab and phrases that come up.

Ask your students to draw their own version of the photo – this could be their own, individual interpretation, or one that you have come to a consensus on as a class. They should then write a brief paragraph of the story of taking the photo, using some of the boarded language.

Reveal the true picture, but don’t show them the photo yet. Ask them if they know the story of Cinderella. If not, there could be a quick web quest or bit of research for the students to do. Though they are, probably, more likely to have heard of this story. Exploit this and ask students to share their ideas.

Add the twist. Tell them that Cinderella was actually a keen sports fan, and was actually on her way back from having participated in a training session. Ask the students to guess what was left on the floor. Ballet shoe? Flip flop? Diving fin? Board suggestions and have a vote.

Finally, reveal the picture. Discuss the students’ ideas and suggestions. How close or far from the true situation were they?

Finally, flip the task to the students. When did they last see something odd on the floor? What was it? Where were they going and what were they doing? Using all the language that the students have introduced so far or that you have presented and ask them to write a brief paragraph. Then stick these up and vote on the most interesting or unusual.