Name of the activity: Storytelling

Skill focus: Writing

Sub-skill focus: Descriptive writing   

Language for which the activity is designed: English

Level: Secondary and senior-secondary

Estimated time needed: 1 hour

Number of students expected in the class/group: 20-40 students

Objective: To learn descriptive writing

Materials needed: Pictures-Photographs, newspaper/magazine pictures, postcards, as many as the number of participants in the activity.


  1. Explain the objective of the activity and descriptive writing. Explain how the pictures will be used to do an exercise in descriptive writing. (5 minutes)
  2. Display a picture on the projector if one is available, or pass it around for the group to see and contemplate. Then invite suggestions from the group about what the picture might be saying. Create a vocabulary and phrase bank on the board. (10 minutes)
  3. Distribute the pictures/photographs/postcards to each participant in the group. Ask each participant to choose a partner. (5 minutes)
  4. Ask the participants to individually write a description of the picture they have been given in 250 words. The teacher/language activity facilitator has to move around the class to assist the participants. (20 minutes)
  5. Once the participants have finished writing their descriptions, ask them to share their write-ups with their partners for peer review and feedback, and vice versa. Each participant has to read their write-up to their partner and circulate the picture. (10 minutes)
  6. Two to three participants (2/3) may be invited to share their write-ups with the entire group. (10 minutes)
  7. Feedback and reflection. (5 minutes)

Specific explanation: The activity requires the teacher/facilitator to get the group to focus on a variety of tasks in a quick succession. This requires high energy and mobility on the part of the teacher. 

Follow-on activities: The participants can be asked to bring a picture of their choice for their partner for them to practice descriptive writing. They may give cues or hints for writing the narration.

Evaluation of the activity: At the end of the activity the participants would have learnt about descriptive vocabulary and narrative structure. The teacher can collect the write-ups and put the best ones on display on the class board. These could be changed weekly if the activity is carried out for a few weeks.

Manjari Pushkarna is an English Literature and Language teacher, and a former Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA). She is currently working on inter-generational learning in India.