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Describing Pictures

By Mark Warner
Age Range: 5 to 11

For this activity, one child (the "describer") is given a piece of paper with a picture on. These pictures are not of any particular object, but should be strange, involving lots of shapes, letters and numbers, and they should be hidden from all children apart from the describer. This child then has to describe the picture to the rest of the class, who have to draw that picture by following the instructions given. When the description is finished, the child who most accurately reproduced the picture takes a turn at describing.

The activity encourages the describer to look carefully at every detail of the picture, forcing them to explain clearly what they can see, and taking into account the needs of the audience. It also encourages the rest of the class to listen carefully to the instructions being given, so that they can reproduce the picture on the paper as accurately as possible.

Some examples of pictures which might be used for this activity are shown below. Pictures of this type will encourage the children to think about the different shapes, letters and numbers used, and explain where they are in relation to each other (above, below, to the right / left of etc.) and how big they are in relation to each other.

Describing Picture No.3
Describing Pictures No.1
Describing Pictures No.2
Describing Picture No.4 Describing Picture No.5

If there are enough coloured pens and pencils for everyone, the pictures could use different colours (as in two of the pictures above). This will add another aspect which the children will have to describe.

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