Picture Sequencing

The purpose of this activity is to present language in meaningful context with supporting visuals. This activity requires that each individual student demonstrates understanding while interpreting words or sentences presented as they hear and/or read the information.


  1. The teacher provides each student with a sheet of paper with images on it. The selected images are connected in some way. They may be images from a story or images that relate to a specific context or event. 

  2. The teacher uses the target language to direct students to fold and tear their sheet into separate images.

  3. The teacher asks each student to spread the images out in front of them.

  4. The teacher models the activity by saying and/or reading a sentence related to the context and then holds up the image that matches the sentence. The teacher then repeats the process a few more times, modeling how they listen to and/or read the sentence and then find the appropriate image, placing the images in the correct order.

  5. The teacher leads students through a practice round with a few images to make sure that the students understand the process.

  6. The teacher leads the class through a few rounds of the activity. After each round, the teacher pauses to review the correct sequence. During the activity, the teacher circulates around the classroom as they say each sentence, providing non-verbal feedback to students who need extra support during the activity.

  7. The activity concludes with the teacher asking students to place their images into an envelope or a sealable bag for future use. As students store their images, they are asked to say what they can about each image to their partner. 

Adaptation for Online/Distance Learning

  1. This activity can be done using either Google Slides or websites like Formative, Nearpod, etc.

    The teacher describes an image or reads a sentence related to the context. Students work individually or collaboratively to identify that image and move it to the beginning of the sequence.  The teacher continues until all images have been described with students sequencing each image in order according to what they hear. 

  2. On Google Slides: The teacher prepares a slide deck and shares it, giving editing access to all students in the class. Each slide contains a set of images. Students work individually or collaboratively to sequence the images. 

  3. On Formative and with other similar websites: Students are given a set of images. Each image has a corresponding letter. Below the images, there is a ‘sequencing’ question, that allows students to drag letters to the correct order.

Helpful Tips

  1. This activity can be done as interpretive listening or interpretive reading, depending on the age and literacy level of students.

  2. The teacher may choose to do a first round with words/phrases as a practice round to get students used to the routine of the activity, but even with novice learners, teachers should plan to use individual words in sentences as the activity progresses.

  3. Tell students to fold the paper and tear the images without using scissors. Set a timer to limit how long it takes to do this. Have students work silently by telling them to think of words they know related to the images as they tear the separate images.

  4. The teacher may create images by using screenshots of a video that is being used as part of the unit. 

  5. When, possible, use authentic images instead of non-culture specific clipart for this activity. 

  6. Once students are familiar with the activity and the target words/structures, the teacher can increase their rate of speech for a greater challenge.

  7. Once students are familiar with the activity and the target words/structures, the teacher might choose to say multiple sentences before students are allowed to select and sequence the images. This will allow students to practicing holding the target language sounds and chunks in working memory or a greater challenge.

  8. Modification: This activity can also be done using an authentic text coupled with images (like a recipe), in which students first match each image to a chunk of text and then sequence the pairs logically.


  1. The teacher may ask a more advanced student to either read sentences aloud or to make up their own sentences while other students sequence the images. This may be done in small groups as well, depending on the variety of proficiency levels in a class.

  2. Later in a lesson or unit, the teacher may also choose to modify this activity to be “You do together” by empowering students to work in pairs and have Partner A create their own sentences while Partner B listens and sequences images, and then they switch. Of course, for novice learners, this could also be done with Partner A reading pre-written sentences and Partner B sorting, if desired.


  1. Individual images on a single sheet of paper for students to tear; sample provided below

  2. Pre-determined sentences that describe each image

  3. An envelope or sealable bag where students store their images once the activity concludes (optional).

Sample Materials

Click a thumbnail to see a larger version.