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Reading activity: "Match the Writing to the Drawing"


Objective/ product

Students write a description that matches a drawing they have made of a person, place, or thing. Other students use the writing to identify the author's drawing among all the other drawings.

Followup: The accuracy of the descriptions may be checked; students may improve each other's writing through peer editing.

Materials needed

  • drawing materials
  • visual presenter for display

Procedures for traditional classroom

This activity, like other communicative reading/writing activities, should be preceded by a skill-getting sequence in which students learn language they need in order to produce the writing, including a reading activity using a text similar to the one they will write. The drawing and writing may be assigned as overnight homework. Once the drawings and writings have been made, they are gathered and anonymized (names scribbled out if necessary). The drawings are laid out in a large display, and the writings are redistributed by the teacher at random. Students read and match the text they have received with a drawing in the display.

Detail: it is important that students all use plain white paper so that writings and drawings are not matched on the basis of paper color!

The activity may be followed up by class sharing of results: students can take turns reading the texts they have received aloud while other students point to the parts of the drawing that match each statement. Another followup activity could be pairwork in which students work together to correct any mistakes in the writings they have received.

Adaptations for ITV

Adaptation of this activity is similar to adaptation of the listening/speaking activity "Who Drew This?" with the added complication that not only student drawings but also student writings must somehow be delivered across sites, either by fax or through use of the visual presenter.

There are two basic alternatives for adaptation:

  1. Before class, receive-site students fax their writings to the instructor. The instructor chooses three writings from any three students (originating site or receive site) and copies them, or cuts-and-pastes them, onto a single page, which is then faxed to the remote sites. In the best case, copies of this fax are made on the spot for each receive-site student. The same sheet may be copied for the originating-site students, or they may receive randomly distributed writings by their classmates. The instructor first asks students to read the writings they have received, singly or in pairs or groups, and to predict the appearance of the drawings that would correspond to the readings. The instructor then uses the visual presenter to display drawings from the origination site sequentially. Each time students perform a positive identification between the drawing on display and the writing they are looking at, they are asked to call out. At this point, they may be asked to read aloud so that others can confirm their ID.
  2. If faxing is not possible, a whole-class version of the activity may be implemented using the visual presenter exclusively. The instructor gathers writings and drawings from the originating-site students. The instructor displays one drawing and asks students to work in pairs to predict what they will see in the corresponding writing. The instructor then displays writings sequentially for students to read, and asks students to call out when the writing that matches the drawing appears.


Sample Clips

Implementation of this activity type in an ITV classroom requires special arrangements to ensure the participation of all students, such as faxing writings back and forth and using visual presenters at remote sites. In the example shown on this page, after receive sites faxed in their writings, three writings from the origination site were quickly faxed to the receive sites; meanwhile, students at the originating site received readings by random distribution. Pairs of students were asked to read together and anticipate the kind of drawing they would see based on that writing. The instructor then placed drawings on the visual presenter at the origination site one by one and asked pairs to call out when the drawing appeared that matched what they were reading, whereupon the pair was asked to read aloud so everyone could check the match. After this stage, the direction was reversed: students at the receive sites were asked to place their drawings on their visual presenters to be matched to the writings that had been faxed to the origination site.


Preparing to Confirm Results of Reading Task. The instructor alerts the technicians to the presence of a pair who has a match for the drawing on the visual presenter and requests a split screen.

Post-reading Check. The pair reads aloud the writing they have been given so that the rest of the class can check details and provide support for the reading of the on-screen pair.




It is also possible to have learners write to each other instructions on how to draw a figure, rather than descriptions of a figure they have drawn. The following videoclip shows a teacher-centered checking stage following such an activity, with the teacher displaying one of the writings and then various drawings to see if they match the writing.

Confirming Results of Drawing Task. The instructor leads the class in reading the writing, then invites them to check against the drawing.



1999 Stephen Fleming, NFLRC, University of Hawai‘i.All rights reserved.