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ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Picture matching

Picture Matching (Word 19KB) develops students’ listening skills and builds their understanding of key concepts and vocabulary.

The teacher creates a series of clear diagrams or pictures that illustrate the central concepts of the unit of work or the main events in a text. The teacher also writes one sentence that describes each diagram simply, mixes them up and numbers each sentence. Provide a copy of the diagrams/pictures to each student. The teacher reads each sentence out aloud twice. On the first reading the students just listen. On the second reading they listen and write the number of the sentence next to the diagram it describes.

The students can then check their work with a partner.

Extension activity:

Picture matching can be extended into a  skills flow activity (RTF 47KB) . The students retell the story orally, using the pictures as prompts. They can then write the story and compare their version with the original. (For younger students the diagrams can be cut up and glued into their workbook in the correct sequence and they write alongside.) In this way a skills flow is used. The students listen, speak, then write and lastly they compare and notice the language differences.

Related activity:

Listening to Pictures – A similar activity where students each have a copy of the same picture. The teacher reads statements about the picture written to include the target language/vocabulary. The students listen and do the action required of them - eg. writing the correct answer, choosing whether the statement is true or false, write a number next to the item described, draw the route taken, etc.

Benefits of Picture Matching

The students develop their listening skills. The students build on their understanding of mathematical concepts and mathematical language.

Example of Picture Matching sentences

   1. Corresponding angles are equal.

   2. Vertically opposite angles are equal.

   3. The base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal.

   4. Each angle in an equilateral triangle is equal.

   5. Alternate angles on parallel lines are equal.

   6. Co-interior angles on parallel lines are supplementary.

Watch this video to see Picture Matching being used in a year 10 maths class


Teaching and learning sequence planning examples:

Primary level:

  • Molluscs, Focus on English series- Animals, Activity 1.65 Listening to pictures: Science/English, years 7–10.
  • 2D shapes, Focus on English series – Shapes, Activity 2.10 Listening to pictures-prepositions, word-picture matching: Mathematics/English, years 7–10.
  • Life cycles, Focus on English series – Plants, Activity 3.27 – labelling plants, listen to and follow instructions: Science/English, years 7–10.

Secondary level:

  • Oral language: Understand spoken information and instructions in a range of contexts (US15007): ESOL/English, NCEA Unit Standards level 2.
  • Mammals, Focus on English series – Animals, Activity 1.11: Listening to pictures of mammals, Word/Picture matching: Science/English, years 7–10.
  • Life cycles, Focus on English series – Plants, Activity 3.28 – Sunflowers word/picture matching: Science/English, years 7-10.
  • Lines, Focus on English-Shapes, Activities 2.33 Listening to pictures, road signs and 2.35 Listening for Mistakes: Mathematics/English years 7–10.

Published on: 18 Dec 2017