Look and Discuss – A Few Points

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben's Patreon at $10 or more
Already a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to access this content.



10 thoughts on “Look and Discuss – A Few Points”

  1. I would say this is targeted! (guitar player & sheltered vocabulary)

    The difference is you didn’t plan your structures. No scope & sequence of target structures. Again, I think the target structures are comprehensibility tools and whatever the vocabulary in the structure that gets targeted can be acquired and and thus become part of a students’ output repertoire. All the language you can create around the structures contributes to the students’ acquired “feel” for the language.

  2. I love look & discuss, and kids who get how to play do often like making up a backstory to the picture. I just got confirmation that my proposal to present on Listen & Draw, Look & Discuss, and Read & Discuss at ACTFL in Nov. 2014 got accepted. I plan to do those as three linked events… first, hear & draw a scene. Next day, look & discuss it. Then the next day, read a description of it (with modifications, or an alternate version of it). I proposed that as a workshop topic because I think all three are fairly simple CI steps any teacher could take without fear of failure. They work even if the students won’t be creative and the teacher has to make it all up. They could even be done in some degree with stuff out of a textbook (bleh! but it’s hard to let go at first).

    In accordance with others’ advice, I’ll show it before doing any theoretical explanation (and keep that limited). I am hoping to video some class time doing these activities.

    1. Listen & Draw –> Look & Discuss –> Read & Discuss … as a 3 linked steps in 3 days

      I love it! I see how learning Chinese structures in the context of drawings created by students themselves can be valuable. I also can see how these 3 linked steps could be a great break from the PQA –> Ask A Story –> Read the story that I always do which can get a bit predictable.

      As much as I would rather my students not spend time drawing when their eyes could be up and their ears cued into the CI I’m delivering, I fully understand that sometimes they need to do an independent activity. I often wonder if I’m pushing them into CI sessions that last just too long. You know, I strongly believe in expecting the best out of students, and that their is a degree of suffering that goes along with that, especially with so many of my students that will do whatever they can do to get away with actually applying themselves. But sometimes I feel like I can be a bit of a drill sergeant.

      Anyways, thanks for creating this masterfully simplified CI sequence of “three linked events” and sharing with us, Diane.

      1. Thank you Sean – I’m pretty sure someone else in here came up with the sequence and ideas, so I won’t take credit for that too much.

        My students can’t handle the level of abstract focus to “get” storyasking without some kind of visual concrete tie-in… and actors don’t work in most of my groups. So these originally were ways around that. But now I really just love them. I think they’d be a good entry for people wanting to develop CI skills and feeling unsure how to begin. You can do very student-involved ideas or pre-plan the whole scene, and either way it works nicely.

  3. I had an idea today that’s a bit of a mixture of L&D and Stories, inspired by a friend’s blog post:

    Said friend (not a language teacher, a doctor) just began a series of posts on his blog that I think would translate easily to the classroom for a different spin on L & D. My friend calls the posts “Stories in a Box.” The idea is basically that each post will have 5 or 6 pictures which serve as clues for readers to reconstruct the story and determine the person(s) involved in big, recent media events. Sounds like a perfect thing for us to use here, no?!

    I have two ideas so far for using this in my classes:

    Unsolved Mystery Style (basically L&D with a series of related images): The teacher chooses a series of images that hint at a particular media scandal all the kids would know about. The teachers projects the first picture chats and about it with the kids, asking lots of questions per normal L & D. Then, the teacher would add the next image to the one already on the screen and continue. Continue thus until the 5th or 6th picture. Kids aren’t allowed to propose answers until the last picture has been worked through L & D style. After that, the teacher takes answers from the students, who have to explain why they think it’s such and such person/situation/crime/scandal/etc, referring to all the pictures on the screen.

    Story Style: Same thing as above, except the teacher chooses a random series of images that could potentially be linked together to create a story about a scandal/crime/etc (in this case, not a real event). For example, one set of images could be: Michelle Obama, a mug, a lawnmower, the empire state building, and the principal of the school. Our “structures” would come from any of those images that student’s don’t already know the words for (lawnmower, mug, building, etc.) and maybe also another structure we throw in for story potential (sneezed on, made fun of, slapped, etc.). We ask a ton of questions, and the kids create a story to link all the images together. I suppose this “activity” would in essence be TPRS Stories, but with the images already provided instead of the artist making them. It would have the concreteness of L & D (the kids have pictures to focus on, which is easier than just focusing on our words), and the compelling/meaningful factor of stories (the kids decide how the images are related, who did what, what happened when).

    Anyone else see potential in this? My job in France ended two days ago, so I have no kids to try it out on for the moment. But I’m doing a maternity replacement starting May 6th or 7th back in New Jersey just to finish out the year (upper-level, book-trained, French classes), so I’m looking forward to experimenting with this idea with those kids. And being that it will be only a few weeks till the end of the year for the kids, experimentation is probably the only thing I’ll be able to accomplish : )

    If anyone is interested in a visual for inspiration, here is a link to the first post my friend did for the “Stories in a Box” section of his blog:


    1. Greg this is what I have been working on for the past week. I call it Story Option A. It is the same basic idea where we work from an image instead of three structures. I have noticed this year the tremendous power in starting a class with a picture and so lately have been working on writing up this idea to change the Three Steps to be based on an image, or in the case of your friend, a series of images.

      I think that working from one image is best for a level one or two class and what is described above by your friend is best for more advanced classes, because lower level kids couldn’t possible keep up with all the vocabulary needed in a series of images.

      I will continue to work on the article and publish it here as soon as I can. Starting out with an image and working into a story is perhaps the most powerful idea we have ever had, and that is saying something. Not only would Step One change to be based on an image, but Step 2, the story, would change to reflect what one of our students did that is like what we see in the image (could use the second person forms to do that.)

      1. Ben, I was so excited about trying this out that I didn’t think of the amount of wordage it would require…which I probably wouldn’t have noticed till it inevitably flopped on its face with level 1’s and 2’s. Good point. I was going to say I can’t wait till you post your Story Option A, but looks like that just happened! I’m saving Story Option A 1, 2, and 3 for my bedtime story tonight so I can focus on it in peace and quiet : )

    2. This made me think of Rory’s Story Cubes and Talecraft, which are storytelling games based on images. Before I knew of TPRS, I had started to incorporate these games into my teaching. Of course, it requires a lot of language, so would be most suitable for upper levels.

  4. I just noticed a horrendously incorrect sentence in my post just above. Whoops! Hopefully it’s understandable nonetheless. Must be the confusing combination of sparkling rosé, red wine, and high-octane coffee I just consumed over the course of a dinner at the home of some Frenchies!

Leave a Comment

  • Search

Get The Latest Updates

Subscribe to Our Mailing List

No spam, notifications only about new products, updates.

Related Posts

The Problem with CI

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

CI and the Research (cont.)

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

Research Question

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to

We Have the Research

To view this content, you must be a member of Ben’s Patreon at $10 or more Unlock with PatreonAlready a qualifying Patreon member? Refresh to



Subscribe to be a patron and get additional posts by Ben, along with live-streams, and monthly patron meetings!

Also each month, you will get a special coupon code to save 20% on any product once a month.

  • 20% coupon to anything in the store once a month
  • Access to monthly meetings with Ben
  • Access to exclusive Patreon posts by Ben
  • Access to livestreams by Ben