Pass The Picture

UDL 4.1

Pass the Picture is a comprehension activity where students work in small groups to answer a series of pre-determined questions about an image that is passed around to their teammates, one-by-one. While seated in a circle, each group is presented with a picture with questions attached to the back. The first student holding the picture reads the first question aloud and teammates respond by sharing their knowledge and perspectives. Once the question has been answered, as determined by the group or after a set amount of time has passed, the picture is passed to the next student and the next question is read aloud and answered. Teachers can have students participate verbally, require students to take notes, or have the group collectively write one paragraph on the topic during this process.

Implementation Tips

Model Pass the Picture with a group of students in front of the class using an image with which all students can relate (e.g., popular cartoon character). Have students demonstrate how to pass the image and answer questions. Provide voice-overs to support understanding (e.g., “Notice how only one teammate is holding the picture”).
Choosing Images
Choose engaging images that are clear, colorful, and exciting. For more engagement, provide each group with a different image within the same topic (e.g., different characters from a story or novel) and have each group share out their learnings at the end of the activity.
Choosing Questions
Select questions that begin with basic comprehension questions and increase the rigor for each round, focusing in on critical thinking and analysis skills. Sample Questions:
--“What’s this person’s name?”
--“What’s a famous action that this person is known for?”
--“Where and when did this event take place?”
--"What was a long-term consequence of this event?"
--"Was this person's action justified? Why or why not?"
Clarifying the Protocol
Clarify expectations for “passing the picture” by instructing students to pass the image in one direction (i.e., “always pass to your left”) and have students practice passing materials (e.g. the picture, pencils, paper). Other expectations might include: staying in seat, one person speaks at a time, active listening to peers, etc.
Clarifying Response Expectations
Provide clear guidelines for student responses. Students should give brief, one-sentence responses and when students are expected to take notes, speak clearly and slowly enough for others to jot down their response.
Changing Up How Students Participate
Alternate how students are expected to participate in Pass the Picture. Students can participate in this activity only through verbal responses and discussion, or teachers can ask students to take notes individually for each question asked during Pass the Picture. Alternatively, teachers can have the group generate one collective response for each question, and have the person holding the picture record the response.
Make it Memorable
Make Pass the Picture memorable by binding or stapling the images and group responses from each Pass the Picture experience into separate books (e.g., Famous Presidents, Characters from Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo), or one Pass the Picture book with each experience listed as a chapter.
Pass The Picture Student Leaders
Increase engagement by having students leaders determine the list of questions to be answered during Pass the Picture. Having student-generated questions will not only increase the engagement of the entire class, but will also serve as a challenge activity for more advanced students.


Unit Review with Group Writing Task
A chemistry teacher uses Pass The Picture to help students review the elements before a unit exam. Each group is given a different unlabeled image of an element and the teacher asks, “What is the name of this element?” After groups confer, one student in each group writes the answer onto the lined paper provided. Before the posing the next question, the teacher checks to see that all groups have responded then cues, “Pass The Picture!” and the adjacent student records the answer to the next question. This process continues until groups form a complete paragraph about each element. After, the teacher creates an elements study guide using group responses.
Comprehension Check with Individual Student Note-Taking
A teacher uses Pass the Picture to engage students in analyzing and comparing characters from a class read aloud. Each group is provided with a visual image of a different main character from the text and a set of comprehension and analysis questions (e.g., “What’s their name?”, “What motivates them?”, “Why are they essential to the story?”). The group is given three minutes per question to discuss and determine a single answer to record in their own personal notebooks or graphic organizers. The student then passes the image to person on their right, and the teacher asks the next question. After six rounds, the class engages in a whole-group discussion to compare and contrast the different characters, using their individual notes as a reference.

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