LDI – Listen Discuss Identify – ESL Vocabulary Activity

Duration: 5-10 minutes

Type: Whole Class with Teams

What You Will Need for Listen, Discuss, Identify


  • 1 Set of Vocabulary Words
  • 1 Set of Pictures Illustrating the Vocabulary Words
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Overview of Listen, Discuss, Identify


You describe a target vocabulary word. On small teams, students listen, and then discuss which picture from a set of provided pictures best illustrates what you’re describing as well as which vocabulary word goes with that picture. Students cast a vote for their choice of picture and word. You then tell them. Students get a point for choosing the correct picture and a point for choosing the correct word. 

How to Organize Listen, Discuss, Identify


  1. Print off enough sets of pictures and vocabulary words for each team to have one. You can also display a larger version up on a screen.
  2. The vocabulary words and pictures should be separate so that students do not know which words go with which pictures.
  3. Have students take a moment to read the vocabulary words and examine the pictures. You can have them underline any helpful prefixes or roots in the words to help them identify the meanings once the game begins.
  4. Describe the meaning of a random vocabulary word from the list.
  5. Students listen and then with their teammates discuss which picture and which word they believe you are describing. 
  6. You can have students place a marker on their choices, or write down their choices on a small white board or a scrap sheet of paper.
  7. You can also have students cast a vote as a class and share their reasoning for their choice. If you want students to practice persuasion, you can let students change their answers based on the reasoning others provide.
  8. Once all students have identified the picture and word, reveal the answer and reward points. 
  9. Have students turn and talk to a partner describing the word to each other, using it in a sentence, and saying the word a few times to reinforce its meaning. 

Benefits of Listen, Discuss, Identify


  • This activity gets students thinking inductively. Inductive activities are incredibly helpful for student understanding and retention.
  • Students become more fluent with the words, having recalled them from memory so many times.
  • Small teams keep everyone very involved.
  • Students practice listening and discussion. 
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Resources for Listen, Discuss, Identify


The vocabulary pages for each lesson in the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum are set up so that you can make activities like this a routine part of your classes. 

Vocabulary Academic Practice Page from the ESL Curriculum Membership

The pictures are at the top and the words are at the bottom. As you play the above activity, you can have students number the words at the bottom with the number of the related image at the top. 

There are lots more activities you can do with this vocabulary page to help students master the vocabulary. Check out other vocabulary activities here. Also, since the vocabulary words show up in various ways throughout the lessons, students will have many opportunities to engage with those words in all 4 language domains: listening, speaking, reading and writing.

In the video below, I do a walkthrough of how you can use the vocabulary pages in the Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership. 

Engage Your ELLs. Save Time. Close the Gap.

The Kid-Inspired ESL Curriculum Membership

Have you tried this activity? How did it go? Leave your comments below!

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