Foto frenzy- a Picture Talk game

This past week I was at the  iFLT conference and I had the chance to learn from some of  the Comprehensible Input Greats, including the Legendary Martina Bex, who taught a session on Comprehensible Content. At one point during her lesson, she asked us to find a picture of an animal on our phones and did a quick, informal picture talk, using our cellphones. I thought, THIS IS FREAKING BRILLIANT….HOW CAN I MAKE THIS INTO A GAME! (And not just any game, of course, a game that also loads them up with reading and listening comprehensible input, because we know that input is the essential ingredient for language acquisition!)

And so I present to you the “Foto Frenzy” game! Full disclosure: I haven’t actually played this game yet with students because I figured it outlast week and blessedly, I still have a couple weeks left to recover from my summer of fun before heading back to school! After we actually play, I’ll let you know if I make any changes 🙂

To Prep:

None. Nada. De nada. 

To Set up:

Each kiddo needs a phone or a computer. (If that’s not possible, a kiddo without a device should sit with a friend who has one.)

Project this slideshow in Spanish: Foto Frenzy , 

Or if you’re teaching English, here’s the English version, thanks to Sarah Heist!

Or if you’re a Portuguese teacher, here’s the Portuguese version, thanks again to Sarah Heist!

Or if you’re a German teacher, here’s the German version, Danke to Ann Schroeder!

For French Teachers, Here’s the French Version, Merci Erika Lindberg

If you teach a language other than Spanish and you translate this into your language, I’d be delighted to share it here! Let me know!

To Play:

Explain the game instructions in Spanish, doing what we do. You know, going really slow, gesturing, checking for comprehension, giving translations as necessary. Martina did such a masterful job of explaining and playing The Unfair Game with us during our session and it  reminded me that giving game instructions is yet another way we can load our Little Darlings up with CI!



  1. Take out your phone or computer
  2. If you don’t have a computer, sit with a friend.
  3.  You have 20 seconds…look for one appropriate picture for the class.
  4. When you have your picture, don’t touch your phone any more. Don’t play with your phone.
  5. Listen to your teacher.


Then the teacher advances to the next slide and announces “Stand up if there is an animal in your picture”. Students check their picture, and if they picked a photo that happens to have an animal in it, they stand. Now, if you’ve been around the CI block a time or two, the wheels are turning, right? You’re thinking about all the ways you can talk about their pictures in slow and comprehensible language. Pick up a kid’s phone, show it to the rest of the class and ask questions about the animal. Make comparisons to another kid’s picture. Chat for a few minutes about their pictures, then give everyone standing something (poker chip, paper clip, playing card) to to indicate they’ve won a point, then advance the slide and announce the next statement: “Stand up if there’s a family member in your picture”.  And rinse and repeat. 


Play as long as kids are into it, don’t feel like you have to do all the statements. If they start getting restless or antsy, do just one more, then award your winners with an Aplauso Especial (which we did a lot of  in our Adult Language Lab at iFLT and they got a kick out of them!) or you could award them an extra credit stamp, if that floats your boat.

Pro Tips:

I’ll have to update this after we really play, but I anticipate the biggest issue will be students distracted by their phones. Make the expectation really clear- students will choose their picture and then cannot touch their phone, except to unlock the screen if it locks. There should be no other program open on their phone! If kids can’t comply, don’t be afraid to shut down the game and move onto another activity.

Hope you’re enjoying the final weeks of July!




      • When you say “advance the slide”, are you projecting it for them all to see? And if so, how do you do that with all the things listed? Won’t they see them and look at the next one on that slide? Or do you just go back? Merci!


      • Hello,

        The slide is animated to show one statement at a time. So, show one statement, look at their pictures, award points, then advance to show the next statement, and repeat. You’re only showing one new statement at a time, does that help?


  1. Just used that in my German class today to teach items of clothing. I have half my kids online, so I had everyone put a picture of an outfit on Padlet and then they had to raise hands on the Google Meet instead of standing up. Then I had access to everyone’s pictures. And as a bonus i have a ready made Padlet for tomorrow. They can comment on each others’ outfits.


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