8. Picture sequence narrative


Task details

Task details

Name of oral assessment task Picture sequence narrative
EAL student stage range  A1, A2, BL, B1, B2, CL, C1, C2
Text orientation Imaginative
Task type Interaction and negotiation


Task specification

Task specification

Purpose To assess students’ ability to sequence pictures into order and tell the story of what happened.
Description Students order four or five  cards depicting a simple story and explain what might happen on a further blank card.
Assumed knowledge and description
  1. Content knowledge: familiarity with listening to many simple stories, familiarity with ordering and completing 4 or 5 card picture sequences, and providing alternative endings through drawing
  2. Text type, genre: narrative
  3. Linguistic structures and features:

    • use of time sequence markers: then, next, after that
    • narrative structure: orientation, complication, resolution, coda
    • simple story telling language and strategies:
      • Once upon a time’, ‘and then do you know what happened?’ ‘….and they all lived happily ever after.’ ‘…and in the end they….’
      • voice and tone strategies
      • significant pausing and eye contact strategies.
  4. Vocabulary: students should have experience with key nouns and verbs needed to tell the story.  For example, in the sequence given here: flower, teddy bear, boy, girl, smell, picked, took


Learning/teaching context

Learning/teaching context

Language centre/mainstream class EAL support
Subject/key syllabus objectives, outcomes   English
Topic/teaching unit  
Assessment conditions
  1. Individual activity
  2. Formal/informal: formal, spontaneous speech
  3. Time limit: around 5 minutes
  4. Teacher intervention: Teachers may need to provide response to student request for clarification and encouragement through questioning, prompting or commenting particularly with students at early stages.
  5. Access to resources: picture prompts
  6. Scaffolding (modelled/guided/independent support): guided
  7. Accommodations: 
Notes
  • Other simple picture sequences can be substituted for the example here.
  • The sequence should be based around a story narrative rather than a process such as a life cycle or a recipe to allow students to be creative in imagining a story.
  • The sequences chosen should allow students to provide a further card to complete or add additional information to their story.
  • Cultural considerations should be taken into account when choosing a sequence, for example, making a snowman may not be culturally or experientially appropriate.


Task implementation

Task implementation

STAGE ACTION STEPS
Pre-assessment activity
  • Using a different 4 or 5 card sequence to the one chosen for the assessment, the teacher demonstrates putting them in a logical order and telling a story simply, using some details that are not shown in the card sequence, such as names of people, what the weather was like, imputing motives and feelings to people in the story.
  • As the teacher tells the story he or she could revise and help students to notice again simple  ‘story telling language’ and ‘strategies’, for example:
    • ‘Once upon a time’,
    • ‘and then do you know what happened?’
    • ‘….and they all lived happily ever after.’
    • ‘…and in the end they….’
    • focus on voice and tone story telling strategies
    • focus on significant pausing and eye contact story telling strategies
  • The teacher also demonstrates drawing a different outcome on a fifth card to complete the story in a different way, or to provide additional information.
  • The student is given the assessment card set, plus a fifth blank card.
  • The student is given time to order the cards into a sequence, and to draw the fifth card. (Alternatively the final card can be given to the student at the end of their story, as often, after telling their story, they are able to add further detail for the fifth card).
Assessment activity
  • The student tells their story to the teacher.
  • Prompt questions can be asked, to encourage students to add detail, such as:
  1. What is the girl doing?
  2. What happened first?
  3. What happened next?
  4. How does the girl feel?
  5. Was that a nice thing to do?
  6. Does the teddy bear have a name?
  7. Why did the boy take the teddy bear?
  8. What do you think happened next?
Post-assessment activity
  • The student can paste the story pictures onto card and provide written sentences or labels to tell their story.
  • Once students have had further discussion about their story and have written sentences, they can be asked to tell their story again.
  • Older and more proficient students can watch their initial video and talk about how they could improve their story before their second retelling. Students could focus on issues related to grammar and vocabulary, or on the story telling aspects of the task. For example ask them to think about how they could make their story more interesting to a young listener:
    • ‘How could you tell this story to a Prep student so they really enjoy listening to it?”.
  • Ask students to focus on only one or two aspects of their new retell, for example:
    • What extra detail could you add to make your story more interesting?
    • What additional adjectives and adverbs could you use?
  • Talk about and further model ‘story telling’ language, focusing on simple aspects such as
    • voice and tone,
    • significant pausing and eye contact
    • formulaic prompts such as: ‘…and what do you think happened next?’

 


Assessment criteria

TEAL Oral Task 8 – Unmarked criteria sheet [PDF]

TEAL Oral Task 8- Unmarked criteria sheet [Word]

An explanation of the purpose, nature and use of criteria sheets is available at 4. Using the assessment criteria.


Annotations and commentary

Purpose and value of the task

This task assesses students’ abilities to logically sequence a set of picture cards and to tell an imagined story. The task elicits narrative and story-telling language, and assesses the ability students have to use linguistic elements common to narrative and storytelling, such as past tense, time conjunctions and use of third person.

Contextual information

The activity of sequencing cards and telling a story was familiar to all the students, but they had not seen the cards used in this task before.

Commentary

The videos show students at different stages of English language development telling a story after sequencing pictures. At earlier stages of English language development students need constant teacher questioning and prompting to tell their story. At these early stages, the students clearly rely on the teacher’s comments and questions as a source of words and phrases that they then use as they answer. They are only able to understand and answer the teacher when the teacher uses very simple language, which they modify to what they think the students will understand, often reinforcing what they say with pointing and gesture. This means that the story retell is often more like a discussion than an extended narrative. At the very earliest levels students may be able to do little more than name what they see in the pictures, and perhaps supply a couple of verbs, However, even at quite early stages the students can engage with the story, and are able to participate in discussions around morals or alternative endings. At later stages of development the students are more able to enter story telling mode, using stock story-like phrases such as Once upon a time …; and ensuring that the story has beginnings and an end. The clearest marker of development in these samples is the way in which students at higher levels are able to produce longer texts with fewer prompts and questions. They are also developing skills in adding interest to their spoken performance, trying to make it an engaging event for the listener.

The linguistic structures and features in the samples clearly become more complex with greater proficiency. The students’ levels of fluency also increases as they become more proficient, with increasing control over the production and linking of sounds, stress, rhythm and intonation.

The linguistic complexity of the teachers’ prompts and questions also increases as the students become more proficient. The teachers skilfully match their interaction to the level their students can understand, acknowledging when students use particularly impressive language. They also sensitively correct the students, while at the same time providing them with the words and phrases they need to progress the story.


Sample 1 

Biographical information 

Year level: 2

Age: 8 years 5 months

Home language: Syriac

Commentary

The student is able to name some of the people and items in the pictures. She can place the pictures in order to create a story, even though the instructions are quite complex, perhaps because this is a familiar activity. Although she understands the request to tell her story, she needs constant prompting and questioning. She understands a range of questions relating to the story such as What’s mum doing with the teddy? What’s happening in this picture? What might mum be feeling? but responds mainly with one or two word answers, not always intelligibly. She is often unsure of instructions and questions, for example she responds to the request Can you pretend to do it? What’s mum doing, can you show me? by pointing to the flower in the picture. Although she can’t talk about picking the flower, she knows the word smell. She also understands the need to supply the next part of the story for the blank card, beginning her contribution with, This boy take … teddy, but needing a lot of support and prompting to complete her sentence.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets many of the criteria at level 1 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 1


Sample 2

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 14 years 7 months

Home language: Burmese

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 15 years 11 months

Home language: Dari

Commentary

The students are not very cooperative as they sort the cards, moving them around, but not really discussing, even when it becomes apparent that there is some confusion about the direction the cards should go. Throughout they tend to talk over each other, rather than use cooperative turn taking strategies, which is in marked contrast to Sample 4. However they do pick up on key words and ideas from each other as their story proceeds.

They use basic phrases and sentences to tell the story, he is walking, he is coming. Student B is able to explain what the boy does – Take the stick, the big stick, and broken on the cars … but stops when he cannot remember the word ‘window’. Student A also finds it difficult to explain intelligibly what is happening. He can answer the question, Why do you think he would break the car? Student A – Two dog in the car. When asked the question What happened after? He picks up on the teacher’s use of ‘after’, but is not able to answer the question. Student B is able to answer the question – The boy is taking the two dog in the hand and he’s going. Cueing from this answer Student A says – … and he is going he home. 

Student A: The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most of criteria at level 2 of performance, with some at level 1.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2 – Student A

Student B: The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most of criteria at level 2 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL .

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 2 – Student B

Sample 3 

Biographical information

Year level: 3

Home language: Burmese

Commentary

The student confidently sequences the cards, understanding the instruction from the teacher to … spread them out if you like and have a good look. Assisted by some prompting and questioning he tells a logical, connected story, generally using a mixture of past and present tense. He uses time connectives such as first, then, next. His speaks quite fluently with few pauses, for example: This one first, he saw the flower and he pick it out and then she smell it and she smell it again and put it back. He initially confuses he and she. He gives reasons for the girl’s actions … because she think she to (going to?) get in trouble. He can supply a logical concluding idea for the final card, even though his version of the story doesn’t really require a conclusion: Can you put something in that last box to end the story? … Maybe he/she taking a sticky tape and (doing it?) back in. He is able to rearrange the cards and attempt to tell a different story.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 2 of performance, with some at level 3.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B1, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 3

Sample 4 

Biographical information

Student A (left of screen)

Age: 14 years 7 months

Home language: Thai

Student B (right of screen)

Age: 14 years 11 months

Home language: Tamil

Commentary

The students order the cards together, but do not really discuss while they are doing it. Student A checks with Student B as she finishes ordering the cards, using ordinal numbers as she places them. They confer as they reorder, Student A explaining why she wants to move a card … because the dog in the, on the car. Student B confirms the final order – Yeah, this is correct.

Both students tell the story using simple sentence patterns: Student A – the boy is just walking, the two dog in the car, and after he take a stick.

The students show a strong degree of cooperation as the task progresses, checking with each other, and keying into each other’s contributions, even finishing each other’s sentences, for example when Student A changes the cards again, they explain the reason: Student A – Because in the car have the dogs … Student B – … he see … after he broke the window.

They are not able to add much detail beyond the events depicted without prompting and questioning from the teacher. When the blank card is added, Student B is able to question the ownership of the dogs, asking – … his dog? I thinking … his not dogs, he just walking footpath … I’m thinking … is coming the dog … manager … He knows that the word ‘manager’ is not correct, but cannot think of an alternative. Student B confuses some temporal conjunctions such as ‘next’ and ‘after’.

The students can understand questions about and discuss the ethics of taking the dogs, Student A – his, no. Student B – I think the boy take the dog, go home. Student A is not able to explain why the boy took the dogs, explaining again what happened rather than why it happened. Both students understand the question, What would you do? Student A – … just see … and going just away. Student B – I go tell anyone … come help the dog. They are able to discuss the issue of the dogs being in the car on a hot day. Student B explains that he may have misunderstood the picture of the panting dogs, Student B – I’m thinking this two is just laughing …. This two very want water. 

Although the students English language skills are limited at this stage of their development to basic sentence structure, and limited vocabulary, they are able to tell a reasonably complex story and sustain a discussion around morality, cause and effect and possible outcomes of the story.

Student A: The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets many of the criteria at level 3 of performance, and some at level 2.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student A

Student B: The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most of the criteria at level 3 of performance, and some at level 2.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level C2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 4 – Student B

Sample 5 

Biographical information

Year level: 3

Home language: Burmese

 

Commentary

The student tells her story logically, clearly and fluently, although she does not use such clear story telling elements as Sample 5 and 6. Her grammatical features are mostly correct and she uses more complex sentence structures than previous samples – Thinking of the teddy; …when she looked, its gone; and she look and it’s not there … and the boy put it back; She went walking and she saw her teddy at the boys house and she get it.

She makes occasional errors – She found her … she’s teddy again.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 4 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level B2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

 

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 5

Sample 6 

Biographical information

Age: 7 years 7 months

Year level: 1

Home language: Syriac

 

The student enter ‘story telling’ mode in his retell, using an appropriate opening phrase to set the scene and introduce the main character – One day there was a girl name Sam. His story proceeds simply but in mostly grammatically correct sentences, maintaining the story telling mode. He mostly uses the past tense throughout, including the irregular verb ‘took’. He introduces some direct speech – … after she looked she said, ‘Where’s my teddy bear?’ He finishes his story by saying – The end. He is able to supply a scenario for the blank card – The man gave the teddy bear back. She says thank you. He can understand reasonably complex questions from the teacher – Do you think this one needs to swap with this? He can also give some ideas about how the man could get another teddy bear for his child – borrow her another teddy bear … he can make her a teddy bear. His answer to whether it is a nice thing to take the teddy bear shows use of the possessive ‘hers’ – he not allowed to take it because its hers. He is less reliant than students in the earlier samples on the teacher to provide words and phrases, or to prompt through her questioning. He speaks quite slowly and carefully throughout, and the teacher gives him plenty of thinking time to formulate what he wants to say.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 3 of performance, and some at level 4.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

 

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 6

Sample 7 

Biographical information

Age: 8 years 3 months

Year level: 2

Home language: Vietnamese

Commentary

The student becomes the story teller by opening her story with the words – Once upon a time … She names both the little girl and the teddy bear. She supplies some interesting embellishments to her story, using mostly grammatically correct sentences – Alice turned around and she was shocked. She maintains the past tense throughout. She speaks fluently and with confidence, and without prompting, maintaining the story like character of her discourse, even when explaining what happens on the blank card – The next morning it was her birthday and her mum and dad bought a pink teddy bear for her.

When discussing her story with the teacher after her retell, she is able to answer questions such – Why do you think this little boy took her teddy bear? Do you think he already has a teddy bear?

When the teacher reorders the cards, she is able to say what she thinks happens – she finds her teddy bear back … she was surprised to find her teddy bear back.

The marked criteria sheet shows that the student meets most criteria at level 4 of performance.

The student’s language use in this task is consistent with the descriptions of students at Level A2, Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL.

TEAL Oral task 8 – Criteria sheet – Sample 7


Using this assessment to improve learning

Students can paste the story pictures onto a card and provide written sentences or labels to tell their story. Give students sentence starters to assist them.

Once students have had further discussion about their story and written sentences, they can be asked to tell their story again. Older and more proficient students can watch their initial video and talk about how they could improve their story before their second retelling. Students could focus on aspects related to grammar and vocabulary, or on the story telling aspects of the task. For example, ask them to think about how they could make their story more interesting to a young listener, ‘How could you tell this story to a Prep student so they really enjoyed listening to it?’ Ask the student to focus on only one or two aspects of their new retell, for example:

  • what extra detail could they add to make their story more interesting? – brainstorm with students’ additional adverbs and adjectives they could use
  • ask students to think about what it is that makes a story interesting, such as a build up to a complication, and then develop a resolution to finish the story
  • talk about and model ‘story telling’ language, focussing on simple aspects such as voice and tone, or on formulas such as ‘And what do you think happened next?’


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