Tell Me About It

By Activity Bank on Sep 17, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Charlotte Cushman and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

This is a great activity for improving students’ descriptive language and increasing their observation skills. Lessons include English Language Arts, Concept Development and Independent Living Skills.


Objects from the environment which have distinctive qualities and varied attributes, such as a wool cap, a metal key, a small rock, a bottle of shampoo


  • Begin by having students tell you everything they can about a given object – its size, shape, color, texture, function, where you might find it, etc.
  • Provide structure as needed: “Tell me three things about this bowl” or “Use two words to describe this hat.”
  • Ask specific questions to expand the answers: “What is it made of? What would you use it for?”
  • The student might then describe a cup as follows: “The cup is plastic. It feels smooth. It is clear. I use a cup to drink out of.”


  • For students with vision, have them describe pictures or actions.
  • Students who can write could be asked to describe specific objects and events on paper.
  • Describe an object and ask students to guess what it is from your description: “I’m thinking of something made of metal that is used for stirring.”
  • Have students make comparisons to other objects and events : “This hat is made of wool, just like my mittens. It’s smaller than the straw hat.”
  • Ask students to define familiar words.
  • Have students select their own items to describe to the group, as in “show and tell.”
  • When students are able to describe actual objects using multiple attributes, try having them describe an object, a person or an event which is not in the immediate environment, such as a car, the beach, the circus, the mail carrier, etc.

Hints: Encourage students to describe objects and events they experience. Help to expand their descriptive vocabulary by modeling new words and attributes, for example: “That’s right; you’re wearing long blue pants and they’re made of corduroy.”