Category Archives: Picture Description

Tips and Links to Prepare for the Oral Exam at Home

I love trying new tools and today I’m trying Wideo, which is a tool which lets you create beautiful animated video content in a very easy way. Although I’ll write about some of  its pros and cons below, the reason why I’ve chosen Wideo today is because I needed a tool that allowed me to insert interactive buttons in an easy way and Wideo is perfect for this.

So, here’s the video: Tips and Links to Prepare for the Oral Exam at Home

Play the video. It will stop where interactive buttons are provided (last two slides). Click to resume the video.

What I like about this tool:

  • it’s free, easy to use and very intuitive.
  • It provides free video hosting
  • Lots of professionally-designed templates to choose from
  • You can upload your own picture, music and background images
  • You can add interactive elements (clickable buttons and contact forms)
  • It provided a unique url and an embed code
  • You can switch from video mode to presentation mode for slide-by-slide presentation.

 What I don’t like:
    • Time limit: on a free plan, the length of the videos is restricted to 3o seconds.
    • You have to pay to download your video

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Lesson Plan: Families

FAMILY, in capitals, because is there anything more important in this world?

“Family is not an important thing, it’s everything.”Michael J. Fox. How far do you agree with Michael J. Fox?

This is a lesson for Intermediate students (B1) about Family. In this post you will find

  • A video about traditional and non-traditional families.
  • Some vocabulary you might need to revise/learn when discussing this subject.
  • Guided speaking: questions to discuss+ answers offered by a native speaker  (Flip Cards).
  • Freer Practice: pictures to describe and some questions to discuss in pairs or small groups

The first activity in this lesson (the video) will be set as homework.

1. The Video. What Is a Non-Traditional Family? – Definition of Options.

It is a long video. It lasts 8 minutes so I’d suggest breaking it up and asking students to work on different parts of the video.  In the video five non-traditional /alternative households are mentioned.

  • In class, show students the video and explain it discusses traditional and non-traditional families.
  • Explain that everybody will need to listen to the introduction where the concept of traditional family is explained (from the beginning – 1:02).
  • Explain that in the video Erin Long-Crowell, an educational psychologist, talks about five different non-traditional/alternative households.
  • Form groups of five students and tell them that in the next lesson they will be working in groups of five and each of them will share what they have learned about their assigned non-traditional household.
  • Assign tasks for the different students in the  group

Student 1: single parenthood 1:07-2:20

Student 2: cohabitation 2:20-3:23

Student 3: GLBT 3:23-4:32

Student 4: Polygamy 4:32-5:21

Student 5: Singlehood 5:21-6.30

(video no longer available on youtube) Click here to see it

2. Vocabulary. Family Life

Phasal Verbs

  • To take after your mum/dad
  • To bring up a child
  • To fall out ( with your sister)
  • To make up
  • To get on (well) with sb
  • To get along with sb

 

Verbs

  • To raise your children
  • To adopt
  • To quarrel with your siblings
  • To get divorced/ to be divorced
  • To share ( a bedroom)
  • To cohabit/kəʊˈhabɪt/
  • to start a family

Expressions

  • To have (a lot of) things in common
  • To get together
  • (A cousin) on my father’s side
  • To be close to
  • (not) to see eye to eye
  • To be the main breadwinner= the person in the family who earns the highest income
  • to be under age
  • to come of age

Nouns

  • A family gathering/ reunion /get-together
  • Childhood
  • Birth rate
  • Birth order
  • relationship
  • Immediate or nuclear/extended family
  • Twin
  • a spouse
  • Sibling (rivalry)
  • A parent
  • your significant other = Aspouse or long-term sexual or romantic partner
  • one-parent families
  • In-laws
  • Exhusband
  • Half brother
  • relationship
  • Step brother
  • A relative
  • Ancestors=aperson, typically one more remote than a grandparent, from whom one is descended
  • An only child
  • memories

Adjectives

  • traditional and non-traditional family
  • single parenthood
  • Close knit family

PDF here

3. Speaking .Guided speaking: questions to discuss+ answers offered by a native speaker  (Flip Cards)

  • Students in pairs. Display question 1 and allow two or three minutes for students to discuss this question. Flip the card for them to see how a native speaker would answer the question. Follow the same procedure with the rest of the questions.

Conjunto de Fichas creado con GoConqr por cristina.cabal

  • Freer Practice: pictures to describe and compare.
  • Freer Practice:conversation questions.

PDF here

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Picture Description Intermediate: New Technologies and Food

Once again I thank my students for  kindly contributing to this blog. These  two examples of Picture Description have been sent by Noelia and Carmen from the Intermediate Level.

Thank you girls! Well done!

FOOD by Carmen Gayol

These pictures are clearly both connected with the topic of food.

The picture on the left shows two women who are cooking in a kitchen. One of them is younger than the other, but they seem to  get on well; I’d say that they have a lot in common, they could  be mother and daughter or have  a close relationship.

In the picture on the right, we can see a young couple eating. I think they are in a restaurant, an oriental restaurant because the decoration that can be seen in the background.

 We all need to eat to live, but It‘s clear that the food, in our society, is something more than nutrition. Nowadays, we all use the meals to socialize. We have family meals, business meal, and we all enjoy eating with friends.

Sometimes we prefer eating at home, like in the photo on the left, but other times, we eat out.

However, the main problem isn’t where, but what we eat. In my view, today people tend to eat fast food because they don’t have enough time to prepare a meal and they are always in a hurry. This food isn`t   always healthy, it is many times junk food which contains many calories and carbohydrates and there is a good chance  people will get overweight.

If I had to choose one of the photos, I’m sure I’d choose the first, because it makes me remember old times with my mother , and in addition, I believe that it’s a good way to enjoy eating and cooking.

INTERNET AND THE NEW TECHNOLOGIES by Noelia Espinosa

These two pictures show a connection with the topic of new technologies ,especially with the  internet.

In the first photo there is a woman sitting behind  a desktop and she has a tablet between her hands; probably she is in an office, maybe her workplace. In the second one, a little girl looks as if  she is surfing the internet and she  seems very interested in what she is seeing.  Although I can´t be sure ,I think  she is at home.

Nowadays, both pictures are very common in daily life, although in different ways. The first one shows a typical day at work in all the offices in the world.It is generally accepted that today no company would be operative without the  internet and the  new technologies because they would be unconnected and inefficient. And in the second one, children tend to be connected to the internet every day. When I was child, there was no internet, mobiles or computers, only some privileged people could afford them, but I was very happy playing traditional games with my friends in the street, for example with a  ball,  my dolls …

In my opinion, internet is very important in our lives, I couldn´t live without my mobile, my laptop etc… everybody surfs the net, everybody knows Facebook and even some people work vía Internet. However, I believe sometimes it could be dangerous especially in teenagers and children because there are parents who don´t control what their children are uploading or downloading onto the web and who their children are in  touch with.

You might also find  this section interesting. Check it out!

SPEAKING:PICTURE DESCRIPTION

 

 

Picture Description: Speculating

Picture Description is an important part of the Oral Exam and it needs to be practised. Two weeks ago, I published a post containing Some Useful Guidelines and Techniques for Picture Description that you might want to read.

One of the things that you need to take into account when describing a picture is that you cannot be 100% sure what is happening in the picture. Therefore, you need to use appropriate language to show you  are guessing. You have to speculate about the pictures For example: He is likely to / she’ll probably find it quite tough… etc

Some structures you can use:

  • Look as if + sentence/ Seem as if + sentence : he looks as if / seems as if he is looking for something
  • Seem + to infinitive: he seems to be tired/ he seems to be having a great time
  • Look/ Seem + adjective: They look/ seem quite tired
  • Appear + to infinitive : She doesn’t  appear to be concentrated on what she’s doing

Some modal verbs  you can use.

  • Must : for positive deduction. He must be happy because he’s smiling. The photo must have been taken in summer.
  • Can’t : for negative deduction. He can’t be going to school because he is not carrying books.
  • May/ Might/Could : for posibility. He could be telling her something she doesn’t like. The photo might have been taken in winter as they are wearing winter clothes.

Words like : perhaps, maybe…

Let’s listen to an example now.

You’ll hear a girl called Magda practising this part of the Speaking test

 

Source: Complete First Certificate  by Cambridge

Preparing for the Oral Exam? Some Useful Guidelines and Techniques for Describing Pictures

For better or for worse the course is coming to an end and exams are just here. I can almost see them beckoning me and you. I am ready, the question is … are you?

In the oral exam you’ll have to  demonstrate your speaking skills as well as your ability to communicate and for this, it is essential that you practise… a lot. 

Here are some Guidelines and Techniques  to help you score a high mark in the Picture Description  Part of the exam. I hope they are helpful!!

Click here to download the pdf

Click here to see the Slideshare 

♥Click here to see the presentation mode of the Infographic below

 

 

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Picture Description: Homes 2

In this post you’ll find some  material to practise describing two pictures about Houses/Rooms in a House. There is some useful vocabulary  and expressions as well as  two different sets of pictures  with some questions that might give you some ideas of what you need to talk about in this part of the exam. Remember that you’ll  need to practise describing , comparing and giving opinion . Download the pdf here

To see an example of two students doing this exercise, go to Pictures Description Homes : Part 1

For further practice, visit the Picture Description Section in this blog.

Step1. Study this vocabulary and expressions before you start describing.   Useful Expressions:

  • It is too expensive for me to rent/buy a house
  • decorate in my own taste
  • a place of my own
  • live on my own
  • can’t afford to rent
  •  crowded with furniture
  • the room is airy and light

Special Attention to Prepositions:

  • live in a city/the country
  • live on the outskirts of a city
  • live on the north coast
  • live on the second floor

Types of Houses

  • a detached house
  • a semidetached house
  • terraced houses
  • cottage
  • bungalo
  • block of flats
  • a motor house
  • skyscraper
  • a mansion
  • a house boat

Step 2. Practice 1: Describe, compare and give opinion Some ideas to help you:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a house or a flat?
  • How many different homes have you lived in? Which did you prefer?
  • What do you think about people keeping big dogs in flats?
  • What is your relationship with your neighbours?
  • What is your general feeling about the architecture in your local area?

  Step 2. Practice 2: Describe, compare and give opinion   Some ideas to help you:

  • Do you have a lot of decorations in your home or is it bare?
  • What would you say the decoration style of your home is?
  • What would your ideal house or apartment look like?
  • Is your home clean? Are you a very organized person?

 

Guess Who!

Good morning folks!! I hope you are having a great week!!! Me?? So far, I can’t complain!!

Here we go once again with an activity where you ‘ll need to use your writing abilities in a game . Have a look at the mosaic below; I guess you’ll recognise most of our celebrities but if you don’t , don’t hassle , for this game you’ll need to write about one of them .

TASK.

Aim: to describe both, physical  appearance and personality, of one of the celebritities in the mosaic  without mentioning their name.

Steps

♥ Choose one of the celebrities  and without mentioning who he/she is ,write a description of both physical appearance and personality.

♥ Don’t forget to use adverbs of degree  : quite, slightly, a bit, a little

♥ Show off, I guess you can see the difference between these two sentences: I think she is 70 years old  and I think she’s a 70-year-old woman. You are an Intermediate student, let the whole world know!

♥ Write a maximum of eight lines. See what other students have done here

♥You think you have finished? Right, you haven’t !! Now,  read what you have written several times to correct grammatical and spelling errors .

♥Now that you are confident everything is Ok, click on the “leave a comment” section and write your description.

♥In class, all descriptions will be read and the celebrities guessed. Enjoy! 😉

 

 

 

 

Picture Description .Intermediate Level.

Yes, yes I know classes have finished. So what? If you haven’t taken your speaking test, this post might still be useful .

I just couldn’t let it pass. I saw it and I immediately thought about you,  struggling at home, getting  no help at all and feeling utterly miserable without my wise guidance 🙂 ha,ha,ha

Well, let’s stop rambling and get to the point. What you’ll find below are two pictures and someone comparing the two pictures.

Well, they are clearly both connected to the topic of science… but in two quite different contexts. In the first one, there are two people- they’re probably lab technicians from the coats they are wearing- or I guess they could be research students or something like that. Anyway, they seem to be watching some kind of monitor but I am not quite sure why. The guy in the foreground seems to be holding something which might affect what they can see on the monitor. … it’s not all that clear.

In contrast, the second picture is of four schoolchildren, probably in a science class. They’re all wearing plastic yellow glasses of some sort… probably to protect their eyes from chemicals or something. They are sitting at the same desk. the one on the right, .. he is holding what looks like a plastic bottle.. which must have liquid in it.  There’s some kind of tube-like thing and plastic containers on the desk.

Picture Description: Holidays in the City or on the Beach

I wouldn’t like to finish the course without publising another example of picture description. This  time for the Elementary Speaking exam and kindly sent by Noelia Fernández.

Holidays in the city or on the beach


In both photos we can see two very different holiday destinations: a big city and a solitary paradise beach.
The picture on the right was taken at the famous street of New York Times Square. This street is always crowded with tourists, and in this photo I think there are too many. They are carrying photo cameras, video cameras or taking photos with their mobile phones. They are wearing summer clothes because it might be July.
In the other photo, there is a beach with clean sand and clear calm water without waves. In the foreground we see five sunbeds and palms.
In my opinion, the perfect vacation is a mixture of both destinations, a few days in the city to visit museums and emblematic buildings, to see a musical or a theater, to do some sightseeing and to make all the activities that you can, and then, other days at a resort to relax and enjoy the sun, the beach, sleep and enjoy the food.
If you’re looking forward to going to New York ,you need to save money because it is the most expensive city in which I have been, but it seems as if you are in a movie with all the famous places and you think ” I know this and that”.

Picture Description: Fashion

Another example of picture description for the Intermediate speaking exams. Thanks to Eloy Menéndez for kindly sending it.

These pictures are related to fashion and clothes.
To begin with, the photo on the left shows a group of young people wearing eccentric clothes, with a very particular style: most in black, large boots, fishnet stockings. Many people would say they look scruffy. Probably, they are in a music festival or in a concert and they seem as if they are having fun. In the other photo, we can see a catwalk, in which high-heeled models are wearing very expensive garments, probably from famous designers. Maybe, such events are more targeted towards shopaholics, who are always trying to be in the limelight and constantly renew the way they dress.
From some years up to now, clothes have become a distinguishing factor.

There are multiple urban tribes, some of them wearing outrageous clothes, others with colourful and bright garments, but each one with its own particularity, and they don’t care what others may think about them. They dress in the way they want. I am more keen on how the “skins” dress: shaved hair, tight jeans, suspenders, military boots. On the contrary, most of the teenagers are very fashionable because they are influenced by the media and constantly being fed with “tips” about what it’s cool to wear or not.

I would say fashion is cyclic and so are trends. Styles from the past are re-invented by designers or they just return in the same way they were many years ago: for that, vintage clothes, patterns, accessories and colours have become trendy nowadays.

One of the most widespread stereotypes is that women pay more attention to their appearance than men do. I think that used to be so in the past, yet today more men are worried about how they are seen by the opposite sex. So therefore, most fashion ads are directed to both sexes.

I believe everyone has to wear those clothes which match their own styles, their thoughts and moral convictions. If you think the most expensive shirt, the old-fashioned skirt or the most ragged jacket fits you, that’s what matters. Dressing well or badly is something subjective and if you feel comfortable with that garment, go ahead.
Eloy Menendez

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