Category Archives: Picture Description

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

Picture Description : Global Warming

Are you in exam mood already? I hope you are just with your nose in you books and practising Speaking  in front of the mirror.

Here is another example of picture description at Intermediate level, kindly sent by Fedra Neila Moro. Thanks Fedra, well done!

The first picture shows a group of people sitting on chairs, in the middle of San Marcus square in Venice. The square is full of water, so they are wearing swimsuits. They look pretty funny and carefree, despite being in the water.
The second picture shows a child with his back to us. It looks as if he is staring at the dry landscape in front of him. Maybe, he is worried, thinking about his future and the horrible scenery, although it is difficult to say, because I can’t see his face.
In the third picture I can see a modern city with skyscrapers. It looks like quite a polluted city. Its sky is completely full of thick smog.
Currently, carbon pollution is the main reason our planet is getting hotter, increasing the risk of weather disasters, drought and flood, and damaging our health.
Since the past century scientists are warning us about the dangers of global warming.
In fact, lately, in the north of Spain, winter is being especially hard and extreme. For example, three years ago it was freezing for months with temperatures below six or five degrades. Two years ago it was pouring from November until June, and last winter was very windy and rainy. Even some people, who live on the coast, had to leave their houses because huge waves had flooded them.
Personally, I think that global warming not only affects the climate change but also the economic problems. So far, governments have spent a lot of money dealing with the damages caused by weather disasters. However, the most affected, the poorest countries, hardly ever receive enough help.
To sum up, from my point of view , if we want to stop global warming we should change our life habits, for example: we should share our vehicle, take more often public transport, have a shower instead of a bath, and above all, we should teach the future generations to take care of our environment and to protect it.
Finally, in my opinion, perhaps the most difficult and necessary thing to do is changing how we produce energy. We’d better reduce the fossil fuels and use clean and renewable energies, so that if governments don’t take the climate change seriously, in the future, the earth will end up being a big ball of smog.

Lesson Plan : Technology

Oh my God! can you believe we are already in May??? Three lessons left with my intermediate students and so much to teach them!

I have to admit that we are all tired. If last week felt long I wonder how is  this next week going to feel? I read somewhere that this feeling is called Short Timers Disease ( a disease, really?? ). Apparently , it is an ailment that prolongs time and saps your enthusiasm when a holiday is imminent.

So, being in May, are you suffering from this mythical Short Timers Disease?? Let’s hope not.

These are the Speaking Activities I am planning to do with Intermediate Students . There is a bit of everything in the hope that  they  enjoy my last lessons.

You can download the whole lesson plan here.

TASK 1. JUST FOR FUN . Ask one student to read the following poem aloud. ( good to introduce some new vocabulary). It is called BEFORE THE COMPUTER

An application was for employment
A program was a TV show
A cursor used profanity
A keyboard was a piano!

Memory was something that you lost with age
A CD was a bank account!
And if you had a broken disk,
It would hurt when you found out!

Compress was something you did to garbage
Not something you did to a file
And if you unzipped anything in public
You’d be in jail for awhile!

Log on was adding wood to a fire
Hard drive was a long trip on the road
A mouse pad was where a mouse lived
And a backup happened to your commode!

Cut–you did with a pocket knife
Paste you did with glue
A web was a spider’s home
And a virus was the flu!

I guess I’ll stick to my pad and paper
And the memory in my head
I hear nobody’s been killed in a computer crash
But when it happens they wish they were dead!

TASK 2. PICTURE DESCRIPTION. PREPARING FOR CERTIFICACION EXAM. Student describe  and comment on the following pictures. (useful vocabulary here)

TASK 3VIDEO Ask students if they know what the term Nomophobia means. Play the video I forgot my Phone and ask students to share their thoughts.


· What are some of the benefit and dangers of the Internet?

· What is your favourite piece of technology?

· Are there any new gadgets that you really want to get?

· What are the main ways in which technology has changed society?

· What do you think elderly people think of modern technology?

· How have technological advances affected your life?

· Do you think modern technology reduces or increases stress? Why?

· How has technology changed education?

· How do you think face to face communication differs from communication using computers?

· Are you connected to the Internet at home? What do you use your connection for?

· What’s your favourite website?

· Do you often buy things over the net?

· Do you use social network services such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn?

· If you do, How often do you use it/them?

Picture Description: Beaches

Kindly sent by Carmen Muñiz from the Elementary Level.

Both photos show a beach, but they are very different.
I suppose it’s summer, because the weather is nice and sunny and everyone is wearing summer clothes.
In the photo on the right, the beach is next to the city. There are a lot of people sunbathing. It’s really crowded. In the background I can see many high buildings. The sea is on the left and it’s full of bathers. The sand is on the right and there are a lots of colourful beach umbrellas. I think it’s a modern big city, it seems a lively place.
On the other hand, in the photo on the left, the beach is far from the city, and there are few people. At the back you can see green mountains and some little houses. The sea is on the right, there is no one bathing. On the right corner, there are two women next to rocks, they seem very relaxed, they are sunbathing in sun beds and they are reading a book. They look like friends, it looks as if they are having a great time.
The scene in the photo on the right looks very noisy and it’s packed with people, while in the photo on the left, it looks very peaceful and quiet.
Personally, I prefer the photo on the left, because it looks like a perfect place to spend a summer’s day. I love going to the beach and swimming in the sea, but I don’t like beaches which are close the city, and the crowds.