Fun FCE Picture Description Practice

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Download the worksheet here:

Describing Pictures

And the picture reveal powerpoint here:


Yet another lesson plan on picture descriptions, deduction and speculation. What can I say? I’ve got to prep a lot of students for FCE speaking!

Warmer – Who’s this?

Show students the picture of BBC radio 2 DJ Steve Wright but don’t tell them who it is. Put them in groups and tell them to come up with an idea of who he is. Monitor and check what language they’re using, board any nice examples of speculative language.

Students present their ideas of who he is. After reveal that he is a famous radio DJ in the UK.

Speculative Language

Handout the exercise on the worksheet. Have students complete the gap-fill in pairs; encourage them to discuss it in English: “Number 1 could be …, don’t you think?” etc.

Complete the sentences with a word from the box

guess     can’t    as    could/might/may   perhaps   pretty   must
  1. He ______ be a policeman with that long hair. (it’s impossible that he’s a policeman)
  2. ______ she’s a lawyer, she’s wearing a smart suit. (It’s possible she’s a lawyer)
  3. He ______ be enjoying himself, look at that big smile. (I’m sure he’s enjoying himself)
  4. I’m ______ sure they’re brother and sister, they look quite similar. (75% sure)
  5. I’d ______ that they’re in a hot country, judging by their clothes. (It’s possible)
  6. She ______/_______/________ be his girlfriend, they seem very close. (It’s possible)
  7. He looks _______ if he’s tired after a long day at work.

Review as a class:

  1. can’t
  2. perhaps
  3. must
  4. pretty
  5. guess
  6. could/might/may
  7. as

Choral drill sentences for intonation and sentence stress.


Show students the pictures of more English celebrities. Elicit the instructions to the next activity, (use the new language to speculate about the people in the photographs)

Students share ideas as a class, award points to groups that guess correctly.



  1. Stephen Fry – TV presenter, journalist, novelist
  2. Jade Goody – Reality TV star, Big Brother contestant
  3. Jack Monroe – Chef, writer, journalist, political activist
  4. Jeremy Corbyn – Politician, new leader of the Labour Party.

Picture Reveal Game

Massive thanks to for the amazing picture reveal powerpoint template I’ve used for this next activity.

Project the first slide of the picture reveal powerpoint. Students take it in turns to choose a number, click on the number and it will disappear, revealing part of the picture underneath. Students must then speculate as to what the picture is. Award points for correct use of the phrases and teams that correctly guess the contents of the photo.

Slide 4 is an actual FCE part 2 task with 2 pictures to compare and contrast, while slide 5 is a part 3 collaborative task that students can complete in pairs or threes at the end of the game.


Nominate a few students to bring a photo to the next class to repeat the activity as a warmer.


Macmillan’s free online resources are amazing!!

Thanks to my colleague Raquel Gomez for introducing me to Macmillan’s amazing database of resources:

She focused specifically on the pragmatics section in a seminar she recently gave in my school. She ran an experiment last year using the materials to boost scores for FCE and CAE speaking exams so I’m going to try them out for myself today, starting with this one on agreeing and disagreeing:

Interesting People: Deduction and Speculation

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This is a lesson plan for intermediate and up based around pictures of interesting people and language of speculation and deduction. Credit to my workmate Mont for the idea, thanks Mont.

Download the handout here:

speculate pictures interesting people

Warmer – Who’s that guy?

Write the following expressions on the board:

He might/may/could be… (possible)

There’s a chance that he’s… (possible)

He can’t be… (impossible)

There’s no way he’s… (impossible)

He must be… (almost certain)

I’m pretty sure he’s… (quite certain)

Then show them the picture of the guy at the top of the post. Students come up with 5 deductions/speculations based on the picture. Tell them they can speculate about his age, nationality, job, personality or anything else they like.

The show them the pictures from the handout. Give them a few minutes to make speculations about the people.

Then show them the following list:

  • A lawyer
  • A police officer
  • A serial-killer
  • A billionaire
  • A rock star
  • A bank robber
  • A chef
  • A professional sports-person

Tell student that they must decide which person has which job. The secret is: There’s no correct answer! But don’t tell them that yet. Give them 5-10 minute to make speculations and provide reasons for which person has which job, then have them present their reasoning to the class and debate them. Only then can you reveal that there’s no correct answer!

Follow up activity

Composition: Can you judge a book by it’s cover? Have students write and essay/article on the topic of first impressions and judging people based on their appearance.

Find someone who… Summer holiday edition

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This is my version of the classic “Find someone who…” speaking and ice-breaking activity designed for teenagers for the first class after the summer holidays.

Download the handout here:

Find someone who

Warmer – Guess my holiday

Students get 20 questions to guess where the teacher went on holiday.

Allow students to ask you more questions to find out some information about the holiday.

Main Activity

Project the handout onto the board. Students must circulate, speaking to all their classmates until they have found someone who did all of the listed activities during the summer holidays. When they find someone who has done one of the activities they must also ask them for some details and record them in the details column.

Before starting model past simple yes/no questions on the board:

Went to another continent:

Did you go to another continent?

Also model questions for details:

Where did you go?

What did you do there?

What did you eat?

The winner is the first person to find someone people who have done each of the things on the list or prove that nobody has done them by speaking to everyone.


Try to speak to everyone in the class. You must find someone who did the following things in their summer holidays.

Find someone who…

Activity Person Details
Went to a different continent    
Tried some new food    
Went to a summer camp    
Had a party    
Ate McDonald’s    
Tried a new activity    
Visited another part of Spain    
Saw an amazing monument    
Hurt themselves    
Didn’t leave Catalonia    
Earned some money    
Bought some new clothes    
Went on holiday without their family    
Visited a famous city    

Icebreaker: Show me a picture of…

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Thanks to Nicky Hockly at The Consultants-e for the inspiration for this lesson plan. It’s an icebreaking lesson in which students can use their mobiles (shock horror) for intermediate levels and up.


In a new class students are always keen to learn a bit about their new teacher and if you’re willing to share and personalise your classes the students will reciprocate with you and each other. So start by projecting some photos of things from your life on to the board with some sentence stems for deduction.

Intermediate levels:

He/she/it could/might/may be his girlfriend (possibility)

He/she/it must be his brother (almost certain)

He/she/it can’t be his sister (impossible)

Higher levels:

I’d say that…

I’d hazard a guess that…

I bet you €X that’s his brother.

I (don’t) reckon that…

I’m absolutely certain that…

There’s no doubt in my mind that…

There’s a good/strong/slim chance that…

I could be wrong but I think…

Drill sentence stress and intonation. Then put students in pairs and show them some of the pictures. Monitor them as they make guesses about who the people in the pictures are and have students share their deductions with the class. Award points for correct guesses.

Here are some example pictures from my life:

Other useful language:

You look just like (your mum)

You don’t look anything like (your sister)

You are the spitting image of (your Dad) (you look exactly the same)

You take after (your Dad) – you look/act the same.

Step 2: Pair work

Put students in groups of 2/3 and tell them to take out their phones and go to their photo albums. They must then take it in turns to show their group a picture of the following things:

  • A parent
  • A grandparent
  • A pet
  • A very close friend
  • An activity you love
  • A great meal
  • A fantastic day
  • An amazing view
  • A selfie

The others in the group must use the language of deduction to guess what the picture is and then they can ask questions to discover more information about their partner.

You might want to model some questions on the board:

When was the photo taken?

How long ago did you take this photo?

Where were you when you took the photo?

What does your Dad do?

How long have you been …ing?

Language for reactions:

Wow! That looks amazing/lovely/gorgeous

No way! Me too!

Your Dad works in finance? No way, mine does too!

That must be (amazing/fantastic etc.) – present event/state

That must have been (amazing/fantastic/so much fun) – past experience


Give SS 10-15 minutes to talk, encourage the use of the vocabulary, award points to groups using the most.

Students then report back to the class about the favourite photo their classmates showed them. If you can, project the photos onto the board so the whole class can see them.

Follow up/Homework

Story behind the picture. SS write a composition (150-200 words) telling the story behind one specific picture. Encourage them to copy paste the picture at the top of the page. This is a good opportunity to practice narrative tenses: “I had been walking all day, that’s why I look a bit tired in the photo.” “The sun was shining, the wind was blowing in the trees” “It was the scariest thing I have ever done.” “I was walking down the street when I saw a…”

Dilemmas and Debates

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This is a straightforward “What would you do?” speaking activity to practice hypothetical conditionals and just generate debate and conversation.  Download the powerpoint below and project it or print it:

Dilemmas and debates

Language of agreeing and disagreeing will be useful.

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Credit to:

For a couple of the ideas.

Conversation topic: The best way to…

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This is a straightforward conversation topic lesson plan which can be used with both teens and adults and many levels (high A2+). Students discuss the best thing to do in different situations.

You will need the “best way to…” powerpoint:

The best way to


Put the following structures on the board:


  • In my opinion
  • From my point of view
  • As far as I’m concerned
  • I reckon

The best/worst thing to do is…

Agreeing and disagreeing:

Agreeing Disagreeing Ending an argument:
  • We see eye to eye
  • I couldn’t agree with you more.
  • That’s exactly how I feel.
  • You have a point there.
  • I was just going to say that.
  • Absolutely.
  • We don’t see eye to eye
  • I take your point but
  • I tend to disagree with you there
  • I’m afraid I have to disagree with you there
  • I beg to differ
  • That’s not always the case.
  • Let’s just move on shall we?
  • I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree.

Project the powerpoint onto the board and go through the slides. Play devil’s advocate and ensure that students debate each topic thoroughly.


You could split the class into teams and debate one of the topics. Give each team an opinion, for example “the best way to break up with someone is by text”, and they have to defend that opinion even if they don’t agree with it.


Have students choose one of the topics raised and write an essay on it; exploring the different ways suggested and reaching a conclusion as to which is the best.