Tag Archives: speaking


Fantasy Dinner Party

You are hosting a dinner party for four famous people (dead or alive)

Choose 3 people from the following list to attend your Dinner Party.  Choose one other famous person of your own choice.  Give reasons for your answers.

  • Stephen Hawking,
  • Martin Luther King,
  • Alan Turing,
  • Mark Zuckerberg,
  • Oskar Schindler,
  • King George VI of England,
  • Kurt Cobain,
  • Oscar Wilde,
  • Nelson Mandela
  • Steve Jobs

All of these famous people have had movies made about them.

  • Can you name them?
  • Have you seen any of these movies?
  • How have these people made a contribution to society?








You see the following announcement on a website.  Great Lives

Reviews Wanted

Send us a review of a book or a film that focuses on somebody who has made an important contribution to society.

Did you learn anything new about the person’s life from the book or film?  Did the book or film help you understand why this person made their important contribution?




CAE Speaking Part 2 Practice

“Candidates will always be asked to speculate about something which relates to the focus of the visuals. They will never be asked to merely describe the visuals” (CAE Teachers’ Handbook)

Use these wonderfully evocative images to inspire discussion in order to practise Part 2 of the CAE or FCE Exams

40 of the Most Powerful Photos Ever Taken

  • Tell me something about the image...(What is happening? What can you see?)
  • When might the photo have been taken? / What could be happening?  (speculate – It may/might/could have been + past participle, they may/might/could be + present participle)
  • What makes the photo powerful? (give your opinion e.g personally, in my opinion)



The photo is black and white and there is a long line of soldiers, for this reason, i think it was taken during World War II.  There is a boy running up to one of the men in uniform, it is probably the boy’s father.  He could be running to say goodbye if his father is going to fight in the war.  The photo shows the personal sacrifice of war like fathers having to leave their families, not knowing if they will see each other again.  I feel as though the impact of the photo comes from the length of the queue, as we ask ourselves how many families are torn apart due to war?

Get students to peer assess each other and jot down examples of the following language that they hear their partner use…



Give Opinion:

After the exercise, students can give feedback on how effectively their partner covered each of the three areas and examples of language they used.  As a plenary, students could pool together all of the different examples of the target language (describe, speculate, give opinion) on the board and then take a photo.

Sisters pose for the same photo three separate times, years apart.

A Russian war veteran kneels beside the tank he spent the war in, now a monument.

Retired Philadelphia Police Captain Ray Lewis is arrested for participating in the Occupy Wall Street protests in 2011.

A monk prays for an elderly man who had died suddenly while waiting for a train in Shanxi Taiyuan, China.

A dog named “Leao” sits for a second consecutive day at the grave of her owner, who died in the disastrous landslides near Rio de Janiero on January 15, 2011.

The 1968 Olympics Black Power Salute: African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise their fists in a gesture of solidarity at the 1968 Olympic games. Australian Silver medalist Peter Norman wore an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge in support of their protest. Both Americans were expelled from the games as a result.

Jewish prisoners at the moment of their liberation from an internment camp “death train” near the Elbe in 1945.

Christians protect Muslims during prayer in the midst of the uprisings in Cairo, Egypt, in 2011.

A North Korean man waves his hand as a South Korean relative weeps, following a luncheon meeting during inter-Korean temporary family reunions at Mount Kumgang resort October 31, 2010. Four hundred and thirty-six South Koreans were allowed to spend three days in North Korea to meet their 97 North Korean relatives, whom they had been separated from since the 1950-53 war.

Navy chaplain Luis Padillo gives last rites to a soldier wounded by sniper fire during a revolt in Venezuela.

A 4-month-old baby girl in a pink bear suit is miraculously rescued from the rubble by soldiers after four days missing following the Japanese tsunami.

Robert Peraza pauses at his son’s name on the 9/11 Memorial during the tenth anniversary ceremonies at the site of the World Trade Center.

Tanisha Blevin, 5, holds the hand of fellow Hurricane Katrina victim Nita LaGarde, 105, as they are evacuated from the convention center in New Orleans.

The iconic photo of Tank Man, the unknown rebel who stood in front of a column of Chinese tanks in an act of defiance following the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.

Harold Whittles hears for the first time ever after a doctor places an earpiece in his left ear.

Pele and British captain Bobby Moore trade jerseys in 1970 as a sign of mutual respect during a World Cup that had been marred by racism.

Earthrise: A photo taken by astronaut William Anders during the Apollo 8 mission in 1968.

Resource Round-up – SKILLS

So before i totally forget where i’ve saved all of the excellent resources that i’ve come across in the first few weeks of my holiday, i thought i’d do a Resource Round-up.  Here is the best of what i’ve found so far; resources that i’m really looking forward to using in the next school year.


The following links are to resources that i plan to use with pre-intermediate plus classes with a focus on Exam Skills.


I follow i great blog, Read. Know. Learn. Go, which shares learning tools for the ESL classroom.  Here i came across a really useful website called Cowbird.  There are loads of stories, poems and pictures.  Some of the stories are read aloud with voice-overs and so could be used as a listening exercise.  Each story has a corresponding photograph; i think students will really enjoy personalising their stories with an image and uploading to the internet for a real audience.

Similarly, Storybird allows you to write an online story with a bank of cute animations, you can then share your story with friends and family.  However, i’ve heard that to order the books and get them printed is quite expensive.  I think this resource will work well with my Year 8 or Year 9s.  I will give them a choice of issues e.g bullying, eating disorders etc (therefore could be a tutorial task) then get them to write a story for a younger audience.  Once the book is complete they can read it aloud (using the iPads) to a small group of primary students and lead a discussion on their topic.  Credit to The Guardian for bringing this resource to my attention.


Check out EFL Shorts, graded readers for beginners, intermediate and advanced learners.  Each story has follow-up comprehension and vocabulary activities.  Great for homework tasks.

Use of English

Tower and Castle – This really useful website takes current news event and turns them into CAE Use of English practice papers.  Now that’s certainly more relevant than some of the random texts you find in practice test books.


Language Lego is a really thoughtful blog that offers reflections on Teaching  theory alongside lesson ideas.  Here is a really novel way of integrating instagram to improve students’ pronunciation – Instagram for EFL

How much do you love StumbleUpon???!!! (I’m only slightly addicted).  You’re bound to find something interesting…uh…i guess that’s the whole point!  I will use this website in the classroom ‘stumbling’ upon images that i have already saved to a list and then give students 1 minute to describe the picture.  Here is a link to my ‘cool pics’ list, then use EFL Classrooms 2.0‘s extensive list of how to incorporate images into the classroom if you’re feeling stuck.

There’s more than Speaking Activities to these haunting images: More than just photographs.  Learners can write the backstories or character monologues, read them aloud at the end of the class and other students guess which picture the stories go with.

A picture says a thousand words

A picture says a thousand words

This link, (found via Stumpleupon) is incredibly disturbing, so for use with older learners.  It outlines 10 psychological experiments that went wrong.  Depending on the group dynamic, you could even attempt a mini mock-up of the Stanford Prison Experiment and discuss how it made participants feel.  Then use the article as a gate-way to a discussion on ethics.

Another StumbleUpon find, Life’s 100 photographs that changed the World will make an interesting Team quiz.  Students have to speak about chosen photograph  for set amount of time, explaining its significance.

Tutorial Ideas

Of course the following resource can be used for any number of activities but i intend to get my tutor group, at the beginning of the year, to find a quote or motto and explain why they chose it.  Then, using Recite we ‘turn a quote into a masterpiece’ and display them around the classroom.  Quotes can also be uploaded to social media sites and students could report back on how many ‘likes’ or ‘retweets’ they got.

You can't always get what you want...oh wait, wrong quote!!

You can’t always get what you want…oh wait, wrong quote!!

Massive Thank you to Topical Teaching for sharing this video of an 11 year old girl who escaped her destiny as a child bride.  The students in my tutor group are 13 and this will certainly make an interesting starting point for a discussion.

As will Malala Yousafzai’s speech at the UN.  Hopefully it will help teens to see a bigger picture.

Writing this post has certainly helped me to categorise some of the resources that i’ve saved so far.  It was originally going to be one post but the process has made me realise that it will form part of a series with at least 3 more posts: Creative Writing Resources, Cine Club Resources and Stuff for the Little ones, which i will get round to a bit later but for now the beach is calling me!!  I hope it’s been useful.  Please comment any links or further suggestions of what you use.