Describing Pictures

There are dozens of topics and grammar points that can be studied using activities where students say or write things about pictures.  Here are some slide shows and worksheets that I’ve used.

  • Describe the Pictures: Animals. ODP & PDF. An exciting slide show of animals.
  • Describe the Pictures: Mie. ODP & PDF. A slide show of Mie Prefecture in Japan.
  • Describing Pictures 1. ODT & PDF. A worksheet.
  • Describing Pictures 2. ODT & PDF. A worksheet.
  • Describing Pictures 3. ODT & PDF. A worksheet.
  • Describe the Food. ODP & PDF  A slide show.
  • Describe the House.  ODP & PDF. A slide show.

These materials can be used in free speaking activities, preposition practice, practice for the patterns There is … and There are …, and various other situations.


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Passive Voice Practice

Here are some passive voice practice worksheets.  In Japan, passive voice is taught at the beginning of ninth grade.  One of the best ways to practice passive voice is converting between active voice and passive voice sentences while maintaining the meaning.  This can be done as a matching activity and later as a writing activity.

  • Passive Voice Practice 1: ODT & PDF.
  • Passive Voice Practice 2: ODT & PDF.
  • Passive Voice Practice 3: ODT & PDF.


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Here are some occupation flash cards.  Occupations (jobs) are a topic that first comes up in my eighth grade textbook.  Students are asked about their dream job, why they are interested in it, and what steps they can take towards reaching it.

Talking about the future and career goals is a suitable topic for high school students, too.  If you’re teaching high school students, expect them to provide greater detail and use more precise vocabulary.

  • Occupations flashcards: ODP & PDF.  18 jobs.  For junior and senior high school.
  • Dream Jobs: ODT & PDF.  A homework assignment for eighth graders.
  • Occupations Quiz: ODT & PDF.  For eighth graders.
  • My Future Dream: ODT & PDF.  A short presentation for eighth graders.


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Homestay English

Every summer, several dozen students from my high school go to Adelaide, Australia, for a three-week study abroad session.  In preparation, several teachers and I teach three Homestay English lessons to them.  (There are several other prep sessions run by the study abroad program administrators, too.)  Here’s our short workbook: ODT & PDF.


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Long Answers

Basic question and answer practice is a staple of foreign language study.  Here is a set of questions designed for two-sentence or three-sentence answers.

I use these worksheets in pairs.  One student asks twelve questions, the other student answers, then they switch roles and repeat.  This takes around five minutes.  When students are comfortable with the questions on the first page, move to the second page.  The question styles don’t change, but key words do. This helps students remember the appropriate grammar.

    • Long Answers A: ODT & PDF. Good for 8th graders.

This style of worksheet is great for pair speaking practice.  With seventh graders we begin with one-sentence answers, in eighth grade we practice long answers, and by ninth grade students are encouraged to make comments and ask follow-up questions.

After practicing for a week or two, you can easily do a speaking test.


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Updated LDIE

Here’s a new package of Literature Done in English on  Written by Douglas Perkins and Adam Pearson, last updated 2017-03-06.  If you haven’t seen the book before, check out the PDF or ODT  first.


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Tongue Twisters

When focusing on particular English sounds, a tongue twister can be a nice way to practice.  If your class sees tongue twisters as a fun speaking challenge, add them to a lesson from time to time.

Tongue twisters are by definition hard to say, so the most important practice is slow practice.  After repeating and practicing slowly for a few minutes, try to say the thing quickly a few times just for fun.

Here are some tongue twisters that I like.

  1. Red leather yellow leather (repeat).
  2. Unique New York (repeat).
  3. Six thick thistle sticks.
  4. Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.
  5. She sells sea shells by the sea shore.
  6. I thought of thinking of thanking you.
  7. I think I thought of thinking of thanking you.
  8. How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck would?
  9. A big black bug bit a big black bear, made the big black bear bleed blood.
  10. Betty Botter bought some butter. But, she said, “This butter’s bitter. If I had some better butter, that would make my batter better.”

Any other tongue twisters that you like? Leave them in the comments.

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