Describe the (imaginary) picture

This activity practices the skill of describing a scene, using vocabulary such as, there is, there are and the present continuous tense. It’s  good practise for asking questions and really stretching imaginative English use.

describe the picture appTo save you searching for suitable pictures and cutting up bits of paper, you can now play this game with a tablet or laptop with this web app.

Students will need to be confident pre-intermediates and above to tackle this activity.

Gather together some reasonably large pictures of people engaged in various interesting activities. Place each picture in an envelope and put them in a pile on a desk at the front of the class.

In this pile you should also include some envelopes containing ‘fake’ pictures. These are blank pieces of paper, each one with a descriptive phrase written on it. For example, a policeman eating an ice cream, a woman jogging with five dogs, a young couple walking on the beach.

Students take it in turns to sit at the front desk. They take and open an envelope and describe the contents of the picture inside to the class. Invite the other students to ask the describer for more details. Their goal is to try and form in their own minds a picture as close to the original as possible.

Spend some time after each round expanding on the students’ descriptions and suggesting further vocabulary they could use.

After two or three minutes ask whether the students believe the picture to be real, or if the describer was creating an imaginary picture.

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