This activity practices students’ listening and speaking skills. They first listen to a description of two images and then they analyse the language used and try to use it to describe some different pictures. The activity takes a similar format to that used in many speaking exams. The images used are those of Viennese migrants, all of whom run specialist businesses. The activity is based on themes and images from the OPENCities project.

Download and print a copy of the images worksheet for each of your students.
Download copies of the scripts and the audio to use in class.


  • First give each students or pair of students a copy of the first two images. Ask them to discuss what they can see in the pictures.
  • Tell them they are going to hear someone describing the pictures and they should listen and circle each part of the picture as it is described.
  • Play the audio file, or read the script so that students can listen. Then give them time to compare their answers with a partner.
  • Ask them to listen again and try to label each part of the image they have circled.
  • Once the students have done this and had time to compare, you might want to put the images up on the board, if you have a projector, and get the students to come to the front and describe different parts.
  • Once they have done this, give the students the script from the audio and ask them to underline the parts of the script that refer to the different things in the images. In this way they will be able to check their own answers.
  • Next ask the students to look at the script again and find examples of
  • Facts - Example - There are lots of pictures on the wall
  • Deductions - Example - she may be about 60
  • Personal responses - Example - I’d like to pick some of them up and look at them more closely
  • Once they have done this ask them to try to identify the parts of the sentence which show something is fact, deduction or personal response. The structures are underlined in this example copy of the script.
    • Answers:
      • Facts - There is, There are, Has, present continuous, present simple
      • Deductions - May be, Might be, perhaps, looks like, looks as though, looks, I think this is
      • Personal responses - I’d like to
  • Once they have decided which are facts, deductions or personal responses, give each pair another set of pictures and ask them to discuss the two pictures in the same way and try to use some of the structures from the example.

Language Level


Submitted by marlene rawlinson on Wed, 02/03/2010 - 10:36


I have just attempted the " Inside Lives " Activity.

Firstly the podcast seems to be faulty, and secondly, I cannot find all the Scripts.

Is this just me ?

Also, we want to know what the red " fruits/ veggies " are in the one pic ?

Looks like genetically modified strawberries.



I tried it yesterday and thought it worked really well. Very good activity to get them to notice and practise different structures for describing. Got one of my very shy students to speak more confidently. Loved it, thank you.

To answer Marlene, the podcast worked fine although I had to try and download it several times to get the full script. No scripts are missing, there is only one script, the other pictures are for students to practise after going through the "example" activity.


Thanks again, Bea

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