Famous Paintings Class Discussion Slideshow – with Banksy


Here’s a famous painting discussion class you can use as a warmer, cooler, filler or a springboard for art/ research projects with your EFL or ESOL class.

Download the PowerPoint show here Famous paintings or click the picture.

famous paintings

There are lots of ways to run the lesson and it will work with almost all levels. You’ll differentiate by student response.

1.Straightforward PowerPoint show.

Pair your students and have them read the first two questions. They should ask and answer the same questions for every slide. Walk round and listen to them as they chat.

2. Art Gallery Lesson.

Print off the pictures and stick them up around the classroom. Pair students and get them to walk round the pictures together, asking and answering the same questions from the first slide. Ask them to rank the pictures from the ones they like least to the ones they like most

3. The Research project

After doing the PowerPoint presentation, give students, in pairs, a copy of one of the paintings. Get them to find out as much as they can about both the artist and the picture using the internet. There are stories behind all of these famous pictures that are as important as the pictures themselves. Why is Andy Warhol’s picture of soup cans so important? So what about the Mona Lisa’s smile? Knowing more about these pictures will help your students appreciate them.

Please leave us a comment if you use the lesson.





IELTS Academic Reading Test – Sample


Test your IELTS reading skills with this Academic Reading Test from Richard L King.

If you just want the test then: click here to get the Sample Academic Reading task plus answers.

Click here to download a sample IELTS Academic answer sheet

Sample test A

Please follow the steps below!

1.Make sure you have somewhere quiet to do the test. Turn off your phone, the television and the TV. You will need 1 hour. Do not give yourself more time.

2. Print off a copy of the test and answers above. Print off an answer sheet above.

3. Allow yourself 1 hour. Give yourself a break when you finish. Ten minutes should be enough.

4. Check your answers and read the explanations about them. Look for paraphrases and synonyms! Find out WHY your answers were wrong!

You should now have a better understanding of your reading skills.

For more sample IELTS exams, why not check out Richard L King’s book: Teach yourself IELTS Reading



Essential Academic Word List – IELTS


To get the score you want in IELTS you need to know academic vocabulary.

Everyday English:There were some people waiting at the bus stop’

Academic English:There were a number of individuals waiting for public transport’.

Here’s a brilliant list to help! Just a few tips before you start.

You can download a pdf of this list here www.victoria.ac.nz/lals/resources/academicwordlist/publications/AWLmostfreqsublists.pdf

DON’T try to learn all of them! Concentrate on section 1 and 2 first.

Check out my other blog on how to learn more IELTS vocabulary before you tackle this.


The following list consists of the head-words in AWL. The 570 head-words in the list given in Coxhead (2000), this list has been re-ordered occurs by frequency, from “group 1” (most frequent) to “group 10” (least frequent).

For detail on the development and evaluation of the AWL, see Coxhead, Averil (2000) A New Academic Word List. TESOL Quarterly, 34(2): 213-238.


group 1

analyse approach area assess assume authority
available benefit concept consist constitute context
contract create data define derive distribute
economy environment establish estimate evident export
factor finance formula function identify income
indicate individual interpret involve issue labour
legal legislate major method occur percent
period policy principle proceed process require
research respond role section sector significant
similar source specific structure theory vary

group 2

achieve acquire administrate affect appropriate aspect
assist category chapter commission community complex
compute conclude conduct consequent construct consume
credit culture design distinct element equate
evaluate feature final focus impact injure
institute invest item journal maintain normal
obtain participate perceive positive potential previous
primary purchase range region regulate relevant
reside resource restrict secure seek select
site strategy survey text tradition transfer

For more IELTS help, check out Richard L King’s Teach yourself IELTS Reading



group 3

alternative circumstance comment compensate component consent
considerable constant constrain contribute convene coordinate
core corporate correspond criteria deduce demonstrate
document dominate emphasis ensure exclude framework
fund illustrate immigrate imply initial instance
interact justify layer link locate maximise
minor negate outcome partner philosophy physical
proportion publish react register rely remove
scheme sequence sex shift specify sufficient
task technical technique technology valid volume

group 4

access adequate annual apparent approximate attitude
attribute civil code commit communicate concentrate
confer contrast cycle debate despite dimension
domestic emerge error ethnic goal grant
hence hypothesis implement implicate impose integrate
internal investigate job label mechanism obvious
occupy option output overall parallel parameter
phase predict principal prior professional project
promote regime resolve retain series statistic
status stress subsequent sum summary undertake


group 5

academy adjust alter amend aware capacity
challenge clause compound conflict consult contact
decline discrete draft enable energy enforce
entity equivalent evolve expand expose external
facilitate fundamental generate generation image liberal
license logic margin medical mental modify
monitor network notion objective orient perspective
precise prime psychology pursue ratio reject
revenue stable style substitute sustain symbol
target transit trend version welfare whereas

group 6

abstract accurate acknowledge aggregate allocate assign
attach author bond brief capable cite
cooperate discriminate display diverse domain edit
enhance estate exceed expert explicit federal
fee flexible furthermore gender ignorant incentive
incidence incorporate index inhibit initiate input
instruct intelligence interval lecture migrate minimum
ministry motive neutral nevertheless overseas precede
presume rational recover reveal scope subsidy
tape trace transform transport underlie utilise

group 7

adapt adult advocate aid channel chemical
classic comprehensive comprise confirm contrary convert
couple decade definite deny differentiate dispose
dynamic eliminate empirical equip extract file
finite foundation globe grade guarantee hierarchy
identical ideology infer innovate insert intervene
isolate media mode paradigm phenomenon priority
prohibit publication quote release reverse simulate
sole somewhat submit successor survive thesis
topic transmit ultimate unique visible voluntary

group 8

abandon accompany accumulate ambiguous append appreciate
arbitrary automate bias chart clarify commodity
complement conform contemporary contradict crucial currency
denote detect deviate displace drama eventual
exhibit exploit fluctuate guideline highlight implicit
induce inevitable infrastructure inspect intense manipulate
minimise nuclear offset paragraph plus practitioner
predominant prospect radical random reinforce restore
revise schedule tense terminate theme thereby
uniform vehicle via virtual visual widespread

group 9

accommodate analogy anticipate assure attain behalf
bulk cease coherent coincide commence compatible
concurrent confine controversy converse device devote
diminish distort duration erode ethic format
founded inherent insight integral intermediate manual
mature mediate medium military minimal mutual
norm overlap passive portion preliminary protocol
qualitative refine relax restrain revolution rigid
route scenario sphere subordinate supplement suspend
team temporary trigger unify violate vision

group 10

adjacent albeit assemble collapse colleague compile
conceive convince depress encounter enormous forthcoming
incline integrity intrinsic invoke levy likewise
nonetheless notwithstanding odd ongoing panel persist
pose reluctance so-called straightforward undergo whereby



IELTS : Making a real study plan


When Benjamin Franklin famously said, ‘if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail’, he probably didn’t have the IELTS reading exam in mind. His advice however is still valid, if you want to get a better score in the IELTS exam, you will need to study and to do this you’ll need a proper schedule.

Achievable targets

You’ll probably already know what grade you need to achieve in the IELTS exam and so this is your goal but, be realistic. You’ll need to get a feel for what your IELTS level is, to do this, try completing a few sample exams. Stick to the time limit and mark yourself honestly.

If you have a teacher, ask them to mark your written exam. You’ll now know both what target you want to achieve and what level you are at. Be sensible, if you score overall band 5 then you are not going to score a 7.0 in a few months. For most people, it’s reckoned that you improve by a band every six months. Another big issue is that students want to fast track their English and achieve a high score before they know the basics. If you can’t use the tenses in English or have trouble just communicating or writing simple sentences, then forget about anything to do with IELTS, you would be much better just learning English until you have a better level.

Making a timetable

There’s no point in setting yourself a timetable that is unachievable and that you can’t keep. Be honest with yourself and don’t set a schedule that is either too easy or too difficult. Most people learn best in chunks of between twenty and thirty minutes with a few minutes break in between where you can stretch your legs or get a breath of fresh air.

Have enough practise materials

You’ll need quite a lot of material to keep you going. Thankfully there are some excellent materials to help you. You can search for these on the internet or a save money by getting books out from your local library.

Keep a study journal

Maintaining good study notes is the cornerstone to success in academic life. Keep a record of all the practise tests that you have done and what you scored in them. Have a notebook with all the important vocab and structures that you have learned and look at this regularly.

Balancing your life

Don’t spend all your time studying. Your brain can only take in a certain amount of information and so spending all day trying to remember 100 words will only make you forget them the next day. Try to enjoy what you study

Get more help by downloading Richard L King’s Book, Teach yourself IELTS reading


Getting better at reading #IELTS

Rachael Roberts will be joining our line-up of authors speaking at this year’s IATEFL with Caroline Krantz for their talk, ‘Cracking the code of English’. Today she joins us to preview that talk, focusing on decoding skills most useful for reading English as a language learner. When we talk about reading skills, what usually comes to mind? […]

via #IATEFL – What are reading skills? –They’re not (only) what you think — Oxford University Press

Giving a 2 minute presentation: IELTS Speaking

Giving a two minute presentation


It’s scary giving a presentation – even when you are sure about your subject and you have prepared well. In the IELTS speaking exam, you’ll be asked to speak for 2 minutes on a given topic (see some example cards on the opposite page). Here are some tips which will help you get the best in the exam.


Use your minute preparation time well. Spend your minute of preparation reading the questions card. Then…


Make notes – but not too many. Write down a few bullet points that come into your mind. You can write these on the question card. Be calm. If you run out of things to say during the presentation, look at what you wrote.


Use sequencing ideas and phrases – but not too much! During your presentation you might like to use a few phrases or words that let the examiner know how you have structured your presentation. Phrases such as ‘Firstly, secondly…’ will clearly explain where you are in your presentation and make you look more confident.


Develop your ideas. When you are speaking try to expand on the bullet point notes that you made in the first minute. Use complex sentences to explain the ideas and explore them as you speak, showcase your use of grammatical tenses and clever words.


Don’t overuse phrases. If you have any expressions you use too much such as ‘you know’ or ‘like..’ or ‘…you know what I mean’, stop using them. Using them once or twice is fine, but overusing such phrases will make you look nervous and stop you using good sentences will conjunctions or linking words. You don’t have much time, try not to waste it repeating set phrases.


Be formal. IELTS is a formal test of your English.


You’re not a rocket scientist. The phrase ‘It’s not rocket science’ is a common idiom meaning you shouldn’t think something simple is complex. As a student or an academic, you might actually be a rocket scientist or a biologist or a chemical engineer. If you are, you will know that in the world of academia, your facts and opinions need to be well thought out and backed up by formal arguments. In the IELTS speaking exam however, you don’t have to worry about your ideas being thought out exactly, so don’t worry if your presentation doesn’t have perfectly logical ideas. IELTS wants to test your knowledge of English, not how intelligent you are.


Body language. Sit up straight look confident, smile and speak loudly and clearly, this will help you feel better and more in control.


Don’t panic. You have spent a long time getting as good as you are at English. Now it’s time to show what you can do. Take a deep breath and do your best.


For more IELTS help, check out Richard King’s book below




Hapland – IELTS Reading Instructions


Chris Speck

Hapland – Reading Instructions

This is a very frustrating flash game.  I used it with my Level 1+/B1+ students to help them read for meaning.


Basically the idea of the game is to get the little man to safety byclicking on different parts of the picture in the right order.


How I ran the lesson.

1. All students had a computer. I directed them to the ‘Hapland’ website. Click herehttp://homepage.ntlworld.com/rallen/hapland.swf I asked the students to play it for two minutes. Then I elicited their opinions, did they think it was a good game? Would they play it?

2. Now I handed out the instructions (below) . They had to read carefully following these to complete the game. I encouraged them to help each other.


a)    Open all the windows and turn the red arrow around.

b)    Open the hatch on the right, click the yellow arrow to get…

View original post 383 more words


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