If you would like your pupils to practice their oral proficiency or use pictures to test your pupils’ skill, it is great to use pictures.
A picture is worth a thousand words, so let your pupils say them.
Apart from building a collection of (laminated) thematic pictures from magazines (people, places, animals, hobbies, jobs, rooms, etc.) and using my all time favourite story cubes (see other post on Rory’s Story Cubes), you can also use websites for pictues. Some examples:
http://www.eltpics.com/indexeltpics.html – picture collection by people involved in teaching, mostly ELT
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/ (news stories in photographs)
More or less similar on the BBC website:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in_pictures/
Ready-made worksheets with pictures for pupils to discuss on http://www.eslflow.com/picturelessonsandteachingideas.html
You can also google on a theme to get similar pictures to compare and dicuss, e.g. search entry ‘street scene’ in www.google.com. Let students each describe a picture you give them to each other; next, let them find out the differences and similarities of what can be seen in their pictures, discuss their personal preferences, et cetera. Another idea is to use pictures of people and let students discuss their prejudices: What kind of person is this? What personality, occupation, hobbies, marital status, type of house, family life, et cetera. Would you like to meet this person and become friends? Why (not)? You can also combine these pictures with several pictures of places to live or interiors, so the pupils can try to match the people to the place they live, simply by discussing their prejudices or impressions.
On www.flickr.com you can also access a great many pictures that can be suitable for discussion. If you have an account, you can start building you own collection. And why not take your own pictures which will elicit a thousand words from your pupils?
For more ideas check out the speaking ideas for teaching, posted earlier today.