Monday, 31 October 2011

My top 10 sites to look for images

This post continues from the post I previously wrote on using images in the ELT class. So where can you find interesting and useful pictures on the net? Below you will find my top ten sites when I’m looking for some inspiration. But first, a note on copyright. Remember to choose material that is royalty free or licensed under a Creative Commons attribution (some people choose to register their creations this way so they can be shared for certain purposes). You will find some more information about Creative Commons here:

My top 10 places to go for pictures

Stockxchange offers a huge gallery, with many royalty free pics, and you can also share yours.

Imageafter Here you will find a large freely licensed photo collection. You can also look for textures and and backgrounds.

At FlickrCC you can search for Flickr pictures licensed under Creative Commons.

Morguefile has a large gallery where you can contribute your own picture (Why morgue? Who knows!)

Burning well  is a public domain image source, offering photographs donated by photographers from around the world.

WP Clipart is a collection of artwork for schoolkids and others that is free of copyright concerns as well as safe from inappropriate images.

EveryStockPhotoPicfindr and  Veezzle are free stock photo search engines, indexing free photos from large collections.

And, last but not least, our very own collection of pictures for teachers!
Take a photo and... is a free photographic resource intended for and created by teachers. Also, teachers contribute their pictures via Twitter. This is a great project curated by Carol Goodey, Vicky Loras, Fiona Mauchline, Sandy Millin and Victoria Boobyer, aka @cgoodey, @vickyloras, @fionamau and @sandymillin.


Some ways to use images in the classroom

We teachers know, probably even more than other professionals, that what the old phrase says is true: a picture is worth a thousand words. We experience the wealth of possibilities offered by visual stimuli everyday. We use pictures to teach, practice or review vocabulary, to do guided oral and writing practice, as visual clues to help in listening-comprehension and as starters for activities such as role plays and class discussions. And we choose to use images because we realize that they actually make explanations simpler, save students lots of effort and add a touch of colour to our classes. In other words, most teachers agree that they actually work!

Some ways to use images in the classroom

ZAs triggers for discussions or debates

ZTo practice descriptions
Opinion expressions
I think...
In my opinion...
I suppose...
I believe...

ZIn listening-comprehension activities, like listening to a description and choosing the right picture.

ZIn speaking and listening-comprehension activities, where a student “dictates” a picture for a partner to choose the right picture.

ZTo practice comparing and contrasting
Picture A shows... while picture B...
On the contrary, picture B...
I think picture A is more... than picture B
If I had to choose between the two...
There’s a marked contrast between...
On the one hand, i don’t think...
The main advantage/disadvantage is...

ZAs a variation of the previous activity, to work with a set of pictures with something in common (let’s say people using computers in different environments) so the discussion relates to this particular element, comparing its use in the different contexts.

ZFor students to make up the story behind the picture. Then they can use a site like Storybird to write their story.

ZAs a variation of the previous activity, students can use Five Card Flickr to get five random pictures and invent the sequence of a story.

ZTo discuss about “fixing” problems in a picture (how would you improve or change a roo, a flat, a city?)
What I kike/dislike is...
I don’t really like the...
I’m not too keen on...
I’d prefer...
I’d be more attracted to...

ZTo practice speculating and making a decision
I think it’d be better to...
I believe... should be...
It would be more convenient...
It wouldn’t be a good idea...
Don’t you think...?

ZAs starters for role-playing conversations based on pictures of people talking (students take the place of different people in the picture).

ZTo create conversations, adding text balloons. They can do this, for example, at Blabberize.

ZPlaying Snap (to find pairs of pictures that match)

ZPlaying Piggy goes... (students pass one card to the left or right and try to find the four cards that match or are related)

ZPlaying Who’s who? (students guess the character by asking yes/no questions and using descriptive vocabulary)

ZListening to a song and putting pictures in order

ZPlaying Partial pictures (where you show part of the picture and students have to guess the name of the object)

ZCollaborative writing (students are given an unrelated picture to write a pragraph in groups and then they have to work with other groups to make their paragraphs fit in a larger story)

ZUsing maps to practice directions and negotiating meaning in information-gap exercises

ZUsing graphic organizers to revise and recycle vocabulary

The list is by no means exhaustive,
but simply offers some suggestions t
hat might encourage some fresh ideas.

You are welcome to share them here!