Monday, January 05, 2015

Working With Images

Today’s learners are image-oriented, more visually literate; they are able to access and manipulate digital images as never before. So, in a sense we owe it to them to make the image an integral part of our teaching practice, to work with images in their own right and encourage a critical and creative reading of them” Goldstein, 2008

Some years ago teachers of English (or any other Second Language) used to build up a set of photos and flashcards as vocabulary teaching and practice aids, and at the best prompts for speaking, show&tell activities or writing. 

But today’s learner’s, as Goldstein mentioned, are more “techy”, more visually educated, so it would be wise to make use of on-line graphic material which may deeply impact on their acceptance in class. 

One of my last projects developed with my ESL students of grade 6 has been to introduce a “real” character for a creative speaking activity. I presented a letter from my “imaginary friend” and a set of images (see image below) from his life and I invited children to write a caption for each photo following the model of the letter. Then, they had to piece the story together by putting the images in order and decide what happened in the story. 

In this sample activity children have clear opportunities for speaking and creative writing, with both written and speaking follow up activities. 

But, what about the construction of “personalised fictions” by the learners? There are lots of sites where photos can be retouched or collaged to make alternate realities. They can be used in a variety of ways to bring some creative language practice to the classroom. 

Just have a go, take your time and you will see!

Fun Photo Box. 

One of the best site with tons of photo effects, collages and gift animations.


If you don’t get what you want from Fun Photo Box, you reallly need to check out this site.


We’d say, with Photo505, Fun Photo Box and Photofunia you’ll be buzy for days.


Make funny photos by embedding your face from the photo to the various templates.


Allows you to upload any photo and create "old photo", "wanted" and "puzzle" effects out of it. Why am I wanted dead or alive?


Lots of ways for you to customize your photos and express them wherever you want.

Yearbook Yourself.

Turn your face photo into yearbook alike black & white old school photo, and start speaking or writing about "your" past, vintage gadgets, old fashion, music, old styles...


Choose a photo for the left and right side and start mixing their hairs up. What about mixing you with an animal? You can create a "fantastic" character wih lots of imaginary features!

Hollywood Hair Makeover.

Love those celebrities’ hair? Wear them instantly and see how you look. Play with your "new syle" and "pretend to be" someone else!

Big Huge Labs. 

This is a great combination of many types of photo fun. From puzzles to a badge maker, there are lots of possibilities to be creative with your photos. But my favorite is the cube option! This lets you pick 6 images and then print a template with folding directions for turning the set into a 3-dimensional cube... a talking dice, maybe?

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