Using images

From OER in Education

Images are a powerful way of stimulating ideas and talk in the classroom. These ideas can be used as lesson starters/warm ups and introductions, but can also be used for group activities.

A suggestion for getting started is simply to ask children to talk to their partner about an image you display. Different images can also be given to groups to discuss. The (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) photograph of Butrón castle below is downloaded from SantiMB's flickr site


(To find out more about finding suitable images on flickr, see our article on finding CC licenced images on Flickr.)

Then ask them to:

  • Imagine it is the cover of a book.
  • Write the title.
  • Write the opening line to the story.
  • Imagine it is an illustration inside the book. What’s happening on the page? Who lives here?
  • Consider a range of questions that could be used in the classroom in relation to this picture or others you choose.


Children should work in pairs for this activity. Each pair is given a picture of a character – this could be from a familiar story, a well-known personality etc. Draw an image of a speech bubble and ask children to talk about, then write one or two sentences that their character is saying to the other character.


Ideas to stimulate discussion and writing could be:

Decide what you want your character to say.
Tell your talk partner what your character is saying.
Ask your talk partner if s/he thinks your character would say this or not?
Think about what your partner says about your sentence.
Listen to your partner’s sentence.
Tell your partner if you think his/her character would say that or not.
Make sure you are happy with what you have decided to write.
Say it again out loud.
Write it down.

Picture Prompts

Following from story reading or preparation for any kind of writing….

In pairs, one pupil draws a picture in the top box and tells their partner about it. They decide what one or two sentences go with the picture and tell sentences to partner. Partner to comment. Pupil then writes sentences.

Repeat for partner’s picture/sentence.

Tell your partner about your picture. Tell your partner your sentences. Write your sentences

Tell your partner about your picture. Tell your partner your sentence. Write your sentence.

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