Summer is a great time to catch up on reading magazines and preparing for the school year (or at least one of those, if not both). A few years ago, I attended a professional development session where someone was promoting a fancy stack of cards with 100 different images. We were asked to do some activities with these, and I thought of about a dozen other ways I could use them in my classroom, but I wasn’t willing to shell out the $25 for something I thought I could make myself. When I came home, I cut images from magazines, stuck them on to cardstock, and placed them into sheet protectors. Recently, I bought a laminator and decided to up my game with images (see here for other ways a laminator can be useful for your classroom).
At any rate, these can be used for so many activities in the classroom, especially in terms of metaphorical thinking. Here are a few uses I particularly like:
- First day of school ice-breakers: pass the images out to students and ask them how they feel about the upcoming year by using the image as a metaphor. You can do this halfway through the year, too.
- Writing poetry: asking students to write poetry can be a big risk for students, so having them start by basing poems on images, it can be helpful. Here’s an example:
- Thinking metaphorically regarding characters: sometimes it is helpful for students to think metaphorically about books or characters. I have passed out images and asked students to use them to create a metaphor about how a character is feeling, using the image they have (this is similar to #1). This can get silly, but it is a valuable exercise in exploring how students understand characters and how to encourage creativity.
- Story starters: Again, the images can be an easy way to start a story for students who struggle to think creatively on the spot. All they have to do is write a sentence about what’s happening, and then pass the image and the story to someone else. I’ve done this to practice metaphorical writing as well as work on concrete description.
- Making arguments: If, as many teachers note, everything is an argument, then images are an interesting way to explore this concept. What kind of claims can be made based upon just an image? This is a great way to talk about argument and about looking at data in different ways.