Friday, October 23, 2009

Using FlickR to Inspire Writing


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Originally uploaded by u n c o m m o n

First I'd like to say that there's nothing new about the basic concept of using everything from photos, to newspaper clippings to inspire students to write. Back when I was a new teacher, I regularly poured through magazines & newspapers looking for anything that would spark my student to think creatively.

Technology has just made this process easier and has also opened an entire world of creativity for me and my students. I've been teaching my students about the importance of setting and mood when writing their stories. Since it's Halloween time, we're focusing on spooky tales. I chose a group of about 18 pictures and created a gallery called "mood lessons" for easy access within Flickr.

This particular photo sparked lots of conversation & creativity beyond what I expected. Not only were students able to discuss the setting and mood, they also began writing stories based on what they thought might be happening in this scene. They zeroed in on the one individual standing at the bus stop and the spooky lights. Before I knew it, most were spinning tales about who and what he was waiting for, and whether or not he was watching someone inside the building for some terrible reason.

My point is this, especially for teachers who think tech integration means learning how to use every application on their computers, something as simple of FlickR can have a multitude of implications for student learning.   How about creating a title for this photo, or writing 2 different versions of stories based on this setting? How about turning this into a cartoon or animation, or crafting a dialogue for the lone figure in this picture? The possibilities are endless if you just open yourself up to experience them.