The Big Picture

On Thursday I presented a 7 minute skit at Teachmeet Tees on my Image Of The Week exercise.

Every week, in my tutorial (Citizenship / PSHE) lesson I show students a picture I’ve grabbed from the Boston Globe’s Big Picture site, get them to discuss it in pairs or small groups and then always ask them the same 5 questions:

  • What can you see in this picture?
    Not – what is happening / what’s the story – a much more literal approach
  • Where is it happening?
    What continent, what country, what city… what clues are there?
  • Who are the people in the picture?
    Citizens, refugees, civilians, soldiers, students, parents, children…
  • How do they feel?
    Happy, sad, scared, lonely, excited, nervous. relieved…
  • Is there anything we can / should do as a result?

At each stage I get a number of people to contribute ideas and always try to refrain from giving them any real feedback as to the accuracy of their suggestions.

The last question we rarely get to answer, as the students still don’t know what the real story is – but I like to think that it gets them wondering about their social responsibilities and what they could do to help others.

Finally, I explain what the current situation is. Grab a map and some information from places like Wikipedia and BBC News as well as the information that comes with the galleries at the Big Picture site.

We’ve looked at war zones, natural disasters, campaigns, protests, celebrations – all sorts of things. And we’ve discussed geography, politics, current affairs, language (just this week we had ‘ambiguous’ and ‘juxtaposition’), how to read  images for meaning, global citizenship, charity and much, much more.

It has helped to improve speaking and listening skills within the class, as well as social skills and turn taking. It’s also improved our relationship and on those occasions  where I’ve been too busy or forgotten to do this I get moans and complaints – so I’d call that a success.

In addition to the Big Picture website, I would also recommend checking out the Sacramento Bee’s Frame website and TotallyCoolPix for more top quality photo journalism..

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Teachmeet Tees 11

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Originally uploaded by ThomasLife

What better way is there of spending a wet and windy Thursday evening? More sandwiches than you can ever eat, an opportunity to play Kinect with Steve Bunce and getting on for a dozen short presentations by teachers sharing excellent ideas.

The atmosphere was cosy, the cupcakes inviting and the hosts (Steve Bunce and Simon Finch) genial.

I couldn’t possibly mention all of the presentations, but Alasdair Douglas‘ Angry Birds project, Martin Waller’s Growing Greener summary and Dominic McGladdery’s campaign to allow mobile devices to be used in the classroom were personal highlights.

Once more I find myself with some free CPD inspiring me to go out and try more things I don’t have time to implement (time when I should be writing up what I’m already doing, and thanks for the prod Dominic!).

Right then… when’s the next one?