Hook Kids Individually with Pics!

Colorful pictures of animals, like this hungry fish, hook kids' attention when they show up unexpectedly on children's desks at the start of a school day.

Colorful pictures of animals, like this hungry fish, hook kids’ attention when they show up unexpectedly on children’s desks at the start of a school day.

Mid-Week Focus this week features pictures, pictures and more pictures…pictures as teaching tools,

different pictures for different students,

inexpensive or free pictures that you find anywhere,

…copies of new pictures from your own collection or other print media, like magazines or newspapers,

…pictures that you download online,

old pictures that enjoy new life when they are re-used (modeling good environmental stewardship) as teaching tools,

…pictures that you place on students’ desks before school starts to hook kids individually into attention-mode for the day.

Children treasure surprises as school-day starters.

They love eye-catching pictures, especially pictures of animals.

A brown bear lunges for a salmon in rough river waters.

A brown bear lunges for lunch in rough river waters.

In addition to hooking kids into attention-mode, animal pictures work like a charm as teaching tools to:

Connect Kids to Nature – Use pictures of animals in different habitats to help students learn about the natural world and learn to care more about being good stewards of natural resources.

Make a list of the pics that you place on students’ desks so that you can refer to them as part of a lesson. At science time, for example, lead grade-appropriate discussions about the animal pictures. A discussion might go like this:

Who has the picture of a brown bear lunging for a fish?

Please stand and hold up the pic for us all to see.

Class, what can happen to food sources, like fish, if waters become polluted?

And so on…

Hook Kids Into Critical ThinkingUse pictures to help children make predictions.

Hold up a picture of animal, like a hungry bear or eager fish about to munch on its prey, and ask children to predict what will happen next and why.

Ask what an animal will do when the prey escapes, and so on…

How else can you use pictures, pictures, and more pictures as teaching tools?

A delicate hummingbird sucks nectar from a desert flower.

A delicate hummingbird sucks nectar from a desert flower.

Hook Kids Into Creative Thinking Use pictures to spark artistic ideas.

For example, hold up a picture and ask the class to pretend that the still photo is a scene from a movie. Ask what the movie could be about.

Ask children to pretend that music is playing to the movie they imagine from the picture. What music can they “hear?”

Use Pictures as Writing Prompts – Post an eye-catching picture on the board and invite the class to write a story or poem based on the photo.

Take Your Class on World Travels – Collect pictures of animals, scenery, and landmarks from different parts of the world.

A mama bird struggles to feed her babies.

A mama bird struggles to feed her babies.

Hold up one picture at a time and challenge the class to guess where the photo was taken. A hummingbird sucking nectar from a flower, for example, is a common sight in the western US desert.

Discuss Difficult Subjects – You may have children in your class who come to school hungry – literally malnourished. Hunger may be a basis for a child’s learning difficulties.

Older elementary school children who are relatively privileged benefit from learning that some people in other places are less fortunate.

Photos of hungry animals, like baby birds nesting around a mama bird, can facilitate discussion with children about a difficult subject like world hunger.

Select Individualized Hooks for Kids with Pics – Choose pictures to give to kids that connect with individual interests. This effort quickly communicates care for the child’s welfare.

Photos excel as teaching tools because they catch children’s attention with interesting images and color. Photos also prompt inquiry. Given as gifts, photos become treasures.

Projected pictures on SmartBoards or other screens and surfaces are eye-catching for their size.

Smaller photos placed one-by-one on students’ desks are instant hooks because they “greet” each child individually. The photo “says,” “This picture is especially for you!”

Do you use photos as teaching tools, too? Please send comments to share your ideas. 

Look for Attentionology for K – 5 Teachers here on Monday.

Talk with you a gain soon,

Barbara ♥ The Lovable Poet





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Posted in Mid-Week Focus
Barbara Cleary has been serving as a resource to hundreds of educators for more than 25 years. An award-winning writer, producer, teacher, and trainer, Barbara’s focus is on offering easy, fun tools and tricks that support K-5 curricula and assist teachers with classroom management.
Quick tips for common classroom conundrums: K-5
Situation: Young students are getting noisy while you’re trying to teach.

Solution: Hold up "Listen Star," a toy magic wand that you’ve designated to be a cue for quiet. Tell the class, "When you see our friend, 'Listen Star' dance across the classroom sky, that’s your signal to HUSH for a moment."

Related Posts: Let "Listen Star" Work Magic for You