I wanted to create a pre-reading activity for Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises, so I put together a gallery of images relating to Paris, Spain, bullfighting, and drinking. Essentially, I would use this to activate prior knowledge and as a prediction guide. Students would be given a link to the gallery along with a worksheet with the name of each image and the following instructions:
- Look at the set of images. For each picture, write down one word that comes to mind when you see the image. Name a feeling, emotion, descriptive adjective or other association. Do not repeat your response from an earlier image. For the final image, write a three- to five-sentence prediction for the novel based on the following questions: Besides bullfighting, what do you think the novel will be about? What topics or themes will the novel treat? What do you think the characters will be like? Be prepared to share your responses in class discussion.
Then, after students have had time to respond, I would use random calling methods to elicit responses to each image as we looked at them again on a Promethean Board. We would also discuss and record student predictions for the novel and return to them either during or after reading to see how their predictions match up with the actual story. One thing I wish I could modify about the Flickr gallery setup would be to make it possible for students to comment on each image directly on the Gallery page without the comments appearing under the original photographer’s picture. I just think that if I were the photographer and saw 75 or so one-word student comments (3 classes’ worth) under my image, I might be a little confused and annoyed. Does anyone have a way around this in Flickr?
Overall, David Jakes’ article on “Using Flickr in the Classroom” gave me the best ideas of how to use this technology in my teaching. I love the idea of a virtual field trip or tour through the settings of a novel. This is certainly something I could see using as I introduce books to students. One drawback might be that the images were taken fairly recently; if I am teaching a novel set in the past, I would have to get creative regarding how I incorporate both current images and those that are contemporary from the time of the novel. Perhaps we could compare images found elsewhere of 1920s Paris, for example, with Flickr images from today, though I am not sure how/why I would do that to fulfill curricular goals. Maybe I could use an activity like this to help students see the thematic relevance of what we are reading.
As usual, I’d like to think about how to put students in the driver’s seat when it comes to using this technology. In the past, I’ve assigned students soundtrack projects as a culminating activity for a novel. With Flickr, I could assign a gallery project. Students would assemble a gallery of images that best represent the novel. Of course, the project would include a written component in which they explain and justify their choices in order to demonstrate understanding of the novel’s plot, themes, and characters. Flickr seems ideally created for this; in the Gallery function, I noticed that the creator of each gallery can include a written explanation of why each particular photo was chosen. Students could then view and comment on each others’ galleries.
I’ll end this post for now with a couple of questions:
- Do you know of a way to make it possible for students to comment on each image directly on a Gallery page without the comments appearing under the original photographer’s picture?
- How would you use Flickr in math or science classrooms? I’m studying to be a school librarian, and have a lot to learn about ways to incorporate these Web 2.0 technologies in non-English/Social Studies classes!