What does this picture remind you of?
I created this series of picture prompts to encourage students to reflect and tell stories about their pasts. I had my adult ESL students in mind when I made them, but I think they could be used in creative writing classes for native English speakers, as well.
Here are the prompts… Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for ideas on how to use them in class:
- Choose one of the pictures to show to your students. Ask, “What do you see?” List any relevant vocabulary words on the board.
- Tell your students that you would like them to think about a past experience that the picture helps them remember. You might want to write an example from your own life to show students what you have in mind. For example, in the picture of the peppers at the farmer’s market, I might write:
This picture reminds me of eating with my family on Saturday mornings when I was a child. My father used to eat these big green jalapeno peppers. I remember him often saying, “I’ll give a dollar to anyone who can eat one of these peppers.” I remember nibbling at the tip cautiously, but I don’t think I could ever bring myself to take a bite.
- I would recommend giving ESL students a few possible sentence starters to get them started. For example:
– This reminds me of ______________.
– This makes me think of the time when _____________________.
– This picture doesn’t remind me of anything because _________________.
- Give students a specific amount of time to freewrite. (10 minutes is good.) Tell them that they shouldn’t stop even if they don’t have ideas. (If they don’t have ideas, they might write about why they have no memories about hot peppers, or about why they hate vegetables, about getting lost in a farmer’s market, or about other veggies they’ve tried.)
- This is a good journaling activity. You could use a different picture every day for a week. At the end of the week, you can ask each student to choose one entry that they liked the best. You can have them turn it into a story, edit it, and then share it with their classmates.
Do you have any other suggestions on how teachers could incorporate these prompts into their classes? I’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments in the box at the bottom of the page.