Cool pictures to use

Presentations are for images NOT words (some of the first few were experiments for the design of this blog also, some of the pictures are animated GIFs, you will see them animate AFTER you click them.) Some of these images can be used as a writing prompt or as a part of a lesson. LARGER IMAGES to use with your class or presentation can be found after the click.

Image 58: December 11th, 2014

Want to talk about close reading in a presentation? Feel free to use these images taken by former FVHS student Tue Duong

close reading two

CLose 2b

Image 57: December 10, 2014 (yeah, yeah)


Sometimes you just need an arresting image. I’m sure you can figure out a use for this.

Image 56: January 26th 2014


So I had this student: Julia. Julia was in my sophomore Honors English class. She earned an A, of course, she was smart, kind, wonderful- one of those most delightful kind of students that everyone loves. She had friend, of course- who loved her deeply. Even when she was no longer my student, the following year, she would check in on me. I remember one day she peeked her head in my room and asked: click here to read the rest of the story about Julia.

Image 55: January 25th 2014


I can’t get this image out of my mind/soul. It haunts me. I have no clue who the sharer of this photo is. I’ve asked for the story behind the photo and yet it remains a mystery. The person sharing this photo wasn’t a part of my PLN or a college professor, or a learning guru and yet she shared. My life is better from this sharing. We heard as kindergarten kids that “sharing is caring.” So what’s keeping you from sharing?

Image 54: January 16th 2014

Holland House Books2

Amazing photo from the Holland House Library after a blitz in London. While you can definitely use this picture to talk about a love of books I’d like to point out another interesting thought this picture brings to mind. Notice that there are only three people in this photo.

I teach English. I love books. I view people who don’t love books with a mix of suspicion, pity, confusion, and hopefully not scorn. It’s hard teaching a required subject that is based, in part, on personal/subjective “taste.” In English class we teach an art form, not just a “subject.” That all people will enjoy this method of sharing stories/ideas is perhaps small-minded. While I bemoan the state of Libraries and Librarians in America, I wonder if my love of the art form is prejudicing my evaluation of the situation. What other thoughts come to YOUR mind when you see this photo?

Image 53: December 21st 2013


Photo by Allison Rost

Something wonderful happened in this space. People traveled from all over the world to come together and hear the pope celebrate Mass. After the mass all that was left was this jumble of chairs. There is so much talk lately about learning spaces, about how we need to transform our learning spaces in order to have the learning experiences our kids need. That’s a cool concept, but the reality is that not every teacher has 1:1 devices, not every teacher has kids with the internet and not every room has couches and bean bags. What can YOU do as a teacher to have amazing experiences no matter what the chairs look like in your room?

Image 52: December 10th 2013

Nicole Dalescio

This image is by the amazing Nicole Dalesio. You can find her on Instagram at magrelacanela. I love looking at her mobile photography and was lucky enough to take a class from her recently. This picture makes me think of what happens when you simplify and strip the unessential away. This was originally an iPhone photo, but through the magic of various apps, Nicole has focused our attention on what is most important to her. I also love how you can see her thinking and values in her photography. When we give students the room to create art and images we can quickly see their thinking and see their values.

Image 51: October 30th 2013


Taking objects, student work, collections and organizing them- adding detailed information allows other people to create new ideas. Try it.

Image 50: October 29th 2013

When I ask people to share online they often ask me: “What should I share?” Well… here’s something I found that at first glance doesn’t seem like it has much to do with teaching ELA or English LIt.


These are examples of images created by Javier Perez

When I’m deciding on whether or not to share something I think does it fit one of these values/concepts

  • Fix this (is there something missing in life or school that should be fixed- in this image I want people to fix creativity)

  • Encourage this (Let’s encourage Re/Mixing and Thinking Outside the Box)

  • Making me think- (If something is making you think, but you are not sure what- it will make others think- allow others to make the connection you couldn’t)

  • Re/Mix or Re/Purpose (I could use this idea in writing instruction- grab a sentence from a novel or poem and write around it.)

Image 49 October 25th 2013


I’ll just leave this up to you to figure out how to use it in your class or a presentation: gum wall in SLO

Image 48: October 24th 2013


How do you promote your class, how do you promote your learning? Movies, books, albums, all get promoted before they are shared. How do you get students excited about an upcoming unit BEFORE the 1st day?

Same questions for professional development with your staff: what are you doing besides releasing an agenda or marking a calendar to get people excited about the learning opportunity? Lastly, if you can’t find anything to use to promote your learning then you haven’t REALLY done the proper prep work. Just saying.

Image 47: October 22nd 2013

This is one block from my house. This guy sells Tamales, Hot Chocolate and a warm corn drink out of the trunk of his car. They are some of the best Tamales I’ve ever had.

Tamale Guy

Now is he supposed to sell Tamales out of the trunk of his car? No. Usually his trunk is closed. After seeing you a few times he may smile and say hi- say hi back and he may ask you if you’re hungry. Too often in life we are worried about what we are “supposed” to do or too scared about what MAY happen. What will happen if we let a student speak about something they want to change at the school board meeting, too scared to let students run our Professional Development because that’s not what’s supposed to happen. Let’s start thinking about looking for new avenues of awesome and quit worrying about finding learning in all the usual places. PS- I love good food.

Image 46: August 30th 2013

My great friend Annalise Attreed put this drawing in my class one day when I was having a bad day. What do you do to show others they matter, you care, it will get better?

robot friend2

Thanks Annalise

Image 45: August 1st 2013

You can see it in their eyes. Whether it’s students, administration, or co-workers- you just presented a wild or new idea and you can see that they need convincing. You might as well address the bogeyman and drag him out of the closet before you continue. Just ask

what are you afraid of

What are you afraid of? 

Image 44: July 18th: 

So there’s a famous saying: “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Well my dad used to reply. “That’s true, but you can make him thirsty.”

So often we express frustration with our students or even or staff that they won’t learn something that we think is exciting or crucial to their future. I would ask… have you done enough to make THEM thirsty? Bars often put salty nuts or salty snacks on the bar top to encourage drinking. What can you do BEFORE you start sharing an idea that will make their mouths salty and encourage them to “lap-up” the nourishing water you are providing them?

salt-lickthat kid is going to be ready to DRINK!

Image 43: June 9th

The following picture is from my brother, Paul’s, art show in Los Angeles. The concept I want you to consider is scale. Whether it’s architecture, art, film, etc…. one of the impressive aspects of those arts is the ability to create something large, not just deep, not just time consuming, like a novel, but large in size. How can we as subject area teachers facilitate our students creating work that has an impressive scale? Something to consider when unit and lesson planning.

brother's art show

Image 42:May 11th 

Look at this image


Now look at these two images that show how the above image was made (click on each for a larger version) Students often think that interesting art just happens- that if they just gaze at the right object at the right time they will take a great picture, if they just find the right subject they will write an interesting story- it takes work, and tinkering, and exploring, and a bit of magic.

Image 41: May 10th (wow April was busy)

I think you could do a lot with this. It makes me think as a teacher and as a human being.


Image 40 April 10th 2013:

An amazing Artist, Matt Kish, illustrated every single page of the novel Moby Dick during a three year process. His pictures move me and serve as inspiration to my students- not just for what they say about the novel, but to serve as an example of how students can imagine and re-imagine a work of art into their own artistic narrative. I show my students about twenty of his images in preparation for an activity on exploring narrative through art. This picture makes my students gasp.

moby dick illustrated

Image 39 March 31st 2013:

This poster rings a mighty bell on my classroom wall. It’s been there for well over twelve years. This poster reminds me that when you stand against something, the change you make might not be noticeable at first, but if you take a big enough stand it WILL be noticed. You could have your students write about a time they or someone they know stood up against something or someone, or you can just have them write or discuss “what do you think happened before this picture?”


Image 38 March 27th:

According to this article, hugging can reduce stress, fear, anxiety, reduce blood pressure, and boost memory, but only if it’s from someone you know and trust. If the hug is from a stranger or from someone you don’t trust or like the effect is opposite. This speaks double ill of those hugs you see in high school where a boy just grabs a random girl and hugs her. This NYTimes Op-Ed talks about how kids who were hugged often by their parents were more likely to graduate from high school and can be an effective anti-poverty intervention for at-risk pre-K students. This LA Times Op-Ed piece talks about the struggle between professional distance (being a doctor) and the power of hugging. I just want to say- Hugs- I like em.


Well now I can’t really go around hugging HS students in need, but I CAN give them a handshake before or during class when I see that we need some instant rapport and trust. According to this study, a handshake before an interaction (like teaching a lesson) will make the recipient more likely to trust and listen to the hand-shaker and LESS likely to avoid whatever they are trying to tell you. So greeting students at the door with a handshake, when possible, is never a bad idea. I like to give out the old “hand-hug” whenever I see a student tense or down in the dumps… or give them a bit of chocolate or food- a stressed student is a difficult student to reach. You can read more about student engagement here.

Image 37 March 21st:

One of the best things about creating the Re:Framed student blog project is finding amazing songs, videos and images that my students put in their blogs. I loved this GIF. If it doesn’t animate then click on the image.


You can see more of the images my students use in their Re:Framed Blogs by checking out our Pinterest site

Image 36 March 12th:

I think Holden Caufield (Catcher in the Rye) and his sister Phoebe would have a great day here. His hat would completely fit in. Where else might a character in need find a place of solace, comfort and/or fun? BTW this photo Tumblr FOUND by National Geographic is amazing if you are looking for photos to use with your class.

NGS Picture ID:1086840

Image 35 March 11th:

There’s something about a brook or a spring that captures our attention. It’s like a small comfortable fire in that we enjoy seeing nature in movement. Subtle changes are fascinating- the interaction of various elements (how a child delights in putting a leaf or twig in a quickly moving stream of water) we also delight in repetition and the music of water and fire. How can we incorporate these elements in our writing and art? (click to see a larger animated version- the full photo won’t show here.)


Image 34: February 26th:

Words pale before an event like the one below. How can metaphor come close to describing elements of what we see- when they beggar description.


Like a champion steer wrangler, the tornado whipped around the helpless town

Image 33: February 12th-

1. What happens when what we want an audience to see is not what they are interested in. 2. What is the difference between the obvious and the mysterious and why are we drawn to what is difficult to see? 3. Why would children do this and it’s accepted, but not in the adult world? What happens to us?


Image 32: February 9th-

I’m currently re-reading Moby Dick. I haven’t read it since high school and I can’t believe how rad the narrator is. I found this image on Gavin Craig’s site where he gives the Moms Read Comics blog credit. I LOVE Deadpool:


Image 31 February 5th:

I created this image after reading Austin Kleon’s Steal Like an Artist– You can use this image to talk to your co-workers or students about the proper way to use someone else’s ideas to get things done.

Steal Like a Teacher Theriault Concept

Image 30 January 29th:

What does it mean in a story when a confrontation is unavoidable? How do you feel?


Image 29 January 25th:

I just found out that Masahisa Fukase passed away last summer. I first saw his work in a San Diego museum probably over 20 years ago. He work on Ravens was haunting and stuck with me for weeks. In this article in the UK Guardian the writer argues that Fukase’s photo-book Ravens is perhaps the finest photo-book of the last 25 years. Here is just one of his pictures.


Image 28 January 24th:

Such a cool image. If you are an art teacher or ELA teacher, I highly recommend buying her books, specifically this one:

Barry Book

Images 26/27 January 20th:

Have your students look at these images. Ask them to go home a take a picture of their room or their desk or the wall they look at while they do work… Then have them write about their working space. Here are two examples of working spaces:


Alejandro Giujarro’s website is here: he did a series of these amazing photos of physicist’s blackboards.


This is Austin Kleon’s office while he was working on a book.  You should buy all his books- they rule.

Image 26 January 18th:

Do a quick write and then pair-share-then class share or just a discussion on how this might be true in the future: why? what happened? This is from the AdBusters: Kick-it-over campaign.

Professors of the Future Bigger

Image 25 January 16th:

I found the winner of the world’s cutest photo on the Library of Congress website. If you drop this in the middle or end of a presentation you are sure to get a response.


Image 24 January 15th:

Write a story about what is happening or what happened in this picture.


Image 23 January 14th:

I have this image as a large poster in my classroom. I end up pointing to it more often than anything else when I want a student to get something DONE.

Malcolm X by any means necessary

Image 22 January 9th

This is a picture of Los Angeles King Center Anze Kopitar bringing the Stanley Cup back to Slovenia. In this photo he has brought the cup to a grave site of his ancestors. How can we bring our fulfilled dream back to our families and our ancestors. What will that look like?

Stanley Cup in Slovenia: Gravesite

Image 21 January 8th (via The Los Angeles Times Photo Website)

You can do two things with this image: First you can use it in any unit about poverty or perhaps even The Grapes of Wrath, secondly you can ask students which country they think this is a photo of (click for a larger version):


The answer is “on a Native American reservation in Arizona.”

Image 20 January 2nd:

This is an image of Charlie Brown and Snoopy from the Peanuts comics, but they are pictured as Finn and Jake from the current cartoon Adventure Time. What is the difference between stealing an idea and using an older idea to influence a newer idea? If you aren’t familiar with Adventure Time just click here.

Image 19 December 28th


This is one of the most effective and most famous info-graphics of all time. If you are teaching info-graphics or just teaching about Napoleon you need to use this image. Click for a larger image.

Image 18 December 22nd

This picture gives me an idea. What if the last question on every test said “Extra credit to the students who comes up with the best fake answer to one of the test questions.

Image 17 December 18th

Austin Kleon’s Newspaper Blackout is pretty famous. My friend and I use his concepts in our class and love his book “Steal Like an Artist” You can find out more about him by clicking here. 


Image 16 December 14th (my birthday)

I used this animated GIF at the end of my son’s presentation on the Assyrian War Machine. It has the “whoa what I have just seen/learned vibes, and if any students are Adventure Time fans it will rock their world. Click on the image to see it animate.


Image 15 December 13th: Rain and storms are finally here in southern California. If you want the inside of your class to look like the outside, or you want to create a mood, or you are getting ready to read the creation chapter of Frankenstein. Here is a cool animated GIF to use on your digital projector.


Image 14: December 7th: How does fog limit our perception and yet focus our attention? How can a sentence limit our perception and yet focus our attention? What does it mean when we see two people going somewhere mysterious? Are they a team or potential enemies? (If you click on this, you will see that it is an animated GIF)


Image 13: December 1st: Why does the pressure of a deadline or getting in trouble allow us to create when we were unable to or unwilling to before? What does that pressure do to our creative output?


Image 12: November 24th: So many things you can talk about with this image. The use of contrast, color, diagonal space. Also this is cool for propaganda use: 1984 etc…


Image 11: November 20th: This is a picture from North Korea. This is a great image to use when reading 1984. Also see if any of the students notice that there are no lights on anywhere but on the poster. What can students infer from this?


Image 10: November 19th: Why is whimsy important or valued? How can your writing or presentations be whimsical? When does it work and not work?


Image 9: November 9th: How interaction or a lack of interaction between characters can contribute to mood (very cool animated GIF- I use this as my opening image for my LMS (Canvas))


Image 8: November 6th- The power of personification

Image 7: November 1st: What happens to our story when we take a character or creature and place them in an unusual setting?

10 chris gall

Image 6: October 30th-How do we create negative space or white space in our writing? How do we approach the familiar in an unfamiliar way?


Image 5: October 24th- What does it mean to awake? (animated GIF you have to wait for it)


Image 4: October 24th 2012- A questions to ask a class… how is this true?


Image 3: October 23rd 2012- Great image for talking about POV and gaze (animated GIF)


Image 2: October 23rd 2012

Image 1: Oct 23rd 2012 (animated GIF)


Just leaving this here:

Punk DIY Tools


  1. Thank you… sometimes I’ll have a big picture up on the screen when students walk in and then eventually get to how it relates to what I’m talking about for the day. I like how it builds suspense and gets kids talking about your class before the bell rings. It’s like putting up a new poster (I would put up new posters, but I ran out of space)

  2. A colleague and I have shared your blog – and this page in particular – with our respective staffs. It has gotten more positive responses than virtually any other resource we’ve put out there for consideration. The images and prompts are provocative and highly applicable to any learning setting – for kids, for adults! Your blog is deeply layered with lots of terrific material – thank you.

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