Using Photos in Language Classes, Part 1


“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.” Dorothea Lange

Visuals are useful and powerful tools to enhance the use of language, combining the images and the concepts they refer in the minds of the learners. Photos, as all visual images, also encourage the learners to predict and guess the story of the photo they are looking at. It is easy to bring the real world into the classroom and talk and discuss about it.

Today’s children love taking photos. They love taking “selfies” but they also take photos of everyday objects, food, the place they live, the place they visit and they don’t need a camera for taking photos anymore. They don’t even need to go somewhere to develop them to bring into the classroom. There is even no need for a printer, a computer as long as they have a smart phone, Internet connection and Google Tools to share it with you and their class mates. Moreover, as they are addicted to use the phone and can’t live a minute apart from them, why shouldn’t we take advantage of this and challenge them?

I think we can ask them to take their own photos or we can bring the ones that we have taken or chosen from other people’s sets. I’d suggest #ELTpics for projects with photos if you don’t want to use your own photos or the student photos.

In the early years the photos can be used to

Teach, revise vocabulary

Drill the target language

Describe the photo

Role play


However in the advanced levels photos encourage students to write and tell stories, to discuss certain issues, and do a lot more things.

So I’m planning to write a few posts on using photos in the language classrooms. I will list some activities that can be used with any level.

Caption Writing Project


  • Tell students to take photos on their way home or at the weekend, etc.
  • You can guide them to take photos of food, supermarkets, street markets, people commuting in the morning, etc.
  • Start a Google Slide and share with your class.
  • Tell students to upload their photos to the slide.
  • Depending on the size of the class, divide students in teams and give each team a set of photos (depending on the number of photos uploaded)
  • Tell each team to write captions for the photos they have for their teams.
  • Choose the best photo, best caption, the most creative caption, etc. (optional)

Follow up:

  • You can print them out and create a class display.
  • You can download the Slide as pdf and upload the file to “youblisher” and create an ebook that can be shared or embedded to your class blog or school website. This very easy activity can be turned into a class project as well.
  • If you decide to continue the project all year long, you may then decide to print the sets and turn them into a printed “class catalogue”.

 To be continued …



Can Comenius Change A Thing? The Last Stop…




Two years ago, we started our project in Puciosa, a small town in Romania. I didn’t know what was expecting us. I didn’t know what I should expect. Yet I had a feeling that everything would be great …

We were in Lamia from April 14th to 19th. Our partner is a Music school so we all knew the meeting would have some music in it.

On Sunday, Our Greek friends took us from the bus stop. Kids went with their hosts and we headed to our hotel. Our Greek friends were warm and friendly and very generous. Moreover they were very kind.

Lamia is a little city and on a sunny Sunday morning I fell in love with it. Seeing the orange trees, smelling the flowers filled us with joy. Life was good.


On Monday we were in the school and it was an excellent opening ceremony for the project meeting. A concert was waiting for us. And it was a real concert… The students and the teachers performed with their various orchestras. It was a sheer bliss. Then we watched the wonderful presentation of the beautiful Lamia. A student on his bike toured the city going up and down the hills, the steps and wait … They said ”We assigned the students and they came up with this”.

During the week, we worked hard as usual but we also had chance to see magnificent places. Greece, the land of philosophers, writers, historians… Greece, the land of proud, humble people… Everybody in the Music School of Lamia worked hard to make the event unforgettable; the teachers, parents and the students. Words are not enough to explain my feelings. I’m glad that my eyes have seen… I know the smell of honeysuckles will remind me of the friendly people and the beautiful days we spent in Lamia.


From the tech age to the ancient days

The view from the school


The fifth mobility in our Comenius Project was to Calabria, a beautiful small town in the Southern Italy.

Our main task was to perform the plays our students wrote based on their short stories written from the same story beginning.

We watched the plays on Wednesday, 12th 2012. It was amazing to see how creative each school could go with the same story beginning we all had different plays, stressing the values we had chosen previously.

We also discussed the questionnaire results on how the project helped us and we were not surprised at all to have almost the same results.

Beautiful towns

Of course we worked hard but we also enjoyed the great hospitality and kindness of the Italian people, delicious food, fresh fruits from the trees, the beautiful view of the Tiranian see, walking in the narrow streets of the picturesque little towns like Ajeta, Tortora, Cosenza, Calabria which were great opportunities for all of us to breathe the mystic smell of the history. Walking on the same paths where our ancient ancestors had lived was exciting and seeing we haven’t come further than they already achieved was amazing. The civilization existed in the ancient times. We, human beings, haven’t changed a lot since then. Same problems, same passions, same dangers still exist. We just managed to build new cities based on what they had built, we designed new tools inspired by what they had created and now in this techie age, we have our computers, our lonely lives and even the games we play in our virtual worlds pay tribute to the ancient days.

Our host school organized the trips in a very careful way that from the second day of our mobility to the last minute we enjoyed every moment we spent together. Visiting Pompei and the beautiful Salerno decorated for Christmas were fascinating.

On the last day of the meeting the students, teamed with their international friends took part in a treasure hunt in the old town of Scale. They discovered both the town and the books and poems read during the project, enjoying working together.

It was hard to say goodbye but we all know that every ending is a new beginning and every beginning is a new adventure.

I am glad we had the chance to meet our Italian friends and I am sure the next mobility in Poland will be as amazing as this one.

A New School Year and New Beginnings

Dear friends,

I haven’t written for a long time but I was a bit busy. This post is a letter actually. When I look back , I think 2010-2011 was a very successful school year both for me and my students.

With students we did many interesting things apart from the curriculum.

  • The CelebrateUandMeDigitally wiki project was one of them. I’m sorry it looks a bit sleepy nowadays but with your help we can wake it up. Please do join us.
  • My grade 10 students prepared many presentations, small projects and ı shared most of them with you. They are all familiar with web 2.0 tools, internet safety, netiquette and so on. They even use web 2.0 for their other lessons.
  • maybe some of you will remember, I had assigned my students to write 20-page stories. They did it. They handed me their stories. some were very poor but they were all acceptable as they all wrote a 20 page story. Next time I’ll guide them better and I’d ask them to write shorter stories. I published 3 of them only. I thought about editing and correcting then I gave up the idea and left them as they were. This year I’ll be more careful about drafting and organising. I’m really proud of these kids and their products.


Our Stories, 10 FLD Writing Project









  • I strted etwinning projects but I must confess they didn’t work well. If I do it again, I’ll choose less partners.
  • I applied for a Comenius project for my school and it is accepted and on November 6th I’ll be in Romania for a week for the project’s 1st meeting. the project is called ‘The Magic of Reading’ and I’m hoping to share the details with you later.
  • Last year was also a great year for me as a teacher because for the first time I presented at an international ELT conference, TesolFrance. I met my PLN there face to face, joined a blog marathon, became 2nd and had the chance to attend IATEFL Brighton and came back home with very bright memories and how I wish I could attend all IATEFLs now.
  • 2011-2012 Academic Year looks also promising. I have loads of plans one of which is an other collaborative project with my PLN. I started the wiki and now I need your assistance to start the new project The Olympic Games, London 2012. Will you join me?

And before I go, my blog turned 2 on September 12 and that day was the same day I signed up for twitter and for two years I’ve changed a lot for the better. Now I really enjoy sharing, collaborating and helping.

Thank you:)