Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Pick a Pic

Susan McHale, Karin Lange | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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Pick a Pic

Students choose a photo that is representative of a lesson concept and share it with the class. Teachers or other learning participants may also use the strategy as a team-building exercise, sharing a photo that represents themselves.

Pick a Pic


This strategy includes variations as a student activity as well as for teacher audiences or adult learners. As a learning activity: Students choose an online picture that represents a concept, vocabulary word, or passage from a story. They write a caption underneath their chosen picture as an explanation of their choice. Pictures are uploaded to a shared space so that students can view or comment on others' work as a gallery exhibit. As a team-building activity for students or teachers: each participant chooses a picture from their phone that has special or personal meaning to them. They discuss their picture choice with the group on a shared space and share why it has meaning for them.


  1. Introduce a topic, vocabulary term, or selected text to students, either individually or to student groups.

  2. Ask students to search the internet for an appropriate picture that represents the concept. After they choose a picture, students write a caption that describes the concept.

  3. Students upload the picture to a shared space—Padlet, Google Docs, Google Photo Albums, Pic Collage, etc.—where all students can view the pictures in a gallery format.

  4. Students explain the picture and discuss their rationale for the picture choice.

Ebner, M., and Bruff, D. (2010) Visual thinking. Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.