Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Pick a Pic

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


Cover Image

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 a picture is chosen, 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 write a caption that explains the picture and discuss their rationale for the picture choice.

Source:  Visual thinking. (n.d.). Center for teaching. Vanderbilt university. Retrieved from