How do/could you use a resource such as #eltpics? (An #eltchat summary)

This is the summary of the #eltchat held on 30.05.2012 on the topic of #eltpics. If you don’t know then #eltchat takes place on twitter every Wednesday – see for more details.

How do/could you use a resource such as #eltpics? (An #eltchat summary)

There are lots you can do with images. The limit is your imagination. All levels, all ages and it’s so varied because of the different contexts we work/live.

It’s a great resource as its photos are by EFL teachers for EFL teachers.

What is #eltpics?
eltpics is a free photographic resource for teachers, created by teachers (crowdsourcing). All photographs are creative commons, so if you want to use them, all you need to do is credit the photographer. Read more here.

Where can I find the pics.
The sets are curated on flickr and also #eltpics  on twitter.

Using Specific Sets
The bridge Series – guess where it is, then extend to plan a trip to that place
The food set – Doing recipes.They predict/invent recipes based on what they see/imagine
The childhood set to practise ‘used to’
The ‘weird, wacky English‘ for higher level sts for error correction
The national symbols set to review nationalities & to teach sts about the world.
The daily routine set is great for talking about routines, likes/dislikes, adverbs, etc


  1. 5-photo stories – use random selections for extra inventiveness (see 5 flickr
  2. Often 1 pic could be enough to act as good prompts for writing stories, descriptions, poems, letters, diaries anything really!
  3. Use #eltpics of people to invent biographies
  4. Pictures can enhance any kind of writing – leaflets, stories, reports etc.

Speaking (These could be writing, as the writing could be speaking)

  1. Exam speaking practice
  2. Invent a story. Conversation followed by writing.
  3. Compare & contrast. Students work in pairs, give each a picture, they could be similar or not
  4. Weave a story around it, tell a tall tale, make a pitch, be a tour guide.
  5. Give sts same pic but don’t tell them it’s the same. They imagine who the person is – job, hobbies, etc then compare


  1. Use them for quizzes e.g. images as slideshow – students name as many items as they can in 5 mins.
  2. Creating their own electronic vocabulary notebook using the photos and wikis or blogs
  3. Use the pictures to highlight collocations.


  1. Practice descriptive language and modals of probability #eltchat e.g. ask Ss to continue drawing the picture i.e. what could be next to that building?
  2. Show a corner/tiny part of an image (maybe of a vocab item) – ask ss what it might be, then keep zooming out. Do the ideas change?

1. Find pics of things that are minimal pairs in pron. or that practise different phonemes e.g. pics of ‘bins’ and then pics of ‘beans’.

As the basis for News

  1. Using an eltpic image & cut-up headlines, students write news story using pic & creating headline.
  2. Imagining the picture as part of a news article – what’s the article about?

Miscellaneous Ideas

  1. Make a dice I made dice with #eltpics when you roll you must tell a story that connects the pics.
  2. Get the students to make connections. This could be done as a pecha kucha or as a powerpoint presentation.
  3. Find out the background to the picture from the photographer. Ask sts what they think then compare it with the real thing.
  4. Impressions – students say what impressions they form and then consider how different those impressions can be.
  5. Using collage / mosaic makers for sts to:
  6. a. create stories and discuss themes. Like the idea of #mosaics and montages, finding the detail with the pictures is nice idea
    b. with images but then present while explaining meaning #eltchat

  7. Using aerial shots to practise giving directions and imagining what’s in the image
  8. Writing up imaginary dialogues
  9. Sts can describe what is outside the picture and another student can try to draw it
  10. Sts look at a picture and imagine they can overhear conversations, these can be acted out, write descriptions and so on
  11. Adding speech bubbles to #eltpics of people, then writing dialogues, roleplays, reported speech, inventing back stories, etc
  12. Use the spotlight tool on an IWB for prediction
  13. Put the picture around the room and…
  14. a. sts choose 1 & write 5 words describing how they feel about it. others guess the picture
    b. sts write a funny caption and have a crazy caption competition.
    c. sts look and write questions under pics. In groups Ss create & present answers for one picture.

Getting the sts to take a pic?

  1. Sts take a picture from their mobile. Then send a tweet about the picture. Practice the present continuous tense. #eltchat
  2. Sts can contribute to the theme or have a theme for homework.
  3. Teacher can create  a photo blog for sts to respond and write about the images posted
  4. Sts take a pic of something that interested them, then use fotobabble to talk about it
  5. For homework, students take photos on their mobiles that best represent them/their city etc and bring to class to explain why

Online Tools that can be used with the pics

Some site that you can explore and use with the photos are: fotobabble, voice thread,vocaroo, bubblr, bookr

Some links:
The eltpics blog
@cerirhiannon’s session on using pic
A tutorial on taking pics
A lesson using a pic and another here
Another site for making collages
And a blog post of some collage maker ideas
Finally a blog on some apps you can use with the pics