SOS: Picture It!


Our S.O.S series provides help, tips, and tricks for integrating DE media into your curriculum.

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Picture It!

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SOS Big IdeaEffective learners know how to organize and classify information they’re learning into meaningful chunks. Robert Marzano identified classification as one of nine high-yield strategies that have a significant effect on student achievement. The Picture It strategy uses images as the basis for classification, providing a visual stimulus and scaffold for students as they analyze and discuss the content being studied.

SOS Steps
Materials:  digital or printed images from Discovery Education, writing tools, and paper
  1.  Teacher prep:  Arrange students in collaborative groups of no more than four students. Gather and prepare images to be used. (Consider using PowerPoint or Keynote to resize images to the size of playing cards.) Print copies of images for each collaborative group.
  2. Distribute images to collaborative groups. Ask students to cut images apart.
  3. Ask students to look carefully at each image, analyzing the details in each. Consider prompting students with visual thinking question such as: What is going on in this picture?, How do you know?  and What more do you see?  OR Who is in this picture? , What is happening in the picture?, When and where was the picture taken? and Why was this picture taken?
  4. Ask students to discuss what they see in the pictures and then determine a way to sort and classify the images into different groups or categories. Ask them to be ready to defend their reasoning for those categories.
  5. Debrief the classifications by having groups present their categories and reasoning to the whole group.

SOS Sum It Up

After students organize their images, ask them to conduct research to find out more about their topic. Facts and information students gather can be written on the back of each image and then reorganized as appropriate. Have students wrap up by writing about what they’ve learned using the facts, information, and images as a guide


  • SOS More IdeasGo digital!  Have students upload images to Padlet, a Web 2.0 tool that creates a digital bulletin board.  Posts to the bulletin board become digital sticky notes that can be moved around and rearranged as appropriate.  Facts and information can be added to the caption area for each image.
  • For another spin on the project, have students take their own, or find their own, photographs rather than using those provided by the teacher.

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One Comment;

  1. Lisa Bolster said:

    We have found the Picture It Strategy is good for Kindergarten. Showing the image on the Smart Board would grab their attention. Then we could discuss with the whole class. Then take it one step further and print the images so that the students could sort them.

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