Images that Inspire Storytelling & Writing

Using visuals to create and support stories is a skill we should encourage and nurture in our students . It should be obvious by now that I consider storytelling an integral part of a teacher’s toolbox. You can read about the Need for Storytelling and Why Storytelling Can/Should Be Anywhere/Everywhere and will understand why storytelling can fulfill many roles in the learning process.


  • helps us pass on knowledge
  • connects the overwhelming flow of information,  so our brains can digest and remember it better
  • uses a format that students of today are familiar and comfortable with

Now add visuals to the mix…

According to Wikipedia, Visual literacy is

the ability to interpret, negotiate, and make meaning from information presented in the form of an image. Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be “read” and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.

It is hard sometimes to make/find images available to your students (especially for the younger ones) that they can use in their digital storytelling projects or for creative writing. I am always hesitant to let them loose on Google or Flickr to find their own images, because of copyright issues, but also inappropriate content.

I wanted to share a Flickr set of the Travel Bear from Argentina, China, Egypt, Costa Rica, Peru and Italy. There are all in one place and licensed under Creative Commons to share and use with your students.

In the past, students have made up stories with images from the bear for younger students by using PhotoStory

Students could choose different images from the set to create whole new stories made up by them. Sixth graders created short movies for their first grade buddies.
Andrea Hernandez from edtechworkshop encouraged her first graders to choose an image from the Travel Bear’s Italy Blog, download the image into Pixie (or you could use KidPix or TuxPaint ) and the six year olds wrote a postcard style letter to Jose, the bear.

Here is a slideshow of images available from the travel bear around the world. I would love to hear what kind of creative writing projects you have come up with by encouraging your students to use creative commons images from the web? Please share…