On-Demand Webinar: Using Photos to Practice Critical Thinking and Literacy Skills

Imagine a free educational activity that:

  • Is fun for students of all ages and used by teachers of all disciplines

  • Can be used as a bell ringer, homework assignment, or lesson plan object

  • Help students observe closely, present arguments, and use evidence to support their claims.

Welcome to “What is happening in this image?” – our popular weekly article now in its eighth year.

Here’s how it works: Every Monday, we post an intriguing photograph that has been stripped of its caption and other identifying information. Then, students from around the world participate in a lively, live discussion, telling us what they notice and what conclusions they can draw from those observations. The conversation continued throughout the week, often drawing over a thousand comments, until we posted a “reveal” on Thursday afternoon.

In the 45 minute webinar above, we discuss various ways to use “What’s going on in this image?” In subjects ranging from science to social studies, English to the arts, and together we participate in our own live “WGOITP?” activity. We are joined by Christa Forster and David Franke, two teachers who use the feature, as well as Addie Gayoso, a moderator from our partner organization, Visual Thinking Strategies, who leads the lively Monday discussions.

Resource List: In this PDF, you can find links to all of the resources we are discussing in this webinar.

Original webinar: You can watch the original unedited webinar here and download a professional development certificate at the end. The webinar is free, but registration is required.

Adrienne (Addie) L. Gayoso, Principal educator at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC

Ms. Gayoso develops programs for schools, teachers and multigenerational audiences as well as interpretive material for online and on-site visitors. She has also worked in education at the Indiana University Art Museum; Newfields (Indianapolis); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Kreeger Museum; and Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is fully qualified in Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) and is a moderator for “What’s Going On in This Picture?” “

Christa Forster, English teacher, Houston

Ms. Forster is a writer and teacher. She and her family live in Houston, Texas, where she teaches high school English and writing and meditation at Kinkaid School, an independent Kindergarten to Grade 12 day school.

David Franke, Grade 4 and 5 teacher, Los Angeles

Mr. Franke is a seasoned public school teacher in Los Angeles, California. He currently teaches a gifted grade 4 and 5 class at Eagle Rock Elementary, one of 25 public schools to have received the National Green Ribbon Award for sustainability.

Dwight E. Schulz