Teaching Idea: Pictures and 21st Century Skills

Five Card Flickr Stories is a website that randomly selects five images from Flickr so that students can create a story. Here’s a great website that can help you give visual prompts to your students so they can produce language, either written or spoken.

I love trying to find resources that allow me to bring the 21st century skills into the classroom, and this website definitely does this. By prompting students with images, it gets them to think creatively, but furthermore it can give you enough content to promote communication, critical thinking and collaboration. In today’s classroom, we need to pick and choose just the right resources to promote these skills and get our students engaged.

Pictures are worth a thousnd words, but as English teachers we can use them to help our students learn just as many. Click To Tweet

Here are a few ideas of how I would use this website to promote the 4 C’s of the 21st century skills.


  • Think-Pair-Share brainstorming key words that describe the pictures.
  • Have students verbally give a brief description of the pictures. Time them to make it a bit more fun.


  • Once you have a good list of vocabulary words, have students get into pairs and write one sentence for each picture. Have students mingle to share their sentences and see other ways of describing the pictures. Then have students write four more sentences. These would be written to connect the five individual sentences describing their transition from one picture to the next. Once they are done, they have to include at least three more sentences giving additional information where necessary.
  • Use a shared document where each student has to describe what’s happening in their picture with at least 3 sentences. Once each student has done their sentences, have the group figure out how to connect the five descriptions and write the connecting sentences.
  • With a chain writing exercise, have students write two sentences to the story and then pass it along to their peer. You should signal when they have t begin writing about the next picture.


  • Have students share their stories by holding reading circles or story time.
  • Create a blog, a shared Google Doc, or use an LMS like EdModo and have students share their stories there.
  • Have students vote for their favorite, or comment on the stories.

Critical Thinking

  • Have each pair write two questions for their story to check comprehension. Other students will in turn respond to the questions on the chosen platform or in class.
  • Have students write the story but give the instruction to not include an ending. Once students have shared their stories, have eveyr student choose one story and write the ending.

I would love to hear your ideas about how to use pictures to promote the foru Cs of 21st century skills. Comment below with your ideas!

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