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Leading adult education through support for and the effective application of technology.

PicLits: Writing

Example Web Site and/or Technical Equipment Required


Website Example:

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Computer(s), Internet access, projector (for class presentation)

Activity Description

Write a short story or poem using an online image.


  1. Connect the writing activity to your course objectives (a grammar structure, verb tense, theme/topic).
  2. Prepare clear instructions about expectations (number of sentences, etc.) for the activity.
  3. Make sure the site is not blocked at your site.
  4. Practice using the site yourself before having students use it and create some simple examples of what you would like the finished projects to look like..


  1. Go to the PicLits Web site and create an account.
  2. Choose an image.
  3. Drag and drop words from the given word list onto the image or choose "Freestyle" to type in your own words.
  4. Select Save. The PicLit is saved online once an account is created, has its own URL, is saved in the site's online gallery, and can be shared via e-mail or on a blog, Facebook, or other social networking or Web site.

The site also allows for comments and ratings. When you create an account and save a PicLit, you can log in to your account and set up your profile with a description and uploaded photo, if desired. You can also view your saved PicLits by selecting "My PicLits." Choose a PicLit you have created to see sharing options, make a new PicLit with the same image, view others' PicLits with the same image, and edit or delete a saved PicLit.

Teacher Tips

  • Model the use of the site by conducting a whole-class activity, eliciting words or sentences for one picture.
  • The site's Learn It section has three useful parts for both students and educators:
    • Write It gives ideas for using the site including "basic fun with words," caption writing, writing compound sentences, and building sentences into paragraphs, with samples.
    • Rhyme It provides suggestions for how to write a rap and a poem, and introduces the poetic device of simile.
    • Master It contains advanced lesson plans for teachers to help students read and write poems and learn about poetic devices.
  • The lesson plans include How to Read a Poem; What is Poetry?; Traditional and Contemporary Poetry; Types of Poetry: Descriptive, Blank Verse, Formal Verse; Figurative Language: Metaphor/Simile, Personification, Metonymy, Allusion, Symbol, Apostrophe, Irony, Imagery; Right Words, Right Order: Poetry and Connotations

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Students can also:

  • write a one-sentence description or caption about an image
  • choose a favorite proverb and type it on an appropriate image
  • write a personal motto or creed and add it to a picture
  • make an online greeting card
  • write about a goal, dream, plan for the future
  • write a summary or interpretation or paraphrase of a class reading on a fitting image
  • practice parts of speech by being required to write about a chosen picture using a certain number of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs
  • practice syntax by putting words in correct order to form sentences or paragraphs
  • practice vocabulary by changing a gallery PicLit using synonyms
  • choose a favorite song, find its lyrics online, and choose a suitable images on which to add the song's lyrics
  • practice symbolism by writing poems, sentences, or paragraphs using abstract nouns that an image depicts
  • practice word families by changing the adjectives to nouns (or vice versa or adjectives to adverbs) in a given PicLit
  • make motivational classroom posters
  • make a list of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs for a given image and have classmates guess which image the list belongs to and then write a story or description from the list of words


  • Intermediate Low
  • Intermediate High
  • Advanced
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OTAN activities are funded by contract CN200091-A2 from the Adult Education Office, in the Career & College Transition Division, California Department of Education, with funds provided through Federal P.L., 105-220, Section 223. However, OTAN content does not necessarily reflect the position of that department or the U.S. Department of Education.