Looking to increase students’ vocabularies? Or make learning about parts of speech more engaging? PicLits is a web site that lives up to its slogan: ‘Inspired Picture Writing’.
You choose a photograph from the site’s gallery. Based on the picture selected, the site supplies a word bank of nouns, adjectives, adverbs, verbs and a category called universal that incorporates pronouns as well as punctuation . Then you simply drag-n-drop the words onto the picture to make lists, phrases, sentences, etc. (The site’s creator says he was inspired by the refrigerator magnetic poetry that was popular a few years ago.) There also is the option to freestyle instead of using the word bank. You simply type in what you want. Have a little writer’s block? To the right of the freestyle section, a few ideas or keywords are provided to get you going.
I discovered this site from reading Ann Carnevale’s blog post. She had a great suggestion of taking screen shots of the completed pictures, so that the images with the words could be inserted into other work and projects. This suggestion is a good one especially if you would like to use the site without creating an account. The benefits of having an account are that you can save your work, make future edits and get code for embedding. You have to decide if those features are necessary for you and your students.
When I first visited PicLits, I immediately thought it would be great for ELL students or any student who needs vocabulary work. Furthermore, the word bank and suggestions are scaffolds that many students need. I especially like how the site uses interactive pop-ups to suggest adding capital letters or different forms of the word.
The pictures are perfect backdrops for poetry writing. See my example below.
Overall, PicLits looks good for instilling good, old fashioned, creativity!