Wishing you had a fun, fast and creative writing activity for your students? Then Phrase.it just might be it! This “cool tool” is a free online image editor which allows users to add cartoon style speech and/or thought bubbles to images.
Seriously, just upload an image to the site, import one from Facebook or use a random stock image and then have it by dragging one or more of the five caption styles to your photo! Users also have the option to “Add more drama”. Yeah, I couldn’t wait to see what existed in this menu; however, this feature sounds more intriguing than it really is! So, no—there’s no Jerry Springer stuff going on; however, Phrase.it does allow users to add one of four photo filters to the image.
OK, that’s it! It’s really that simple yet with some planning and creativity, teachers could create a powerful exercise in which students are not only improving writing skills, but they’re utilizing a tech tool to develop a finished product—one that can be downloaded and then used in both print and digital projects (wikis, blogs and web sites).
Check out my very first Phrase.it embedded below!
(Click on the image to view a larger version.)
Writing captions provides excellent practice for doing what journalists have dubbed “writing tight”—which is a strategy to tell a story in as few words as possible. Obviously, this type of writing doesn’t take very long, but it does help students develop useful skills for their writer’s toolbox.
Regardless of age, caption writing is a big hit with my students. They really enjoy creating amusing and interesting comments to add to their images—and they’re even proud of them too! Try some of these integration ideas in your classroom with the Phrase.it web tool:
- Find a photo or painting depicting an event, idea or group of people related to your content.
- Have students complete the bubbles with actual words or thoughts the characters in the image would say or think.
- Pair share with a partner ensuring that students explain their writing.
- Facilitate a large group discussion regarding what students wrote and why.
- Discuss the differences between what the characters in the picture might say as compared to what they might think.
- Write a short story or of the event portrayed in the image. Be sure to include past, present and future tense.