If you are looking for a site that will pique your students’ imaginations and spark some creativity (especially for writing), you should consider Once Upon a Picture.
Those of you who subscribe to my newsletter know that I usually include a “Tik Tok Teacher Hack” in each issue. I know that there are various opinions about Tik Tok out there, but I honestly find a lot of wonderful resources for teaching on Tik Tok, and this is one of them. @jessicam.reid is a Tik Tokker who often talks about AI creation sites for teachers, but she thought this resource was so great that she did a short video about it.
The images on Once Upon a Picture are curated by a teacher in the UK named Sam as a passion project. They are digital photos, animations, and illustrations that are magical, surrealistic, and undeniably thought-provoking. According to Sam, each artist has given permission for the images to be shared.
Because Sam is a teacher, there are also questions that are listed on the page for each individual picture — questions that can be used to prod your students to dig deeper and imagine the stories behind each image. Here is one example.
There is also a challenge book that you can download for free as well as a Reading Comprehension handbook and some samples of student writing (all under “More” in the main menu.) In addition, Sam has created different collections of images such as “The Thinking Collection” meant to provoke philosophical discussions and “The Inference Collection” of images selected from Sam’s own work in the primary classroom.
If you want to try your hand at creating your own unusual images, Canva has a Text-to-Image AI tool that is kind of fun to try. I’ve had varying results. The image I am including below was downloaded from Adobe’s Beta Firefly program, (which is part of my paid subscription to Adobe). Note that Adobe is trying to be responsible by watermarking its AI created images.
I would have definitely used Once Upon a Picture in my GT classroom or any class in which I taught writing or wanted to encourage deep discussions. I hope you’ll find it useful, too!