Lesson Plan

Gathering Creative Commons Licensed Images for Student Speeches

Students learn the qualities of effective visual aids for a type of speech called an Ignite Talk. Then students use Photos for Class in order to gather effective visuals aid that are Creative Commons licensed and feature proper attribution.
Tara W.
Media specialist/librarian
Golden Valley High School
Merced, United States
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My Grades 10
My Subjects English Language Arts

Students will be able to apply criteria for effective visual aids to a search of Creative Commons licensed photos in order to gather visual aids for a speech. 

English Language Arts
Grades 9 – 12
All Notes
Teacher Notes
Student Notes

1 Hook

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Find an appropriate Ignite Talk or other speech that features visual aids to serve as a mentor text for this lesson.  There are many to choose from.  Unfortunately, some may feature profanity so ensure that you do screen any mentor text that you use.  

Better yet, find two different models. One that features effective visual aids and one that does not feature effective visual aids.  Use TubeChop to get one minute or so of each to show to students.  

Ask students to compare/contrast the use of visuals by the two speakers.  Then ask them to evaluate which visuals were better.  Student should support claims with evidence from the speeches and reasoning.

2 Direct Instruction

For Direct Instruction, I use ideas in Erik Palmer’s book, Well-Spoken:  Teaching Speaking to All Students.  Ensure the you have clearly set criteria for what makes an effective visual aids.  Provide examples and non-examples for each criteria.  

In setting up my teaching, I create a Google Slides presentation that features examples and non-examples that I have curated from Photos for Class, an excellent website that allows students to search for school-appropriate, Creative Commons licensed images.  Each images comes with proper attribution.  

(Note:  Before I do this lesson, my students have already learned the following concepts:  copyright, fair use, Creative Commons.  I make sure that they know why it is important to follow copyright.  Photos for Class just does the attribution work for the student.  This can be an incredible time saver!)

3 Guided Practice

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After I have taught my student the various criteria for effective visual aids, I will ask them to practice selecting images that fit the criteria for a given speech topic/purpose.  

For example, I might start by providing students will three images that I pre-selected from Getty Images.  I use Getty Images if I am embedding in my website.  I will purposely select one image that clearly does not meet the criteria, and two other that might in varying degrees.  Students will then be asked to argue which image would be the most effective visual aid for a speech on a given topic.  They would have to support claims with evidence from the images and references to the criteria taught.  

After we have done that, I will ask students in partners/groups to go to Photos for Class and search for an image for a  given speech topic.  They can download the images then put it in a Google Doc under a paragraph of explanation why this image would work.

4 Independent Practice

In my Ignite Talk unit, students do not start gathering images until they have written and revised their speeches.  After I complete the direct instruction and guided practice, I set students free to use Photos for Class to gather images to accompany their words in their Ignite Talks.  

I provide students with a Google Slides template to use.  Because the Ignite Talk format, requires that students have images that advance every 15 seconds, I can customize the slides for the given time period that students must hit.  A three minute speech would require 12 slides.  

5 Wrap-Up

Activity: Presenting

Once the visual aids are gathered, students can practice their speeches with the visual aids in front of peers.  Peers provide feedback on the quality and effect of the images given the criteria taught.  

Later on, the visual aids will be assessed as part of the grade on the overall speech.