Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

Fun with Visual Charades and Narrated Slideshows Based on Fairy Tales

(Cross-posted to

In their recently published article, “Five-Picture Charades: A Flexible Model for Technology Training in Digital Media Tools and Teaching Strategies,” in the journal Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, Curby Alexander and Tom Hammond present a persuasive case for using “visual charades” as a learning activity with students involving media and creativity.

In this article the authors present Five-Picture Charades, an instructional activity designed to introduce preservice and in-service teachers to the technical and pedagogical uses of digital images in the classroom. Because digital images can be repurposed into several different types of digital media projects, Five-Picture Charades is described as a flexible model for educating teachers about creating and editing digital media. The authors also discuss pedagogical uses of this activity across the content areas, as well as describe ways to relate Five-Picture Charades to lesson planning and curriculum development projects.

From these photos of our rendition of “Little Red Riding Hood,” I’m sure you can’t guess how much fun we had making these! Are teachers supposed to have this much fun in professional development? (Maybe so when we’re given permission to “Play with Media!“)

Little Red Riding Hood in 5 Photos

Today in Fort Bend ISD, Texas (in the Houston area) I shared four breakout sessions with teachers on “Creating Narrated SlideShows and Screencasts.” At the conclusion of each one, I worked with volunteers in the sessions to create “5 Photo Charade Stories” based on fairy tales (and one on the Wizard of Oz) and added audio narration to them. We used the iPad app “Explain Everything” to make two of them, and VoiceThread to make the last two. Here are our creations, which I shared at the start of my closing keynote for the conference, “Mapping Media to the Curriculum.” Each of these were created in less than 10 minutes… so be generous with your evaluations of us! We did have fun, and this is DEFINITELY a replicable activity idea to consider with your own students.

Hat tip to Curby and Tom for sharing such a creative idea! (It’s crazy it took them THREE YEARS to get this article published in a refereed academic journal… but I’m delighted they persevered and finally did!)

The 3 Little Bears in 5 Photos

The 3 Little Pigs in 5 Photos

Red Riding Hood in 5 Photos

Wizard of Oz in 5 Photos

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3 responses to “Fun with Visual Charades and Narrated Slideshows Based on Fairy Tales”

  1. Rmerritt Avatar

    This was great! I can’t wait to show it to my teachers!

  2. Hudteacher4 Avatar

        What a great way to use digital storytelling with pictures! This seems like a fairly easy way to act out a short story or a fairy tale. The best part that I can see about this is its ease of use for teachers. Almost every teacher has access to either a camera or a camera on another device. I could see a project like this being a learning point for technology, but also would meet requirements on presenting, communicating, collaborating, etc.
         In our building I have seen first graders use digital storytelling, however they are not a huge part of the technology process. I can see using it in fourth grade to get both purposes out of making it. This also wouldn’t take a whole lot of time to produce. With such limited time in the classroom, teachers are looking for meaningful ways to integrate technology without taking up precious classroom time.