Website Wednesday: Visions of Europe

Photos from around the world

A Window to the World

Each Wednesday, we’ll highlight a website that has useful information, techniques, or resources for early language learning. This week’s website is Europe Pictures, a community of photos from Europe.

We often look to link new vocabulary to situations with which students are most familiar: describing family members or talking about a recent vacation or birthday party. Familiar situations certainly do give children an opportunity to make connections between their own experiences and new words, but often the cultural context of the vocabulary is lost in the shuffle. Finding culturally relevant information for kids can also be tough–not all sites are kid-friendly or contain easy-to-find cultural content.

Europe Pictures is a great site for two reasons: first, the photos are royalty-free and available for free download for any private or commercial use. Second, the photos are categorized by country and region, with thumbnail images on each page to help you easily locate relevant scenes. You can even upload photos of your own travels for others to view! Display the photos on a screen for a class, or download and print them for use on posters or flashcards.

3 Ideas for Using Photos in Language Learning

Here are some ideas for using images from Europe Pictures in lessons for kids. In all examples, children can use authentic images of these world cities to learn about other cultures and make comparisons to their own culture:

  • Using images of a city/region that show seasonal changes, have children identify the seasons and weather in each picture. Use color, weather, or month vocabulary to describe what they see in the images.
  • Print an image on a large piece of paper and cut it into several pieces. Using directional vocabulary or prepositions, have children put the pieces of the ‘puzzle’ together to reveal the destination. Decide what clothing they would need to pack to travel to this region.
  • Identify similar images from several countries/regions (i.e. images showing houses, seashores, landscapes) and have children discuss the similarities or differences between the images using descriptive and comparative vocabulary.

The photos included in Europe Pictures are often submitted by amateur photographers who do not use fancy digital techniques to enhance their images. As a result, the images are less flashy than those you might buy from a stock photo website, but it often represents a more ‘everyman’ quality of life in Europe with scenes of neighborhood picnics, or local hiking trails. After all, the Eiffel Tower is just one landmark in a country full of diverse people and scenery! Take a peek at Europe Pictures and see what it has to offer!