Spotlight on Strategies

They Said What?


This strategy takes the students out of the mindset that history is about facts and dead people and focus on the stories that are involved. By taking pictures or paintings from historical time periods and having the students add dialogue or thought bubbles, you can quickly and easily assess any prior knowledge and their understanding of the material you are going to teach. While I really like this strategy is that is a creative way to introduce a topic and have everyone participate, as there is no correct answer. The strategy also plays up to the strengths of nontraditional students, as the more outside the box the thinking, the funnier the dialogues will be. I have often found that those students, who are considered the best, often perform the worst at this type of assignment. Regardless, participation in this activity is high and students think about the material in ways that are not as traditional as standard social studies activities.


Using an image that you select students need to create dialogue between the characters shown that is appropriate to the area of study. This can either be done as an intro to the topic or an assessment on the material that you covered throughout the unit. Below you can see an image I created with President Ford and President Nixon. After studying about the Watergate scandal I would provide this image to my students and have them fill in the bubbles, with appropriate information. The dialogue can be completed using a variety of mediums from sticky notes to running photocopies with bubbles inserted in the image. However, I prefer to paste the image into a word document and then just have the students create the dialogue bubbles themselves using the tools in word. By using this strategy, with images chosen from the unit, students will be able to show an understanding and critical thinking that otherwise would be hard to assess. They will also be looking at information more as a historian and less as a student, as they try to determine the meaning behind what they see and are not just being told.

Big image


As a further challenge to this assignment you can have the students find their own images that are relevant to the unit of study. Below is a link the library of congress that has thousands of free images that can be used for a variety of history topics. Another extension could be having the students create their own image, using a program like stripcreator that removes the roadblocks out of the creation of the image and allows students to focus entirely on their content.


These two links can be used to further challenge your students using this strategy.


Here are three other images that I found that can be used as starters for your class. The bear image is one that is just for fun and to get everyone to participate, the other could fit a variety of different historical scenarios.

Credits / Citations

The Urban Politico: An Examination of "Scandal" and the 25th Amendment. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from

Caption This! (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from this images

Miscellaneous Items in High Demand. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from

Miscellaneous Items in High Demand. (1943, January 1). Retrieved March 24, 2015, from