For those of you who are new to Pobble (where have you been?!?), we'll answer that all-important question...
Pobble is an innovative online platform created by teachers, for teachers like you. It allows you to engage even your most reluctant writers by providing a free captivating and exciting image, accompanied by ready-made writing activities, every day of the year. The writing activities include a story starter, intriguing questions, sentence starters, punctuation and sentence challenges and a word bank.
This enables teachers to:
The short answer is, use it however best suits your young writers! But if you need some ideas, we've got you covered. Teachers tell us that Pobble 365 is a powerful and versatile classroom resource. With an incredible image and accompanying writing prompts, available for free every day, Pobble inspires your class to write and lightens the load for you! The prompts are engaging, thought-provoking, and suitable for individual or group writing activities. The possibilities for using Pobble in the classroom are endless, and we've gathered the most creative ideas and everyday examples from our teaching community to bring you the ultimate list of ways to use Pobble to inspire writing in your classroom. Bookmark this list and if you're ever short of an idea for a writing task, you'll have lesson inspiration at your fingertips!
So many new ideas for you to try...
✏️ Quick and easy morning starters that improve SPaG - English Leader, Chelsea from Newton International School, uses Pobble 365 for a quick and easy writing warm-up that improves spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Each Pobble 365 activity has different writing challenges to choose from: ideal for a quick ten-minute morning activity. It can be used to build on writing skills or as preparation for a longer writing task. Hear how Chelsea does it.
✏️ Pobble station - Print out a selection of Pobble images and place them in a bag, box, or basket in your classroom along with paper and writing equipment. Encourage your class to visit the Pobble station to select an image they like and write down their thoughts for others to see. Whether it's a question about the image, a word they like, or a full exciting sentence, it gets their creative juices flowing! Thanks to Richmond Academy for sharing their example:
✏️ Free Writing Friday - We're huge fans of Cressida Cowell's Free Writing Friday initiative. It gives your class the opportunity to fire up their imaginations and write freely without the teacher being allowed to correct or change anything! They can write about whatever they want, but often a starting point is a sticking point, so head over to Pobble and let them pick an image to kick things off. There are 365 to choose from! Read more about Free Writing Friday here.
✏️ Persuasive Challenge - Teachers can use the questions that accompany Pobble images to encourage their students to practice persuasive writing skills. They can craft an argument or take a stance on a particular issue. For example, your class could design a persuasive leaflet advertising the sale of Hermit Mansion in an estate agent’s magazine. Can they persuade someone to live here?
✏️ Pobble 365 flashcards - Print a selection of the images to create flashcards to hand out to the pupils as a super quick oral starter task. What can they say about the pictures? What can they see? How does the image make them feel? We see many teachers using these images to generate exciting vocabulary which can then be used later in their writing.
✏️ Sentence Challenge - Kathy Meneely, Year 5/6 Teacher at Beerburrum State School, set her class a timed sentence challenge to improve one of the Pobble sentences.
"I ran this as a class activity as I have a few children who are reluctant to write but have great ideas. I wrote it on the board, adding in ideas as they came up with them."
Take a look at how they improved this sentence about The Forbidden Woods:
✏️ Descriptive Writing - Teachers can use the imagery on Pobble to help their students practice descriptive writing skills by describing one of the pictures or scenes. Ask students to spend a minute or two looking at the image in detail, then ask them to use all their senses to describe what they see in detail to make their writing more interesting and engaging to read. Settings like The Magic Library or Island of Secrets are perfect to spark their imaginations for this.
✏️ Team Work - Select one of the 365 images and use it as a way to inspire collaborative writing in your class. Assign small groups of students to work together as a team to create either a story, poem, play, or your choice of written work based on the image.
✏️ Time to talk - Take some time to look at an image as a class and talk about your thoughts. These discussions allow your class to generate lots of ideas to then use in other writing. Thanks to Richmond Academy for sharing their idea. EYFS teacher Charlotte Smythe says:
"'Time to Talk’ is integral to our whole school ethos, and we believe it to be the true foundation of learning. So, not only is talk celebrated within the classroom but also throughout the school, which can be seen through corridor displays and even through regular ‘talk homework’."
You can read more about how Richmond Academy uses Pobble to extend children's vocabulary throughout school here.
✏️ Short burst writing to build writing stamina - Regular writing in short sprints (15 - minutes maximum to begin with) in response to a picture can help you improve how long your students write for. Starting with small chunks and building up gradually can not only encourage creativity but also support your class to eventually write for longer. Any of the images on Pobble provide a great starting point for a short burst activity! Read how Sam Keys, Deputy Headteacher, delivers a short burst lesson with instant impact.
✏️ Wacky Writing Wednesday! Select a wacky image from Pobble and let your class loose with their pencils each Wednesday. A fun and simple mid-week activity! Ms. Oliver, Inclusive Education Assistant Principal in Sydney, says:
"I work with my kids individually to work on developing their creativity and imagination as well as reading, writing, spelling, and handwriting to create a story on the picture. As an extra challenge, they need to include the vocabulary word. I love how flexible this activity is. Low floor, high ceiling tasks for the win!"
✏️ Ready, set, write! Teachers can use Pobble writing prompts to warm up their students' writing muscles with quick, timed writing exercises. Show the children a captivating image such as Monster in my pocket, then set a timer and encourage your class to just write, not focusing on spelling, punctuation, and grammar, just focusing on getting the ideas out quickly before the timer stops!
✏️ Pobble books - Many teachers have a dedicated Pobble time writing book, that their children enjoy writing in! Each Pobble image is stuck in or a picture drawn and written about and then kept as a book of all their amazing waiting ideas and vocabulary to dip back into for future pieces of writing. Thanks to Charlotte Smythe at Richmond Academy for sharing her example:
✏️ Combining pictures - Use a sequence of Pobble 365 pictures to write a story. This will really get the creative juices flowing! You could choose different images for characters, settings, openers, and endings. Can your class combine them to create their own story?
✏️ Sensory writing - Show your class one of the images from Pobble 365 and ask your students to imagine themselves in the scene. Encourage them to write about what they see, hear, smell, and feel. Motivate them to include sensory details to bring the image to life with some of these sensory writing ideas.
✏️ Carousel challenges - Each Pobble 365 daily prompt comes with questions, sentence challenges, punctuation challenges, and sentence starters. Print them out and place each one on a separate table. Set a time limit and have small groups visit each of the tables in turn to complete the challenges. This can increase student engagement as they collaborate with their groups and share ideas!
✏️ "I think, I see, I wonder" - Share an image and take a few minutes to ask your class these questions based on the chosen image: What do they think about the image? What do they see in the image? What do they wonder about the image? These thought-provoking questions will prompt creative thinking as well as expand their vocabulary.
✏️ Journal Writing - Prompt your students to reflect on their personal experiences, thoughts, and feelings about a chosen Pobble 365 image in a daily journal entry. Journaling is a lovely activity for children who are reluctant to write. The beauty of it is that it can be tailored to fit the needs and interests of the child writing it. Ask them to choose any one of the images they like from the Pobble calendar and let the writing flow!
✏️ Class debates - The questions that accompany each Pobble 365 image make great discussion points for your class. They are ideal for speaking and listening activities and developing inference skills. You could hold a more serious debate about whether animals should be kept in captivity or not, or something more lighthearted like whether aliens from another planet would be welcomed on Earth. As an extension, try getting children to come up with their own questions about a picture to debate.
✏️ Drama sessions - Engage your class in drama sessions where they can act out the characters and scenes depicted in the Pobble images. A drama session not only gets your class up and moving but is also a great way of practising speaking, performing, and creative thinking skills. Can your class pretend to be the characters in the image? Maybe they could be a new character entering one of the settings!
✏️ Cross-curricular writing - Use the image as a way to inspire writing that connects to other subjects, such as science, history, or social studies. For example, if the image is of a historic site, ask students to write a narrative, fact sheet, or report about the site's history. The Tomb, for example, would be great for some cross-curricular writing about Egypt!
✏️ Whole school writing competitions - Competitions can be a fun way to get students excited about writing and can also help them build their confidence as writers. At Monkseaton Middle School, they hold a half-termly Pobble writing competition where everyone is invited to join in! Thanks to Sandra Marshal for sharing her idea!
"The whole school writing competition is half-termly, and I choose the image. Pupils have around 5 to 6 weeks to submit their entry, and a prize of a writing journal is given out to the winner from each year group. As a middle school, our pupils are from Year 5 through to Year 8. As the literacy lead, I read all entries and share them with colleagues before the winners are chosen."
✏️ Senses into super sentences - With your Pobble 365 image on the board, set up five stations around the room, one for each of the senses. Ask your class in small groups to spend one minute at each station and write down what they think they would hear, smell, taste, touch or see if transported into the image. Bring all the ideas to the middle, then use the ideas to create an awesome sentence! As an extension, give them success criteria — e.g. "must include a subordinating conjunction" or "must contain a simile."
✏️ Research writing - Encourage students to research and write about a specific topic prompted by a Pobble image. This activity develops their research skills and expands their knowledge base. For example, set them a challenge to research space after a quick writing warm-up with this image and ready-made prompts.
✏️ Writing interventions - The images and short writing activities on Pobble are ideal for providing targeted support for individual pupils, class groups, and families to bridge literacy learning gaps or for working with students with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. Its structure, simplicity, and age-appropriate images make it an effective resource for introducing, supporting, and enhancing writing skills. The images alone can be a powerful tool to prompt expressive communication or combined with one of the activities to develop writing skills. Kendra V. Bittner, Ed.D. from Intermediate Unit in Pennsylvania tells us:
"I share this resource with teachers who teach students with severe disabilities as a tool they can use to introduce, support, and enhance writing. The responses I receive from all educators are overwhelmingly positive, giddiness at its structure, simplicity, and excitement with its age respectful intriguing images."
✏️ Photo of the week - Select a Pobble image as your class "Photo of the Week" and display it prominently in your classroom. You could link the photo to your chosen book and position it in different areas of the classroom based on the focus of the photo. Great for cementing key vocabulary and learning points. Thanks to Charlotte Smythe at Richmond Academy for this idea!
✏️ Supply emergencies - Pobble is a brilliant option for a high-quality, ready-made lesson for unexpected situations like supply cover or when support staff are required to step in. You can share a link to a lesson in seconds! The pre-prepared resources save time and eliminate the need for last-minute planning... phew!
✏️ Picture poetry - Use Pobble images as inspiration for writing poetry! Encourage students to choose an image or select one for them to use collectively. Ask them to take some time to look carefully and discuss the image, then write a poem about what's happening in the image or how it makes them feel. A great image to use as a springboard for exploring other poetic topics is Rainbow Kingdom.
✏️ Conversation station - Promote meaningful talk and discussion within the classroom using a designated conversation station. Set up a table in your room with one of the Pobble images printed out, alongside some intriguing questions about the image (there are already some provided with each image). Students can engage with the Pobble image and share their thoughts and ideas with their peers. Thanks to Charlotte Smythe at Richmond Academy for sharing this idea! We love it!
✏️ A whole week's worth of writing improvements! Extend the use of a single Pobble image throughout the week. You could send the chosen image and questions home on a Friday, discuss the answers the following week, and incorporate one of the activities such as the sentence challenge, punctuation challenge, and story starter every day. There are enough activities to fill a week and focus on a different objective each day!
✏️ Quality questioning - Encourage critical thinking in your classroom by supporting the children to ask effective questions. Share an intriguing image such as this Grumpy Troll and facilitate effective questioning techniques during discussions and writing activities related to it. Why is he so grumpy? What might have happened to him? Where does he live? You get the idea! We've even got a free question grid for you to print and share.
✏️ Whole school writing days! Organise a whole school writing day using Pobble to create a shared exciting writing experience. It's an awesome way to bring the school together to develop a collective love of writing AND monitor progress! Learn more about how to run a successful whole school writing day here. Thanks to Suzi Bolton at Plumberow Primary Academy for sharing her whole school display:
✏️ Pobble time! Designate a specific day or time each week for a Pobble party and ensure that your writing session is always something your class looks forward to. Perhaps you could play some music to introduce the exciting writing lesson or even create a class Pobble time song (we'd love to hear it if you do)! Use your selected image - this one has a great party vibe - and the included starter or let students write freely in any genre they prefer. You could then choose your Top Pobbler each week, as a reward, they could choose the image for the following week!
With any one of these creative and practical ideas, Pobble can be a powerful tool for inspiring writing in your classroom. Its range of features and resources will engage students and help them develop their writing skills.
At Pobble, we love to support the teaching community and foster a culture of sharing effective teaching ideas. So make sure to explore the Pobble platform and connect with other educators to exchange more creative ways to inspire writing in the classroom. Do let us know if you have a brilliant idea for using Pobble that we can add to this list! Happy Pobbling!