Gather Images "Old School"

strategy tips Jun 30, 2021

A number of years ago, I called my teaching partner and excitedly told her I was down at Pike Place Market in Seattle, and I found a treasure trove of postcards with historical images of Native people. I was buying them all up and we had a ready-made set of images for our upcoming Native American unit. I was so excited!

It happened to be December 31st.

Her reply was not as enthusiastic. “I thought you were calling to invite me out for New Year’s Eve, but you’re calling to talk about Picture File Cards?”

 Ok, I’m kind of a GLAD geek, I have been for years, and am proud of it! I will also disclose that this conversation happened in the early years of my teaching career in the days before Google images and the one-button print and done! But there are many of us out there who still go “old-school” at times to find images for picture file cards, either as a preference or because of printing limitations.

Where can you find free images for Picture File Cards when you don’t have an unlimited supply of colored ink?

Summer is the perfect time to gather images as you are out and about doing, hopefully, fun and restful activities. Keep your unit topics in the back of your brain and nab those free images wherever you can. Here are some ideas:

  • Brochures

During your outings keep an eye out for free brochures in hotel lobbies, on ferries, in travel terminals such as ports, airports, bus/train terminals, rental car lobbies, the AAA office. Wherever you travel there will be brochures for attractions. And even if the picture of the family picnicking in the Catskills won’t work for you, there might be a great picture of a bald eagle for your endangered animals unit that will fit perfectly on your world map graphic organizer.

  • Garage Sales/ Estate Sales

Often you can find boxes of magazines, like the much-coveted National Geographic, at estate sales. One of the more interesting donations my school received one year was 15 shelf-feet of National Geographic magazines dating back for years. Every teacher in the school found pictures that worked for at least one of their units.

  • Library Discards

At the end of every school year your librarian discards a cart full of books. As reading material, the books may be old or no longer relevant, but they may have good images. Just cut them out secretly because this tip really makes librarians twitch! You may even find coffee table books with large images at those estate sales you’ll be frequenting.

  • Calendars

Toward the end of the summer/ early fall everything will be on sale at the calendar kiosk that you can find in some malls. Not only can wall calendars be found with bunnies and kittens, some topics I have found include bridges (engineering), space, black history month, geography, geology, Civil War, presidents, extreme weather, and the list goes on.

Here’s a time saving tip for cutting out all those pictures. Let your students do it! Perhaps a beginning of the year team-building activity could be an image prep. Each team gets a pile of magazines on their desks. You list the unit topics on the board. The students go through the magazines, brochures, etc. to cut out images. But before they can cut, the team members all need to agree that the image fits the category. At the end of the activity, you’ll have piles and piles of images. You go through to pick the ones you like the best, laminate, and voila’! Your Picture File Card collection is well on its way.

Once I have the images collected, what do I do with all these Picture File Cards? 

We’re GLAD you asked! That and many other ideas are discussed in the full Project GLAD® Foundations training.

If you have not taken the full Project GLAD® training yet we’ve got you covered!

There are 3 sessions for the Research & Theory Workshop portion of the training coming up this year. With only mere days left to register for the summer session.


Looking for a GLAD® training this summer?

Online Research and Theory Workshops:

August 9th-12th (9:00-noon)  Registration deadline July 9th!

October 5, 7,11,13,15 (12:30-3:00) Registration deadline September 5th

January 25, 27, 31, Feb 2, 4 (12:30-3:00) Registration deadline December 17th

Get your staff started on their Project GLAD® journey today!


If you’re already GLAD® trained, keep your momentum going with online on-demand coaching with the Path to Proficiency.

Don’t miss out on another year! 

The Path to Proficiency is a year-long, self-paced coaching program that covers over 20 Project GLAD® strategies in-depth with video lessons, templates, and more. It is the most comprehensive online coaching program to support teachers with GLAD® implementation.

There’s still time to take advantage of Early Bird pricing if you register your staff before July 31st!


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