Picture Exercise


To get people talking and help us get to know each other. This exercise often brings out interesting stories about what people like and what is important to them. It helps us get past the masks, and see the core self in each other.


I collect old calendars and bring in a stack of pictures for the students to choose. I find scenic nature pictures, both local and more-exotic ones, work well. Pictures of people are great because they often evoke stories of family and friends. Animal pictures work well because they evoke stories of qualities of character and relationships that are insightful. I avoid pictures of cars and sports because they often result in a one line response like "I like cars." which is not too interesting.


  1. I ask volunteers to take the pictures and spread them on the floor or tables so people can see them.
  2. I then ask the class to walk around, look at the pictures and choose one that they like or that speaks to them in some way. I tell them they can choose two if they are having trouble deciding.
  3. When everyone has selected pictures, we ask for a volunteer to start and we go around the room. Everyone states their name, shows their picture and explains why they chose it.
  4. When we are done, I let the students keep one picture, and return the rest to their envelope.
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