Every Monday The New York Times publishes an eye-catching photograph in their section What's Going on in the Picture. The picture comes with no caption, no headlines, no links or other clues about its origins. The idea is that students use the picture as a sprinboard for conversation: They will have to construct some kind of meaning from what they see and develop their critical thinking.
The basic questions students have to answer are:
What’s going on in this picture?
What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can we find?
Additional ideas would include students imagining what has led to this situation and what's going to happen afterwards.
The following day The New York Times will publish background information about the picture and students will be able to read some other students' ideas on the photograph.
All in all the What's Going on in the Picture looks like an invaluable tool to develop conversation inside and outside the classroom.