The safety net of the substitute teacher

Tobias Tjørnelund Rasmussen er lærervikar

Tobias Tjørnelund Rasmussen is a substitute teacher and sometimes find it hard to organise meaningful classes on very short notice. Therefore, he has always a set of Dialoogle cards in his bag.

Tobias Tjørnelund Rasmussen is a substitute teacher, and usually he is called in on a very short notice because a teacher has fallen ill. It can be a challenge to organise meaningful classes offhand. Therefore, Tobias has always a trump card – or more precisely: a set of Dialoogle cards in his bag. He finds that the cards work well at all grade levels from the first grade and up, in spite of the various preconditions:

“In the first grade, I divide the pupils into groups. Then I hold out a handful of cards face down and let each group draw four cards. Now they are assigned to use the pictures to write a story to tell to the rest of the class, who have to guess which picture cards have been used,” Tobias tells.

“Then it becomes a bit competitive because it is fun to make it a little difficult for the classmates to find the right picture cards.”

In the first grade, the pupils write the story in their own way and use drawings when their written language is not sufficient. Tobias walks around the room and talks with the groups about details of the pictures and what they can mean, so the pupils understand that they shouldn’t simply describe the images.

The motives challenge the imagination and the cards themselves are so delicate to have in your hands that you take good care of them. That is an advantage when you are dealing with children.

If some pupils find the task difficult, it can help to suggest that they start their story with “Once upon a time…”

“Not all picture cards function equally well for everyone. To make the task easier, I may exclude some of the picture cards I think would be too difficult for the lower grades. This could, for instance, be a picture of a compass in psychedelic colours. The pupils are also allowed to exchange cards if they can’t continue with their story. For instance, I have experienced that some boys found it cool to exchange a kissing couple for a fire-breathing dragon.”

Tobias uses the picture cards in every subject and at all grade and adjusts the challenges to the age and level of the pupils. For instance, in visual arts the combination of a picture of two people in shorts and a picture of an iceberg get the small pupils to think that the people in their own drawing should be dressed warmer.

“Just letting the pupils make drawings is too boring. With the picture cards, I am putting thoughts in progress which is important. And if someone is not immediately interested in the task and just makes a quick drawing, they simply get a couple of new cards.

“I think the picture cards are done well, because the motives challenge the imagination and the cards themselves are so delicate to have in your hands that you take good care of them. That is an advantage when you are dealing with children,” Tobias concludes.



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