Photos Communicate Too

This past summer I attended CUE Rockstar Manhattan Beach, a summer ed tech camp for teachers. It's three days of long, workshop-like sessions; long lunches; and wonderful informal conversations in the evening. I had already presented at the Monterey and Saugatuck, Michigan camps, and I was excited to just get some learning of my own.

One of the sessions I went to was on digital photography with Karl LS and Reuben Hoffman. I have an iPhone, but I don't Instagram and often scoff at it because I don't need more things to waste my time. But they got me thinking a lot about how we can use photos to get students interested in their learning. They encouraged us to use photos to share writing prompts with students. Since I am teaching math for the first time this year, I tried to spend most of my time dabbling in that curriculum. The photo on the right is one of my experimentations from that day (it is made using Typic). I loved walking around and looking for ways the world connected to the things that I teach. It made me really wonder how I can get my students in that mindset as well.

Now that I'm back at school, I'm realizing more and more that students live in a world where they're constantly taking photos. Most of them are selfies, but I wonder what would happen if they stopped focusing so much on themselves and instead looked at the world around them, wondering what they could learn from it.

Our class theme! 

To start our year, I asked my seventh and eighth grade students to consider what their personal manifesto or personal theme would be for the year. I loop with my students for three years and so although I already know these students, I really wondered about what they'd say. I encouraged them to use Typic or Canva to share their thoughts in a visually appealing way. We talked about how our school has a theme, our classroom has a theme, but we too need to know the legacy we want to leave behind.

I'm greatly enjoying the themes/manifestos they're creating and the way they're choosing to share them. After a round of peer editing, I'm looking forward to hanging these in our classroom as a reminder to keep us accountable to be the people we want to be.

Many thanks to Karl, Reuben, and the rest of the CUE Rockstar Manhattan Beach faculty for encouraging me to think outside of my box and to create! It's an honor to learn from all of you!