When it comes to COMMUNICATING WITH PARENTS, it’s amazing how useful a tool a digital camera can be! While it is relatively simple to use, a camera had a powerful ability to let us share what’s happening in the program (or classroom)— which helps increase parents' awareness of what children are experiencing and learning each day!
DURING THE EARLY DAYS AND WEEKS OF SCHOOL...
Take pictures of everyone in your class. Use the photos in a seating chart. You'll soon connect the faces with the names!
For young children...take a photograph of each student. Write the child's name below the picture and use this on a bulletin board/with names... or use it to label the student's seat, job chart, locker, coat hook, etc.
BEGINNING OF THE YEAR POWER POINT SLIDE SHOW... The first couple weeks of school, snap photos of students in all ACTIVITY AREAS—such as working and playing with other kids, team building activities, outside and gym play, etc. Include this with the slide show. Make sure you get ALL children in photographs! The presentation can be included with a question and answer session… Light refreshments- such as cookies and punch- are always a nice touch.
TAKE AND POST PICTURES OF EACH FAMILY!
At your 'Open House' this year, (or at the beginning of the year) take pictures of each child and his or her family outside your program/classroom door. …Some parents may drag their feet, but take pictures of all! Make two copies of each photo. Send one copy home with the children, and display the other on your “Friends and Families Board”. (If program is large--just do the one for the program--and send that home at the end of the year)
The children will love seeing the pictures of their families. This also helps at the beginning of the year as a distraction for those “adjustment moments’ and helps teachers and staff members remember which families belong to which children at the beginning of the year.
Adapted from idea of Julia Laverack, Family Resource Center, Kansas
USE PHOTOS TO SHOW WORK AND PLAY!
This is the practice of a Kindergarten teacher, Jeremy Brunnacioni, however it can easily be adapted to any classroom, daycare or school-age care program! The best way for parents to know that their child is happy is to see them engaged in meaningful activities and surrounded by friends!
Use photos during Curriculum Night. Not as an open house with students, but rather a beginning-of-the-year presentation on what you'll be doing during the year. Go around to the various work stations and centers and take pictures of the children at work and play.
Enlarge photos to fill 8½ x 11 sheets of paper and place them in their corresponding centers. Parents can then tour the room and see a picture in the computer area showing Suzie hard at work on Lexia, another in the book nook with Billy and Dana reading, and one in the meeting area showing students participating in morning meeting.
As a final culmination of the year, staple classroom pictures into a class book and have students generate the text to accompany the pictures. Students can create individual mini-books that can be sent home. (For an after school program this makes a great program activity book for children to look at in future years!)
Save any of the pictures taken-- whether they be for newsletter, Curriculum Night or portfolios. They can be used for an end of the year slide show, giving parents another opportunity to see what their children have accomplished, and how they’ve grown, over the course of the school year. Pass the pictures onto the 6th grade teacher for future graduation celebrations.
Similar to the above...TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS DURING THE YEAR and put together a slide show.
1. You can show this as part of a year-end-family event---and also as a "WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION to the new children you will have the next school year.
2. You could use it to show children and families some of the things you do--how they're done--and what to expect! If you haven't started, get your slides, videos, and activity scrapbooks going now!
Use a digital camera during the first week of school to take student's pictures.
Have kids design posters and glue their pictures on the posters.
Students discuss what is on their posters; display them for the month of September.
IDEA: Walk around the school taking pictures of important areas. Have students draw a map of the school... incorporating the pictures to show locations.
MAKE 'BACK TO SCHOOL MEMORY GAME AND PUZZLES'...
1. On one of the first days of school-- take each child's picture.
2. Make double prints and laminate each photograph.
3. Make a Memory Game out of the pictures of the kids. (The children would play the game of Memory just like the regular game)
After a few weeks, save one copy of photos for your program 'Memory Book' or if this is for a classroom--give to parents!
Cut the other set of photographs and make a personal puzzle for each child. Source: Ilene/California
Take pictures during open house. Display the pictures in the classroom.
The kids and families will enjoy looking at their photos--but its also a grod way to remember what each child's parents look like.
USING A CAMERA FOR SCHOOL YEAR ACTIVITIES...Some fun ideas that use photographs
• USE PHOTOGRAPHS IN YOUR NEWSLETTERS...Here's an idea from KidActivities 'Putting together great Newsletters Category'!
Including photographs of students adds a little depth to the newsletter. Children (and parents) will be excited to see their faces; children are also then more willing to share with their parents. If you do this, it is important to display a picture of each student in the program at least once, and be careful not to feature one student continuously each month. IMPORTANT: If using children's photographs, make sure you have a photo permission with the explanation on how it is to be used.
PHOTOGRAPHS DURING WORK AND PLAY...
• Take pictures during students' science experiments. If participating in a science fair, use the pictures as part of the display boards. You can also use pictures to give a visual representation of each part of the scientific process.
• Take pictures to document other growth, such as plants, butterflies, frogs, etc. Use these pictures to illustrate life cycles or stages of growth.
• Take photographs and use with pen pal letters.
• Make a memory book for the students for the year.
• Take lots of pictures on field trips. Then display the pictures by either printing them or displaying them on a computer screen or television. Have students write about these experiences.
• Make a monthly bulletin board highlighting special activities
• Take pictures of different places in the community to make a community ABC book. Use the pictures of the community to make postcards to be sent to relatives, pen pals,
• Take your camera to workshops to take pictures of things to use in your program/classroom.
LEARNING 'ABC'S' WITH PHOTOGRAPHS
Assign or have each child choose a letter.
Go for a walk around the school or in the neighborhood.
As children find something that begins with that letter--take a picture of the child with that object.
Use the pictures to create a class alphabet wall, chart, or book. (Susan Sedro, Mont'Kiara International School)
KINDNESS BRICK WALL
When a child receives RAK recognition, take their photograph and put it on a construction paper brick shape. (See full idea in Kindness Category)
Each week the kids will see the brick wall grow. A large area will be covered by the end of the school year!
HAND PRINT PHOTO BLOSSOM
This is a simple keepsake craft made from a child's photo, a child's hand print, and construction paper.
A piece of light-colored construction paper (white, pale blue, pale yellow, etc.) for the background
One piece of brightly-colored construction paper - for the flower petals
A photo of the child
Green tempera paint
A brush (or just use your finger)
Pen or pencil
1. Cut a circle around the head of a picture of a child (This will be the center of the flower.
2. Cut a flower shape out of colorful construction paper. Make sure that the flower is a bigger than the round picture of the child, but small enough so that it will fit on the paper.
3. Glue the paper flower towards the top of a piece of paper.
4. Using green tempera paint, draw a stem for your flower.
5. Have child make two green hand prints near the base of the stem--- these are the flower's leaves.
6. Glue the picture of the child to the center of the flower.
7. Write the child's name and the date, on the paper. Parents will love this keepsake of their child!
SCAVENGER HUNT WITH A DIGITAL CAMERA!
All that is needed is a Polaroid or digital camera with a photo veiwer, a list of things to take pictures of and participants. The list would be individual to the area/grounds that is available to you.
1. Divide players into groups making sure each group has one camera, the scavenger list, a watch to keep track of time and a set time limit.
2. Send groups out to find the desired objects, take a photo and then move on to the next object.
3. Meet back at the agreed upon spot at the agreed upon time and take a look at the photos. .
Sample List when playing on a school ground...
Tree, sign post, a weed, group of three kids, bench, group pic of all players making a funny face, an adult making a funny face, etc.
#2 This could also be adapted to play at home with teens, extended family or friends. Example: Lists could be made for 'OBJECTS' such as take a photo of a flag, tree, straw, stop sign, gravestone, sign post, park bench, flower bed, statue, etc.
#3 A photo scavenger hunt for teens or at home is to have am ACTION HUNT.
(Players in each group do something and have their picture taken while doing it.
Example--Take a photo of a team member...
•Climbing a tree
•With a store clerk
•Going down a slide
•Trying on an outfit that other members of the group picked out.
•Helping someone across the street
•Just finished doing 20 push-ups, etc.
Tip: A digital camera may be daunting to some folks. You might get your feet wet by visiting the Kodak website. This site has some interesting educational ideas, as well as tips on everything from how to care for your camera to how to digitally enhance your pictures.
PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY GAME
Take some interesting photos with MANY itemes in it!
1. Everyone looks at the same photograph for 30 seconds.
2. Remove the photo and write down as much as you can remember about it.
3. The person with the longest list of items that are in the photo wins!
Would love to hear your ideas! (Barb)