Make Picture Sets For Class Writing Projects

365squarez.jpgIf you have experienced your own blog fade, podcast fade, or journal fade, (the slow death to a regular writing piece), getting started in a new one can come with some trepidation.  Last fall, a friend introduced me to a new type of blog, the 365 pictures blogs.  After I started in January, I actually found it quite fun. Here’s my first attempt at a 365 Photo Essay. has a large community of photo users that are posting photos every day with the idea of taking at least one photo a day for 365 days. Some groups specialize in nature photography, some and random photo, and others mandate the selfie – self-taken photos of yourself.  There are youth photographer groups as well, such as this one for teens and this one for high school photographers. It can make for a nice visual break in the day when you check out the day’s new pics and the creative capturing of others.

How does that have anything to do with classroom blogging?  When I got started, I quickly realized that I wanted to put a short description to each photo. As I put more photos in, it slowly became a collection of stories for me to look back on and remember the events.  What a great concept for the classroom!

The 365 Photo blog, or maybe just 188 Class Days Photo blog,  could be a nice project for a classroom community.  Not only do you have a visual collection of pictures showing change through the year,  but the job of writing descriptions can be undertaken by students.  Much like the written blog, the descriptions can help the parents keep in touch with what is going on in the classroom.  Your 365 Photo Blog can be made private on Flickr so that you can include student faces, but can also be shared with families so they can be included.

Photo blogs can be a short unit blog. Have students take a picture each day during the American Revolution unit.  They will have to stretch their creative muscles to capture a big idea from the day in a single picture.  The description will be a review paragraph.   The Flickr slideshow tool makes a visual review of photos, and unit big ideas, a simple and quick task.

Uploading to your Flickr ‘blog’ is easy, whether it is straight from the website or if you use Flickr upload tools like Flickr Uploadr.  I found that the iPhoto 09 connection to Flickr is strong enough to reduce the need to actually go to Flickr since iPhoto 09 can edit, tag, and create descriptions that will be used by Flickr online.

As you think about opening up new avenues of creativity for your students this year, think about the quick daily photo for recording events or retelling a story over time. Happy clicking!

Last Year’s Film Festival

Using film in the class has been used since the media club knew how to roll the projector down the hall and thread film. Fortunately, through AFI and DEN institutes, teachers are learning how to actively use video as a teaching tool and as a student product tool. Using video with students can be the passive activities like just watching and discussing, hands on opportunities to embed into their digital products, or really hands on by creating their own video products.

In Austin, we will be in out 8th year of sharing student video products in our Austin Student Digital Film Festival. The purpose from the beginning was to share what teachers are doing in the classroom so that we can learn from and celebrate each other’s efforts. There have been some very high-quality films presented and a lot of, um, lesser-quality film as well. The great thing is that we are seeing that students are using video to tell their stories and actually use for class products as well.

We are looking forward to another great festival this year on May 30th. It is purposefully as late in the year as possible to allow for more films and to give the requested cushion around state testing. (Many administrators still see testing practice as a higher priority than applied student learning.) Below is the promo we created to showcase some of last year’s student work. Enjoy!

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at