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!

First Impressions of iLife 09 Facial Recognition

Well, I finally got my copy of iLife09 installed and thought I’d share my first impressions. After an easy install and restart, iPhoto came up pretty quickly.

The first slow down was the indexing of facial recognition. After waiting over an hour for the 10,400 photos to index, I got tired of waiting and went to bed.  In the morning, my first attempt to use the facial recognition froze up my computer. (Honestly, I was starting up Fireworks, running email client, and hit the ‘Names’ button in iPhoto.)  I restarted and things started working much better.

You have to select a picture, hit the name button, and the software looks for faces. I selected a few of my photos and a few of the wife.  iPhoto quickly recognized Amy, but for some reason, I kept coming up as ‘unknown face’.   *Insert ‘He has a forgettable face’ joke here.*

When it makes a suggestion, it gives you a question mark to confirm that it is who they think it is.


I eventually got lucky and it recognized me a couple of times. After selecting my kids, known to the internet as Mancub1 and Mancub2, it worked a little better.  Usually, they would be guessed fairly accurately.

Being that Mancub 1 and 2 are related and share facial features, there were a few times where it would pull Mancub2’s picture and suggest that it was Mancub1. Don’t tell him, but iPhoto thinks he was his younger sister in this photo.


Slowly it became more accurate.








 Not telling me anything that I didn’t already know, sometimes my kids are just not too recognizable.   This photo was pulled up after a good number of face matches with them.  I’m not sure how it would screw up the guessing power of iPhoto if said that the twisted mugs and funny faces were the same person. I left these as unknown.








I kept going and starting finding a few humorous selections.

In this photo, iPhoto didn’t pick up Mancub2 in the top right, but thought the blank space beside her was Mancub1.  There were more than a few times where a small picture within my photo was picked up as a known face.








I sometimes feel that God is watching over me, and I think iPhoto saw something that I didn’t.  A co-worker pointed out that there was a cross in the ceiling over the third unknown face.  Hmmm.







 And my personal favorite, much like finding the Virgin Mary in a loaf of bread, iPhoto will probably find some other great miracles in some of my photos.

 Well, I’m off to look at the new iMovie. I have great hopes that it will be the mix of iMovieHD6 and iMovie08 that I really want for my classrooms.