Tim Childers: Teaching With Just One Image

"Starbucks, anyone?"

“Starbucks, anyone?”

Anyone knows that after a powerhouse speaker like Dr. Lodge McCammon, you need to follow up with an equally potent powerhouse, and that’s exactly what Discovery Education did. Meet Tim Childers, L&N STEM Academy, Assistant Principal of Tennessee’s only Apple School of Distinction,  (and yes he helped make it one),  blogged for TN DEN Leadership Council, and a coordinator of the very popular #DENChat on Twitter. Tim is one of my all time favorite DEN Stars and he is definitely my personal trainer, my go-to DEN Guru (one of the original first five) whenever I need personal assistance. Every day that I’m on Facebook, I learn from him. How else would I know about about.me. Let’s face it, the DEN is a great PLN and wherever we land on social media, we are teaching and learning. Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 3.48.28 PMAnd that, to answer a tweet posed at the very beginning of #DENSI2014, is why we love him. On the Board of Directors for PET (Professional Educators of Tennessee), Tim can be followed on Twitter , Facebook, and Starbucks. Do subscribe to his blog, Tinkerings. No clue why the couch because he’s way too busy to lounge on it. Must be wish fulfillment via just one image.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.24.40 AMTScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.25.30 AMhere is a huge amount of information out there and more than the mind can handle. Tim’s mission is to rid a classroom of bullet points. But he thinks you can teach a lesson of some duration of your choice where you simply look at one image for students to focus on. If you want to guide your focus for your students, they will still hear the teacher because they are focusing on just one image. Click here for the image.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.30.59 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.33.00 AMFirst group talk questions was what did you see? Next was what did you infer? Each time Tim’s interactive audience reported out. A language arts lesson in process. Then Tim showed his all-time favorite image. A “Magic Pen” in a SmartBoard will let Tim use the tool to focus the students on a small section of an image, especially a large image. A variety of questions are asked and students become interactive and collaborative as they continue in a guided discussion.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.34.05 AM

Tim's favorite image

Tim’s favorite image

Tim says the most important thing in a lesson is guided attention to focus students into the area you want them to discuss. VoiceThread is a great vehicle for focusing students’ attention on just one image. Tim noted that his Civil War image was posed because of shutter time. So ask your students why this pose? why this way? and just let your imagination continue as you ask and answer, teach and learn. These questions spark wonderful and varied types of writing. Just one image doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to be interesting. I should note here that as a friend of Tim, I know that he is an amazing photographer whose photos tell stories and speak to us. Those are the kinds of images you want to bring to your classroom.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.47.04 AMScreen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.51.59 AMTim uses images from Discovery Streaming that are editable. He chose Kent State from the sixties, thinks of Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, “Ohio.” Connections we make to images. Tim likes ThingLink used with images. Google Draw lets you have similar flexibility, and then lets you send your image into Google Docs. In iMovie you can insert your image and do the Ken Burns effect. Tim says this is easier to do on a PC, although he regrets to inform you… Each image can be controlled and then voiced over. You can guide a student’s attention better than by speaking directly; guiding them in through one image can tell the whole story in any video enhancer/product.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 11.59.09 AMYou can do the same things with an iPad or mobile phone. Students can record their audio onto a single image. Tim’s challenge: DiscoveryStreaming has great images listed by state standards and they can be pulled into a just one image lesson guided either by your or your students as a discussion starter. What a great lesson for a field trips to challenge your students to learn differently on a field trip.

This one image, Tim’s daughter on a 500′ mountain. There’s a great back story Tim shared about her daughter’s freezing just before the top. Someone who knew there was a way down made Sarah comfortable so she continued to the top. Tim says this one image, his only one but the story behind it is powerful. You can read it here. So, how can your students capture just one image that tells that powerful story? That’s your challenge.

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.04.10 PMTHE  BEGINNING, NOT THE END. GO DO IT.

You can view Tim’s presentation below:







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