So in a moment of slight madness, I decided to sign up to do a 365 Photo Project this year. The goal is to take a photo every day for 2010. I like the idea of building a chronicle of the year. It is part of why I like having a blog. I am often so caught up in the daily chores of being an educator, reacting to the moment, creating new curriculum, engaging my students effectively…the list goes on and on as most teachers know. I tend to forget to take time to recall what I have done and reflect on it. I want to change some of that this year. Taking photographs, not as works of art but as memory jogs, will hopefully build a data base to reflect on. It seems like a fun challenge and has already led to some new ideas for the classroom and for my thinking about education.
The first 365 group on Flickr that I joined is very open, and the topics can be whatever you choose to photograph that day.http://www.flickr.com/groups/1345301@N22/ I love the freedom that this group gives to photograph everything from people you know to food that you eat. It is simply a memory-space of the year.
The other group that I signed up with has more of an education focus. It was started by Paula White, and each month of the year has a theme. The theme for January is Learning. http://www.flickr.com/groups/eduimages/ While this will often mean that I need to take two pictures, I liked the concept of having a theme running through my mind as I go through the day. It also has already made me think about what “learning” looks likes in some interesting ways. Last night, my great-nephew was intrigued by the old box of Lego that I pulled out of the basement – no instructions, just lots and lots of pieces. He quickly attacked it and began to create vehicles of every shape and size. Clearly learning about “old” Lego and discovering new ways to put them all together. Part of what I really like about Paula’s group is that she has set up a wiki, https://wordimages.wikispaces.com/ for conversation about the images. One of her goals is for us all to learn more about the collaboration process. This is so important. I need to practice what I am teaching my students to do almost every day in class. Online conversation and interaction is a learned skill. Through Twitter and comments on other people’s blogs, there is definitely a conversation, but this wiki has the potential to have a more sustained dialogue with a central focus.
In these first three days of the 365 Project, I started thinking about ways to use this idea in the classroom. I have heard of projects where people take their own photo every day for a year to track the changes, using the same background and distance from the lens, so the focus is entirely on the person’s face. I want to try it with my students. I see my classes three times in a seven day rotation. I am going to have a third of the class take each other’s photos at the beginning of the class. Since I teach 8th grade, that may actually get them to class faster, to have their pictures taken or to watch others. If we get a routine down, it shouldn’t take long and will create a wonderful class record. I will make the theme: Being a Student in Mrs. Ferguson’s Classroom. They can have any expression they want. Test days should be interesting.
I also want to just introduce the idea of the 365 Project to them as they might enjoy doing it too. It would be fun to share photographs together.
Three Days later, after I have taken the first shots of all of my classes, I got this email from a student, showing the power of sharing ideas: