A picture perfect classroom

Advances in technology have brought new appeal to photography. Platforms like Instagram, which has over 150 million active users, offer endless options for color enhancements, special effects and cropping. And let’s not forget about the 2013 Word of the Year: “selfie.”

It should be no surprise that many teachers are incorporating the use of photography into their lessons. As Sue Pimentel, a lead writer of the ELA Standards, told us, “The observation skills that it takes to look at a picture and to find out what’s going on in it are some of the same skills we’re asking students to do in close reading. We’re asking them to pay attention to the details as you would in a picture, and also for students to be able to express what’s going on.”

In an article featured in T.H.E. Journal, fourth grade teacher Ms. Dalesio, from the Pleasanton Unified School District in California, schedules "iPhoneography" days with her students (this idea is not limited to just the iPhone, of course). On these days students are encouraged to BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and incorporate their photographs into their work.

In the article, Ms. Dalesio offers 9 tips for using photography with your students. Here are my two favorite tips she offers:

Combine Photos with Writing: Integrating photos with writing projects as part of digital story-telling allows students to look at an image and write a story around it. Students can also read a story and then find an image that illustrates what they just read.

Use Photos to Help Students Learn Geometric Shapes: "You could have them take a picture of an acute angle or intersecting lines or parallel lines or a square or a cube," Dalesio explains. "It really makes the learning they're doing in the classroom so much more meaningful, because then they can see it in a real-life setting."

Are you using photography in the classroom? Tell us how in the comments below.

Photo credit: raruschel