From a wall of photos to celebrate your students to using photos as an organizational tool (for example, a photo of art supplies on the canisters where they’re stored), photos can be incredible classroom tools. Here are 21 ideas for using photos in the classroom, from the first day of school to the last.
- Picture-Perfect Introductions
At the beginning of the year, take photos of your new students holding a sign that tells you something about them. For example, have them complete the sentence: When I grow up I want to be… or, All you need to know about me is that I am…. Post these photos around your classroom, or use them as writing prompts for personal essays. Source: http://flamingofabulous.blogspot.com/2012/09/im-still-kicking.html
- The Selfie Project
A great project for middle- or high-school students. Have them create digital self-portraits that incorporate layers of images that describe and express students’ individuality. Next step? Have students write essays about their portraits. Source: http://www.schoolartsdigital.com/i/271882/40
- High Flyers
Have students write important goals on a balloon cutout. Take pictures of students in motion, then cut out their figures and attach them to their written goals.
- Photo Scavenger Hunt and Collage
Here’s a fun photo project for young kids or older students. Assign individual or pairs of students a shape, a letter, a color or even a less tangible theme (optimism, friendship) and send them around the school grounds to find photo evidence. Students can then create a collage or photo book to share! Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/211176670003265217/
Here’s one for the little guys! As students are learning how to spell their names, a custom name puzzle makes for great practice, and they couldn’t be easier to make.
- Create a Face Book (Seriously!)
For students who are learning about social cues or emotions, create a literal book of faces, expressions, emotions and scenarios they’ll see throughout their day. These photos can be great prompts for talking about feelings and emotions. Source: http://www.ikatbag.com/2010/05/facebook.html
- Inferential Images
Use photos to teach students about how we make inferences. Have students work in small groups to make observations, list schema (background knowledge) and then make inferences. Then invite students to bring in or find photos to use in your next inference session. Source: http://mrshallfabulousinfourth.blogspot.com/2013/11/using-photos-for-inferencing.html
- Meme Class Rules
Give your class rules and procedures a touch of humor by taking photos and turning them into memes to use in a presentation or post on a bulletin board. Middle school students could do this as a class assignment. Have them make memes about book characters or science lab procedures, for example. Source: http://www.traceeorman.com/2014/03/five-ways-to-use-memes-to-connect-with.html
- Explain This Photo
Photos make fantastic writing prompts. Find photos online and give each student a photo. Have them write a descriptive, narrative or persuasive essay based on their image.
- Sight Word Class Book
Take photos of students holding sight words (or number facts), then put them into a class book for whole-class or individual practice. Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/287597126180040411/
- Personalized Mother’s Day Card
All you need to create a structured photo shoot for Mother’s Day cards, the 100th day of school or another occasion is a decorated strip of butcher paper and a stool at just the right height! Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/340584790541122282/
- Instagram Bulletin Board
Celebrate your class with an Instagram bulletin board filled with student snapshots of daily life in your classroom. Change the photos every few weeks and have a new group of students write the captions. Source: https://dborck.wordpress.com/2014/09/18/student-life-on-display-with-instagram-board/
- Catch a Character
Use props and a sheet as background to turn students into popular book characters, like this Cat in the Hat. Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/21040323234349481/
- Our Plant Diary
As a class, create a plant photo diary, documenting the growth of a vegetable. Have each child plant a seed (green beans, corn or peas work best) in a plastic cup, wrapped with a wet paper towel. As the plant grows, have students take photos of it and add them to their plant books made from recycled paper bags! Source: http://eisforexplore.blogspot.com/2012/02/garden-reflections.html
- Label It
Rather than names, use photos to label the things that students use every day, like book boxes or cubbies. This notably raises the chances students will put things back in the right place! Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/233694668138854329
- Math Shots
Have students use a camera to take pictures of shapes, elements of geometry, measurements or another math concept that they see in the school and at home. Source: http://buggyandbuddy.com/math-kids-finding-shapes-playground/
- Center Image
Put student photos on Popsicle sticks and use the sticks to assign students to centers or other group work.
- Word Watch
Assign students the task of representing their vocabulary, in this case, prepositions, through photos. Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/394135404865381287/
- Document It!
Take photos during a field trip or science experiment, then have students put them in order and add captions to create a record and help students retell the event.
- Create Photo Timelines
Have students use a free timeline-maker tool to create a biographical or historical timeline.
- Class Spirit Books
Collect your own and students’ photos throughout the year, and at the end of the year they’ll have enough to create a Remember Me photo yearbook that they can sign and keep. Assign each student a page, or work together to bring your picture-perfect year to a brilliant finish.