9 Ways Classroom Photos Can Create Student Connection

Your smartphone may be the secret to classroom community (selfie stick optional).

9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

Students love photos and capturing the moment just like the rest of us. Bring that passion to the classroom for an easy win with your class. Creativity with photos makes for a great asset for the school’s yearbook adviser, too! Try some of these unique ways teachers use classroom photos below and download the new e-book, 15 Top Tips for Yearbook Pics.

1. Classroom community starts right when you walk through an Insta-inspired door.

Classroom Door - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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Decorating classroom doors is often a back-to-school or a school Spirit Week tradition. Make it matter daily! Take some classroom selfies and candid moments to adorn the entryway. Mix it up with new photos throughout the year to keep the conversation and student connection thriving each day.

2. Make the classroom feel like home.

Make Classroom Feel Like Home - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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Give students a “home” feeling throughout their day with a room divider of family photos or a dedicated space where they can bring in a favorite photo. It’s often a go-to move in Kindergarten, but why shouldn’t this community-building concept continue on? Swap out new family photos on the wall or in strategically placed frames around the room. It’s a valuable connection tool and reminder of the value of each student’s “outside” world.

3. Create a photo puzzle for classroom unity and pride.

Classroom Photo Puzzle - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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Have each student decorate an individual puzzle piece with their name, a photo or two, and a meaningful quote or fun fact. Combine them into one large, connected shape. “Everybody is somebody…and we all fit together!” Perfection.

4. Create a photo wall dedicated to a favorite activity…like READING!

Photo Wall - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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Whether it’s a home “book nook” or a “sneaky reader spot,” have kids bring in a photo or two of where their special place is to read books. Students may all have different hobbies or interests, but reading is the great connector!

5. Inspire with a student mission wall.

Mission Wall - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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How does a student make a difference in their class? Have them find a quote related to a good character goal that will motivate them based on themes like kindness, honesty, creativity or grit. The wall will keep them focused and united as a group throughout the year.

6. The magic of the photo booth (and props) can do no wrong.

Photo Booth and Props - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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We got spirit, yes we do, we got spirit…just look at our photo booth snaps! Students in all grades love the props and silliness that comes with photo booth fun and DIY props. If a photo booth rental isn’t in the budget, there’s plenty of photo apps and endless filters to create a wall of photos showcasing the camaraderie that comes when we all let loose together.

7. Get subject specific with your photos for creative common ground.

Common Ground - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

Christine V., a science teacher from the Maryland International School, shared that she gives photo shoutouts to all “scientists” working hard. “I do a ‘Facebook for Scientists’ every year. Each student and teacher fills out a page, and I take a picture of them dressed in a lab coat using science tools. I hang the pages on clipboards on the wall as you walk in my room. I change the pages weekly, and the kids love to see and read them.

8. Honor teachers and support staff from outside the classroom.

9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Connection

From the P.E. staff and librarian, to the cafeteria workers and custodians, it takes a village. Students can show them some love and recognize their school “village” of support goes beyond the classroom walls. Create special frames and place around the classroom so they know their “village” is always there for them. Say cheese, team!

9. Remind students that they’re stronger together.

Stronger Together - 9 Ways Classroom Photos Create Student Connection

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Whether it’s for a school auction classroom project or just to adorn your classroom walls, plan an artistic photo with the whole group. Decide as a class the concept—and let their creativity shine! Have a few great ideas? You’ve got yourself an amazing gallery of empowered, connected classmates!

9 Ways Classroom Photos Can Create Student Connection

Posted by Jenn Horton

Jenn is an editor for WeAreTeachers and SchoolLeadersNow. She used to work for Oprah for over a decade, teaching folks to "Live Their Best Lives" online and in real life...and she continues to try that herself too (mostly). Her work has appeared on WebMD, CNN, Amazon and various online publications. She lives in Chicago with her husband and two kiddos.

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