An easy way to freshen up your classroom is with photos! Most phones today have a great camera, but instant cameras have also made a comeback. Polaroid or Fuji cameras are both popular and relatively inexpensive instant cameras. The convenience of instant cameras makes them extremely usable in the classroom. Imagine how much time you would save - no more running to pick up photos (or having to remember to pick them up!) Just make sure that you have good lighting with an instant camera - what you see in the viewer is what will print. Also, don't overstock the film, as it does expire if you don't use it within a few months.
By the end of this post, you will have ten ideas for using photos in your classroom. You will also be able to enter to win a Fuji Instax camera and 2 boxes of film (U.S. Residents only, sorry)! Just go through our blog hop of 10 teachers with fresh ideas to use in your classroom.
1. Seating ChartI know I had to work really hard to learn the students' names the first few days of school. The instant photos have a space to write at the bottom, so you could use permanent ink to write the students' names on each photo. When you need to change your seating charts, you can move the photos around! Subs would love this, too.
2. Introductory ActivityEvery year I did introductory activities, but I remember being shocked when students still didn't know all of their classmates mid-year - especially in middle school. If you do a getting to know you activity, you could post the photos near the door so students can look at them on their way in or out. That way they could learn peoples' names without being too embarrassed to ask.
3. Birthday ChartIf you are one of those teachers that is really good about birthdays - or aspire to be one of those teachers, you could use photos to organize the birthdays. I know I would remember better if I had pictures to remind me!
4. Label for Student BinsOne year I tried having student cubbies or bins. The students were supposed to write their name on the end so it would be easy to identify each box. Let's just say that not all of them understood the concept, and it was a struggle to grab the correct box. Tape each student's photo on the end of their cubby or bin to help identify it.
5. Star of the WeekOne of the most successful things I ever used in the classroom - even in the upper grades - was to have a Star of the Week board. Every Friday I announced the Star, and I made it a really big deal. Students couldn't wait to find out who it was. The way I announced it was by reading a personal note that I had written to the student's parents for him or her to take home. I didn't announce their name until the end, In the note I talked about what the student had done or how they contributed to the class. It wasn't just based on grades or academics, but character traits. On Monday, the student was allowed to bring in personal items to share with the class and hang on the Star of the Week board. I hung a Dollar store certificate up with their name on it and whatever they brought in. I know academics squeeze out almost any extra time, but this was so beneficial and it took maybe 10-15 minutes each week. Adding the student's photo to their certificate would just make it a little more special.
6. Select Student Partners or GroupsIf you like to walk on the wild side, use photos to help you randomly select student partners or groups. You may end up with some unfortunate pairings, but it would help randomize this activity. Along the same idea is to use the photos to select students to answer questions.
7. Time linesHonestly, students are not getting enough practice using timelines. Time lines help students with math skills (integer number lines) and are important o understanding history. Students could create a time line of their life or you could make a time line of the students' birthdays. Use their photos on the time line.
8. Holiday CraftsI know a lot of teachers try to do a craft around the holidays for kids to take home. Photos are a great way to make those crafts personalized (and parents love it.) I know before winter break I made solo cup ornaments (or suncatchers). Students liked to put their photo on those. (Learn to make them here.)
9. Class Photo CollageI know my team mate turned her door in to a class collage. As the year progressed, she added pictures of her class to the door. The students really enjoyed seeing all the things they had done. At the end of the year, it was easy to take the photos down and put them in a memory book.
10. In Progress PicturesSometimes it is helpful for students to take a picture of an experiment or project. If they are working in stages, a photo is a great way to show what they have done or prove something happened during an experiment. Instant film can be expensive, but it might be worth it once in a while.
I hope you enjoyed these tips. For more fresh ideas, click the picture below. Each logo is hyperlinked to their blog post - just click and you will be taken to the post.
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