10 Easy Ways to Use Photos in the Classroom

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.

10 Easy Ideas for Using Photos in the Classroom - Do you love to take pictures but need ideas on how to use them? This post discusses ten ways teachers can integrate photos into their classroom organization and learning activities.
By the end of this post, you will have ten ideas for using photos in your classroom.  In addition,go through our blog hop of 10 teachers to get more fresh ideas to use in your classroom.  Links to the other posts are at the bottom.

1.  Seating Chart

I 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 Activity

Every 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 Chart

If 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 Bins

One 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 Week

One 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.
10 Easy Ideas for Using Photos in the Classroom - Do you love to take pictures but need ideas on how to use them? This post discusses ten ways teachers can integrate photos into their classroom organization and learning activities.

6.  Select Student Partners or Groups

If 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 lines

Honestly, 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 Crafts

I 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 Collage

I 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 Pictures

Sometimes 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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10 Easy Ideas for Using Photos in the Classroom - Do you love to take pictures but need ideas on how to use them? This post discusses ten ways teachers can integrate photos into their classroom organization and learning activities. Cinnamon's ClassroomAmy MezniKirsten's KaboodleELA BuffettMrs. Russell's RoomThe Room MomStudy All KnightBrittany WashburnMiss StefanyMeredith AndersonImage HTML map generator

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  1. I'm starting to use more photos for decor in the classroom. I love the idea of taking a picture for the Star of the Week. I have a spot on the their poster for it, but a lot of times they just draw themselves. I'm also going to start doing the collage as well. Thanks for these ideas!

  2. Awesome ideas! I'm going to try making class collages. The kids will love it!
    I just pinned it to my classroom ideas board. Thanks!
    Darlene Anne
    ELA Buffet

  3. These are such fantastic ideas! Students love having real photos of themselves, their work, and their progress... what wonderful new ways to utilize them! Thank you!

  4. We have been taking photos of finished student work that is 3-D (like our tunnel poem activity) and then adding the photo to the students writing portfolios. Students can take home the original, but we still have a record of it!

  5. Really love taking pictures in the classroom. These were fantastic ideas!

  6. I love using photos. I'm the teacher that is always taking pictures at our school events. At the end of the year, I make a slide show of all the events for my class to watch on the last day of school.

  7. These are great ideas! I especially like the idea of the collage. Thank you!

  8. Thank you for the great ideas! I need to try some of them. I thought I had posted this earlier when I made my entry.

  9. Amy, I love all these ideas! I'm going to try the timelines and 'student of the week'! Thanks for the tips!!


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