Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Crash Course in Classroom Photography

What parent doesn't LOVE to see pictures of their kid in the classroom?!!  The problem as teachers is making the time to take pictures (or just remembering!), getting good shots, uploading them onto the computer, editing, and finally sending them out to parents.

Here are some ways that you can get those pictures the parents want.  On the first day of school have your camera ready as the students walk in the door (have it around your neck).  Smile and greet them, and snap a close up of just the student's face.  Or as they are doing seat work, walk around and get a picture of each student.  The first day is a day you'll want to remember.  I take candids at the end of the first day too.  I always print out black and white pictures of each student on 8 1/2 x 11 and staple around the room or in the hall.  You'd be surprised how many students stop and stare at them in the hallway. 

Close-up beginning of the First Day

Candid #1

Candid #2

I also insert those first day pictures into Powerpoint (where it says "photo album" you pick "file/disk" and highlight all the pictures you want to put into the album) and print it as "handouts" with 6 slides per page.  I write the student name under each picture and put it in my guest teacher binder.  It's a ready reference for names/faces, I call it my "Picture Directory"!

"Picture Directory" for the Guest Teacher Binder

An essential piece to classroom photography is media release forms!!  Make sure that before you take student pictures that parents have signed and given permission for their child's picture to be taken.  Many parents do not sign the form initially because they are afraid of the weirdos out there and rightfully so! 

Here is how you can make sure that the weirdos stay away from your kiddos! 
1. Password protect your sites that use student pictures in combination with student names.
2. Do not give passwords to anyone outside of the classroom period.
3. Change your password.

You don't have to take ALL the pictures yourself!  I know you're thinking, "well, those kiddos are not using my camera!"  The parents can help with pictures at class parties and just during workstations/centers.  Sometimes I find that I have extra parents who want to help, but I do not have a job for them because I am underprepared.  You can give them your camera, or you could ask for a specific parent to bring their camera along.  Parents that take pictures can upload their pictures onto a Picasa Web Album.  You just need a g-mail account.  It doesn't need to be your personal g-mail account.  You can create a new one just for your class that you can give the username and password to all parents.  Then they can go to the site and look at the pictures.  Just remind parents to make the pictures public for all to see, or send the link to everyone.

Another way that the kids CAN help is by using a Flip Cam.  These are so simple.  The student just presses the on/off button, press the red record button to record, record themself, press the red button again, and turn it off.  To upload they plug it in.  And it's done.  It's the easiest piece of technology!  You can turn the video into still pictures. 

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