Teaching in the Digital Age – Chapter 2

Published July 10, 2012 by Mrs. Malo

Chapter 2 is on using photographs and images to inspire in the classroom.  I already take a lot of photos with my class so I was interested to read this chapter.  I knew in advance that the biggest difference was going to be that currently I am the one using the photographs but I need to get my class involved in interacting with images.  I was pretty successful in using Evernote to take notes on this chapter so I am referring to it to write this post.  It would be cool if I could find a way to import into wordpress from Evernote but I think that may be asking too much.

As with all my reading I am constantly trying to find ways to incorporate different methods and teaching styles into the new Full Day Early Learning Kindergarten Program (ELK) that I will be starting in September.  The first thing that struck me was to use photos to encourage questioning and our infamous ‘I Wonder’ questions.  With our inquiry based learning class students are to drive the learning but before they can ask inquiry questions they need to know how to question.  Sometimes they know what they want to learn but they have trouble articulating it out loud.  Images would be an excellent way to model questioning!  I can see starting the day with a picture on the Smart Board that the class can see as they arrive in the morning.  I would first just let them approach and view it on their own.  Once we meet on the carpet I would ask them if they have any questions about the image and record them around the image.  Near the beginning of the year I may need to do a fair bit of modelling as to what questions I may come up with but  I would hope it wouldn’t take them too long to come up with great questions independently!  This could provide spin off ideas during learning centres – story writing, research, drawing, etc.

The next idea that would work great in my ELK class is using photos to develop background knowledge when developing dramatic play centres.  This is a great way to incorporate learning into playing and the children would never question having to do the work to help set up the centre.  In the book they disussed making an Australia centre., but you could use the same strategies for any type of dramatic centre.  Last year I did a unit on space and gave the students a large fridge box to make a spaceship.  They had a great time but would have gotten so much more out of it if we would have first explored photos of other spaceships and what parts they might want to put on theirs.

One of the big initiative in Ontario are TLCPs – Teaching-Learning Critical Pathways.  This is a model of how we plan and run a critical thinking/comprehension area of our language program.  Sometimes in Kindergarten we find this model difficult to run as our students are at very beginning levels of literacy.  We cover different expectations throughout the year but at our school the one area we are always focusing on is making connections – text to self, text to text, and text to world.  After reading chapter 2 I was starting to think that we could use digital images to help our students make connections.  Peurling writes that people take photographs to capture moments in life and “When this happens, people engage in familiar discussions about people, events and stories associated with memories”.  The key for our Kindergarten students to have them connect their memories and experiences.  For example, if we were reading a number of books on winter  then I could show them a picture of a winter scene similar to the one Puerling showed his class of the Chicago blizzard.  They could make connections to events that they have experienced or books we have read.  I would do this by putting my playbook beside me and recording their observations as they looked at the photos. Then I would have a record of their thought and also any prompts I had to use.

A couple of other areas that I found very interesting in the chapter included using pictures to teach emotions and self-regulation, using photos to create anchor charts for behaviour at centres, and illustrating book similar to Mo Willems’ Knuffle Bunny.

Finally the main thing I got from this chapter is that I need to figure out a way to get the camera out of my hands and into the hands of my students.  I am not sure how to get this to happen with our expensive school cameras but I need to figure out a way!

I will link to the Blog party at Dr. Jean‘s site but I wanted to mention to make sure to check out her post if you aren’t finding me from the link.  I love ALL of the amazing activities she has listed.  I so want to make the books with my class!  One of my goals for next year is for us to make more cooperative class books.  ‘Welcome to our Room’ would be great to use at the beginning of the year to help students become familiar with their classmates and to recognize their names.  I want to do this before Meet the Teacher Night!!  I also love the ‘Alphabet in my Mouth’ book at it would be great to make to celebrate with my JKs after we are done our Jolly Phonics letters.

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