Picture Projects for Visual Learners

A couple of years ago, I invested in a smart phone – smartest thing I ever did! In less than a minute, I can photograph special activities and shoot out an email to all parents with a little “diddy” of what we were doing at the time. To elaborate on the photograph, I may ask parents to comment or to “critique” the activity. The responding emails would then be posted on our classroom community board or given to students for their scrapbook. (Not all parents respond but I have had at least 90% do so. For those students who parents did not respond, I will write something to post on the board).

Students love to see the pictures of them “caught working” and will comment on what they were doing when the photo was taken. Also, the pictures I send serve as a conversation starter at the dinner table when mom/dad asks “what did you do in school today?” Parents can show the picture and ask students to explain what was happening.

The out of class activities, encourage parental involvement and give a chance for parents to work with their child. It is also nice for parents to share with relatives who may not live near the child to feel more connected.

Pictures Simplify Challenging Lessons
Science is a hard subject for the visual learner, as it often calls for abstract thinking, for a visual learner that may extend beyond the realm of imagination and create confusion Spectrum Email. To put things into perspective or more concrete thinking, I may use classroom photos.

For example, I was teaching on light and spectrum. To help illustrate this concept, I assigned a camera project. I asked students to take pictures of various objects that fit into specific categories relating to our science chapter (for example, shadowing and reflection). Using what we talked about in class, students were asked using cameras, to find or create situations that met the required category and take a picture. For shadowing, of course the students had to take a picture during the day. Not only did they have to take a picture, but students had to be aware of positioning, the angle, and so much more (great extension to the science lesson).

When they were finished, each student was then asked to develop their pictures, place them in a small photo album (dollar store variety) and using an index card, explain the scientific term/concept for the photo placed in the slot behind the picture. Now the students had a fun, creative, and applicable use of the science concepts to which they could refer to for testing and other lessons. This can also be done studying weather, animal habitats, rocks and minerals, and so much more.

Pictures Help in Problem Solving
In an earlier blog, I expressed my love for math and math projects. Using photographs with various math activities and having students write out the steps, arranging sequence, and piecing together problem puzzle pieces, assists in learning the process to difficult math equations.

For example, we were learning how to calculate tax on purchases. Since it was near Christmas time, I had the students bring in various flyers. I asked each student to create a Christmas list and with a given budget, students needed to begin their “shopping”. After shopping for each person, we listed the steps to calculating tax together on the board (I took a picture of our steps). The students then had to complete a budget chart that showed price before and after tax.

This project took a few days to complete. I took pictures as students were in each stage of the project. (I.e. making list, selecting items, using calculator or working out problem by hand, filling in budget chart, adding tax, and final calculations). I then developed the pictures (or you can print out if you have picture paper and color printer) numbered the pictures, and posted on bulletin board.

Students were then assigned a number photo and asked to explain the methods to that particular step. This helped them understand the concept and procedures involved in calculating tax, multiplying percentages, and also could have served as a sequencing lesson. What did we do first, next… etc?

Pictures Personalize School Work Instruction
Students love activities and projects that are personal to their lives or that give the opportunity to share more about them. My class and I read together The World According to Humphrey, a delightful story about a hamster who joins a 5th grade classroom. At the end of the story, I gave each student a little booklet I created and a tag board hamster to color and name.

Students were then assigned to journal seven days in the life of their hamster. They were encouraged to take photos of their hamster in various settings and activities. They loved this! I received such wonderful adventures involving my students and their hamsters with pictures! By making this assignment personal, students were more involved than they would have been writing a standard book report.

Another example is a family project in which students were asked to take photos of their individual family members. Since we were discussing adjectives, students were to take the pictures, post one on each page and list adjectives describing the person, the clothes they were wearing, the background, etc. Since we put these pages in a student created booklet, they could be used for other activities such as descriptive writing, listing adverbs, nouns, etc.

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