I have 2 blogs that I try to post to each day – this one and a class blog. My goal for this year was to have the students take over the class blog posts, but that was only partially successful and will be part of my Epic Fails for the Year series in the near future. Part 2 of that particular Epic Fail was getting people to actually read the class blog. As far as I can tell, only a sprinkling of parents read the posts. But a few did seem to appreciate them so I trudged on.
I included a lot of pictures throughout the year on the class blog. The students rarely looked at them, but were excited when I would take a moment to show them in class. Since I only see most of my GT classes once a week, I must admit that part of my motivation for keeping this up was selfish; the posts and the pics have been helpful to me just to jog my memory every time I do lesson plans 😉
Yesterday was my last class with my 2nd grade GT students. I like them to do some sort of reflection at the end of the year, and we usually spend a lot of time reviewing the events of the past 9 months. (Otherwise, their favorite memory tends to be the very last thing we did.) This year, I decided to try something different.
I showed the students how to access the categories of our class blog so they could view all of the posts for 2nd grade for this year. Then they went through the posts, and chose pictures that were meaningful to them. As they were on iPads, I taught them how to hold their finger on an image to save it to the Camera Roll (fair warning – this is a tricky skill for 2nd graders). After about 30 minutes, I showed them the Pic Collage app. They were allowed to add any pictures that they wanted to their collages. Many added text (and stickers, of course!) They loved the activity. When they were finished, each student had a personal poster to remind him or her of the year in GT. If we had more time, we would have made ThingLinks with reflections, similar to last year.
Of course, you can do this activity without iPads. Canva is a cross-platform online tool that is great for collecting pictures, and there are many others. My favorite part was giving the students the opportunity to choose what had been the most meaningful moments to them during the year – and a creative way for them to display this.
UPDATE: Here are some other ways to use Pic Collage from Richard Byrne at Free Tech 4 Teachers.