Apps, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products

Using Pic Collage as a Mini Yearbook

Pic Collage

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.

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Art, Creative Thinking, Education, Fun Friday, K-12, Student Products

Sorted Book Shelfies

Book "Shelfie" from Joy Kirr's blog
Book “Shelfie” from Joy Kirr’s blog

I absolutely love this idea from Joy Kirr!  (Joy got the idea after seeing this.)  After I saw it, I couldn’t wait to include it in a Phun Phriday post! Instead of “selfies” (pictures of yourself), you are challenged to take “shelfies” (pictures of you with your book collection).  I think it’s great how Joy has made it into a contest with 3 different categories.  And, of course, the prize is a book!  I’m going to build on the idea a bit here, and tie it into another interesting book photo concept.  Artist Nina Katchadourian has a “Sorted Books” project, which is compiled of photographs of certain books together.  Each photograph conveys a certain message with the book titles.

One of my favorite "Sorted Books" photos by artist Nina Katchadourian
One of my favorite “Sorted Books” photos by artist Nina Katchadourian

So, I’m going to challenge my students to do a “Sorted Books Shelfie”.   Check out the example below!

Sorted Books Shelfie
Sorted Books Shelfie: Wayside School is Falling Down/The Sixty-Eight Rooms/Into the Blue/Rats
Art, Education, K-12, Science

2012 Photomicrography Competition

photo by Geir Drange, Honorable Mention in 2012 Photomicrography Competition

“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious—it is the source of all true art and science.” ~ Albert Einstein

The 2012 Photomicrography Competition is a perfect combination of art and science, a delightful example of the awe-inspiring beauty that even the smallest pieces of the natural world possess.  Browse through the winners and finalists to view, with crystal clarity, the symmetrical shape of a snow crystal or the fearsome vision of a mosquito.   These entries into the contest, sponsored by Nikon Small World, would be attention-grabbers in any classroom.  They are perfect for story starters, research ideas, or just intriguing screen savers!

By the way, I learned about this contest from my new, favorite blog, It’s Okay to Be Smart.  If you love science, this is the place for you!

Art, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Websites



photo credit:

Here is the basic premise of 100cameras:

The model is simple, bringing change full circle. 100cameras..

 ..identifies communities that are home to marginalized children with child-centered organizations that are successfully solving local problems

..provides art education by teaching children how to tell their stories through photography

..amplifies their voice by sharing their perspectives with the world

..empowers their story to raise awareness and funds to impact their own communities.

The photos on this site are powerful, and I love that they are taken by children in their own environments.  Seeing the world through their eyes is amazing.  Offering the prints for purchase gives the students a genuine voice.  This is a wonderful idea.  If you are interested in partnering with 100cameras to bring this project to your community, visit this page.

I can also visualize many ways that this concept can be adapted for the classroom or for a school.  The best thing about this is putting the cameras into the hands of the students.  Let them tell a story with pictures.  Let them display it to an audience.  And let them receive feedback for their work.  Engage their minds, and let them be heard.



Art, Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Websites

Children’s Eyes on Earth


Children’s Eyes on Earth is sponsoring an international youth photo contest.  To enter, you must be 17 or under, and have parental or guardian consent.  There are two themes:  “I Love Nature” and “I Fear Pollution”, and each participant must upload at least one photo for each theme.  The deadline for this contest is September 15th.  Even if you don’t plan to have your students formally enter this contest, these would be neat themes to use for a classroom display of photographs taken by the children.  It will also be interesting to visit the site once the winning entries are posted, and to discuss the subjects of the images.  Be sure to watch the video on the home page that features world-renowned professional photographer Reza explaining the concept of this contest.

Critical Thinking, Education, K-12, Student Products, Teaching Tools, Writing

Look at the Camera and Say, “Think”!

When Richard Byrne allowed some of us to guest post on his Free Technology for Teachers blog last week, I was fascinated by the variety in the posts.  This one, in particular, struck me.  The simplicity of the idea makes me regret that I haven’t tried this before now.  But I certainly have plans to incorporate it in my classroom soon, thanks to the author, Alison Anderson.  Ms. Anderson basically encourages the use of videos and photography in the classroom.  This is not new to me.  But I love the ways she incorporates them.  For example, she takes pictures of the kids “in action” during class, then posts them, and assigns this homework:  “Narrate what was happening and what you were thinking about in these 5 pictures of you in class today.”  What a great reflection piece!  I highly recommend that you read the rest of Ms. Anderson’s article to find out more ways to use cameras in the classroom.