Over the past few years I have wanted to take more pictures of the day to day happenings in my classroom. I feel like keeping the parents/guardians as informed as possible is important, and that by sending pictures home they are getting at least a little glimpse into what happened throughout the day. The problem I was having, however, was that it was too hard to teach and take pictures at the same time. Some days I was able to send many pictures home, and on other days there was so much chaos throughout the day that I wasn’t able to capture any. On the days when I did not have anything to send home I felt like I was letting the parents down, and lord knows that is never a good feeling.
This year I decided to switch things up a bit, and put the responsibility for capturing the important moments into the student’s hands. Each day we have the “classroom photographer” take pictures of what they think is important. Being that the students are only 4 and 5, there are rules about when they can take pictures and we do give suggestions on what they might want to try to capture (because if we don’t we literally get twelve pictures of the scab on their knee, of the wall, or of the ugly blue carpet). Every afternoon I e-mail the pictures to the parents with a little blurb about what can be seen in the photos.
I thought this would simply be a good way to keep parents informed, which it is, but I have actually learned a lot from it as well. I have learned that I make some ridiculous faces during the day, which the kids have a real knack for capturing. (I don’t always send these pictures home because I like to pretend my face doesn’t look busted all of the time). I have learned that some kids are camera lovers and some would rather live in the moment. I have gotten to see a different side of the kids than I normally would. They’re more willing to let loose when they see another child taking a picture than they might be if an adult were behind the camera. The silly faces and goofy poses always make me laugh. I have learned what life looks like from their vantage point because many of the pictures are from their sight line. I get a small glimpse into their personalities, which is just really fun. Loading the pictures onto the computer has become one of my favorite times of day because I never know exactly what to expect and am always pleasantly surprised.
If you are looking for a fun new way to communicate with parents I would suggest bringing a camera into your classroom. Let the kids take the lead and become the photographers. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.