Curriculum Mapping BOOT CAMPS - Heidi and Marie in NYC. Click here for more info.

iPhoneography: Photo Challenges, Ideas & Literacy

cross posted from Langwitches Blog by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano

I have been facilitating an iPhoneography activity for our Middle Schoolers over the past two quarters.

iphoneography

iPhoneography is defined by Wikipedia as:

iPhoneography is the art of creating photos with an Apple iPhone.This is a style of mobile photography that differs from all other forms of digital photography in that images are both shot and processed on the iOS device. It does not matter whether a photo is edited using different graphics applications or not

The class was 40 minutes long, which I divided into the following workflow:

  1. 10 minutes of challenge explanation
  2. 20 minutes of “in the field” photography
  3. 10 minutes of photoapping and sharing of final images

We worked on:

  • basic photography tips, such as contrast, brightness, depth of field and saturation
  • photoapping (sending one image through several apps to achieve a desired result)
  • storytelling
  • communicating via images

In addition, the class discussion, activities and reflections  lend themselves to:

  • copyright (digital citizenship)
  • photo etiquette (digital citizenship)
  • (exponential) producer-culture (media & information literacy)
  • editing of media (media & information literacy)
  • visual storytelling (media literacy)
  • instant sharing (network literacy, digital citizenship)
  • photoapping (tech fluency)

I built the class around photo challenges (There are many, many photo challenge suggestions shared online… just google them. I also use an app iPhotography Assignment Generator) :

  • Feet
  • Selfies
  • Something green
  • Depth of Field
  • Clouds
  • Forced Perspective
  • Scavenger Hunt
  • Reflection
  • Black and White
  • Angle & Perspective
  • Cartoons

What’s next?

selfies-activity

During the last nine weeks of the school year, I will be offering another activity for Middle School students. We will focus our efforts on the infamous Cultural Phenomena of the Selfie. We would love to make contact with classes from around the world to exchange selfies in order to look for cultural trends, best photography tips and overall give our students an opportunity to redefine the concept beauty.

Interested to connect and collaborate with my students about Selfies? Interested in “just” contributing selfies? Get in contact with me via Twitter (@langwitches) or via this blog.

Take a look at some of the challenges I shared with students and examples below. (Thank you  and credits to all the photographers from iPhoneography! Ana Luiza, Ale, Laura, Vicki, Anna, Fiona, Hannah, Ian, Patricio, Lara, Ida, Giovanna, Ana Clara, Manuela, Gabriela, Belen, Laura, Lauren, Isabel, Martina, Luiza)

Look on down…Feet, Feet and More Feet

Let’s take a look at our feet today.

feet

Why feet you might ask? …Why not?
Sometimes it is not “just” about the object in your photograph, but about the STORY behind it.

feet2

It is about the story “your feet” tell.
feet3
I wanted to share with you the following blog, with a truly inspirational post about : Why Take Self- Portraits of your Feet?
Your mission today is to tell a story with a picture of (your) feet.
Colors… Colors… Colors… Our world is colorful. Photography allows us to focus in on one element of our world and bring it to the foreground to enjoy without distractions. A photographer leads the eyes of the viewer to something that otherwise he/she might not have noticed.Let’s focus on the color green.
green
green2
pinterest-green
There are entire Pinterest Boards dedicated to the color green.

cartoon

cartoon2

cartoon3

cartoon4

You have all seen these photos. Only part of the photograph is in focus, the rest seems blurry and further away. That is called in photography terms “Depth of Field”.
“Depth of Field is the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.” (Wikipedia)
depth-of-field
depth-of-field2
depth-of-field3
depth-of-field4
Let’s work on photoapping today.
use any app you would like or try out this new (free) one Pixlr Express+
After you sent your photo through one, two or three apps, use a Pic Collage app (like PicStitch) to show BOTH pictures and email them to me to upload and showcase them on our Pinterest Board
Let’s look up today! Up, up, up to the clouds. It is ok if we have beautiful blue skies in São Paulo… make it your challenge of the week to take a photo of interesting clouds, photoapp it and send it to me via email to be included on our Pinterest Board.
cloud5
cloud2
cloud3
clouds4
Ever heard of “forced perspective”?Definition according to Wikipedia:

Forced perspective is a technique that employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. It is used primarily in photography, filmmaking and architecture. It manipulates human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera

Let’s look at lots of examples

perspective

perspective2
perspective3
perspective4
perspective6
Today you will complete a Scavenger Hunt!
You will roam campus to take one image for each one of the assignments to complete the hunt.

  • Once you have images for all assignments, import to PicCollage app and label the image with the title of the assignment.
  • E-mail me the final image from PicCollage.
  • The time stamp of the email will confirm the winning photographer.

Photograph the following assignments (Total of 7 images):

  1. cold
  2. funny
  3. brave
  4. light
  5. fuzzy
  6. jumps
  7. separated

scavenger

scavenger2
bw2
bw3
It is the photographer’s job to show something that others do not see in their photograph.
Today’s challenge is to capture a reflection.It can be an intentional reflection or a reflection that normally we would run by and might see it.
Let’s see how creative you will be.
reflection-ian
reflection
reflection2
“Selfie” was voted Oxford’s Dictionaries word of the year in 2013.

“a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”

What types of selfies are out there?

  • outstretched arm
  • duckface
  • mirror
  • “tongue”
  • smile/pout
  • tilted head
  • peace sign
  • sign language for “I love you”
  • rapper fingers
  • eyes squinting
  • winking
  • funny face
  • shadow
selfie
selfie2
Definition of a Silhouette by Wikipedia

 A silhouette is the image of a person, an object or scene represented as a solid shape of a single color, usually black, its edges matching the outline of the subject.

schatten2

Perspective Challenge

angle-perspective
angle-perspective2
angle-perspective3
Sometimes ordinary photos can be transformed (edited) with just a few adjustments. Check if your favorite photoediting app has adjustments for

  • Contrast
  • Saturation
  • Brightness

Suggested Apps:

contrast
contrast2
contrast3
contrast4

Upgrading a Rubric based on Purpose and Audience

Eric Simpson is secondary English Language Arts Coordinator at Lewisville ISD in Texas.

Cross-posted from Just Start for Kids and Schools.

I began the upgrade looking at our 8th grade, Unit 3, Stage 1 desired results. Click to see the unit: 8th_Unit_3_Revision. Our transfer goals for that unit are:

Students will be able to independently use their learning to…

  • use others’ ideas to support their own claim;
  • formulate personal arguments supported by examples; and
  • analyze persuasive elements across genres using text evidence for interpretations.

Our desired results are open enough to allow transformation through Media Literacy, so I can focus on instructional approach. Using an infographic, like Piktochart, allows students to build skill in both receptive and generative capability in Media Literacy. For the infographic, I concentrated on the first two learning outcomes, but I think I’ll be able to gather significant formative assessment regarding the third outcome while observing students as they work with their sources.

 

With our first two transfer goals in mind, students could showcase their learning with new media in an authentic way, and make some pretty sophisticated choices to achieve their purposes. They will need to work with traditional texts for their research, but they are also going to benefit from exploring a host of other media to inform their arguments. Then they are going to have to synthesize what they find into a new medium, and determine the most engaging and persuasive way for an audience to encounter their information. Most importantly, I want the evidence to highlight the students’ facility with research.

 

I modeled my rubric after viewing an infographic rubric from Christy Taylor at Cache Mid-High School, in Cache, Oklahoma, but made some important changes.

  1. I didn’t want the rubric to be a source of point manufacturing that would emphasize the grade over the quality of student work, so I removed the numerical values associated with the gradations of mastery.
  2. I also added a fourth column to make the feedback to the student clearer; with no middle column, we won’t be inclined to sit-on-the-fence.
  3. I liked the way the rubric described a quality infographic, but since the focus of the student learning will be using research with a persuasive purpose, I’ve decided to imbed all the design elements into that persuasive lens. This will help students make purposeful decisions while approaching this assessment, and notice these elements in the sources they investigate in their researchers. Heidi and Allison pointed out during their rubric session, “Good rubrics help students notice effective qualities more in other media.”

I used the language from our Stage 2 documents to sketch a rough draft of the highest end of mastery for each category. Click here to see Stage 2:  8th_Unit_3_Stage_2. I went ahead and filled out the other columns on two of the categories to capture a representation of my thinking during the process, and those examples can serve as a jumping off point when I come together with my teachers, or share the rubric with students. Here is the current state of the rubric.

“Gaining Advantage” Infographic Rubric

Performance Level 4

Performance Level 3

Performance Level 2

Performance

 Level 1

Present claim

Student:Formulates of a clear claim based upon their independent research Student:Presents claim, but claim lacks clarity of purpose

(parts are missing, remains too broad, sits on the fence etc.).

Student:Has statement that resembles a claim, but claim isn’t the primary message communicated.

 

Student:Does not state a claim.

Construct Research Plan

Student:Determines guiding research questions to locate evidence in support of their argument.

 

Student:Identifies types of information that relates to their argument, but fails to investigate holes in their knowledge. Student:Compiles information related to their issue, but without clear relation to their purpose. Student:Conducts research without purpose in mind.

Interpret and Evaluate Sources

Student:Evaluates media messages for bias, rhetorical devices and logical fallacies. Analyzes sources and selects verifiable information to enhance credibility. Interprets source in relation to their claim.

Incorporate Outside Ideas in Support of Claim

Student:Use ideas of others to support their own claim. Blending text evidence into writing. Summarizing, paraphrasing, and directly quoting sources to enhance effectiveness of message.

Blend Graphics and Writing

Student:Graphics are related to the topic, match the facts, and make the research easier to understand. The infographic is accessible, and exceptionally attractive in terms of design and organization.

Use Personal Perspective To Persuade Audience

Student:Transitions between personal and research perspectives to connect with audience. Uses variety of personal appeals.

Consider Specific Audience

Student:Anticipating objections to their position, and creating responses to objections. Attributing source of information in a way beneficial to audience. Adjusting arguments to increase credibility. Identify gaps and revise with specific audience in mind.

 

Heidi and Allison assert that the best rubrics are formed when students and teachers work together to produce criteria based off their mutual values. This may be the most significant shift for me in my consideration of rubrics: any rubric I create in isolation can only be a model for others to base their work upon. Students and teachers will need to study infographics together, and make some decisions about what makes the genre most effective. Only then can teachers come together and tweak the wording to represent what’s most valuable to them as they go through the learning process.

Eric Simpson is secondary English Language Arts Coordinator at Lewisville ISD in Texas.

A Reflection on TEDTalk21: Creating a dynamic and joyful environment

cross-posted from Just Start for Kids and Schools

Golden light of evening over Torrey PinesGuest Post By: Craig Gastauer

Natural learning experiences are generated by observation and questioning.  As individuals share their different perspectives, each of us begin to make meaning of these experiences and deepen our understanding of the world.

Hiking on the cliffs above the the Pacific Ocean with my nine year old son creates for us a safe space to explore the world.  Questions abound as we come across animals, plants, rock strata, and even the wonderful variety of people we encounter.  And as a science teacher I may have an idea of much of what we come across, I hear from the nine year old perspective new questions and thoughts that may have never occurred to me.  There are no texts or assignments forcing students down a path that the teacher wants the student to focus.  Instead, the child’s questioning and wonderment lead the discussions and the ideas to explore.  The generated excitement even invites those people passing by to add their understanding and questions.  Learning opened through the initial questions and new insight allowed us to look at the experience in new ways:

  • Why are all the organisms under plants or why are the animals a certain color?
  • What eats what?
  • Why there are more insects than lizards?
  • Why do the birds circle above?
  • Why?  Why?  Why?

The TEDTalk21 invitation to remember a safe learning space reminded me of how a simple hike led to an natural and engaging learning experience in which my 9 year old has developed a new understanding of the world in which he lives.  But it has also opened a new learning experience for myself.  Seeing the child’s excitement and the additional different perspectives brought into the experience has led me to wonder:

  • How can this excitement and natural engagement become the learning norm in my classroom?
  • How can these natural interactions be replicated to invite in others through new formats using digital literacy so that everyone can impact their own creative learning process?

Actively participating with the Lead21 team in learning how to actively engage learning through the use of technology to replicate this system has opened a new world.

 Why are so many of us using technology as a replacement of the ribbon based typewriter instead of the social environment that could help learning flourish?  

Setting up something as simple as a student blog opens the door to the natural learning cycle.  Asking students to publish their learning, followed by others positively promoting different perspectives or inquiries, provides students an opportunity to re-engage with all these ideas to deepen their understanding.  The static learning experience transforms into a dynamic space that strengthens them as resilient learners.

For teachers, this promotes deeper learning of the content, but also of three essential components to becoming engaged, life-long learners.  We can help them learn to self-regulate, self-motivate and self-evaluate their learning process and products. As teachers, we need to:

  • Promote and actively engage students in asking where they are in their learning process
  • Ask what strategies they have employed and how they have worked
  • Ask what their engagement is trying to achieve
  • Ask what their next steps need to be in order achieve their goal

We can never create a destination to where every student wants to go to, but our students can. By opening up the learning experience to a more natural, collaborative, self directed way, students can take charge of and build their own meaningful learning process.

Reflection question (would love to see your comments below):

How do you set up the use of technology to incorporate the natural learning cycle in order to help students deepen meaning making and become more independent learners?

Craig is a high school biology teacher in Northern San Diego County.

Digital Microstories

Collaborative Blog Post written with friend and colleague Danielle Hardt of Starpoint Middle School in Lockport, NY. Danielle is a literacy rock star, a highly effective teacher, and a secret practical joke enthusiast (a skill I highly prize!).

It has become the rage as of late to “Close Read” everything in American Common Core classrooms. Almost all of the states that are providing curriculum resources (including NY) and many of the vendors that are selling Common Core aligned products are focusing on Close Reading as an essential strategy in their materials, overusing an instructional methodology to the point of killing the love of reading. Our students are noticing this too, and ever since the beginning of education, the students are our largest sounding board as well as our biggest obligation. We need to listen to them.

 

In an effort to bring a little love back to literacy (note the alliteration), we’d like to suggest a little brevity and levity and “webevity” to instructional processes with the use of digital microstories. This avenue provides a medium students are very comfortable with.  Using digital formats fosters engagement and efficiency and proficiency in the classroom, as many students either use these tools already or require limited explanation of their usage. In many modern classrooms, students are educating us as teachers in the easiest ways to utilize the technology. When this happens, the learning skyrockets! We are all partners in learning.

 

Digital microstories are based on short fiction pieces that range from six words to 140 characters to a couple of sentences to a couple of paragraphs. The emphasis is on brevity, certainly, but also on a student’s ability to make connections and inferences based on the few words they read–then extending those connections and inferences to a visualization using a teacher- or student-selected web tool.

 

Besides just sheer engagement, another attribute of this format is the instant gratification for students to complete and “turn in” an assignment in one class period or block. What middle schooler doesn’t love to weave a tale about the hero/heroine that escapes a torturous conflict, barely rising to the top? Perhaps a midnight terror that shivers the spine? Maybe they’d delve into a short poem or riddle or other clever play on words. Any which way, digital microstory formats allow for these and many other options for the writers of the world to concisely demonstrate critical thinking, focusing on evaluation and synthesis without the rigmarole of days of analysis or the constant revisiting of text for the sake of answering what amounts to a bunch of comprehension questions.

 

Allowing students the opportunity to choose dramatically-engaging topics in relationship to the visualization within these digital formats creates a natural connection to inferencing. A relationship with close reading happens organically, rather than through a need for direct instruction. This organic and authentic version of close reading hits the heart of the way we analyze details and extend the learning beyond anything we could have imagined in traditional ways of teaching. It also extends opportunities for further discussion and reflection.

 

Getting back to the topic at hand though, access to resources around microfiction are numerous. You can “Google” search terms such as “Microstories,” “Microfiction,” “Microtext,” etc. and find a plethora of resources related to short fiction. Note that some of these resources might be inappropriate for sharing with kids, but would be great for sharing/generating ideas with teachers about how they might engage micro-literacy with their students.

 

Here are some of our favorites:

 

Six Word Stories:

http://www.sixwordstories.net/

http://www.narrativemagazine.com/sixwords

 

Visualizing Famous Quotes: Make a Web2.0 visualization of your favorite quote!

 

Two sentence horror stories: http://www.mandatory.com/2014/02/21/20-terrifying-two-sentence-horror-stories/

 

Very short stories:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.11/sixwords.html

 

Extremely Short Stories:

http://extremelyshortstories.wordpress.com/

 

“Tweet the gist:”

  • Tweet the plot of a favorite movie.

  • Tweet the central idea of a favorite song.

  • Tweet the main idea of a favorite poem.

  • (Note that these tweets might be physical, in-class experiences, rather than an online tweet. Just keep them to 140 characters!)

  • Then, “Instagram” the tweet: What visual would enhance the tweeted message?

There are several important task-specific functions that go along with Digital Microstories, primary among them are analysis of text and students eventually writing their own versions rather than always analyzing someone else’s writing. Both of these are aligned to Common Core standards for Key Ideas and Details (Anchor standards 1-3) in all grade levels in the reading standards and the first six writing standards around text types and production of writing. Additionally, because students are adding a visual component, they are also engaging reading standard 7 around the integration and evaluation of diverse media formats.

 

Now that we’ve defined the “What,” let’s take a look at the “How.”

 

There are many web tools available for creating visualizations of text, merging multiple types of media, and developing digital representations of thinking. For this particular instructional activity scenario, we’re looking for tools that engage the brevity factor. Those tools that let us create short, quick media productions will be the most useful for digital microstories and thus our opportunities for instant classroom gratification and analysis…and assessment…and engagement.

 

Here is a sampling of tools, both Web 2.0 and Device Applications, that we think would be extremely useful for digital microstorytelling:

 

 

With a vast variety of tools online and apps on devices/tablets, this short list is just the tip of the iceberg. Feel free to share your favorites in the comments section below! Additionally, these photo and image resources may help:  Stock ExchangePixabayFlickr’s Creative Commons

 

Using some of these web tools, we created some examples here, with Ernest Hemingway’s original Six Word Story, “For sale, baby shoes. Never worn.”:

 

Animoto:

Six Word Stories: Hemingway

 

Prezi:

 

Storybird:

 

Note how our choices of associated media in the different web tools creates opportunities for divergent discussions, perhaps even comparative analysis of several visualizations of the same short text. How awesome would that be to explore in class?

 

Since these digital microstories are dependent on both text and other media, if you need help with images to create your own visualization, check out the photo and image resources in Mike’s Diigo account: https://www.diigo.com/user/mikefisher821/photos While many of these resources include free content, we would urge you to remember and model that attribution is still important and students should give credit where credit is due.

 

Here are a couple of useful sites to assist in providing that credit:

 

 

Some of the web tools include content that students can use without attribution because they are an embedded component of the web tool or application.

 

So what’s the point of all this?

 

Learning and engagement are extremely powerful together. High levels of both help students remember more and evaluate better. Giving students opportunities to investigate short fiction forms and create them on their own opens up a plethora of avenues to creative development and ownership of learning.

 

Digital microstories offer students many opportunities for creativity, textual analysis, discernment, evaluation, engagement, and choices. How powerful is that? If we’re really going to work toward college and career readiness, shouldn’t we give our students authentic tasks and tools? We think so. And we think Digital Microstories are a great way to get there!