Co-Creating Learning Stories

Talking , photographing and thinking about our story.

Inspiration!  Once again gathering with my colleagues, participating in great sessions and connecting to new ideas, meant that this was another enjoyable and worthwhile teacher’s convention.

I use photographs in my classroom as a way for students to share what they have learned and as a jumping off point for stories and further reflection. Our lives are filled with stories and each day our learning is a story of its own. Kristy Wolfe’s session, Making Learning Visible: Photographing and Co-creating Learning Stories, had appeal from the start. Kristy Wolf, a woman with a passion for photography and story telling shared her knowledge and her love of kids’ learning through imagery that tells a story.

To tell the story in a meaningful way, begin by thinking about the photos you need, before your eyes look through the lens. Think about the shots that will capture the moment.  Look for opportunities to capture these parts of the story.

  1. Set the scene
  2. Introduce the characters
  3. Process the details
  4. Portrait of the characters
  5. Connections
  6. Final product or creation.

Consider the action, the individuals and the group. What is happening?  Who is interacting with  another or the project?  And even, who is on the outer edges looking in? Composing a photo is always the trick. Just what do I need to include in that image?  What angle?  What lighting? What is the relationship in the moment? What will this image say to viewers? How will the elements of this scene offer new ways of understanding and perspective?

Kristy suggested  using 10 to 15 images to tell the story and to aim for visual variety.

Now imagine that it is not you, it is the students making these decisions about how to tell their learning story. Have students write about the photographs, they chose.  I’ve had fun doing this with my students and just as Kristy mentioned, students don’t chose the photos that you think they might pick. They have their own ideas about what counts. Which makes me think, to whom do we make learning visible? Co-creating learning stories, was the part of her session title that grabbed my attention. It excites me to think of using photography to help students make their learning visible to the most important person of all, themselves.

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