Throw-Back Thursday: Slowing Down and Taking Ownership

This Throw-back Thursday post is from November 23, 2011. I’m very happy to report that during the past three years our district has been able to add more than 1000 iPad minis to our preschool and kindergarten classrooms, thanks to grants and the hard work of our fabulous accountant, director, and office manager who all recognized the need for teachers to have the right materials to document student work quickly and easily.

I’ve been fortunate to be in more classrooms over the past few weeks, so I’ve been taking lots of pictures.  I carry my iPhone with me, and use it to capture photos, videos, and sometimes voice recordings.  There are two things that I’ve noticed, when I ask a child if I can photograph what they’re working on – most children begin to slow down and many children seem to take more ownership of the project.

As soon as I snap a photo, I ask the child if he’d like to see the picture.  Every child I’ve worked with is very eager to see the results.  The child looks closely at the photo, and then returns to play.  Most of the time, if I’m still nearby, the child will ask me to take subsequent pictures, as the work progresses.  I’ve noticed children who were rushing, begin to slow their play/work down a little.  They’ll make a change in the configuration, then ask for another photo, in order to see the subtle change captured.

The project seems to become more valued by the child, and I don’t know whether this is because an outsider has noticed the project, or whether it’s because it’s been captured on ‘film’.  Or, maybe the project would have been just as valued, regardless of the camera or outside influence – it’s difficult to know.

I wish there was a way for me to quickly and easily print out photos in the classroom, in order to leave the documentation with the child.  I know that I can send them to the teacher later, but it’s the immediacy of seeing the photos during centers, that seems more powerful.

My favorite sequence came from a small group of boys, who were experimenting with ramps and cars.  One boy in particular, M., wanted me to capture the cars in motion on the ramp.  I would love to get more cameras, for kids in our classrooms to use – I know M. would’ve been very interested in trying to capture the images himself.


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