Day 137 (of 184) a picture is worth…
1000 words – or so ‘they’ say! I’ve been thinking about the power of pictures lately for a couple of key reasons:
– my schools shift to eportfolios instead of report cards is bringing to fruition the notion of an idea I had when a school I was at was ‘pushing the envelope’ on reporting instruments – specifically opening the conversation about ‘standardized report cards’. Our school did a lot of re-imagining to work out a device that would allow different teachers to report student achievement on a common report (we did a lot of platooning) and enable for personalized comments to be entered. That then led me to ‘push a bit more’ and do a sample report package that did not have teacher comments in the different subject comment areas. Instead I put in a representative sample of the students work – in essence if a picture is worth 1000 words, might that not be better? At the time, though my principal liked the concept he felt “the time wasn’t quite right”. A decade later we now have photos videos and audio clips along with PDFs of student work all archived in a portfolio via our friends at @freshgrade (www.freshgrade.com) I didn’t realize then, but appreciate now that the mindset shift needed to occur where we (as educators) no longer strictly “report student achievement” (summative focus) but instead “communicate student learning” (formative assessment). And pictures truly show a lot more about what is happening in a students learning journey than #s & letters can (well, perhaps if you use a 1000 words, but what report card comment box can accommodate that many words without going to 3 pt font).
– after 137 days of blogging each day when formal learning occurs (school day plus professional development days) I confirmed what I first thought: too many days of repeating the same activity is rough. I recall one of my teacher ed professors having us do a journal after he read us a chapter out loud each day. After two weeks many of my fellow teacher-candidates were willing to rebel. He finally broke character and said: exactly. Don’t do this with your students.
The difference is that I chose to do this with myself. And as I think about next year and/or colleagues say they want to do the 184 Days of Learning challenge, I say “don’t”. However, do reflect on your learning & doing. But don’t constrain yourself by a single format. Next year I will blend written blogs with photos videos and ???
To practice I launched @picsined where I am tweeting out photos that I have been inspired by and hope will connect with other educators. And next year a multimedia blog to share my own learning!