Monthly Archives: November 2010


Taking Shots, Making Pictures!

by Michele Catania

Joseph Linaschke is a photographic storyteller and an educator. He’s been speaking to schools and educators in North America and Asia on integrating photography into their programs. Joseph’s message is the gift of photography has the power to make a difference. You don’t take a picture you make one!

Was Jospeh Linaschke teaching teachers to see this weekend at our school and how can we integrate it in our Middle school program, or are we already doing this?

ISB wants our kids to be effective learners, effective communicators, effective creators, and effective collaborators.

Looking at ISB Technology and Information Literacy Standards profile for Technology and Information Literate Students in our Middle School (grades 6–8, ages 11–14) we believe that students will become independent learners who read, view, listen and collaborate for pleasure, personal growth and to make connections with oneself and the world.

Our MS effective learners will be able to analyze images, audio and video communication to gain meaning from various contexts. (e.g. creating a Presentation Zen style presentation, digital storytelling)

Effective MS communicators present new ideas, understandings and information clearly and concisely, using effective design and layout. (e.g. use digital illustrations, sound, 3D representations, animations and video in non-linear and interactive genres-Presentation Zen).

Effective MS creators creatively represent ideas, information and/or thinking (e.g. create a digital story on their middle school trips using images and audio).

Effective collaborators effectively and consistently contribute ideas and products when collaborating with a group to complete a project, produce original works, and/or solve problems using a variety of media. (e.g. participates in group work, adds ideas and thoughts to a project).

All attending teachers, including myself (I totally lack the interest and have no patience to work with sophisticated photo cameras) felt enthused by Joseph’s creations and eventually by my own creations. I took made almost 200 pictures during the neighborhood walk guided by Joseph Linascke and learned how to look at things form a different angle. I agree with him that when you give students a camera to shoot pictures they will be focused if you hand them the tools and background knowledge and time to practice. Their MAKING of the images can be very purposeful in the attempt to make ISB TAIL Standards fit in with content learning and instruction happening in classrooms. Empower the teachers to empower their students.


Computer Skills and Reverse Instruction

Great topics for this week’s class that are very helpful for my teaching at this moment! How to fully engage students in learning during class time? Instead of sitting and listening, change the tasks to do at home, come back prepared ready to apply and practice the skills in class with our help as teachers. Reverse Instruction is similar to my teaching role as EAP humanities co-teacher. Knowing in advance what will happen in the core class helps me to prepare the students for my EAP classes. When they come back in the main stream, students will be prepared for, and become experts with some good comparison ready to share and apply their gained knowledge supported by content language.

Secondly my issue/questions about computer skills gets answered partly by reading David Warwick comment on the use of computer applications classes. How much should be taught, to everyone, by who? He suggests that we don’t need a checklist of skills each student needs to know. Instead  students should simply learn to apply computers to solve problems or accomplish goals.  It really doesn’t matter if they are covering all of the tools, or even if each student is mastering all of the same tools.  Students would simply learn how computers can help them do interesting things, and then gain the skills and confidence required to teach themselves, with the guidance of their teachers, the applications to make it happen. An independent study type course!  I really like it so much because I now know that I don’t need to know because someone else will know and will help me to learn it too!  The same idea applies to my EAP class; use computer skills and technology to show understanding and apply learning.

Lastly, by applying students will make contributions to our society which requires a new culture of teaching and learning that engages students as contributors. Our students have already chosen tools such as My Space and Facebook for their own communications and social interaction. Now is the time to take elements of these tools and provide students with the appropriate role models of how to use them to make important and rigorous contributions to their own school and beyond. If we do not teach students social responsibility and ethics, then our worst fears of children abusing these tools will come true.

Photo attribute: Homework on the Beach