One Best Photo with Tanya Leadbeater

In June 2016, I published a community engagement project, One Best Photo, with Forestry England. In the first 3 months this free outdoor learning and technology resource has been downloaded across the UK, America, Canada and Australia. At the launch event held in Nottingham with Sherwood Pines, Early Years teacher Tanya Leadbeater downloaded the pack and took it back to her nursery. Church Vale Primary School say in their vision statement that they want their children to be life-long learners. Tanya helps to achieve this in her role as the Computing Co-ordinator by introducing new ways of teaching and learning across her school which motivates and engages their children. I am amazed by the quality of work the 3 year olds have produced from using One Best Photo and it is a pleasure to showcase their work here today. Thank you for sharing this Tanya! 

Tanya Leadbeater. Church Vale Primary School, Nottinghamshire.

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I have been teaching for 14 years and during this time have worked in two Nottinghamshire Primary schools and have taught classes in each Key Stage. In 2014, I began teaching in the Foundation Stage and have been teaching Foundation 1 children since. I work part-time and have two children of my own. As well as being class teacher, I am the Computing Coordinator which I have been for almost 10 years now. 

Visit Church Vale Primary School website here.

During the Summer Term 2016, the Foundation Stage 1 children used iPads to carry out tasks outlined in Marc Faulder’s ‘One Best Photo’. We plan Forest School activities weekly and F1 children have ‘Muddy Monday’ each week. As part of their Muddy Monday, we used the iPads to take photographs of natural objects using the school field and surrounding nature area. I was very keen to use technology outdoors as the children had not one-best-photo2experienced this before and they particularly enjoy taking photographs within the Foundation unit but have not been taught photography skills, thus resulting in many selfies and random shots of friends!
I used the basis of ‘One Best Photo’ for my planning and focused on 3 angles for taking photos from and close-ups of textures. The children had to take shots from the ground (for this, they lay on the ground with the iPad resting on the ground), one from eye level and one higher up (the children pointed the iPads as high as they could). After they had mastered this, they had to find a texture that they liked and take a close-up of it.

Before we took our photographs, we practised as a group and showed each other our work. My teaching assistant and I taught the camera skills as we went along and shared teaching points such as keeping the iPad as still as possible during the taking of photos and how to wait for the camera to focus before taking the shot. Each child had their own iPad and once we had practised a few of each kind of shot (one low, eye level and one high), they then chose areas which interested them and began to take their pictures and also captured different textures. At the end, they shared their favourites and I made collages using ‘PicCollage’ to display in the Foundation Unit.

The Result

I was amazed at the children’s natural talents for taking photos and the attention to detail that they had during the activity. Each child showed pride in their achievements and they took some truly stunning shots. They surprised themselves and wowed the staff with their eye for detail! I felt that it really made them look closely at nature and appreciate its beauty as well as teaching them to use a camera for a real purpose. When Marc shared his work during the iPad network, I just had to try out these ideas- I was so inspired! Of all the ‘Muddy Monday’ activities that I have planned during the year, this was definitely one of my favourites. The children were so focussed, so eager and so engaged in what they were doing- it was a joy to see them enjoying their learning so much.

Next Steps

I would really like to repeat this again with my new F1 children but have more sessions and more time to explore things such as creating black and white photos and panoramic views. I would also like to introduce the use of the ‘PicCollage’ app which we were unable to do before as we didn’t have it installed. For the new F2 class, they will continue their Forest Schools activities but this time in local forests and will be able to build on the skills they learned in F1.

A big massive thank you to Marc for sharing his amazing ideas and inspiring us teachers!

Download One Best Photo from Apple Books (Free)

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This course is designed to lead you through a photography project a Forestry England site.
This activity is self-lead at the forest site, where you will teach your children 3 photography skills: perspectives, close-ups and landsacpes. The course includes a recommended route to take through your forest which will help you to tell the story of a working forest through photography.
Forestry England have 3 priorities: people, wildlife and timber. Your children’s photographs should capture these stories through the 3 photography skills.
All of the apps, examples and resources are included in this guide are free.

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