My name is Polly Youngs and I am an Early Years Teacher at Brookside Primary School. I have a passion for Early Years and outdoor learning and love to try out new and exciting ideas in my classroom. I have been on a couple of training courses with Marc and the latest course was called ‘One Best Photo’. As soon as we began the training and I saw Marc’s children’s work, I knew I needed to try it! Marc showed us how to introduce the topic, photography skills to focus on and how to use the Pic Collage app. I came away excited to try it with my class and I have been amazed at what my nursery class have achieved.
Before our trip we spent time using the iPad devices to look at different ways of taking photos and how to use Pic Collage. Children explored the various options including changing the background, the layout and adding text.
We also spoke about how to take a good photo. We typically had a camera roll full of feet, the floor and blurriness. We discussed this in group times and thought about how to take a good photo. We decided that first we needed to really think about what we wanted to photograph, then point the iPad at it and then try to hold the iPad really still whilst we pressed the button to take the photo. The children photography skills improved really quickly.
In the picture above, one of the nursery children, who is 3 years old, has taken 3 photos, arranged them into a grid and is finding the letters to type her name. This covered various areas of the Early Years Curriculum including Technology, Reading, PSED and Communication and Language. It was great I was able to sit with children 1-1 to discuss their options, extend their learning in so many areas and see them proud of their final creation.
We then went on a trip to Hicks Lodge, a National Forest and Forestry Commission site. We combined the One Best Photo project with the virtual reality Gruffalo trail. Whilst exploring, children were encouraged to use their photography skills to take the best photos they could of the scenery or anything they found interesting. Children loved having the responsibility of carrying an iPad around and it was noticed by other adults how much time and care they were taking to get the best ‘shot’ they could. Children took photos of flowers up close, the view of the lake and a windmill in the distance, to name a few. Then one child found something very interesting on the floor and I could see her crouched down taking a photo. She then explained to me that she was taking a photo of some animal tracks she had found and then followed them to see what she could find. This then sparked the imagination of other children who thought it could have been the Gruffalo!
Staff and parents have been really impressed with the photography skills children have developed. What I have loved about using Pic Collage is the individual and personalised collage each child has made. Each collage looks completely different and it tells me a lot more about the child’s characteristics of learning by the photos they have taken, the layout they chose and the patterns or colours used for the background.
Overall, this has been a great project and I will definitely be doing this again next year. Thank you Marc!