One Best Photo with Polly Youngs

In the summer of 2016, I worked with the education rangers at Sherwood Pines to developScreen Shot 2016-05-22 at 09.05.04 a free technology toolkits for use at Forestry Commission sites. One Best Photo is an outcome from this partnership and is a resource that can be used with early years and primary aged children. In the planning pack, teachers learn how to teach photography skills to young learners whilst children capture the relationship between people, wildlife and timber. This resource is available for free on iTunes and the education rangers at Sherwood Pines are welcoming groups to their forest to use this pack for free. All you need to do it pack up your iPad devices and get your group to the forest!
Since publishing, One Best Photo has made its away to classes around the UK and across the world. Recently, Polly Youngs attended one of the many events One Best Photo has featured at and was inspired to use it with her nursery class. Polly tells a story of using One Best Photo in her setting where children used Pic Collage and the iPad camera. She then arranged a trip to their local Forestry Commission site to apply these skills and capture striking images of people, wildlife and timber; the three key principles of the Forestry Commission.
Thank you for writing in and sharing this work with me Polly, over to you!

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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.

Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 19.42.11Before 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.

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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!


Thank you Polly, and the team at Brookside Primary School, for working with me over the past few years! I always enjoy hearing about your school and the exciting teaching and learning that happens in your school with Apple technology.
 One Best Photo (Free)

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This course is designed to lead you through a photography project a Forestry Commission site.
This activity is self-lead at the forest site, where you will teach your children 4 photography skills: perspective, texture, black & white and panorama. 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.
The Forestry Commission have 3 priorities: people, wildlife and timber. Your children’s photographs should capture these stories through the 4 photography skills.
All of the apps, examples and resources are included in this course are free.
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