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Dynamic Digital Cameras in the Classroom. GaETC 2006 Melanie Holbrook & Candace Frazier. Modified By: NSC ETTC Stephanie Milner 2007. Why use them?. Today’s students have been exposed to digital and video images all of their lives.

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dynamic digital cameras in the classroom

Dynamic Digital Cameras in the Classroom

GaETC 2006Melanie Holbrook & Candace Frazier

Modified By:


Stephanie Milner


Today’s students have been exposed to digital and video images all of their lives.
  • The need for visual literacy skills rivals the need for traditional literacy.
  • Activities and projects completed with digital images compliment all curriculum areas and most learning styles, especially visual and kinesthetic.
Digital photography activities are not about taking pictures, but using the camera as a tool to help you explore and understand other subjects.
  • Activities and projects do not have to be fancy, long, expensive, or even pretty. They only have to capture the attention and enthusiasm of our children.
The use of digital cameras and images also addresses the point that technology is merely a tool we use to educate our children.
  • We should bend technology to meet our needs instead of letting it drive our activities. Our main goal as teachers is to help students learn the curriculum.
Digital pictures are immediate, versatile, colorful, interactive and successfully engage the attention of students.
  • The products of these lessons are wonderful tools for reinforcement and review.
  • Using digital cameras will stimulate and motivate both students and teachers. The subjects that this technology can be used with are limited only by the imagination.
The majority of activities presented in this session can be completed with as little as one camera, computer and printer set-up or with a lab full of equipment.
  • You do not even really need a digital camera. You can scan existing prints and create a CD or request a CD when you have your film developed.
The basic word processor and picture viewers that come pre-loaded on most computers can be used to replicate these projects (ex. Note Pad, Word Pad, Microsoft Photo Editor & Media Player or iPhoto & iLife). Picasa is also a great photo editing tool.
  • You can also use KidPix, Kidspiration, and Inspiration for many of these activities.
PowerPoint (MS Office), Photo Story (free), & Keynote (Apple iWork) are easy to use for presentations and publishing.
  • Most word processing and presentation software also have basic editing tools built in.
  • Digital cameras usually come with some type of photo editing software included.


people abc books
People ABC Books

Have students pose as letters of the alphabet. You could use upper grade students for the upper case letters and the younger students for the lower case.


Adjectives describe nouns.

The car drove down the street.


sequence of events
Sequence of Events

Take a series of pictures to illustrate a sequence of events. Taking the pictures by themselves helps the students to focus on the correct order.

photo book reports
Photo Book Reports

Let the students arrange and photograph items in a way that tells about a particular book. Use one photo or a series of photos depending on the complexity of the plot in each book.



In Our


By Mrs. Frazier's

Math Class


Triangle- A polygon with three sides. (A polygon is a closed plane figure with line segments as sides.)






shapes in nature

Shapes in Nature

Students walk around the schoolyard to identify & take pictures of naturally occurring shapes.

Use KidPix to let the students draw the shape on top of the pictures.

Count how many pictures you found of each shape. Graph your results.

fraction number books
Fraction Number Books
  • Take photos of sets, parts of sets, etc. Use fraction bars, dominoes, dice, counter shapes, tiles.
  • Extension: Add the decimal representations to each page. (KidPix or PowerPoint).


animal vegetable or mineral

Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral?

PSE 2005-’06 5th Grade Students

name that animal
Name That Animal
  • Use photos to show the different parts of an animal in isolation.
  • Let the students guess what animal it is. Why did they guess that animal?
labels please
Labels Please

Use pictures to label the parts of something. You can combine this activity with “Name that Animal” and show the parts you want the students to label in isolation.


How many of these objects are made of metal?, plastic?, rock?, etc.

i can books
“I Can …” Books

Students take pictures of each other engaged in daily tasks for a book about things they can do. I can read, I am writing, I am walking.

season books
Season Books
  • Have the students go outside and take a picture of an object that tells them what season it is.
  • Let them draw the same object in KidPix.
  • Print both pictures out for a class seasons book


A Photo Book by Mrs. McAllister’s Kindergarten Class November 2005

how does our garden grow

How Does Our Garden Grow?

A Spring Gardening project by Mrs. McAllister’s Kindergarten class 2005-’06

2 5 are red 3 5 are white

3/6 Brown

3/6 Green

2/5 are red 3/5 are white

solids liquids and gases
Solids, Liquids and Gases

Go on safari to collect photos of objects depicting the different classifications of matter.

photo venn diagram
Photo Venn Diagram

Use pictures of two different objects to create a Venn diagram. Students can fill in the similarities and differences more easily as they look at the pictures.

machines at work
Machines at Work

Take pictures of items that show examples of machines from simple to compound.

food pyramid
Food Pyramid

Create a large scale food pyramid by arranging pictures of school food on the wall in the proper locations. The photos can double as a cafe menu.

i m an animal
I’m an Animal
  • Let students paste a picture of their face on a picture of an animal and write fantasy stories from the view point of the animal.
  • Younger students can dress or disguise themselves as animals and then caption the pictures with animal facts.
digital science scavenger hunts
Digital Science Scavenger Hunts

Create a list of items you want the students to identify (plant parts, types of rocks, etc) Take your students outside to take pictures of the items on the list as “evidence”.

physical chemical change
Physical & Chemical Change

Before and after pictures illustrating the principles of physical and chemical change. Ex. paper/wood & ashes, water & ice. Grow some “Magic Rocks” and use the pictures in a time lapse show.

esol school dictionaries
Students take pictures of common school items and places. Caption the pictures with the translations for each language spoken by your students. Common phrases can also be added. ESOL School Dictionaries








english please ingl s por favor
English Please ¿Inglés Por favor?

Send ESOL students around the school to take photos of things they don’t know how to say in English. They can work with English speaking classmates to create a presentation showing all forms of the word.



community books

Community Books

Use pictures of different places in the community to make community ABC books or a presentation on community members / jobs.

environmental print
Environmental Print
  • Take pictures of easily recognizable signs around town to create a book for K and 1st Grade students entitled, "____’s I Can Read" Book.
Do you have permission to take and use this child’s photo?
  • Do your students wear name tags? If so, is the name visible in the picture?
when to take pictures
When to Take Pictures
  • Take a camera everywhere and build a stock photo library. Appoint class photographers to capture classroom activities for use in newsletters, web pages, etc. Also, take the camera on field trips to document the experience!
  • Have older students move the pictures into category folders
Take pictures of each step in any procedure and number them.  This is especially helpful in learning centers and during experiments since they allow students to see what they need to do.
  • Try to take pictures for several projects at the same time. Split the students into groups. While one group is setting up the next can be taking pictures, etc. This makes it easier with only one camera.
being prepared
Being Prepared
  • Always have extra charged batteries, floppy disks and/or memory cards. Our oldest Sony Mavica came with a separate charger which comes in really handy. Check around your school to see if you have one.
  • Use cameras with straps and insist the students let them hang around their necks so that will be safe from dropping.
Train the students on how to use the cameras in very small groups. It is helpful to let them take pictures and then go over them together as a large group to discuss which shots are the best and why.
  • You can adjust cameras to take smaller, but still great pictures so that you have plenty of memory on trips.
taking the pictures
Taking the Pictures
  • Place the photos that the kids have taken into PowerPoint (or other programs) and have the students add any necessary captions, etc.
  • You can also opt to take the pictures for students to add to, manipulate, etc.
Try limiting the number of pictures each student can take. This forces them to be more discerning about what they photograph.
  • Sometimes taking the picture is enough. The focus required to select and photograph an object fitting the assigned category does the job.
publish with powerpoint
Publish with PowerPoint
  • Print your pictures in different sizes for books and mini-posters
  • Videotape for playback via TV
  • Publish on your school web page.
  • Create a Movie Maker document to make the images come to life for the kids.
Train your students to complete sections of the process. Have a photographer, printer, author, etc.
  • With younger students it is best to create a template for the actual project. Save copies in several places on a network drive for when someone invariably saves their blank page on top of the template.
  • Sound can be easily added to most presentations.
Not enough photos to finish the presentation? Use clip art, Flickr and Google images.
  • When you use copyrighted items use it as an opportunity to practice copyright awareness*. You can even find pictures on the web and e-mail the author for permission to use it in a class project.
Tape all of the multimedia presentations you create and show them on your school’s closed-circuit cable system as “subliminal” messages.
  • Post your photos on a free site so students and parents can view them from home. Make sure to follow legal protocol and get permission from your principal before doing this, though.
You will need at least one digital camera, either still or video to complete these projects.
  • Ask your friends, church or service group members to donate older model digital still and video cameras and memory cards they outgrew when they upgraded.

Any printer will work. The 2 most common are:

  • Color Inkjet Printer   (Fast-Draft)
  • Laser Printer - black and whites prints are even preferable with some projects
4x6 photo printer
4x6 Photo Printer
  • Slots for memory cards
  • Easy uploading and sharing of pictures.
  • Works without a computer
Activities can be done with print-outs or on computers. There is nothing wrong with using paper and glue with your photos. The actual physical manipulation is a big plus for some students.
  • Scanners can be used to create collages that illustrate many of the same topics as these activities.
Depending on the project there are some fairly inexpensive photo papers. Often the dollar store has it.
  • You can also use paper preprinted with a relevant design to print your pictures (i.e. use a fall theme to publish such projects as: Shape Jack-‘O-Lanterns, Wanted –Turkey’s, or elements of fall).
  • Use plastic page protectors and report covers to publish materials.
You can buy any size, shape or color Photo Albums for $1.00 at certain stores.
  • Younger students will enjoy decorating pages with relevant stickers (i.e. students could place a snowflake sticker on each page of a book about winter).
Posters that can be used as back drops are great. A poster of anything from a lake to a town can be used to arrange items.
to be continued
To be continued
  • Check here for frequent updates and the addition of new projects. http://www.ettcnsc.org
  • Have an idea? E-mail us and we will add it to the list.
  • Have a great project? Send us the link? milnerst@ettcnsc.org