Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Perspectives from an Early Childhood Educator

posted on behalf of Hope Dillon, Mesa Public Schools educator

I was lucky to receive a grant last year to pay for a laptop for my classroom. Although we always encourage family members to volunteer in the classroom, not many do or are able. However, someone always picks up and drops off the preschooler. This is an opportunity to present photographs and short videos of the students at work during the day. It provides a "window into the classroom" for those family members who aren't able to be in the classroom.

What I do is, every day before pick up, I upload the many pictures I've taken during the day. Then I set those to play as a slide show. I have hooked up the laptop to another monitor so that there are two places to see the slideshow. The sign in/out book is placed between the two monitors. As family members are picking up their children, they are able to see the photos of what their children have done during that day. Some families stay and watch the whole slideshow, others just watch it as they are waiting in line to sign in/out.

Every day of the week I add that day's photos to the slideshow so that on Friday, we have a slideshow from the whole week. Because there are so many photos, we start a new slideshow every week.

I post my lesson plans on the parent board, send newsletters home to families explaining what we are studying, but pictures really capture the interest of the families. It allows families to see what we are studying in class and the activities we do. I don't have to print all the pictures I take, like I tried to do in past years. Instead, the photos are still shared, but on the computer. This allows me to print only specific photos in documentation panels to highlight focused studies such as the different ways of interacting with playdough or structures we make with blocks.

The parents' response to the slideshow has been extremely positive. Now everyone wants to know how they can get the pictures. So, my next project, I'm afraid, is going to have to be a class website. I'll let you know how it goes!

No comments: