The premise is simple. Document something about your classroom every day. For the entire school year. I heard about the idea from Frank Noschese, who ran through it for the 2011-12 school year. It can be as simple as just taking a picture or as a way to build some writing chops by taking a picture and describing the classroom activity that went along with it. I set a goal this of completing the task myself to see what it would be like.

By February, it was pretty clear this was the best thing I could've done and one of the best aspects of the school year. There are a lot of little things that kick in once you get going with this kind of project. At first I had some issues remembering to take photos and I missed some days here and there. I also did not recenter my website around the idea, but added it as a complementary feature. Even without writing about each individual day, the photos are a fantastic reference for remembering the lessons I do want to write up in detail. Having to take a photo everyday also makes sure that the lessons/ideas I want to write about have plenty of visuals. In the day of Dropbox apps on smartphones, photos can be on your computer waiting before class ends.

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The absolute biggest aspect of the project though, is that it inspires ideas worth documenting. If your classroom is full of repetitive notetaking and worksheets, this sort of thing is going to make that clear pretty quickly. After a while, half the fun of planning some of my projects this year is the excitement of knowing I get to document it and put it in my gallery. And now as I head into the summer, I remember so much more about what we did this year. I had a goal of taking advantage of each classes' weekly block day as much as possible, and now I have a ton of pictures to refer back to when analyzing the success of an activity.

Secondary bonus, if you have a structured staff appraisal system, a 180 Photo Gallery is the perfect resource to raid when it comes time to show off how you implemented target strategies, technology, or prove to people that your room is as fun as everyone has heard.

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The 180 Photo movement got some traction this year. I was so happy to participate, if anything for my own ability to learn some more about what my room might look like to others. Though Posterous, the blog mechanism that made this easy, was shut down earlier this year, there are still a lot of teachers sharing the daily life of their rooms.

I encourage you to think about trying some version of the idea next school year.

Posted
AuthorJonathan Claydon