Sunday, 11 January 2015

Photo Challenges and How They Inspire The 3Cs: Collaborating, Connecting, and Creating

I love social media based photo challenges. My students just started doing our #mathphotoaday challenge and they are loving it! Their love for this challenge has only reinforced my believe in the power of the simple yet so effective #mathphotoaday.

Before I share why I love photo challenges like #mathphotoaday and how they inspire the 3Cs (Collaborating, Connecting and  Creating) I thought I'd share the more important viewpoint; my students. In education we need to be more focused on the students learning and their views so here's their point of view. I've asked them why they love it and for them it comes down to a few things:

1. It's fun.
2. They get to take photos that they can share and ask questions about the math in the photo.
3. They get to look at other classes photos and answer their questions about math.
4. Oh and did I mention it's fun.

The more I think about the reasons why I love photo challenges are very similar to my students. I love how they get enthusiastic by math. We do the photo challenge as our bell work in the morning in their groups and most groups are done and ready to share on Instagram by the time announcements come on. They are truly finding it fun and this love of it has transferred into our new Daily 3 Math program. The students are excited for the daily math photo challenge. Also, I love how the photo challenge (and other photo challenges like #eduphotoaday) allows for the 3Cs.

The students collaborate in their groups to come up with a way to show the photos. They are actively  engaging in a math conversation on what ways they can do show the math prompt. They work together and try different ways to do it.  It has been the best collaboration they have done this year.

Photo challenges like #mathphotoday allow students to connect with students outside of our community to see how they interpret the math concepts as well as ask them questions and answer theirs. It is just another great way to connect using social media.

Another amazing outcome of the challenge is the creativity that comes with it. We talked about boring ways to show some of the math photo prompts and they started coming up with creative ways to create and show a math concept instead. For example, we showed skip-counting by using people. We had a row of 3 people, a row of 6 people, and a row of 9 people. Even our principal and vice principal got in on the skip-counting #mathphotoaday.

It is my belief as a teacher that student engagement is crucial for learning to happen and #mathphotoaday and other photo challenges are a great way to do while also; collaborating, connecting, and creating.

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