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WebMentors Teacher Helpline: NYC Helpline: How To: Incorporate Technology in the Classroom

Documenting Your Year With iPhoto
Allisyn Levy

For the past few years, I’ve been using iPhoto to document my students, individually and as a class, throughout each year. Because I plan this early on, I set up a system that easily allows me to create a slideshow for each student, which I burn onto a CD and give as a graduation gift each June. Each year that I’ve done this, I’ve received positive feedback from the students and their families, expressing how much they love seeing the growth of their child during their time in my class. iPhoto makes this very easy to do. Throw in a little music, and you’ve got a tearjerker every time! (Note: iPhoto is Apple software; there are comparable programs designed for PCs.)

The very first thing I do to prepare for my individual student slideshows is create a new folder, or album for each student in my class (File à New Album, command-N, or click on the + sign on the bottom left of the screen). I name each folder with a student name, and also create a folder for our class, where I will save photos that I want to share with students and families periodically throughout the year, as well as any student teachers or paraprofessionals that will work with us.

Throughout the year, I take tons of digital photos. If you get into the habit of sorting your photos each time you import them into iPhoto from your digital camera, half the work is already done! Simply drag and drop each photo into whoever’s album you want it saved in. If there is a photo of two students, I drag the photo into both of their albums. If there is a photo that I want the entire class to have, I drag it into everyone’s folder. A bit tedious, but it goes quickly!

Every once in a while, I’ll click on each student’s album to make sure I have about the same number of photos for each student. This helps me realize who I need to take more photos of.

When I am ready to start making my slideshow for each student, I open each album, select all the photos in the album (and delete any that didn’t come out so well), and click on Slideshow on the bottom toolbar. In Slideshow mode I can create the setting I want for the slideshow, including transitions and music.  I choose the same song for all students – usually a “class song” that we’ve loved as a class throughout the year. Hit preview or play to try it out. Tears, right?

After I’ve set up a slideshow, I click Share on the top toolbar, and then Export. This will create a Quicktime movie (.mov file). You can also choose to send your slideshow to iDVD if you prefer to create a DVD for each student. Not all of my students have a DVD player, but I know that they can easily bring a CD to a library or a friend’s house to watch on any computer.

(To read how I use the same technique to create Multimedia Class Cards, click here.)

Creating this simple keepsake is an effective, and fun, way to bond with your students and their families. Try it and let me know your results. E-mail Allisyn.


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