About three years ago we started looking at a central storage space on our server for the many photos that were being taken daily across the school by children and staff. Each class has their own folder which makes it easy to grab a few photos to put together a photostory. We use photostory for many things at schools, from Headteacher’s reports to governors, to assemblies and pupil’s projects. It is one of the many free web tools that as a school we make great use of.
Photostory is a windows download that enables you to make slide shows, using your own music and text. You can manipulate transitions and timings. There are many other such programmes out there (animoto, photo peach, slide rocket etc…) but photostory is the one that really took off at Hawes Side.
As Head, I use photostory for two key reasons. At the end of each term I collect together photos from over the past months, showing a range of the things that have been going on in and out of school. I ask staff if there are key things I need to include, I check I have a good representation of each year group and then I put together a photostory with appropriate soundtrack to share with children and staff at our final assembly of the term. We then make that photostory available to parents via the school blog.
I also use photostory for my Headteacher’s report to the governors. They seem to prefer this to a lengthy written report! I play the photostory showing them what’s been happening in school over the term and punctuate this with detailed commentary on any areas that need further explanation. It also proves to be a good vehicle to prompt governors’ questions about what’s been going on in and around the place that they might have missed.
Classes make good use of photostory to motivate children, share ideas with them and to review topics. The children use photostory at home to complete homework tasks. A recent example was a Y4 pupil making a photostory at home to explain 3D shapes. Other great examples this year have included photostories about Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela for a famous people topic.
We ran photostory workshops for parents this year also. They loved being in school working with their children on the laptops! Lots of family photos were used to create some fantastic family photostories. It also means that the parents will get involved in school projects with the children now they know how they can help.
I’m sure there’s a lot more we can do with photostory and I know that this coming year I’ll be amazed, as always, by what the children and staff come up with.