The Power of an Image

Are your students enthusiastic about learning new things?

How do teachers introduce a new unit?
Using an image to provoke class discussion is something teachers have been doing for many years, but how about sparking an in-depth discussion with your class using the said image? This blog post is written to show how Google Apps, carefully chosen stimulus, and good questions can spark a good discussion and make them curious to start learning a new unit of inquiry.

  • What do you see? 
  • What do you think is going on? 
  • What makes you wonder? 

During a recent Google Summit, Kaori Sensei introduced me to this idea of connection. Are students able to make a connection to the image in question?

Google Apps

I believe that using tech should not be used as a gimmick, and that should be purposeful. Technology is a tool and should be used as such; to support and enhance teaching & learning.

With that said, I have taken the above image and embedded it in a Google Form. Often students are reluctant to feedback in front of their peers, but with the use of this form the feedback is anonymous and the quality of their work is much better. I often use SEE THINK WONDER with students to provoke discussion? Most recently with my grade five class.

Next step: Use Google Sheets analyse your class responses and see what it looks like as a pie chart.

How do you use an image to spark your students' interest? 

I would love to hear from you with ways you are starting your Unit of Inquiry!

Leave a comment and tweet me @MrTowse

Chinese New Year 2016

#Gong Xi Fa Cai

#Gong Hey Fat Choy

Best wishes

Visit our Elementary School Blog to find out how we celebrated our international mindedness here at Seisen International School.

Also, see how students used Epic! to find out more about #ChineseNewYear

Photoshop or PhotoNot?

Photoshop or PhotoNot?

That was the question!

"Two photos that show you shouldn't believe everything you see on Instagram" A recent news article by i100 from Independent.

Photoshop or PhotoNot?


What do you see?
  • I see two girls
  • Girls with pink hair
  • Girl with beautiful hair
  • Girl with beautiful smile
What do you think is going on?
  • makeover
  • showing why we should comb our hair
  • using makeup is nice
What makes you wonder?
  • if they know each other
  • if they use the same place for hair
  • if they are the same person
  • are they, sisters?

The Phenomena

The phenomena of social media and the unfortunate instances I see and hear about more and more cause me to worry. During our first planning meeting of the unit, several weeks ago, I was reading articles that were filled with alarming figures and disturbing statistics. With this said, it is units like this current grade five one that fills me with hope.

From the outset, I was eager to be a part of this Unit of Inquiry. I wanted the girls to see for themselves how social media, the news and celebrity icons often promote the idea that you must attain a particular "look" or meet a "standard" to be beautiful. Most disappointing is that they encourage this via photoshop and digital enhancement.

Student Question: Does social media impact on body image? 

News article we found while researching: what are your thoughts?

Student Provocation: Spending a lot of time on social media sites, such as Instagram can make girls self-conscious of their body image.

The girls found this news article to support this statement.

They also found this blog post! Does Facebook influence body image? Read Daniel Caley's blog post here.

Students were highly engaged and motivated to think more deeply about their own perceptions of themselves and others - with 90% coming to see the more natural image would give them a better sense of feeling and enhance self-esteem as opposed to the image that had been edited with Snapseed, which most students branded as "fake." That said, students commented that they were likely to add filters to their next photos - I mean, who doesn't?

Please take the time to read some student perspectives on this matter - Photoshop or PhotoNot?

I think that photoshopping a picture isn’t the correct thing to do because you need to accept the way you are because you are perfect the way you are and how you were created.

social media can make us think that we want to be like the models or famous people that are in magazines

Because of Photoshop, people think that the photoshopped images are more beautiful and real. However, the photoshopped image does not represent the real person.

Surprisingly, after I saw the difference, I actually preferred my natural look!

Our current unit discusses self-esteem and body image, this task has made me realise that we do not need to use photoshop apps to feel good about ourselves.

We can use it to make little tweaks however I disagree with using photoshop to change your whole face.

I would love to hear from other teachers, parents, students and professional regarding this matter!

As always leave me a comment or tweet me @MrTowse

Global Citizen - How Internationally Minded Are You?

I have been somewhat delaying the publishing of this blog post for a couple of weeks now. I've been using the time to reflect on my personal and professional approach to being internationally minded. What does internationally minded LOOK like?

Using Word Foto App to transform our School Logo!

Thanks to Ms. Debbie Tai and Ms. Natalie Kunst (our IB PYP workshop leaders) as well as my fellow teachers and friends, I enjoyed two great days of professional development.

The vibe in the room was electric! It was a fantastic opportunity to really examine my own practice as well as connect with my fellow colleagues on a deeper level.

In groups, we analysed our current practices (as a school and department as well as the individual thoughts). We were given time to work in grade level teams to plan learning engagements to support the development of International-Mindedness within units of inquiry and, being the ICT integrator, it got me thinking!

What resources and strategies do I use in teaching and learning, and then convey to homeroom teachers?

Grade One students have been exploring how celebration and tradition are expressed.  I am privileged and proud to be a part of such a fantastic unit and true example of being internationally minded.  Check out our Padlet; we would love to hear from you!

Another thing I was able to think long and hard about was the power of a name!  Take a couple of minutes out of your day and think about your name.
  • What does it mean? 
  • Where does it originate from? 
  • What does your name really mean to you?

Finally, I am currently looking at ways to use this trailer in the classroom. If you have used this or something similar - I would love to hear from you!  As always, leave a comment or Tweet Me!

~Mr Towse

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