As my district prepares to “go back” to school (we are eLearning for the foreseeable future) one of the concepts I’ve heard a lot about is Zero Week.
If you’re like me, you had never heard of Zero Week before this moment. Here’s the easy explanation: during the first week, focus on ZERO content. Instead, focus on class culture, get to know you activities, team building, and returning to a more normal school environment.
While I’m happy that my district is starting remotely, I am more nervous about the first week than ever before. How do I build a relationship with a student I don’t see and interact with the way that I normally would.?
Enter digital storytelling. Over the summer I was lucky enough to pilot a National Geographic Education course, “Storytelling for Impact in Your Classroom: Photography.” From that course I learned how NatGeo photographer tell the story of the places they see. I’m going to have students tell me their stories using images and text.
Here’s the simple version:
- You can only appear in your title slide picture – all other images should explain who your are without you being in them
- On your title slide you can should write a 50-100 word intro to yourself in third person
- The other slides should tell your story in 5-8 images (ideally taken by you). You can include a 2 sentence caption (again in third person)
- Have fun with this!
I also included a few (certainly not all) of the tips I learned from National Geographic about taking good pictures. The thing is, some of these students are far better at photography than adults I know because of Instagram, Snapchat, & TikTok.
I included my example so that students know a little more about me and see how to simple this can be.
Will this be a perfect replacement for getting to know my students? Not at all. But it helps them to take control of their story and share some of their interests with me.
- having students share 1 slide of their digital story with a small Zoom breakout group.
- asking the question of what other people (siblings, parents, friends, teammates, etc.) might include if they were telling your story.
- using one image as their Zoom background to protect their privacy in class meetings and let their peers know a tiny bit about them.
What are some ways that you are planning to replicate the “get to know you” activities in a virtual environment? I’d love to know more!