Monday, our first full day with the kids, went way better than we could have hoped. We started by decorating nametags and doing some short introductory interviews, and ended the day by introducing the kids to the video cameras, still cameras, and computers. For many of them, it was their first time ever touching these things. Still, the pictures they took came out great, and they were excited to write on a website for the first time ever.

Day 1 photoshoot, take 1 Tuesday was a bit rockier. We were clearly riding high from our great interactions on Monday. We planned an activity where the students would be split into three groups based on the concepts of shooting to write and writing to shoot. Our main goal was to teach the students about how images and words work together to tell a story.

Writing turned out to be a much bigger challenge than we anticipated. The students were thrilled to take pictures, but when it came time to write they had a hard time connecting their ideas with the photographs. We didn’t explain this concept well and it really showed in the writing the students produced. The students could have used a really good primer, or example, on abstraction and how to write abstractly about photographs. We’re putting together a lesson on that for tomorrow, but it means cutting into time we had planned for other things.

The good news is, we reevaluated our plan for the workshop and now have a much stronger plan. We also realized that digital storytelling is a really powerful tool. Even though we lost focus today, the kids are still really enthusiastic about the project and can’t wait to keep working.