Tag Archives: scavenger hunt

Let’s Go On a Scavenger Hunt! SOL23 Day 10

The rain held off until after lunch, so my students and I headed out to explore our school campus through our camera lenses (iPads for them). Yesterday I wrote a post about teaching students some photography techniques, today we put those techniques to use as we tracked down and photographed ten items on our scavenger hunt. I adapted some ideas from the book, Go Photo! An Activity Book for Kids, with some more concrete subjects (something bumpy) and some more abstract subjects (speed). And even when my students wanted answers, I encouraged them to figure out what to take a photo of to represent the item on the list.

Students set off to explore our playground area in search of the items on their list. I encouraged them to take their own photos and not to all take the same photos (first graders do like to copy each other). I love watching the creativity and engagement when students have a task to complete and open-ended possibilities to accomplish it. On our gloomy about-to-rain day, reflection was a challenge. When I asked a student about it, he pointed me to a piece of plastic under the climbing structure that was reflecting light. I like that kind of creativity. Water was another challenge–and it wasn’t long into our exploration that I heard a student saying, “The ocean is right over there!”

While I watched students and photographed them in action, I also participated in the scavenger hunt. I missed a few items along the way, but enjoyed the creative process as well. For reflection, I cozied up to the play structure, thinking metal would reflect. I managed a glimpse of my student’s red sweatshirt reflected in the metal. I used to bug’s eye view technique, getting low and close.

I noticed the group of 4 soccer balls, just sitting there, for my “rest” photo. Again I got close and low. I like the way the macro feature on my phone camera blurs the palms in the distance.

Like my students, I was also drawn to the ocean as my water shot. I used the palm trees as a way to frame the water in the distance.

When we returned to the classroom I had students go through their photos and list what technique they used for each item on their scavenger hunt list. I like that they needed to examine their photos carefully and determine which item was which, and what techniques they had put to use.

So now it’s your turn. Head outside or even take a look around the house. What photos might you take to document each item? What photography technique will you use to frame and enhance your photo–or just give it a more unique perspective? I’d love to see and hear what you come up with!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scrutinize

Kids love big words…and we delight our students each week by including a new (big and sophisticated) word each day in our morning message. They use context clues to guess the meaning, building on their understanding each day (and if they listen carefully, by our use in our conversation and instruction too).  Once we reveal the word at the end of the week, we also come up with a gesture…and forever after, whenever they hear the word they use the gesture to indicate their understanding.

I often find myself using the vocabulary word more often once it debuts in our classroom–and this is certainly true of this week’s word: scrutinize. I was scrutinizing the abundance of frothy foam on the beach…resulting from the aftermath of rain (wind and runoff).  It was like someone’s washing machine overflowed on the beach.


I noticed some kids on the beach…in wetsuits and winter hats playing in the foam.  It seemed to echo what I imagine its like for kids to play in the snow.  I couldn’t resist snapping a shot.  You can see it here.

We recently launched a study of some photographers…by reading a couple of fine picture book biographies.  Both Ansel Adams and Dorothea Lange are inspiring our students to try their hands at photography.  We sent them out on a photography scavenger hunt, asking them to take photos from various vantages (worm’s eye, bird’s eye, side view, find lines…).  We set them loose on campus and let them explore.  And of course, I was also exploring.  Shadow was one of the categories…


I love the intergenerational learning going on here with one of our third graders mentoring our lovely 80+ year old Esther on the scavenger hunt. You can see the two of them scrutinizing their checklist.


The following day we asked them to scrutinize their images and figure out how to improve one.  We set out again–and I worked to improve my photo of the swing set.  I was working to capture the lines (diagonal and straight) in the side view.


And I couldn’t resist this one of a student laying on the ground under our tall palm tree, shooting straight up in his attempt to improve on a photo taken the day before.


As the rain moved out, sunny but chilly weather moved in.  I’ve been out walking most every day, delighting in the low tides this week.  For two days in a row now I’ve come across a great white egret feeding in the tide pools–and even though my lens isn’t quite zoomy enough to get great images, I’ve been watching and photographing this guy.

Today as I chatted with a fellow photographer (she said she’s seen this egret three days in a row), I caught a shot of the egret scrutinizing itself. Actually, it was probably scrutinizing the water for food but it’s fun to think this gorgeous, elegant creature was simply admiring its reflection in the water.


And what is a tide pool visit without a glimpse at a sea anenome.  I often scrutinize these flower-like creatures in the pools of water revealed at low tide.  The algae is colorful this time of year creating a little garden under the briny water.


So, what are you scrutinizing this week?  What’s making you look closely and pay special attention?  Is your camera helping you notice something you haven’t seen before?  In the words of Dorothea Lange:

The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.

You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #scrutinize for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.

Scrutinize your world and let your camera teach you how to see…and share your results with the rest of us!