Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Photography Activities for Kids (or Fun Adults!)

If you follow me on Twitter, Flickr, or Facebook, you may have seen some of the daily photography challenges I've done with friends over the past couple of months. I recently had a friend say she wanted to have her kids do a daily photography challenge over their summer break. I'm not sure why, but I never thought to encourage parents to have their kids do these challenges (probably because I don't have kids!). If you've ever thought about doing a daily photo challenge, don't worry that it's March 27, or that it's a Tuesday, or that you might miss a day. Just do it! Get your kids on board...make it a family affair by sharing everyone's picture at dinner time.

I'm sure you have many excuses - I did! So why should you do this? Why should you have your kids do this? Here's what I've noticed:

1. Doing a daily photograph generally increases my awareness throughout the day. It causes me to be "on guard" for pleasing compositions, interesting light, etc. It usually makes me more present in the moment. For example, if I had an awesome meal, I'll sit and reflect on it for a minute while I think about how to photograph it.
2. It helps me exercise creativity. I think you'll find the same thing. There will be days when the prompts aren't very inspiring, or YOU just don't feel inspired. However...a funny thing often happens - a few days later you'll take notice of something you could have photographed for that day's prompt...something you probably would have ignored before.

So, what are you waiting for? Start today! Get your kids to start! Call your friends to join the challenge with you! You can use a cell phone camera if you want! If you don't have a camera your kids can use, they could try drawing the prompts. Do you have another suggestion for how this could be modified for kids?

March One A Day #10 - "Loud"
(P.S. In case you were wondering, our March daily prompts come from here and although I have made at least one photograph every day since Jan. 1, I have missed/skipped some of the daily prompt suggestions. It's all good.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Multimedia Project - Integrated Education in Belfast, NI

I recently returned from a trip to Belfast, Northern Ireland in the UK where I began a project on Integrated Education. Here in the US, the word "integrated", in relation to education, probably conjures up thoughts of the racially separated schools in our past. However, in Northern Ireland, a school is "integrated" if it enrolls students of Catholic AND Protestants faiths, as well as those of other or no faith.

"Integrated Education can best be described as the bringing together in one school of pupils, staff and governors, in roughly equal numbers, from Protestant, Catholic, other faith and no faith backgrounds. It is about cultivating every individual´s self-respect and therefore their respect for other people and other cultures." - NICIE

The goal of these schools is not only to put students of different faith backgrounds into one school, but also to actively promote dialog about their similarities and to build respect for those of other faiths, beliefs, and cultures. There are currently only 61 integrated schools in all of Northern Ireland.

I will begin to share a little about my trip and the project as I dig into the photographs, video, and audio I captured from the three integrated schools I visited in Belfast. I'll also explain how I latched onto the idea of this project and why I am so interested in what these integrated schools are doing. Along with those posts, I'll share a little about what I've learned about this amazing country, their Troubles, and the hope they have for their future. I hope you'll find these things interesting and inspirational since I've discovered that many people I talk to here in the US don't know a lot about Northern Ireland. All the information l share will be from one person's perspective, but I hope to share a little about how these integrated schools are working for a better future.

In the meantime, I'll leave you with this image above. I walked up to a mural on one of the "peace walls" in the city and almost immediately saw this message. I don't know "Elizabeth" from Arizona, but her comment, "Peace Through Education" is a good summary of what I hope to share with this multimedia project.