I, Joy Kirr, am a middle school teacher, author, and speaker. My 7th grade ELA (English Language Arts) classes are working to improve their lives through student-directed learning - without marks throughout the year. This is a log of my learning experiences... Want to have me speak with your staff or facilitate a workshop? Here is my PORTFOLIO.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Pictures ARE Worth a Thousand Words

I wanted to share with you one more thing I learned in Boston at the BLC12 conference...

I had so many theoretical ideas swirling around my brain, I needed to take a step back. I had introduced myself face to face with Sylvia Rosenthal Tolisano (@Langwitches) the night before, and I decided to head to her session entitled "Presentation 21 Makeover." She'd told me she'd talk more about the impact pictures can have on an audience (or class) than the words projected.  Off I went. (See her slides from the presentation here.)

The biggest lesson I learned - Forget bullet points. The photograph is the most important part. The photograph is what the audience will remember. You have to figure out - what is your message?

Sylvia had some stunning photographs - some she'd taken from other sites (and given credit, of course!), and others she had taken herself.  One question everyone was thinking was raised - where do you get your photographs? Sylvia had a slide with sites to search, but what my brain heard, from all she was describing... "I've been taking my own." When I got home, I went to the library to check out a book, and found this...

I love my camera, but I only had the iPad with me with my list of books to check out. Also, I had to take the pictures from up above, or else I'd get the frame from the painting that was behind this cute pair in my picture. (It was right above her head - I've named her Emma...)

I posted one of my many pics on our Flickr T365Project group, and Sylvia responded, "The bronze book screams to have a quote on it!" Yes. I noticed that as well when I got home and uploaded them. I looked through my pictures, and noticed this one might be more conducive to "writing" on the book...

Alas. I knew I had to go back to the library, use my Canon Rebel XTi, and get a different perspective. (Is my passion for photography one of my geniuses?) I suddenly absolutely needed this picture for my parent night slides. I'd reviewed them after Sylvia's presentation, and knew I didn't have a ton of bullet points, but knew I still had too many. I wanted ONE idea on each picture. And I needed my own pictures, not pictures I had Googled! For shame! (I really was astounded at all the pictures I'd just plopped right into the Keynote! I did have the resources on each page, but were they really available for my use??? See Bloggers Beware!)

So I went back today, and captured this shot:

Now, you've seen the other two pictures, and you know that it's a boy and girl on a bench reading a book. But without the previous pictures to aid you, can you still figure it out from this picture? And just WHAT could I write on that book?

Here's where you could help - please join this conversation and put your thoughts on the comments. Do you think this picture could work? What quote would YOU put on the book? I won't write back, as I just want to know what you think, but I thank you ahead of time for your two cents!


  1. Joy,
    What a great story! I love that you and Sylvia connected at BLC12, and that you learned more about the power of images from her. I'm heading to the library now, and I may be inspired to take another photo similar to this. I'll share it with you when I do.

    Anyway, there are a million things I could write on that book, if it were big enough.

    Perhaps: "Books are a uniquely portable magic." ~Stephen King

    “If you cannot find yourself on the page very early in life, you will go looking for yourself in all the wrong places.” ~Richard Peck

    “We read to know that we are not alone.” ~William Nicholson

    Have fun!

  2. Joy,
    Silvia is a wonderful presenter and I am so glad you took the opportunity to be a part of her session. Quotes for your book-
    "Reading takes us away from home, but more important, it finds homes for us everywhere.”
    - Hazel Rochman
    “There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island.”
    - Walt Disney

    At ISTE I was at a poster session on Images as Assessment http://bitly.com/Lly4hq Thought you might be interested. I am also beginning everyday with an image that we can discuss since they are so powerful and can build vocabulary and thinking skills.
    Have a wonderful day!

    1. JoAnn,
      What a great idea for your photography class! Or will you use photos for language arts? Images are so powerful! I've learned so much from sharing photos on Flickr this past year. We are going to have a photo a day blog for my students. http://mrsdkrebs.posterous.com/


  3. Love the last picture you took! Here are some story quotes for you that I found and liked....

    This one is my favorite: “Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will
    live in my heart forever.” An old Native American proverb

    "People think that stories are shaped by people. In fact it's the other way around." Terry Pratchett, novelist

    "The world is shaped by two things – stories told and the memories they leave behind." Vera Nazarian, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer

    1. Thanks, Danielle!

      Look at YOU! You've not only gotten on Twitter, but you've jumped right in to joining the conversation! One of my Twitter pals, Denise (above), encourages everyone to do the same. Commenting on blogs, sharing of your wisdom, asking questions... You are truly a connected educator!

      Thanks for the quotes - I think I need a bigger book!


  4. Joy, thank you for this reflection. I've been planning a preso with Denise, and my slides are so busy. Too busy. They are pictures that explain and remind the reader for later, but I need focus on each one. I may not take your points this time due to time, but I appreciate you sharing.

    Here are two ideas for your picture:

    Ideas won't keep; something must be done about them.
    ~ Alfred North Whitehead

    “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside you.”
    ― Carlos Ruiz Zafón

    1. So glad it helped!
      Be sure to check out Sylvia's presentation to see different examples. My next task is changing up the open house presentation, but my Twitter presentation, "PD in your PJs" is done, and it's fairly easy once you think of pictures to help remind you of what you want to say.
      Have fun with it!