If you’ve checked out my CV, you’ll have noticed that I have taught in a lot of different settings. For example, I taught at a language school a few years back that had young learner classes on the weekends. The classes were 90 minutes long, met on either Saturday or Sunday, and had between 15-18 students in a class. Most of the teachers taught four classes a day so they’d end up having six contact hours and seeing between 60-72 kids. Not that big a deal, right?

Well the problem came in the middle of the semester when you had to do parent-teacher conferences. Now since the parents didn’t (usually) speak English and the teachers didn’t (usually) speak Vietnamese, there was always a local staff-member there to translate. Again, no big deal, right?
But what if you don’t know who the parent’s child is? That’s right, you’ve been teaching the same class for the past three months and you don’t have any clue who this parent, who is paying some exorbitant  amount of tuition, is referring to. How is that possible? Like I said before, you have 70 kids you see once a week on top of all the students you teach during the week. Needless to say, it’s easy to get confused.

classroom management, edtech, picasa
“Your child is … Ummmm. Who’s your child again?”
So, rather than recite banal platitudes to parents about their mystery child, what can you do? Well, make collages!
Picasa, edtech, classroom management

Picasa is freeware that allows you to edit photos on your computer. It is available for Windows, Mac and (if you’re willing to tinker around a little bit) Linux.

After you download and install Picasa, the real fun starts.

Step 1: Take pictures

If you have a digital camera or a camera phone, use that to take headshots of your students. Tip: make sure you take your students’ pictures in the same order as they appear on your role (this point will come in handy later).

Step 2: Transfer Pictures to Your Computer

Create a folder and name it whatever the class(es) you teach is/are called so that you can easily find it in Picasa later.

Step 3: Run Picasa

When you run Picasa for the first time, it will locate and categorize every photo on your computer. If it somehow misses the folder where you put your classes headshots, you can add it manually.

Click on Import:

Picasa, edtech, classroom management

Click on Select Device and then click on  Folder:

Picasa, edtech, classroom management

Navigate to the folder and select Import All:

Picasa, edtech, classroom management

Step 4: Select the Class Folder

Find the folder containing your class’ headshots on the left hand side of the screen and click on it. In the example below, my class is called “English 108.”

Class Photo Sheet, Class Contact Sheet, Student Photo Sheet, Picasa, edtech, classroom management
Somehow, I don’t think blurring the photos helps much 🙂

Step 5: Make a Collage

This is the easiest part: click on the icon that say “Collage.” 

Class Photo Sheets, Class Contact Sheet, Student Photo Sheets, Student Contact Sheets, Picasa, edtech, classroom management

After you press Collage, you will see the following screen:

Class Photo Sheets, Class Contact Sheet, Student Photo Sheets, Student Contact Sheets, Picasa, edtech, classroom management

As you can see, you have several choices for the type of collage but I highly recommend you use Contact Sheet. 

Step 6: Create the Collage

Your’re almost there! All you have to do now is click on Create Collage and then print off the page.

Picasa, edtech, classroom management

But where are the names?” Alas, that is one thing I have not figured out how to do yet – type in the students’ names. Therefore, once you print out the contact sheet, you have to write the students’ names by (gasp!) hand.

That’s it! You’ll end up finding several uses for having class photo sheets: find someone who activities, taking attendance, discussing students with members of staff and more. However, by far the greatest use I’ve found has been being able to address students by name after only meeting them once. Everyone likes to feel special and addressing your students by their name after the first lesson sends a clear message to the students: you aren’t anonymous.

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