This topic discusses ideas for using photos ~ photography
in various workshops, such as, Drama, A-V (Video), and Music.

Several techniques are discussed. Feel free to add your own.



Once upon a time, some Rotation Modelers treated "photography" as a separate learning medium on it own in a "Photography Workshop."  But we here at Rotation.org have since made "taking pictures" part of many different workshops, including Drama, A-V, and Music, and sometimes all three together in one lesson plan! The point is that "photographing" what the students are doing is a lot of fun, focuses their attention, captures great lesson moments, and can become discussion starters.  It's also really easy with today's cellphones and the ability to show cellphone content on the classroom TV with a simple adapter cable (described below).

The "Audio Visual Workshop" in the Rotation Model has historically included photo activities such as posing and taking photographs of Bible story scenes re-enacted by the kids. It's a great way to explore and "capture" the mood, motivations, questions, attitudes, and key moments of a Bible story.  

1stUMCAnnArbor-Photography

Today, the difference between "photography" and "video recording" is a click on your cellphone. Which of those you decide to use to capture the moment is entirely up to you and your lesson objectives. 

The Rotation.org Writing Team has been using photography in a number of creative ways in a variety of workshop lesson plans. In their Shepherds and Angels Advent Lesson Set, you can see two lessons that use your cellphone in two very creative ways.

The Shepherds and Angels Drama lesson captures "still photos" of kids posing an Advent scene -- but doing so using a "bird's-eye" view called "Flat Lay." 

The Shepherd and Angels "Bethlehem Live" Music Workshop uses a cellphone connected to your TV to create a "live" view on the TV of your singers, and also to record actors singing "Go Tell It On the Mountain" using a type of "Flat Lay" technique known as a "Sideways Scene." 

Learn more about "Flat Lay" photo and video techniques
in our Drama Workshop forum.

FlatLayTechnique-Rotation.org

Remember: Access to the Team's lessons require a supporting membership.





polaroidSunday School has a long history of capturing Bible scene poses with Polaroid "instant" cameras, then with digital cameras and printers when they became affordable. Using today's cellphones, these fun and very productive learning activities are MUCH easier and LESS expensive than the old Polaroid days.



firstumcannarbortv

The above photos come from Carol Hulbert's Rotation Sunday School and Church Family blog where you can read about their lesson and see more photos.

Shower-Hampton-SM

In Luanne Payne's Jesus Feeds the 5000 "Singing in the Shower" lesson (for our Writing Team), the kids are photographed or recorded as they sing their new lyrics to a familiar tune. (The "singing in the shower" approach feels like a fun game to the kids. It's a bit of mis-direction, in that they aren't performing directly in front of their peers, but instead, in front of a video camera which is fed to a TV for a "live" performance.

Learn more about how to get and use this "live tv" technique with your cellphone and TV.

Creating "still" photos is a great way to slow the pace of the lesson's a-v activity. You can direct, zero in on key moments, work on visually expressing an important idea, try new things, add props and talk bubbles, and then move on to other key moments or ideas you want to capture and discuss in the story. It doesn't require any other script than the story itself, and it doesn't require movement unless you are using the video setting.  Just keep taking photos! (because kids love that, and love seeing their photos.)

  • talkbubbleDiscuss
  • "Create a Caption"
  • "What if" and then take another photo.
  • "What is this person thinking?"
  • "What are the possible reactions to what Jesus just said?"
  • A picture of what our response should be...
  • Pose a person and give them a thought bubble.
  • You can even create photos that go with songs, like this scene for "Voice of Truth" song (see and hear it on YouTube).

voiceoftruth


Displaying what's on your cellphone to your TV

It's really easy to do with today's cellphones and equipped TVs. You just need an HDMI to Cellphone cable to show your cellphone photos/recording on your TV, including using your TV to show a "live" feed from your cellphone!  See this article for help.

HOW-TO-CELLPHONE-HDMI

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Original Post

Great suggestions!!  

Taking photos could also be an art workshop, if you already have a video you want to use for your Bible story for a particular rotation. 

And with WiFi and air printers, you can print photos immediately and send home individual photos or even story books. 

Photos could be used in a slide show and shared in Worship to let the congregation see what the kids have been doing -- a Virtual Pageant!  

Amy Crane posted:

Great suggestions!!  

Taking photos could also be an art workshop, if you already have a video you want to use for your Bible story for a particular rotation. 

And with WiFi and air printers, you can print photos immediately and send home individual photos or even story books. 

Photos could be used in a slide show and shared in Worship to let the congregation see what the kids have been doing. 

Good point and idea.

In my last church job, we had four LCD TV monitors donated to us and I wanted to make a TV WALL in the hallway to display kid's artwork and drama clips. (Couldn't get the wall mount and wiring permission )    ...Performance Art?

Sometimes it's challenging to figure out which activity belongs in which workshop category. I always liked "Audio-Visual" as the workshop label instead of just "Video" (which we commonly call it). Video implies just watching, when video can also be created, and A-V can involve still photography (among other things).   

And what do you call a workshop that has the kids videotaping themselves acting in front of a music video?    

Neil MacQueen posted:

Sometimes it's challenging to figure out which activity belongs in which workshop category. I always liked "Audio-Visual" as the workshop label instead of just "Video" (which we commonly call it). Video implies just watching, when video can also be created, and A-V can involve still photography (among other things).   

And what do you call a workshop that has the kids videotaping themselves acting in front of a music video?    

Well, if I didn't have another idea for a drama workshop, kids being videotaped (as a drama or as a music video) would be drama workshop.   

That's what I love about rotation model! It allows for creativity and for flexibility within the creativity!  

Some of the following ideas were originally posted in the "Creative Ways to Read and Discuss the Bible" forum. 

If you're a supporting member, you can see the following video techniques described in lesson plans:

Not a supporting member?  Join today!


In this following post:

  • "Cellphone Selfie Stories"
  • "Bible Selfie Stories"
  • "Live TV" Broadcast (Drama, Newscast, Singing)


"Cellphone Selfie Stories"
"Bible Selfie Stories"

Kids love taking pictures of themselves on the cellphone (or tablet). So here's a fun way to tell a Bible story using your cellphone camera's "selfie" setting.  It's very similar to "posing" or creating a Bible story "tableaux" --but it does it using the popular "selfie" mode on your camera and in doing so, emphasizes only the FACES and facial expressions of the students.

  1. First, you copy the scripture to a handout and make copies for the class. (Look up your scripture at biblegateway.com and use your mouse to copy the text to a doc for printing.)

  2. After the kids read it and discuss it with you, form them into groups so that each group has a cellphone that can take selfies. Assign a volunteer helper who has a cellphone. This is a great opportunity to involve teenagers to help you.

  3. Each group marks up the scripture handout --dividing the verses into "selfies they need to take to retell the story." 

  4. Now here's the educational thing, they have to decide what facial expressions in their selfie will help tell the story at each point in the scripture. 

  5. Finally... plug your cellphone into your TV using an hdmi adapter so everyone can see the selfies. Have the group leader advance through the selfies as the rest of the group reads the passage aloud.



  1. The Writing Team's "MAGI" Drama & Photography Workshop lesson plan uses "Selfies" in two really neat ways:

    Students create and display selfie photos as they read the Bible story

    Students create a "selfie photo booth" to reflect on the meaning of the lesson.

    Supporting Members can view the lesson plan here.

Selfie-ReflectionBooth600


This technique is particularly suited for stories where there are several characters, or scenes, and things happening, such as miracles, or arguments. Pharisees, disciples, etc. Each line of dialog in a story is a potential photograph of the student portraying that person. Then you can photograph the reaction of the crowd or person being talked to. 

Jonah's reaction to being in the whale...

jonah-selfie

The Pharisee's reaction to Jesus healing the paralytic let down through the roof...

Pharisee-selfie

Selfie "sticks" are also a helpful and fun tool (and very inexpensive).

selfie-stick

Tip: Make up your own "selfie story" ahead of time using fun selfies taken by the PASTOR to go with the story, or in lieu of their sense of humor, yourself.

funnypriest

Younger Child Tip:  Have them hold the camera while you press the selfie button on the camera.

"LIVE TV" BROADCAST 

When you connect your cellphone to your TV monitor, you will see a "LIVE" picture of whatever your camera is pointing at. The first time I saw this, and saw how kids reacted in front of the "live" camera (fun), I realized we had a tiger by the tail.

In this Writing Team lesson about "Jesus Feeds the 5000," we adapted this "live TV" technique to help kids feel less self-conscious about SINGING in front of their classmates.  How? Because we put a DIVIDER between the "audience" (their classmates) and the kids standing in front of the camera and singing. If you're a supporting member, you can see all the details in the WT's 5000 music workshop where we created a "singing in the shower" activity in which the kids sang their own story-related lyrics to familiar tunes (which they worked on ahead of time).

Shower-Hampton-SMHere's the basic setup:

HDMI2CELL

Here's the setup as it was used at one church:

Shower-2-HamptonUnited

This concept plays off of the idea of karaoke and "singing in the shower." It's so much fun that the kids FORGET that they are being watched by the "audience" around the corner.

We later adapted this same set up for the Shepherds and Angels Music Workshop -- where we created a "TV Show" using this "live" technique. The Angels sang and then were interviewed --again "around the corner" so they didn't have others staring at them as they spoke. Clever and it works wonders!



How do you get cellphone or tablet photos to show up on a TV screen?

It's easy if you have a modern cellphone, cellphone cable, and modern TV which has an  input for media. Learn how here.   It's even easier if you have a tech-saavy teen helping you   Tip: Be sure your phones have full-charges!

cellphone2tv



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"FLAT LAY" Photo Technique

CreativeCarol, a member of our Writing Team, has written a Writing Team DRAMA lesson that uses photography to create a "tableaux" (creative photo) of various scenes in Luke 2's Shepherds and Angels story.

It adapts a photographic technique called "FLAT LAY" or "bird's eye" in which the camera is pointed downward above the object(s). This technique is commonly found on Instagram and YouTube to display products and parts of products on a table. Google "flat lay."

flying-in-vbs
This "flat lay" photo comes from a "superhero" lesson about Jesus and where we are called to help.

Flat Lay could be used to create "temporary art" -- objects that are meaningfully arranged on a table surface for a photograph, then returned to their containers.   Think of it like "scrapbooking" but without the glue.

Here's a simple example we cribbed from the web showing a "flat lay" point of view where objects are combined and photographed as a reflection or to create a memory.

The photography helps students think about "message." It's both an art form and reflection.

"Flat Lay" with Live Actors  (for still photo or video recording)

Neil MacQueen, another member of our Writing Team, has written a Writing Team "Bethelehem Live Music Television Show" lesson that uses a cellphone/camera's video recording capabilities to create the effect of a "live tv show" while recording the show at the same time. 

That lesson uses the "flat lay" technique with live actors moving on the floor (sometimes called "sideways scene.")  It could be done as a "still" photography of a Bible scene with reactions or re-enactments to a scene, or recorded live with movement as scripture is narrated.

SidewaysSceneSetup

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Use your camera or cellphone's "Time Lapse" feature.

This neat feature can be used to create your own "animated" scenes. Use with tabletop props, legos, or kids.

Example of the growing mustard seed bush from the Writing Team's Mustard Seed "Video Storytelling" Audio-Visual Workshop Lesson.

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