School days

Most of my time at the Rockford Register Star, I have been working a night shift. Only within the last year or so have I been working the days. With that comes more school assignments.

It’s easy to go to a school and get photos of kids working in the classroom. That is when you can get them to ignore you.

It takes a little patience but if you can become the fly on the wall, you can make some pretty good pictures of kids being kids. Here are a few I’ve made over the last few months.

I went to an open house for the school district’s transportation department. Parent were able to ask administrators questions and kids learned school bus safety tips. It ended with a short bus ride around the parking lot.

School bus open house

Charlie Smith, 3, stands in the aisle of a school bus to listen as bus driver Peggy Moseley talks about school bus safety Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, during an open house at the Rockford Public Schools Transportation Center in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM ©2014

A few days later, it was the first day of school for Rockford Public School students. I met up with a kindergarten class. The students lined up with their teachers in the parking lot. When the bell rang, I followed the students as they went into the school. Parents spent some time with their children as the teacher went over some classroom rules. Slowly, parents started to leave. Some of the kids didn’t mind. Some did.

first day of school

Nevaeh Johnson, 5, cries while coloring after her parents left the classroom Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, on her first day of kindergarten at Conklin Elementary School in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM ©2014

I was sent to a local Catholic school to get general classroom shots for a story on private school enrollment. Shots in traditional classrooms can be boring. I jumped at the opportunity to photograph a first grade music class instead.

private enrollment

London Cox sings and dances with other first grade students Monday, Oct. 6, 2014, in Jackie Doyle’s music class at St. Bernadette Catholic School in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM ©2014

We were working on a story about school picture day. School pictures are part of life. We decided to drop in on picture day for pre-k students. We wanted to see their first ever school picture day.

picture day

Emily Salkic (left) and Deb Valley work to get Garret Wax, 3, to smile for Inter-State Studio photographer Ashley Chlebanowski on Thursday, Oct. 9, 2014, on picture day at Summerdale Early Childhood Center in Rockford. MAX GERSH/RRSTAR.COM ©2014

I made a short video from that assignment as well. It was the first time I played with my new GoPro Hero 4 Black for work video.

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