Friday, January 15, 2010

Teaching Children to "See"

I think I've mentioned before that I work with school children, each year a different photography project. I'd like to expand and work with more classes, but have been blessed to have a superb 5th grade teacher to work with, one who brings creativity in education to a new level. We were co-workers when I was still teaching for the district and our teaching styles blend well.

Last year's project was one the children came up with, in connection with a "Going Green" unit the teacher was introducing. The students wanted to clean up their community. With grant money they designed a sign - "Litter Bugs Me" - which they placed at each of the sites they visited, and cleaned.

The student teacher in the classroom was active in helping students design their project, and carry it out. My role was to teach them how to document the project - how to take photographs which told their story. They would use the photos as they presented their project to various community organizations, as well as the foundation which awarded the grant.

We gathered cameras from around the school, and a few students brought their own. I gave lessons in composition and lighting, as well as visual storytelling. We practiced taking shots around the school, and of themselves, of course, using their new skills. Put a camera in a child's hand, and they have so much fun! The trick is to get them to focus on learning new skills. After the initial lessons, we brainstormed various ways to document the project, and how to take a photo of something other than a piece of paper littering a field.

The results, as usual, were fabulous.

This year we're actually integrating photography throughout the school year. The first photo project is teaching the students how to tell the story of their school. These photos will be used in the school year book. I'll save that story for another day.

If you want to see other projects we've worked on, visit our web site at
You can click on the link from our blog, if you'd like.
Once there, you will see the link to Literacy.


Anonymous said...

what a great project! would love for you come to our schools here and start such a project!

Barefoot from Heaven said...

Ohh I'm so sad we have to clean up after some people...we shouldn't have to really...sigh.

So I do love this project make fun of what you and learn in the mean time. I'll bet they all had fun to have you as there teacher.

Tongue Trip said...

great endeavour on your part and the children are real darlings who took upon a big task. incredible and interesting post, you and your pupils.

Debbie said...

It is great to be green. It is important for future generations. Job well done.

Sandy K. said...

I am trying to figure out how to turn this project into a school presentation which can be done in a relatively short period of time - school-visit length. Most of the time these lessons take place over multiple visits, which are pretty easy to arrange by staying pretty local. Planning is fun, though:). Any suggestions?