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.