Monday, January 31, 2011

School Presentations - Teaching

Last week I did one of my favorite things - gave a presentation to a group of 5th grade students. They were learning about the slave trade, and I was more than happy to offer my expertise and photography to the class.

While in Ghana we visited what was once called the Gold Coast, the area along the Gulf of Guinea from which slaves were sent to various destinations around the world. These two pictures were taken at Cape Coast Castle, an important seat of government and also a slave holding area. We toured the "castle," and visited the cells and dungeons. What an experience.

From the top of the castle you could look down at the sea, and the working fishing town. Here the people still dig their canoes by hand, head out to sea, throw out the nets, and pull in their catch.

After lunch, we continued down the coast to Elmina Castle. These "castles" line the coast of West Africa, and the students were very intrigued by my photographs of maps as well as the locations pulled from history.

It was easy to put ourselves back into this time period, and the historians and guides who directed us through the tours were very proud to tell the tales of horror, and how the African people had risen out of this past to recover their nation.

Outside the walls of each of the slave castles we visited were children selling their wares. They followed us around and didn't mind posing for a photo or two. So many vendors on the streets, and so much color and atmosphere. Okay, maybe a little pushy at times:). One thing we did remind ourselves of periodically was that this a developing country, and people need to earn a living as best they can.

And how can you resist these smiles?

Another interesting historical piece - Cape Coast Castle was visited by President and Mrs. Obama in 2009. This is an event the Ghanaians talk about a lot, and there are posters of him with their president posted all over the capital. This plaque hangs prominently on a courtyard wall, and is part of the tour:

As we went through the PowerPoint presentation and talked about slavery and the historical implications to both continents, and other parts of the world, I remembered why I went into education. The children were engaged in learning; they were inquisitive and excited to learn something new and make it their own.

Doing presentations also gives our photography a purpose. We love taking pictures, but they're no good stored in a computer (or in a stack of shoeboxes and slide storage units in the cupboards). By creating projects, photography books, articles, and presentations we can not only share our vision, but educate others.

What do you do with your own photographs?
Are there special projects you create, or ways to display them which are unique and interesting?
Please share those ideas so we can grow our toolboxes!


S. Etole said...

At present, blogging is the main way I share them.

The way you share yours must be very meaningful for the students and add a touch of reality to their studies.

Sandy K. said...

Yes, it is very rewarding. But I do love to create my blog posts, stretching my writing as well as showcasing our photography. Finding our creative outlet is what it's all about.

We Blog Artists said...

What a great post...somewhere I would like to take our girls one day!
Me too...I blog my favourite photos which I take...
I wish I had more time to create books...maybe one day.
BTW...the chocolate chips still shone through the carrot...try it!

Jeanie said...

First of all, our oldest did a college study abroad in Ghana and spoke so highly of the people -- the smiles you show in your photo remind me of ones we have seen!

I confess, for many years after switching to digital, I didn't do much with photos, which really bothered me. That's changed. I now do photo greeting and note cards ( has good prices); shutterly "year books" to summarize the best pix of the year, along with smaller books to share with friends after a holiday together; calendars, using them in my collage art, and of course on the blog. That's probably the most consistent use!

Sandy K. said...

I haven't used Vistaprint yet, but others have said it's a good service. Shutterfly and Snapfish are great resources for gifts, and I have made photo books for the grandchildren frequently. It's also a good way to share photos - so everyone can choose the ones they want to order and I don't have to worry about making people prints!