Lesson Plan: Beyond the Snapshot
Photographs must do more than just capture a memory. They must capture a moment in time and tell a story.
Critical Engagement Questions
- What makes a photograph catch your attention?
- How do we recognize a good photograph?
- What can we do to take more interesting photographs?
- Why are photographs an important element in media?
- Why do we respond to certain images?
- Photograph the “moment”, or peak action that tells the story.
- Watch for the human side of the story
- Face and hands reveal emotion
- Get the facts (ask for names, correct spelling, other caption information)
Activities and Procedures
- Students will watch a Powerpoint slideshow that introduces photographic composition techniques such as cropping and the rule of thirds.
- Students will be asked to view magazines and newspapers and to select photographs that appeal to them. The students will analyze the photos to determine why they were appealing and explain how and which composition rules are used.
- After being introduced through lecture on photography basics, the class will take a walking tour of campus and be required to take photographs of “hands, feet, and faces”. These images must illustrate various concepts such as rule of thirds, standard daylight exposure, back lighting, depth of field, panning etc. They must also reveal emotion.
- For homework, students will continue working on their “hands, feet and faces” photo assignment. After the photos are developed or printed, each student will submit at least five images. In addition, they will mount their best photograph to a piece of black construction paper and will present it to the class.
Resources and Materials:
- paper (black construction paper)
Every news story begins with a lead, the most important part of the story.
A good lead to needs to catch the reader’s interest and make them want to read the rest of the story.
Less is often better as it helps you get your point across quickly.
Think Twitter’s 140 character limit.
Social media can help you become a better writer.
Lesson Plan: Lead Writing
- Student will learn to write effective leads using 140 characters or less.
- Students will identify the lead sentence of three stories taken from a newspaper article. Students will explain why a particular sentence was chosen as the first sentence, why it is important, and what makes it interesting.
- Students will write at least 10 questions (no yes-no questions) and spend 15-20 minutes interviewing a fellow classmate. Their assignment is to gather information that will be used in a future assignment to write a short bio about their classmate.
- After completing the interview, students will think about how they want to begin their story. Students will identify the most important and/or most interesting piece of information. Students will write a short sentence (140 characters or less) using the 5Ws and H to write an informative and interesting lead.
- Students will be given three short articles and will identify the strongest and weakest lead and explain why it is strong or weak. In addition, they will explain what catches their attention when they pick up a newspaper, what makes them want to read a story, what makes a story interesting, and what can cause readers to lose interest in a story.
- Pens or pencils
A photograph is worth a thousand words. Which means the viewer could potentially see a thousand different messages. This is problematic because the viewer might get the wrong message.
It is important to write strong photo captions. Effective captions help the viewer see the intended message.
Lesson Plan: Caption Writing
Students will learn about what makes a great caption and will learn about the 5W’s and H of journalism writing. Suggested time allowance is 40 minutes.
- Examine a picture for details.
- Write questions they need answered about the picture.
- Create captions appropriate for a picture.
- Know what information they need in order to create a caption.
- Write more captions appropriate for other pictures.
- Hold up various front pages of local newspapers and ask students what they look at first. Most will say the pictures or artwork on the page.
- Next, show them a picture on the overhead without a caption. Have them guess what the caption would tell them. What else would they like to know from looking at the picture?
- Students will find five photographs and identify and label the parts (5Ws and H) of the caption.
- Students will be handed three photographs without a caption. Now they are to create captions for the images. They will identify people and explain the photo without telling the obvious. They will also include other background info.
Create a caption for a photograph, using the “5Ws and H” to identify people and explain the photo without telling the obvious. Students will be graded based on creativity, structure and content.
- Pens or pencils
- Newspapers and magazines with examples of pictures and captions