Importance of captions – Lesson Plan

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

Overview
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.

Objectives
Students will:

  • 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.

Procedures
Activity 1

  • 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?

Activity 2

  • Students will find five photographs and identify and label the parts (5Ws and H) of the caption.

Activity 3

  • 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.

Assessment
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.

Materials

  • Paper
  • Pens or pencils
  • Newspapers and magazines with examples of pictures and captions
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Why Media Literacy Matters – Photojournalism and Diversity

Teaching about racial diversity through photojournalism.

Media literacy teaches critical thinking and communications skills such as photojournalism.

Photojournalism is a universal language that uses photographs for storytelling and allows people of all races and cultures to find the things they have in common.

Below are two examples of how teachers used media literacy education to help their students learn about different cultures.

In a lesson about stereotypes, students in South Korea reflected on how media images of race and stereotypes had influenced their own reactions toward other people. The students also learned how producing stories about things they felt were important could make a difference in the ways they interacted with other people (Yoon, 2010).

Mary Guerrero, a teacher in the Lawrence Public School system in Massachusetts, used a photojournalism project to influence how her students perceived themselves and their city. She designed hands-on projects that engaged her students in their surroundings and encouraged them to express themselves. Her students discovered aspects of the city that they did not know existed, which reminded them of the similarities between different cultures (Marinell, 2008).

Photojournalism is one of the many tools of the media that can potentially help encourage creativity among the students and show them that something fun can have a powerful effect on society.

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References

Marinell, W. (2008). Voices Inside Schools. Capturing Authenticity, Transforming Perception: One Teacher’s Efforts to Improve Her Students’ Performance by Challenging Their Impressions of Self and Community. Harvard Educational Review, 78(3), 529-548.

Yoon, J. (2010). “Media literacy education to promote cultural competence and adaptation among diverse students: A case study of North Korean refugees in South Korea”. Temple University.