Photography in Adult Basic Education
Using photographs can add variety and energy to a reading, writing, or ESOL
class. This unit is another way to solve the "I don't know what to
write about" problem. Photos are full of information and details. They
can easily generate opinions, descriptions, and stories. Also, this is chance
to appeal to a variety of learning styles.
Students will be able to:
- All stages of the Writing Process, but especially the planning and
pre-writing stages, Oral Language Skills, Critical Thinking.
- Write more fluently (writing more with greater ease)
- Telling a story through pictures
- Write about pictures
- Sequence pictures
- Write reflectively
- Produce better organized pieces of writing
- Write captions
- Write descriptions
- Create a narrative essay
National Reporting System of Adult Education standards are applicable here.
These are the standards required by the 1998 Workforce Investment Act. See
You can go high tech or low tech here. More cameras and more pictures
make for more involvement. Any kind of camera will do. Disposable cameras
work just fine. Internet access is an asset to this project, but not necessary.
In addition to cameras, you will need pencils, pens, markers, crayons,
glue or paste, and paper to make displays. This can be fancy or simple.
Poster board and markers make bigger more exciting displays that are likely
to be more exciting to your students.
Photography is a visual medium, so this whole unit is one big media component.
You will need to budget for this unit, since you need a camera for some
of the activities. You can have a fancy one or a simple one. Polaroid
cameras and film are expensive, but it's great to have pictures right
away. Unless you are using a digital camera that allows you to print out
pictures on a computer, you will also have to have the pictures developed.
Digital cameras give you pictures right away. You can also take lots of
pictures and only print out the ones you like. If you have a few digital
cameras, multiple projects can be going on all at once. If no cameras
are available through your program, you can consider asking students if
they have cameras to bring in. Just make sure they keep on eye on them.
Even if students bring in the cameras, there is still the expense of film
and developing. If you have no cameras and no budget, they are still parts
of this unit you can use.
Here are some Web sites that you can review on your own or with your students.
Prep for Teachers
Make sure you try each of the activities yourself before
you ask students to do them. That will give you a better understanding
of the activities and help you recognize any potential points that may
be confusing or difficult. This also gives you a sample to show the students.
Its much easier to create a photo display if you are shown an example
Also, make sure you check all the Web resources suggested here before
trying to use them with students. Web sites change. Sometimes links stop