Adult Ed
Picture This: Photography in Adult Basic Education


Activity One: Getting Started With Pictures
Activity Two: Picking a Destination for a Field Trip
Activity Three: Planning the Trip
Activity Four: Culminating Activity

Activity One: Getting Started With Pictures

Step 1Show students a photo display you have made. Explain and discuss your process with your students.

Step 2 Each student brings in a photograph of someone who is important to them. Break the class up into pairs. One student explains to the other who the person in the photograph is. They get two minutes for this. Then switch. Don't give much more time than this. The talking is meant to get things started. If people talk for too long and say everything they have to say, they may not want to write.

Step 3 Have students place the photo in the middle of a big piece of paper. Give each student about ten index cards.

Step 4 Ask students to write for a few minutes on each of these “cues.” Some will take more time than others. Some might fill up more than one card.

Who is this person?
Describe this person physically.
Describe this person's personality.
If this person has a job, what is it?
What things does this person like to do? (hobbies, sports, interests, etc.)
How did you meet (find out about) this person?
How long have you known/or known of this person?
What do you like about this person?
Tell about something you and this person did together.
Why is this person important to you?

Step 5 Ask students to pick the index cards they want to include in their display. They can include all or only some. Have them arrange the cards around the photograph and glue them down. Show students your display again, and show how you can decorate and organize the paper with arrows, lines, circles, and headings.

Step 6 Have students share the displays in pairs, small groups, or as a whole group.

Step 7 Put the displays up on the walls and give students time to move around the room and look at all the displays. Feedback can be provided as a group discussion or put a piece or paper next to each display so students can write comments to each other.

Turn your photo displays into an online display. Here is a great example of an Adult Education class that did that:

Another Introductory Activity:
Take a look at some Web-based virtual trips. It can give you and your students ideas about trips to take, using the Web, and how to combine photography and writing. Here are a few good sites:

Activity Two: Picking a Destination for a Field Trip

Step 1Talk about the kind of trip the class will take. Are there any parameters that need to be set? Will you go someplace nearby or do you have to work out transportation? Do you have a budget or does it have to be free? Will it be during class or on another day? How long can the trip take?

Step 2Brainstorm a list of all the places the class might visit. Make sure you eliminate any destinations that are out of the question.

Step 3Narrow the list down to some top choices. Ask each person to vote for their top three choices. Use that voting to pare the list down to about six choices

Step 4 At this point you take a vote. Everyone votes for one destination. If you think there is a high interest level in this process, get more out of this. Have students write down their top choice and why they want to go there. Ask for volunteers to read their reasons to the whole group. Put people in small groups and have them discuss the destinations. You can even ask the class to do more research on the destinations and give presentations about each one.

Activity Three: Planning the Trip

Step 1Use the Internet to get directions to the destination. Here are a few Web sites that can do that for you:

Step 2 Search on the Web for information about the destination. (If the destination is the park around the corner, that might not be possible. If the destination is the Statue of Liberty, there is a lot of learn. Use your judgment and the input from the class to decide if you can research the destination). Bring in any brochures or literature available on the destination. Here are a few examples of Web information about New York City Attractions:

The Statue of Liberty

Radio City Music Hall: new_york/new_york_city/95197.html

Times Square: (a live camera!)

Other places:
Check out this site for live video from all over the world!

Step 3Come up with a schedule for the day. Plan the day as a whole group or divide up into teams with different tasks. Tasks could be transportation, food, or activities at the destination.

Step 4Prepare for a Photo Essay. The class needs to figure out how many cameras are available, how to share them, and what parts of the trip the class wants to document. Ideally, you have several groups of four to six students, and each group has a camera. That makes it easier to make the displays. You want to end up with a lot of pictures so have a lot to chose.

Activity Four: Culminating Activity

Step 1 Taking the trip

I can’t tell you everything about how to take your trip. It depends on where you are going, how you will get there, and what you find when you get there. But here are some suggestions that should work for most destinations:
  1. Have students write about the destination before the trip:
    --What do they already know about the place?
    --What do they expect to see and do there?
    --What do they want to learn about on the trip?
  2. Have students keep a notebook with them on the trip to write down anything they learn or any details they want to remember.
  3. Have students take little breaks to do writing on the trip if possible. Ask questions like:
    --What have you learned so far?
    --What do you want to do next?
    --How are you liking this trip so far?
    --What is the best thing about the trip so far?
  4. Do some reflective writing at the end of the trip and/or the during your next session after the trip:
    --What did you think of our trip?

Step 2Making a display

Think of your display like a comic strip. If you make a display to show students, it can help them better understand the goal.
  1. The first step is organizing the pictures. You will have to figure this out based on how many pictures you end up with. Ideally, you had small groups that each had a camera. Groups can interact with one another, looking at each other’s pictures, and even trading for pictures they need to tell stories.
  2. Have students organize pictures into a sequence that tells the story of the trip or a part of the trip.
  3. Ask students to discuss and draft captions for each picture.
  4. When all the captions are written, use poster board, markers, colored pencils, etc. to create photo displays.
  5. Post displays in the classroom. Give students time to review displays and discuss as a group.

Step 3Writing a Narrative Essay

After all this work, students are well prepared to write a longer piece of writing about the trip. Ideas for topics can include:

--The story or our field trip
--All about [the destination]
--How we planned our trip
--A recommendation or a bad review of [the destination]