Click! Writing Through Digital Photography
Involving students in writing is a challenging job for educators.
This unit demonstrates the process of engaging students in spontaneous
writing through the use of digital photography. Students take photographs
or digital images, then scan and manipulate them by using graphic
programs such as Adobe Photoshop. They write about their images using
MS Word, PowerPoint, and Web design tools available on the computer.
They also use the Internet to gather information for classroom activities,
and for searching and capturing images for their assignment. The use
of a digital camera and scanner will also be introduced. One 50-minute
class period is allotted for each lesson, and four periods are needed
to complete the unit. Students are assessed by their class work, assignments,
and projects. A rubric will also be used to evaluate student work.
Students read and write for information using different media; apply
technological knowledge and skills to design, construct, use, and
evaluate products; develop skills with a variety of art materials,
and competence in at least one medium (electronic); and use the computer
and other electronic media as designing tools and to communicate visual
ideas. Students should be able to write in different formats, such
as biography, poetry, descriptive, narrative, and persuasive writings
for various purposes, and should develop their critical thinking skills
through the writing, finding the connections between photos and concepts
and relating the concepts to the theme.
Required materials include computers with Internet access, a digital
camera and scanner, and Adobe Photoshop and Microsoft Word software.
A blog can also be used for this unit so students may share their
work and discuss the process.
Click! Writing Through Digital Photography is designed for
middle and high school students, but with some modification, it can
also be used with elementary students. The students featured in the
video introduction to the unit are New York City public school students
who immigrated from China.
By integrating digital imaging into Native Language Arts classroom
instruction, the teacher involves students in digital technology and
writing activities. Students develop their photography skills, which
in turn makes their writing projects more attractive and exciting.
Through the process of taking, manipulating, and utilizing images/photos,
students have a chance to create a meaningful connection between images
and writing. They experience excitement as they produce their own
writing projects in different formats and styles. This integrated
curriculum helps students acquire basic academic and artistic skills,
combined with "real world" applications of their learning.
Selecting a few student photos to demonstrate is crucial. This will
get the excitement from students. Include all necessary steps in your
instruction. Have the students who pick it up quickly teach others.
If you are combining this unit with another curricular topic, create
your own examples to use as demonstration pieces. Free writing at
the beginning should be very helpful. This can lead to any writing
with topics later on. Creativity from students is essential. This
project can be adapted for use in the ESL classroom by having the
students complete their writing activities in English.
About the teacher:
Henry Ruan teaches at
Lower East Side Preparatory High School. He has been involved in web
design projects with his students since 1997 and has won several citywide
web design competitions, including ThinkQuest NYC. He has also conducted
web design workshops at national and state level educational conferences.
His passion is making his teaching more meaningful for
Native Language Arts