Down With The Alphabet
Project URL: www.teachersnetwork.org/teachnetusa/smcmahon/project.htm
Last year, I began a photo club with students in my yearbook
class. We met three to four times a week and took digital pictures of
school events. Each week students would focus on something they would
like to improve in their work. During one particular meeting, they
decided that they wanted to design their own book. The students came
up with a project where they would take pictures of everyday objects
in their school environment. The one condition was that they had to
see a letter of the alphabet in each photo. The final product would be an
The students were all extremely involved in this project and looked
for their "letters" all over the school campus. We spent a
lot of time learning Adobe Photoshop and printing the letters on
various mediums. The students literally took hundreds of pictures. We
would look at the photos, vote, work on them in Adobe Photoshop, and
Getting Down With The Alphabet engages students in an
activity that requires higher-order thinking and problem-solving
skills. The students become more aware of their surroundings and are
excited to be at school. They learn how to use digital cameras,
scanners, printers, Abobe Photoshop, Apple iMovie, and AppleWorks.
This program empowers students to gain creative knowledge of
themselves and the world around them.
Students develop complex presentations, use software programs
designed to foster creativity, devise innovative ways of using
information technology resources, and demonstrate the ability to
combine and synthesize information drawn from two or more
technology-based resources to acquire new knowledge and understanding
of multi-media projects.
Required items include at least one computer with Internet
connection, one or more digital cameras, Adobe Photoshop, floppy disks, photo
paper, iMovie, a projector, a television, and photography
The students involved in the project were highly motivated 8th graders
who loved photography. This is important because the students
need to take a tremendous amount of pictures.
Using a camera, students create instant art. This program aids
students in thinking, pursuing, and exploring the use of technology
and photography more deeply and creatively. It motivates students to become familiar with the school community. It becomes an
intense scavenger hunt to find the best letter in the best light or
with the best composition.
Oh, the joy of teaching!
This program needs to start off with a bang. The students must get
excited about photography. Invite a local newspaper photographer in to
discuss his/her profession. Show lots of pictures that match the
interests of your students. Have Web sites, books, and magazines
available for them. Value their opinions; they are masters
because they are bombarded with media.
About the teacher:
Susan McMahon-Dyogi has been teaching for sixteen years. For ten
of those years she worked with students with emotional / behavioral
difficulties. While working on her masters in special
education, she fell in love with technology. Her thesis focused on technology and
writing. She now teaches computers, AVID, Yearbook and Web Page Design
to 7th and 8th grade students. Through the use of photography, Susan
has seen the world with different eyes. This program is a direct
result of this hobby. She wanted to pass this perspective on to
students so that they could be more observant of the world around