Teachers Lesson Plans
Being a Photojournalist: Grade 4-6
Look and Discuss
Photography is humanity?s visual memory, a storehouse of information and a witness to the events of the past. Photographs can reflect the world or reveal the photographer. They are examples of moments that are chosen, crystallized and presented for our contemplation. In a photograph, the ambivalent relations between diverse realities?the reality of the physical world, objective and subjective reality, fact and fiction?stimulate and intrigue us and make us face up to the meaning of our world.
Initially, the works of Lewis W. Hine, Sid Grossman and Dorothea Lange from this lesson will serve as a point of departure for a discussion of photojournalism, including how certain visions and realities are captured by the photographer. The students are encouraged to comment on the subjects of the photographs, the various framings, viewpoints, compositions, effects of light and shadow and all the other elements and principles of composition used by the photographer to convey a message.
Next, the students are asked to define the word ?evidence?, to cite an example of evidence that they may have experienced in their life. Together, they will define the different forms that evidence can take.
Then the students will consult, in class, different magazines that contain photo stories: Natural History, Time, People, National Geographic, Macleans, Life, Sports Illustrated, etc.
The documentary significance of images is explained to them, as well as the role the image plays as evidence in our society.
Finally, the students are asked to get together and choose a subject on which they would like to create a work of photojournalism to be displayed in the school. Suggested topics or themes: the city in motion (car traffic, people, etc.), art in the city, advertisements in the city, a little corner of Paradise (places the students think of as their own Paradise), the neighbourhood around the school, etc.