Switching Gears, Shots, Compositions, and What They Can Help Us Say

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Students will be making connections and taking notes on the compositions of imagery and the effects the compositions have on an individual’s psyche. In Digital Storytelling, students will be introduced to the active role that imagery plays in storytelling. Imagery will be studied in order to determine usage and appropriateness to the story that it accompanies.


This lesson introduces students to the importance of Composition and makeup of the imagery itself.

Expected Lesson Duration:

Lesson is expected to last 1-2 days.

Interdisciplinary Connection(s) to Common Core

Preparing to Teach this Lesson:

Student Handouts:

If desired, students may be given out handouts of the Composition types used in this lesson’s resources, or some other kind of composition reference sheet.

Lesson Procedure:

Introduction/Gain Attention

  • Daily Meme: The class will begin with an activity that will require students to write a brief story using an image displayed by the instructor.


  • After the daily meme the instructor will begin to show examples of imagery compositions of photography, film, paintings, architecture, etc.

  • Upon reveal of the basic composition styles the students will begin a new google drive folder that will act as a portfolio of great examples of the image composition types.

  • Within the folder the students will define subfolders of the composition types and begin to import great examples of each of their respective folders.

    • This can be a cumulative assessment that is checked at the end of the unit or split up and checked in sprints.
  • Transition from documenting the work to actually replicating the compositions.

  • The next assignment should be to begin to practice the compositions that they have learned about through subjects around the classroom, and possibly around the campus.

  • The students should use their cameras (phone, ipod, tablet, laptop, etc) in order to capture subjects using the composition types and rules previously reviewed.

    • 2 solid examples of each composition style should suffice time constraints are important and necessary.
  • Once the students have finished collecting their data, the students must come back to their groups and categorize their images with a shared folder, placing emphasis on time management.

  • After their images have been organized and labeled the students will then proceed to create an image storybook, that is clear and delivers a message.

  • All photos from the group must be utilized (exquisite corpse or teacher favored format rules can be applied).

  • The story books will be created using Google Slides and each image has to be accompanied with no more than a two sentence partition of the story.

  • After the students have completed their respective story books the students will share contrast and compare their stories with other groups.

  • After the students have completed their storybooks they must label each of their captured images with the composition style or rule as well as add a caption to their images describing their image with a poetic flare.


  • Able to identify and decipher between the different image composition types

  • Implementation of each of the image composition types in their own work

  • Producing a collective work (storybook) that fairly and adequately incorporates all members of the group’s images while maintaining a consistent storyline

  • Efficiently utilizing technology such as cameras, computers, and software to produce a high quality finished product

  • Demonstrating the ability to give and receive constructive criticism

  • Importance of storytelling in media is emphasized and reiterated

  • Students grasp an understanding of the amount of written work that is consumed by media outlets

Content of Lesson

  • Acquiring Key Concepts: discussion of image composition types, the effects they have, and the creation of images with specific composition type.

  • Engaging in Experiential Learning: creating unique images with applied composition types previously learned in class.

  • Building Proficiencies: incorporating the characteristics found in the image into the student’s unique storyline, and justifying the reasoning behind the characteristics.

  • Connecting with STEM Professionals: view a video interview with a photographer, filmer, or director discussing their use and take on composition types.

  • Assessing Learning: have students individually explain one or more composition types in terms of the effects that the images have on individuals and how to achieve different composition types. Allow students to justify the usage and roles of the composition types they used in their images.

Closure and Review

  • Reiterate the importance of storytelling in media.

  • Explain the importance of diversity in the storytellers and writers due to experiences and how it shapes our stories.

  • Assign the students the task to capture an image of something that is important to them.

    • Stress Importance of bringing the images the next day

    • Make sure that you also tell them to keep it secret from everyone, the image and its significance

Higher Level Thinking Skills Noted

  • Developing a narrative from seemingly unrelated artifacts

  • Developing curated example guides


The art and skill of storytelling that will be practiced in this class will help the students reasoning skills, cognitive constructive capabilities, and develop character. The creation of a narrative requires the student to develop a logical order from a sequence of events. In order for the student to develop a meaningful arrangement of events the student must begin to grow their narrative reasoning skills. These skills can evolve through the consumption and dissection of narrative literature, of a mixed medium. While developing of their narrative reasoning skills the students should/ will become more empathetic to others, wise to deciphering the true purpose of the story, and become comprehensive thinkers of their own circumstances. The students are finally at the age in which they are beginning to construct their own narratives. We, as educators, want them to be exposed to a great diversity of narratives in order mature those narrative reasoning skills. The more developed their narrative reasoning skills are the more they get from a story (deeper perspective). The more advanced their skills, the more likely they are to rationalize why this character chose a particular path, place themselves in the characters shoes, and develop their own character.

Explorations and Extensions:

Research an image that has changed the world that we live in. Did the image follow some of the same composition rules that you have learned about? What significance does that play in the importance of the image and the message that it is projecting?

Assessment Criteria for Success:

Content knowledge, student knowledge, and appropriate resources are aligned to instructional outcomes. student learning will be assessed throughout the lesson via question responses and correlation to the project.

Students will have successfully met the outcomes when fundamental questions about the importance of storytelling and its role in imagery can be observed through their writing and reflections of their peers work. Also questions about their current disposition are taken into consideration when they see media should begin to arise. Also a fluid and respectful use of time, along with an essay that is fluid, easy to follow, and retains its essentials as an ELA.

Modifications/Accommodations and Access for All:

A simpler version of Imagery and storytelling is already prepared if there are students that need to re-review the information. Also, if students need an alternate assignment due to their personal disposition to the material, Alterations will be easily made.

Implementation Feedback:

Students will receive feedback from their peers and instructor while they are sharing their storybooks with their classmates. Students can then share what they felt about the project with their instructor; as well as what they gained from it, how it could have better benefited them, etc.


To be completed upon the end of lesson.

Other Important Course Development Information

Best Practices:

Exemplary Previous student work: