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  • Understand how an image can be intentionally crafted using the tools of exposure, lens, composition, moment and light, and how to individually manipulate each of these variables to an effect

  • Relate ethical guidelines and boundaries in photojournalism to your own work and choices

  • Recognize, verbalize, and employ the qualities of storytelling images

  • Demonstrate the following skills with digital workflow in still photography:

  • Digital photography workflow

  • Media management

  • Metadata and caption writing

  • Editing


We will be reframing the use of photography for the journalist and explore the photojournalist’s code of ethics. The course then expands its focus to creating meaning through both single images and multiple-picture packages.

Expected Lesson Duration:

Lesson is expected to last 2 days.

Interdisciplinary Connection(s) to Common Core

Preparing to Teach this Lesson:

  • No resources needed for this lesson.

Student Handouts:

There are no handouts for this lesson as it is project based.

Lesson Procedure:

Introduction/Gain Attention

  • Icebreaker: The class will begin with an icebreaker activity that will stir conversations and or questions (ex: Two lies and a truth).


  • After the daily meme the students will be introduced to photojournalism.

  • The class will split into small groups to READ, VIEW, & REFLECT on the following photojournalistic pieces:

    • Flint Water Crisis

    • Intimate Portraits of Survivors In Places Where Love is Illegal

    • Note: The students need to make sure that the photos alone tell a story and the CAPTIONS, and descriptions or written partitions help clarify and refine the story for the audience.

    • When the students view the piece(s):

      • Make sure that they are using the photojournalism guidelines and blackbox notes in order to identify the use of the method(s).

      • Pay close attention to the caption and the use of descriptors in order to convey the subject and the spirit of the photo.

      • Make sure the students are reading and having discussions with each other. If they are not having discussions that relate to the articles, writing a summary of the articles is another great way to ensure that the students are digesting the information.

    • As a class discuss and describe the articles’:

      • shot types, significance, cultural differences, relevance, etc.

      • Make sure to point out similarities and differences between the pieces, variables, and what make the pieces unique and meaningful.

    • Independent Practice (In class or out of class (dependent on school type/culture):

      • Students will take a series of photographs of a particular subject, area, or landscape that mean something to them (minimum 5 edited photos).

      • The photos should be edited (cropped, desaturated, etc.), preceded by a headline for the series of photos, and accompanied by a well written caption.

      • Again make sure that the students are using the notes and black box system for the creation of their photo stories.

      • The stories should be shared with the class in some form and constructive criticism should be provided in order to develop a stronger project next time.


  • Understand how an image can be intentionally crafted using the tools of exposure, lens, composition, moment and light

  • Understand how to manipulate individual attributes of an image to result in a desired effect

  • Relate ethical guidelines and boundaries in photojournalism to your own work and choices

  • Recognize, verbalize and employ the qualities of storytelling images

  • Demonstrate proficiency in digital photography workflow, media management, metadata and caption writing, and editing

Content of Lesson

  • Acquiring Key Concepts: discussion of character roles, types, and development and how to identify these terms in media in any given medium.

  • Engaging in Experiential Learning: identifying the concepts discussed in examples of tv shows and videos.

  • Building Proficiencies: using skills from previous discussion and activity to work with a group in developing a unique storyline from a random image.

  • Connecting with STEM Professionals: view a video interview with a director or writer in which they discuss the concepts focused on in class.

  • Assessing Learning: have groups explain the methods they used to complete the storyline for their given image. Also allow groups to compare their storyline and steps taken to those of other groups in class. Ask if students are able to identify the concepts of character roles and development in the stories their classmates created.

Closure and Review

  • Reiterate the importance of storytelling in media, describe the amount of written work that is consumed by media outlets and the amount of recycled material that continues to be recirculated due to the lack of new material.

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

Higher Level Thinking Skills Noted

  • Developing a dynamic story

  • Adapting stories due to character developments

  • Perception due to appearance


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:

Does the dynamic aspect of storytelling take anything away from the message that the author may be trying to deliver?

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.

Implementation Feedback:

Students will receive feedback from their peers and instructor while they are sharing their story 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: