UKEdMag: Photography and your surroundings by @JaneH271

Make sure you see what is around you

This article originally appeared in the November 2014 Edition of UKEdMagazine. Click here to freely view.

My favourite quote about photography is by Henri David Thoreau ‘It’s not what you look at the matters, it’s what you see.’ How often do we walk past the same scene and not actually notice what is there? By slowing down and asking children to really concentrate on one aspect of their surroundings you can help them to actually ‘see’ what is there.

One easy way of doing this is to set a collage challenge.

Try to do this yourself before you set it as a challenge for your pupils so that you are putting yourself into the shoes of the learner and can understand the challenge and the sense of achievement fully.

Image from Jane Hewitt
Image from Jane Hewitt

Choose a topic and take nine images which fill the frame of your camera/phone/iPad with an example of that. Then use a collage making app or program (Moldiv App or are both easy to use).

By limiting yourself and children to taking only nine shots you will actively slow down and concentrate fully on what you are going to photograph rather than just snapping away and taking 100’s of images.

Once you understand how easy this is to do you can transfer it to your classroom and school grounds. Obviously you need to discuss safety rules and respect for others and property as it is important that pupils are safe and behaving responsibly whilst still having fun. This is a learning activity in its own right.

You could have a series of different challenges in envelopes or strips of paper in a basket for pupils in pairs or threes to choose their task. Alternatively you could set the whole class the same challenge and compare their results. These can be printed off and make stunning borders or displays.

Suggested topics

  • Lines
  • Patterns
  • Textures
  • Shapes
  • Colours – individual colour or a rainbow challenge
  • Buttons
  • Seats
  • Reflections
  • Words and text
  • Letters
  • Natural
  • Man made
  • Angles
  • Eyes
  • Doors

The list is endless and you can see from the list here that you can link this to other subjects such as Maths.

PhotographyCollageHewitt3To take this challenge even further you could set an ‘Alphabet challenge’ where pupils have to take 26 images of the alphabet in nature. This really concentrates your focus when outside. If your school grounds are quite limited you could perhaps incorporate a visit to a local park or woodland.

The alphabet was taken at Westonbirt Arboretum in Gloucestershire – well worth a visit if you are ever in this area but any area of woodland would work. If you look closely there are two different types of image – letters that occur naturally such as the ‘C’ and ‘D’ and letter that have been made such as the ‘G’ and ‘S’. You could do this within school and ask children to be really creative – for example two pencils for ‘L’ pencil shavings made into an ‘S’ …

If you want ….

Click Here to continue reading the full article freely in the November 2014 Edition of UKEdMagazine

Jane Hewitt is the author of ‘Learning through a lens’ Crown House Publishing 2014
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