So when I first found out I would be teaching a middle school Photography class, I was a bit nervous! Even as an art teacher, there are just some mediums that I feel less comfortable in than others. While Ceramics and Painting are some of my strong points, Photography is something that I never got too into.
My particular Photography class is taught as a minor. At my school, this means that while some kids have their intervention times, other kids go to related arts minors. At my school, some of our available minors include Photography, Drawing, Percussion, Theater Makeup, Zumba, among many others. Minor classes are based 100% on participation.
I knew that I had to come up with lessons that engaged these students, since having a class as a minor tends to be taken not as seriously as a major class such as Art, Band, Theater, or Computer. One thing that I decided to do was have students create their own Photography folders/notebooks.
Before beginning lessons, I had students take notes about what we would be working on that week. This is a general idea of how I broke up the first few weeks.
- Introduction to how the camera works. Students learned about the different buttons, settings, etc. Students had the opportunity to experiment with the different filters and effects that they could use on their cameras.
- Optical Illusions. 6th grade loved these! We talked about different types of Optical Illusions, how to create illusions using depth, etc. Students had a fun time experimenting with these.
- Rule of Thirds and Composition. After seeing the way that 6th graders haphazardly hold their cameras, this was one of my favorite lessons to teach them! I taught them the importance of taking their time, lining up a photo, and thinking about what the most important section of that photo is and how to make it stand out the most. After this lesson ended, I noticed a change in the majority of my students and the quality of the photos that they were taking.
- Shutter Speed. This seemed to be one of the student’s favorite lessons. We spent a few days talking about shutter speed and how to capture a fleeting moment. We went outside and took pictures of each other jumping, running, cartwheeling, etc. My student’s favorite part came when I brought water balloons in on a particularly hot day. We took turns tossing the balloons at each other and trying to capture the photo of the balloon as it pops.
Although I still have about two weeks left with this Photography class, I spent today printing off some of my favorite photos so far. I am very proud of this class and the hard work that they have put in. Below are some examples.
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