Think Before You Shoot: Creating Images with Impact in the Journalism Classroom

Michele Lemere, English, Garinger HS

Curriculum Units (pdf)


Because most Americans have easy access to digital cameras, many of us simply snap a picture and post it online without much thought about how it was created or the underlying message it contains. This is particularly true of today’s high school students, who have lived virtually their entire lives in a digital world. Yet, those setting the framework for what students need to be successful in the 21st century stress the importance of media literacy in both analysis and creation; we need to understand the format, content, purpose and meaning of the photos we view and produce. Meanwhile, photography has had the power to change lives and minds since its invention. This curriculum unit explores the idea of photography as message maker and agent of change. After learning about the elements of photographs and what makes them effective, students will create their own images for student media in order to tell their story visually. It is geared toward teachers looking for strategies to push their students to produce impactful, quality photos that accurately represent the student body and school. Throughout the unit, students will assemble a portfolio of the photographs they have analyzed and produced themselves.