Arts Integration Unit Plan
Art Form Photography
Reading Content Poetry
Unit Title “Our School Shouts Out” Documenting the Community through Photography: Interviews with Poetry
Start Date September 14 End Date November 20
Objectives Students will work collaboratively to conduct effective interviews, learn and use different poetic forms, and learn processes to create photographic portraits.
Multiple Intelligences To assist students in developing visual-spatial intelligence through photography techniques, and interpersonal intelligence through developing portraits of school staff and detecting and responding appropriately to the desires and motivations of others.
Standards Addressed IL Fine Arts 25A3e, 26A3e; IL Language Arts 1C3e, 2A3c, 3C3a, 4A3a, 5C3b
Materials Needed Digital cameras, ink jet cartridges, digital photo paper, mat board for mounting photos, glue sticks.
How can a student photo documentary project that features a broad spectrum of school staff help sixth graders to develop a respect for the school community and building? How can students learn to make photo portraits that honor the subjects of their work?
Prepare in Advance
Assemble instructional and inspirational resources. Photographic images by Abelardo Morell. Poetry: “Shout Out” by Sekou Sundiata; “Odes to Common Objects” by Pablo Neruda. Key vocabulary words: framing, composition, portrait, close up/wide shot; lighting, interview, anaphora, praise poem, focus, horizontal, vertical. Prepare interview protocol.
Tell students that they will be conducting interviews and that good interview questions are appropriate and respectful. As a group, have them brainstorm what they know about interviews, suggest good interview questions, and tell why the questions are appropriate and respectful.
Integrated Unit Goals: Arts and Literacy
Art Form: Photography
Academic Content: Reading
• make an effective portrait with a digital camera
• establish eye contact with a subject and learn how looking into a camera changes the relationship that a viewer has to a portrait
• set up different kinds of stages and action portraits
• understand the transformative power of photography
• develop interview questions and conduct meaningful interviews
• learn how poetry can create a written portrait that extends the meaning of a photograph
• write, using a wide range of strategies and processes to communicate with different audiences
Integrated Unit Activities: Arts and Language Arts
Check each strand of the Visual Arts scope and sequence addressed in the unit.
[ ] Arts Making [ ] Arts Literacy [ ] Evaluation/Interpretation [ ] Making Connections
Check each strand of the Language Arts scope and sequence addressed in the unit.
Reading [ ] Literature [ ] Writing [ ] Writing [ ] Listening and Speaking [ ] Communicating
Weeks 1–4: Introduce and Engage
• Introduce photography and photographic concepts and digital cameras.
• Students work with resident photographer to photograph from a shot list.
• Introduce School Documentary Portrait Project.
• Students look at images of Cuban factory workers and discuss respect for workers.
Weeks 5–8: Develop and Create
• Students establish photo teams and plan portraits and interviews.
• Students photograph subjects, their work environment, and relevant objects; they conduct interviews.
• Students work with resident poet to compose odes about their subject, learning poetic structures and forms.
Weeks 9–10: Respond and Refine
• Students write in response to photographs and interviews.
• Students work with resident poet to create “Shout Out” poems modeled on the Sundiata poem.
• Students complete their portraits, mounting them, adding poems, and creating borders with images from the work environments.
Assessment Strategy: Culminating Event
Student work will be displayed in three ways: at the school; at an exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College; at the school’s arts showcase.
What worked: Students had the opportunity to learn about, respect, and value school personnel. I learned a vast amount about the school community as well. This unit helped students gain an understanding that is usually difficult for them—how to see things from others’ points of view and how to begin to empathize. The guest writer was phenomenal in inspiring the kids to write creatively and openly.
Though I have been in arts residency as a photographer here for four years, I connected to the school in a deeper way by meeting many of the staff and learning about them. Now they are approaching me to ask to see their portraits. This connection enriches the students and me as well.
“There are unlimited ways you can take pictures.”
“Sometimes you have to change and add some unusual stuff to make a picture look better.”
“The person that was photographed will feel important about the job they do.”