About 3 weeks ago I started a a photography project with my third grade classes. It is based on the paper mache animals we had just completed in class. My idea was to take the paper mache animals into the park that is next to the school and photograph them in the “wild”.
I started the project by showing a video on the history of photography. We went over it together with me pausing it frequently to explain different aspects of the video. Next, we went over the different parts of a camera and its operations. I had them practice holding, shooting and deleting photos. Then we watched another video on how to take good pictures. We had a quick discussion about it and then went outside for more practice with the camera.
When the students came back to Art the next time, they watched another video. This time it was on a principle called the “Rule of Thirds”. The rule of thirds is a concept that goes back many hundreds of years and is used in setting up the composition of a work of art. It is often used when taking good photographs.
The image above was used to help explain the how the rule of thirds works. This photograph is a great example of it as it naturally includes the fence as part of the grid lines that make up the rule of thirds. After showing many examples, talking about it and then practising again with the digital cameras; the students gained an good understanding of how to use it in the composition of a photo.
The next art lesson focused on setting up the students paper mache animals in the “wild” of the Nogawa Koen and taking photos of them. Before going I quickly went over the basics of the rule of thirds again and the parameters for being in the park. Once in the park, the students quickly got to work setting up their animals and shooting them in a variety of setting and poses. It was fun to see just how engaged the students were in their task and how much thought they gave to the process. Below are some examples of the photos they took.
When planning units like this using visuals has become so much easier to do. It has been amazing to see the change in how I use of images in teaching art since my career began. When I first started there was not much for visuals. You either had to create your own, find images in books or magazines or buy costly posters. It was very labor intensive and if you had hard copies you had storage issues. I think the worst thing about it was it took years to compile an image library that was effective and would cover your curriculum.
Things have sure changed for the better. Great images and videos are only a few clicks away. There is a huge variety available to use and the connections you can make by using them only enhances your projects and can lead you to new ones as well. Teaching art has become easier and better because of it.