I’m fortunate to teach at a school with a garden. No, I really don’t have a green thumb–and I love the idea of gardening much more than the practice of gardening. So, lucky for me, we have a garden teacher who directs a lunchtime club that gets things growing…and then I can take my students out to use the garden as inspiration for photography, art, and writing!
Today I started to teach my students about photography by reading them the book Antsy Ansel by Cindy Jenson-Elliott. (I’m fortunate to know Cindy and have her as part of our local writing project too!) My recent trip to Yosemite further inspired my teaching about Ansel Adams and appreciation for the natural beauty around us. Below is photo of El Capitan with the sun setting and casting its glow on these impressive granite slopes. If you look closely you can see a heron in the foreground who decided to hang out and watch the light change from its vantage in the Merced River.
I like to show students that photography can be more than just taking pretty pictures. Photography can be a form of activism–another way of expressing your views and spreading information to others. Adams’ photography played a role in the establishment of our National Park system, something I am grateful for!
So today after a quick lesson on a variety of composition techniques (rule of thirds, leading lines, bug’s eye view…), we headed out to the garden to take some photos. With iPads in hand, students explored through their camera lens. They got low, looked closely, climbed slopes, scrambled under bushes…all in search of an interesting photo. I haven’t yet gotten a look at their images…we barely made it back into the classroom in time to head out for lunch! Tomorrow will bring next steps…and some inspiration from Dorothea Lange.
And of course, I had to take a few shots along with my students. Here’s one of some students in action.
And another experimenting with black and white…something I will ask my students to do tomorrow to help them see the world through Ansel Adams’ lens. This is a bright yellow flower I found blooming in the garden.
We’ll be doing some writing tomorrow as well…hopefully we’ll get far enough that I can share a slice of student results soon!
Beautiful photos and scenery. I love how you teach photography as a form of activism. Happy slicing!
What an insightful comment about photography being a form of activism. You may already be aware that Ansel Adams took a bunch of photographs at the Manzanar War Relocation Center, one of the sites where Japanese-Americans were interred. My teen students and I saw a number of them at a special exhibition in Chicago a couple of years ago. (https://www.loc.gov/collections/ansel-adams-manzanar/about-this-collection/)
Thanks the link Charlene! I bet the exhibit was amazing.
How nice that you utilize the garden for a variety of teaching strategies. Your pictures are quite beautiful.
Perfect — connecting the natural world, with photography, and then writing — like Write Out!
I love that you are inspiring your students to develop an eye for photography. They will always look at the world through that lens. And they will see light and beauty and story.
Thanks Suzanne! I hope that is true…light and beauty and story–a perfect trifecta!
Pingback: SOLC Day 3: Writing Under the Influence | Thinking Through My Lens