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Kids with Cameras make a difference

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Keywords: photography, community, philanthropy
Subject(s): Journalism, Service Learning, English/Language Arts, Social Studies, Photography, Information Skills, Special Needs, Podcasting, Technology, Social Skills, Art
Grades 1 through 4
School: Fairview Elementary School, Fairview, PA
Planned By: Penelope Orr
Original Author: Penelope Orr, Fairview
Purpose: Students in 1-4th grade will learn about basic photography techniques, document their community, and create an exhibit while learning about kids with cameras projects and raising donations to help other children through photography.

Objectives:The students will:
1. Study the use of photography to capture sense of place with a visiting artist
2. Learn basic photography techniques
3. Take photos of their community to create a sense of place exhibit
4. Learn about the "kids with cameras" projects and how they help kids in devastated areas like after hurricane Katrina
5. Create an exhibit to raise donations (disposable cameras) to send to current "kids with cameras" projects.

1. A visiting artist (photographer) will visit classes in grades 1-4 and share their work about documentary film, photography, and approaches to image making.
2. Students will view http://benrobertsphotography.com/gallery/images/a_sense_of_place and discuss how he captured a sense of place in his photos. Then discuss items/ images in their communities that they associate with their town.
3. Have children make view finder frames from paper and then walk around the room looking at objects close and far away. Discuss framing, distance/ focus, and juxtaposition in image capturing. Look at Ben Roberts photos and discuss his framing techniques.
4. Give the students cameras for the evening, review how the cameras work, and then ask them to take images to portray their ideas about their community and to capture a sense of place. (do one class a day).

*Digital photography is a vast topic, but with a few essential concepts, kids can get started. Each child is different, but many are ready to start using a camera around age four or five. Here's what to show them:

*Holding the camera properly (careful to keep fingers out of the way).

*Turning the camera on and off. Tell them that it's important to turn the camera off when it's not in use so that the battery won't run out.

*Composing pictures in the LCD. Viewfinders are more difficult to use, so stick with the display.

*Focusing. Help your kids understand what "fuzzy" pictures look like and how to make their photos "sharp."

*Using the zoom. Explain the importance of getting up close.

*Pressing the shutter/taking pictures. Teach your kids to listen for the "click" your camera makes when photos are taken. *Remind them that they'll have to keep the shutter pressed for a second or two before the picture is taken.

5. Put images into a slide show and share with the class. Discuss how their images made them feel? What did their images say about where they live? What were their favorite images and why?
6. Have students write an artist statement about their favorite image they took.
7. Look at images taken by other children around the world as part of "kids with cameras" projects and look at their artist statements. Discuss what is different, the same about these kids and themselves. Discuss how photography helped them in similar ways to how photography made these kids feel. Discuss how they can help the "kids with cameras" do more of their own photography projects through collecting disposable cameras to donate. Visit http://www.kids-with-cameras.org
8. Discuss and plan how they want to exhibit their work...on a web page, school website link, physical exhibit or a combination. Who should be their audience? Who do they want to see their work?
9. Discuss how they want to collect cameras. Entry fee to the exhibit. If online... through donations, etc.
10. Complete the exhibit.
11. Have students box up cameras to send and include letters from the students with school email contact so they can see in the future the impact their generosity has had on underprivileged children.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Social Studies, Community Learning, Writing, Reading
Pen pals, Internet research about countries where the other children are
Links: kids with cameras
Ben Roberts Photography
Materials: Cause and Effect, Integrating Technology, Early Composition, Slideshow, Web Page, Authoring and Publishing, Art Tools, Word Processor, Office Suite, Early Learning, Social Studies, Elementary, Writing, Flash/USB Drives, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Tripods, Camera Bags, Financial, Point and Shoot, Mobile Labs
Other Items: Computers with internet access for class, $? each
materials highlighted above for a class of 24, $? each