Photography and Cutlines Lesson – Day One

Prepared by: Jami Williams, Mexico High School, Mexico, Missouri

Students will understand what makes a good photojournalistic photo.


  1. PowerPoint presentation
  2. Interactive Opinion Writing
  3. Individual Learning Activity (1000 Words Mini Research Project)


  1. Level 1 (Basic) understanding of the attributes of a strong journalistic photo
  2. Level 2 (Proficient) application of the attributes through personal research


  1. Photography & Cutlines PowerPoint Day 1
  2. Story-In-A-Sentence
  3. 1000 Words Mini Research Project
  4. A selection of journalistic photos (teacher will choose); it is recommended that the teacher select feature photos, portraits, action shots, candids and sports action, at least six photos. Label them as follows: Photo 1, Photo 2, etc. Either make copies of them or put them into a slide show.


Steps to check for student understanding

  1. Teacher will do frequent comprehension checks in the form of Classroom Assessment Techniques (thumbs up, thumbs down; exit slip in the form of post-it note summary)
  2. Students will submit their Story-In-A-Sentence which could be used as an evaluative measure.


  1. Suggested bell ringer: Do you feel that members of the press, specifically the paparazzi, are professional journalists? Why or why not?
  2. Teacher will present the PowerPoint.
  3. Teacher will then distribute the Story-In-A-Sentence guides.
  4. Teacher will present the photos to the students without saying anything about the photo, the source, the background…
  5. Students will write the “story” of the photo in one sentence. Use verbal prompting such as “What do you think has happened in this photo?” “What do you think the photographer was trying to relate to the viewer?”
  6. When students are finished, put them into groups of three and allow them to share their thoughts on the photos with each other.
  7. After enough time for them to share, reconvene and present the first photo with the explanation of what was happening in the photo. Do the same for the rest of the photos.
  8. As you present the photos, ask students if any of them were close to the actual facts and let them discuss their thoughts with you.
  9. Assign 1000 Words Mini Research Project


  1. Exit slip: If you could have covered any event in history, what event would you have covered live and why?