Saturday, August 29, 2015

Photo Essays: A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

The Global Oneness Project is a great resource for photo essays, this one is called “People of the Clouds”. I loved how these photo essays captured the culture of a group of people and told their story. Follow The Global Oneness Project on Twitter @goproject for free multimedia stories and lessons.

*Check the content first, some stories may be too graphic for the age group that you are teaching.

A photo essay would be a great lesson in any class. Visual literacy can be applied to any subject or content area. I would like to have students create and present a photo essay that shares their culture, or tells their story. I thought this would be a great way to get to know students in the early part of the school year. Students could create a slideshow of their photo essay and share it with the class. If you have a class Instagram, blog or website students can share their photo essays, comment and ask each other questions, so they get to know each other better as well. I think this would be a great community building project.  I also like that a photo essay isn’t something that will scare a struggling reader/writer or English language learner.

Some ideas for photo essay topics in every subject area:

  • All: A photo essay about school culture  
  • Math/Science: A photo essay of the real world applications of a math or science concept
  • History: A photo essay on the topic of civil rights in a then vs. now format
  • Science: A photo essay about a local environmental issue or concern
  • Math: A photo essay that illustrates geometric concepts in everyday things that you see
  • All: A photo essay of a class field trip
  • English: A photo essay illustrating a theme from a novel that is being read either as a class or as a book report alternative for independent reading

I will update this post and share some examples from my class once we have completed a project. I would love to hear your ideas for using photo essays in the classroom as well.


  1. Do you have any student photo essays you could share? Or even one you created to model the photo essay? Thanks so much!

  2. Hi Heather -

    This is a great idea.

    I look forward to reading some of the photo essay examples as well.