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08-25-2016, 03:08 PM   #1
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Teaching A Yearbook Class This Year And I Would Love Your Help

Hello everyone,

I'm teaching a Yearbook class this year at my high school (I'm a teacher there already) and I'm pretty excited about this. My biggest challenge is that there is no curriculum for the class and definitely not enough equipment. I've got two Nikon D5100's and kit lenses (18-55 and 55-300) at my disposal to teach 30+ kids how to shoot and design a Yearbook. The software used to design the Yearbook is pretty much just drag and drop so the layout aspect is pretty simple and I'm not really concerned about that.

I decided that one of the things I would do is to take advantage of the lack of curriculum and turn this into a Yearbook/Photography class. When I proposed this idea to the students, they were really excited about the possibility of learning real photography. The previous teacher knew nothing about technology or photography so the class kind of defaulted to a "hang out" class. The kids really seem to be looking forward to it. The question now is, how to do the class and opportunity justice? Due to the lack of cameras, I know that teaching them camera technique will have to be theory based most of the time; however, I am able to cheat a bit because they all have cell phones which mean they all have a camera too. I guess that limits me somewhat to teaching them at the 28ish mm focal length which is actually great because I really feel like that is my biggest weakness and I get a year to work on it!

My questions are:

1) Are there any (free) resources to teach photography to beginners? I'm looking for something that looks like a curriculum. Progressive handouts, lessons, videos, etc. I have been informed that not only do I not have a budget to work with, but the club/class is a few thousand dollars in the red so there is zero chance of being able to purchase any equipment or resources for the class...

2) What types of techniques/lessons would you focus on/teach?

3) What creative outlets/opportunities might I neglect due to my inexperience in teaching photography?

4) Anything else I might be missing?

I have a really enthusiastic group of kids and I don't want to let them down so any help and guidance is greatly appreciated.

08-25-2016, 04:25 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I have been a yearbook advisor for 20 years and inherited zero curriculum partially because it is not a class, but an extra-curricular at our school. To answer your questions:

1) The best resources often comes from the publisher. Jostens, Herff-Jones, Balfour, and Friesens all offer free guides and curriculum to their advisors. Who is your school working with? There is usually a rep that makes a commission on keeping your schoolʻs account and is motivated not to lose you to a competitor. A secondary option would be JEA (Journalism Education Assoc.), NSPA (National Scholastic Press Assoc), or CSPA (Columbia Scholastic Press Assoc). They are more about journalism, but do have excellent resources for photojournalism and caption writing.

2) Techniques/lessons to teach? With only two DSLRs, you may want to see if a student has their own they want to use at school. But even with cell phones, telling a story is still the same. The typical ways to improve are getting close ups, shooting horizontally, diversity of angles and views, shooting reactions, coverage with the goal to not exclude anyone.

3) Do you have access to Lightroom or Photoshop? Being able to crop, adjust levels or curves, etc, can turn a good shot into a great shot. Half the battle will be organization and sorting of all the images.

4) Teach to your strengths. Be patient: It took me 3 years before I learned enough as advisor to turn a mediocre publication into an exceptional one. Teenagers are almost adults; give them ownership of the book. Let them know it will only be as special or vanilla as they make it. Your job is to teach, guide, coach, manage, and advise. You should not be making pages, or making decisions. Let the students do it, but share your wisdom if you believe they need it. Your main job is to delegate and oversee. Give the leaders in the class that role too, but make sure you donʻt have "too many chiefs and not enough indians". Remind everyone outside of the yearbook process that this is not a professional endeavor; itʻs a student publication where mistakes will happen and learning occurs.
08-25-2016, 06:33 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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You may want to set this up like a newspaper or magazine. One person is the "shooter", another their assistant and a third is the "Journalist" to get the info on the story/subject, names, etc. The team should rotate the jobs so no one person gets completely comfortable doing one thing ("I don't know how to use the camera, so you do it... etc."). OK, that's 1/5th of the class (6 people), but then you rotate this through to the other teams so that each team has had at least three assignments. You can even make it a competition a bit for "the Best Image", "The Best Story", "The Best Teacher Bio", etc. You should also have editing teams, Art Director, Editor, Tech Artist. You could keep this group busy for MONTHS! They should all have hard deadlines, as that is what you will have in the real world (and in this case, the Yearbook will have one).

For texts, PM me and I will give you the web site I have for an Adult school class with about 8 PDF files that you can download on Composition, Lenses, Flash and more plus inks to other forum sites for camera specific help. Good luck this year!
08-26-2016, 12:53 AM   #4
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^^ This ^^

I'm surprised lack of photography equipment is an issue when most kids probably have 10+ mega pixels in their pocket. IPhoneography/ cellphone-ography is pretty much the standard for journalism these days. Something to consider....

08-26-2016, 03:18 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Here are a couple of free on-line camera simulators that will help your students visualize the relationship between ISO - Aperture - Shutter Speed.

The SimCam: Film and Digital Camera Simulator - Photonhead.com

Aperture, shutter and ISO value | SLR Camera Simulator

This one even has a couple of camera modes, aperture priority (Av) and shutter priority (Tv)

SLR Camera Simulator | Simulates a digital SLR camera

Tim
08-26-2016, 05:54 AM   #6
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Write a proposal through DonorsChoose for additional equipment. October is a big funding month for Chevron and they pick up a lot of projects. Finish your proposal before then and you are likely to get fully funded by then.


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