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Students produce a Photo Story 3 social documentary here about a current event or issue of interest


Computers & Internet, Social Studies  


2, 3, 4, 5  

Title – Picturing A Story

By – Lori Martinez

Primary Subject – Social Studies

Secondary Subjects – Computers & Internet

Grade Level – 2-5

Time Frame – 1-2 weeks


    Photo essay about a current world or community event, issue, or social topic of their choice


    Students will create a social documentary (photo essay) about a subject of interest to them. This activity will give students the opportunity to tell a story through pictures by creating a movie from still images and narration in Photo Story 3.


    Students will be able to use current technology and software to familiarize themselves with current issues and events happening in their community or around the world. The students will be able create a photo essay about social events or issues.


  1. Students will analyze and discuss examples of social documentary photographs.
  2. Students will define “social documentary” and view functions of social documentary photography.
  3. Students will research a subject of importance or special interest to them (e.g., a community they know or are interested in knowing about, or a local or national event, or a political or social issue they care about).
  4. Students will develop an interview script using interview techniques.
  5. Students will create a photo essay about their subject of interest using Photo Story 3.


  • Digital Camera
  • Scanner
  • Computer with internet access
  • Photo Story 3 downloaded onto computer
  • Photos of subject of interest
  • Script of photo story narration
  • Microphone for recording
  • Picture books

Anticipatory Set:

  1. The teacher introduces the lesson with, “The phrase

    ‘A picture tells a thousand words’ is very true.

    ” The teacher will allow the students to explore how picture books tell us information in two ways; through very little text and through pictures.

    Without reading the text, the teacher will ask the students to tell him/her what they think is happening in the story by just looking at the pictures.
  2. The teacher will use guide questions to introduce the concept of a photo story.

    • What do you see, feel and think about the photo?
    • What sort of response do you think the photographer wants you to have?
    • What group, event, issue, or community is shown?
    • What did you learn from the photo?
    • What story is the photograph telling?


  1. Students will research the term

    social documentary

    and draft a definition. Students may use internet or books
  2. Students will agree as a class on a definition for social documentary.
  3. Students will begin discussion on current events, issues or a community they would find of interest as a whole class
  4. Students will then choose and research a topic of importance or special interest to them. This will be the subject of their own social documentary project in the form of a photo essay
  5. Students will familiarize themselves with Photo Story 3 by participating in a tutorial.
  6. Students will write a one-page plan summary of the story they hope to tell in their photo essay to use as a guide.
  7. Students will work on their projects and create their social documentary.
  8. Students will complete their project and present it to their classmates.


    Review topics that were taught and allow students to present their photo essays.


  • Students and teacher assess whether or not their projects meet the definition they established for social documentary.
  • Teacher may evaluate final project based on a rubric.

Adaptation (For Students with Learning Disabilities):

    Allow students to work with a partner. Modify lesson as needed per student’s need.

Adaptation (For GT students):

    Allow students to be creative with their photo essay. Challenge them to use every component Photo Story has to offer.


  • Have students write a journal about their research.
  • Have the create an accordion book with their pictures


Lori Martinez


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