Mr. Campbell and me, teaching fourth-graders about photography
Francis Parker School
San Diego, California

As I mentioned in my last entry, Mike and I went to California last week to visit my fifth grade teacher, Rick Campbell. Mr. C is now the technology coordinator at an independent elementary school in San Diego. His school has several Canon point-and-shoot cameras, and he invited me to come teach the students how to use them. When these kids are in the fifth grade next year, they will be responsible for much of the photography in their school’s yearbook, so it’s time for them to learn some basic principles of composition.

These nine-year-olds are smart, creative, and bold! They learned quickly, and were bursting with enthusiasm. Later that day, Mr C and I went through all their photos, and we were really surprised by some of them. Most of the students followed the rules of composition that I taught, but several of them took those rules a step further to really tell a story or create something meaningful. Way to go, Parker fourth-graders!


Look at how beautiful their school is!


Here’s Mr. Campbell introducing me to the 60 fourth-graders at the school.


I asked how many of the students wanted to be yearbook photographers next year. What a response!

I taught them about four rules of composition: getting close to your subjects, choosing good light, following the rule of thirds, and using creative angles. They were attentive and asked very insightful questions.


I showed them a bad photo that I took of Mr C, and asked what was wrong with it. They were eager to critique!

I actually have a masters in education (Instructional technology), and a part of me has wanted to be a teacher ever since Mr. Campbell’s fifth grade class. This was a lot of fun for me!

After my presentation, we divided the students into groups of three, and gave each group a camera. We went out into the courtyard and the kids took portraits of each other using the rules of composition we had discussed.


I loved looking to see the photos they were taking!


Mike was so awesome to walk around and take photos of everyone.


How cute are these photographers?

Finally, here are some photos that I took when I was about their age. Mr C has saved a collage that my friend and I made when our class went on a camping trip when I was ten. I was the class photographer even back then! My pictures weren’t particularly good, though. πŸ˜‰ All that matters is that I have managed to follow my lifelong passion and build a career out of it. It makes me wonder what will become of this group of eager and passionate fourth-graders.

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Re: I Think You’ve Got An Annual Gig!

wow, charlotte. how can so many years have passed and mr. campbell look the same? i can’t believe we were ever the same size.
road trip to vienna!!!

I Think You’ve Got An Annual Gig!

Looks like for many years to come, fourth-graders at that school in San Diego will be getting photography lessons from Ms. Geary and Mr. Pritchard from Colorado Springs.

Re: wow

Hmmm… I’m thinking about including some photography lessons in my blog. Would that interest you?

I’m in. πŸ™‚ I’ve actually decided to take up photojournalism as a minor to my print journalism degree. I’ve always wanted to include photography in my life in some way. So much so, that before I discovered I could do it as a minor program I was considering changing majors!
It was so hard for me to choose. Writing is who I am; it’s in my blood (literally, with all the paper cuts I’ve had). Now I don’t have to anymore! I’m excited to begin this summer. I’ve spent weeks already looking at good entry-level DSLRs (so expensive… worth every penny, though!) and I’ve come down to the Nikon D80 and the Canon Xti with an upgraded lens (which will put them t about the same price tag). I still have some time to decide.
Heh… probably wrote a little more than I needed to. πŸ™‚ Guess that’s what happens when you offer free tips to a photo-obsessed stalker fan.

Re: wow

Hmmm… I’m thinking about including some photography lessons in my blog. Would that interest you?

I’m in. πŸ™‚ I’ve actually decided to take up photojournalism as a minor to my print journalism degree. I’ve always wanted to include photography in my life in some way. So much so, that before I discovered I could do it as a minor program I was considering changing majors!
It was so hard for me to choose. Writing is who I am; it’s in my blood (literally, with all the paper cuts I’ve had). Now I don’t have to anymore! I’m excited to begin this summer. I’ve spent weeks already looking at good entry-level DSLRs (so expensive… worth every penny, though!) and I’ve come down to the Nikon D80 and the Canon Xti with an upgraded lens (which will put them t about the same price tag). I still have some time to decide.
Heh… probably wrote a little more than I needed to. πŸ™‚ Guess that’s what happens when you offer free tips to a photo-obsessed stalker fan.

Re: wow

Hmmm… I’m thinking about including some photography lessons in my blog. Would that interest you?

That’s pretty funny… to be honest, I don’t even know how to punctuate my own degree. I guess I did it correctly!

I think you’re right! You have to be creative to be a good teacher.

It’s a great little camera! You can take some great pictures with it, so dive in and learn whatever you like to learn. πŸ™‚

LOL… I feel for you! I don’t even know about Hollister jeans, and I’m doing just fine for myself. πŸ˜‰ Keep up your smart people language and let them expand their vocabularies!

I’ve heard about that! I meant to watch it, and had forgotten about it. What a fascinating project!

I think they did! I certainly did. πŸ™‚

I just posted the kids’ photos! Check out my latest entry.

I got permission to post them! Check out my latest entry.

I just posted them! Check out my blog. πŸ™‚

Too cheerful with too many questions?? My heart breaks to hear that. I hope your sister didn’t change her ways! My favorite people are cheerful with lots of questions.

I asked about the dress code, too. Apparently they all have to wear clothes from a particular school uniform distributor, but there is a lot of choice about which items they can wear within that selection.

(Copied from below, apologies for the repetition)

The rule of thirds is the principle that photographs look best when the subject isn’t centered. If you’re taking a photo of a person, his or her eyes should be placed about a third of the way from the left or right, and a third of the way from the top or bottom. Picture a tic-tac-toe box, and put the focal point of your photo at one of the crossroads. Make sense?

I did a power point presentation, but it was really basic and might not make a lot of sense without the commentary I gave along with it. I’ll think about posting it, but maybe it would make more sense for me to write up an occasional photo lesson here in the blog. Thanks for the idea!

My instructional technology graduate program addressed ways to use computers, internet, video, and photography to aid education. My classmates went on to work in various types of education, from elementary school through corporate training. After graduation, I worked at an online school called K12, where I helped to develop the phonics program.

My school’s gifted/talented program petered out after fifth grade, too! It was a big let down when I got to sixth grade.

The rule of thirds is the principle that photographs look best when the subject isn’t centered. If you’re taking a photo of a person, his or her eyes should be placed about a third of the way from the left or right, and a third of the way from the top or bottom. Picture a tic-tac-toe box, and put the focal point of your photo at one of the crossroads. Make sense?

It really rejuvenated my long-standing desire to teach photography.

Rules are made to be broken. You just have to know what the rules are before you break ’em. πŸ˜‰

I want to spend more time with kids. They keep me young and make me marvel at the world through new eyes.

You should! It would be great for both of you.

wow

i wanna learn from you too but am too far away

Wow- Truly inspiring! πŸ™‚

That definitely looked like much fun.

Yes – I would love to hear your explanation of the rule of thirds as well. I know what it is, practically, but I couldn’t really explain it, I don’t think.

Did you do a powerpoint? Can we see it? Photo-school with Charlotte? πŸ˜€

OMG – And if my former professors saw that I could no longer write a posessive properly, they’d probably yank my degree away. LOL.

TEACHERS. NO APOSTROPHE!

HOW FUN!

I have a Master’s in Education, too πŸ™‚ I think a lot of teacher’s are closet artists. πŸ˜€

They’re using my camera! Hehe.

That looks like so much fun! I wish a cool photographer had come to my classroom when I was in 4th grade. Maybe I wouldn’t have started taking pictures so late. They probably know more than I do! πŸ™‚

That’s really great! I so wish my school had uniforms! Sadly I’m in a mass of popular blondes who scoff at anyone who isn’t sporting a pair of Hollister jeans or a Juicy Couture shirt. Ugh! Apparently people were talking about me and saying I need to talk in “stupid people” language more often because they can’t understand me! That’s what happens when gifted programs end in elementary school. πŸ™‚

I learned the rules that you were talking about in my journalism class last year when we were learning photojournalism. πŸ™‚

That looks like so much fun! It’s really wonderful that you have kept in contact with your teacher for that long.
Have you ever seen the documentary “Born into Brothels”? It’s completely amazing. A woman moved to the red light district in Calcutta and gave some of the children of the prostitutes cameras. Their photography is surprisingly beautiful!
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0388789/

Wow, what a great experience. Looks like those kids had a great time.

awww! i want to see the pictures the kids took

That is so cool, my fifth grade teacher once told my mother that my younger sister (she taught her a few years later) was too cheerful and asked too many questions. I guess that’s Catholic school for you. I wish I had nifty enough teachers to keep in touch with!

Does that school have a dress code or just many sets of well dressed kids?

That is too cool! I didn’t know you had a Masters– what exactly does that program encompass? And I love seeing the pictures of the kids getting so excited about photography– our gifted/talented program petered out after 5th grade, so were pretty much left to our own devices. I wish we’d had opportunities like this!
Also, rule of thirds? πŸ˜‰

What a wonderful experience! Both for them and for you. πŸ™‚

There are rules?!?!?

Shoot… now I’m going to have to quit πŸ˜‰

Looks like you had some fun over there! Thats an awesome idea too!!!

That is so cool, my fifth grade teacher once told my mother that my younger sister (she taught her a few years later) was too cheerful and asked too many questions. I guess that’s Catholic school for you. I wish I had nifty enough teachers to keep in touch with!

Does that school have a dress code or just many sets of well dressed kids?

Aw, how cute they are! You’re a wonderful teacher!

That is too cool! I didn’t know you had a Masters– what exactly does that program encompass? And I love seeing the pictures of the kids getting so excited about photography– our gifted/talented program petered out after 5th grade, so were pretty much left to our own devices. I wish we’d had opportunities like this!
Also, rule of thirds? πŸ˜‰

That looks like it was so much fun! πŸ™‚ Those kiddos are adorable!

wow that is a blast! Makes me want to contact my old teachers!

Charlotte Geary

CHARLOTTE GEARY

I photograph fascinating people, and I teach other people how to do it, too.

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