Everyday Projects Curriculum Lesson 5

Everyday Projects Education Curriculum

Produced by Everyday Projects in partnership with PhotoWings

We’re excited to bring you a new curriculum created in partnership with The Everyday Projects!

The curriculum utilizes photography to encourage middle and high school students to learn about stereotypes, representation, journalism, and truth in storytelling.

Over the course of ten classroom sessions, students will gain a broader understanding of life around the world, and can then apply those lessons to their own lives and help control of the narrative of their own homes and communities. In the process, they will become more aware and discerning news consumers and global citizens while learning practical photography and journalism skills.

In doing this we help create new generations of storytellers and audiences that challenge stereotypes that distort our understanding of the world and recognize the need for multiple perspectives in portraying the cultures that define us.

Common Core Standards

  • CCRA.R.7 Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse media and formats, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words
  • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.6.9: Compare and contrast one author's presentation of events with that of another.
  • CCRA.L.3 Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend more fully when reading or listening.
  • CCRA.L.6 Acquire and use accurately a range of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases sufficient for reading, writing, speaking, and listening at the college and career readiness level; demonstrate independence in gathering vocabulary knowledge when encountering an unknown term important to comprehension or expression.

Teacher Preparation


In advance of the lesson, teachers will gather examples of local news media coverage, preferably the same news story as covered by different outlets. (If it is difficult to find an example of a local story that is covered by multiple outlets, look for a state or regional story.) The teacher will need to identify how the stories communicate ideas and how the images used for the stories support the narrative or the purpose of the stories. During class, the students will also find their own articles on national and/or international events from a variety of outlets (or teachers could similarly prepare these articles in advance) and engage in a similar process of analysis.

This may be a challenging lesson. Part of what we’re trying to convey in this lesson is that even in the process of “objective journalism,” different journalists will choose to cover or prioritize different aspects of a given story. Over time, this can create and feed into harmful stereotypes and misperceptions. As they create their own Everyday Project, your students are becoming young journalists for their own community, and they are choosing which stories to prioritize and how those stories are told.

As you select local news or regional news stories for them to analyze in this lesson, try to note opposing ways of storytelling. For example, when covering a protest, one article may focus on the issues being protested, while another article on the same event may focus on whether the protest was peaceful.

While it may be difficult to turn your students into full-fledged media critics, discussing local and national news articles will help them begin to get an understanding of media bias and why multiple perspectives are necessary in order to best understand what we consume in the media.

Online Media:

Lesson 5: Understanding different perspectives in journalism

Length: 55 min
Learning Objectives Students will:

  • Examine how the telling of local, national, and international journalistic stories can vary depending on the perspective of the person telling the story. Comparison and analysis will include the photography of The Everyday Projects, with students gaining deeper insight into the ways in which Everyday Projects photographers see the world around them, and how this compares with traditional journalism. This process will help to reinforce a personal and shared sense of purpose for the project as the class works toward their final project and exhibition.


Have a few examples of student work ready to show the class – some very strong examples and a few that need work.

Depending on the size of your class, don’t feel that you need to show one photo per student. These reviews are a chance to give the class overall some encouragement and to show them what they can learn from each other’s work. If you have started an Instagram feed for your class project, another option is to choose one or more student photos and post them before the start of each class, and then explain your selections to your students.



Engage the class in a discussion of the ways in which Everyday Africa photographers see the world around them, and how that informs their photojournalism.

1. Have the students watch the Everyday Africa — Behind the Photos video, in which seven photographers describe images they made of everyday life while on assignment, in their communities, or even in their own homes. Ask the students to think, as they watch, about each photographer’s perspective, and how their own experiences influence the photographs they choose to make.





2. Start a class discussion about the video.

  • What is your reaction to the photographs in the video? Do you find them compelling? Do you feel the stories they tell are important? Would you describe the images as journalism?

  • Can you think of specific examples given by the photographers in the video that might speak to why they chose to make the photo they made? Or why they found the scene in front of them worth documenting?

  • How do the images shown in this video (and the stories the images tell) differ from what you usually see in journalism? How would you weigh the importance of the stories told in these images versus those of traditional journalism?

  • How might the goals of the photographers in the video differ from those of traditional news photographers?

3. Now make connections to the photographs the students are making.

  • Now that you’re photographing your community, do you see any similarities between the stories told by these photographers and the stories you’re telling?

  • Which will influence you more as you photograph your community, the traditional photojournalism images/stories you see in the news, or the images/stories you saw in the video? Why?

  • How have the photographers in the video influenced the way you will look at traditional photojournalism from now on?


★ Check-In

Part 1 of the Lesson 5 Activity Document

Part 2: Local News Review – 15 minutes

Lead the students through an examination of the pre-selected coverage of a local, regional, or state news story by analyzing the ways the story was covered by different journalists.

Throughout the process, point out how images and text are used to tell a story. Highlight the ways in which images and text might be made based on the journalist’s intentions, point of view, and/or lived experience. Showcase how words and images reflect that perspective.

1. Have the students read the articles you’ve selected. Ask them to analyze how the selected images support the narrative, including the following topics:

  • Intended audience of the article

  • Purpose of the article — what are the writer and photographer trying to accomplish?

  • How word choice supported that purpose

  • How images supported that purpose

2. Explore with the students the ways in which the article’s purpose might impact the way the story is told in the article.

  • Do the outlet, writer, or photographer have a perspective that impacts how the story is being conveyed? Information that is included or left out?

  • What about for images — are there kinds of photographs that the publication would want to include/exclude based on its angle?

3. Now think about the photographer's perspective. What are the elements of a photographer’s lived experience that might affect the way they choose to make photographs for the story?

4. Discuss with the class the ways, if any, that the text and images rely on regional or population stereotypes in order to reinforce or promote a narrative.

If it is helpful to frame the conversation, students should access the definition of stereotype, the list of perceptions of Africa, and the list of perceptions of their own community that they wrote in Lesson 1.

5. Now lead students in a discussion comparing the news stories to the Everyday Africa video.

  • How are the stories being told here different from (or similar to) those discussed by the photographers in the Everyday Africa video?

  • How are the goals of the photographers of these news stories different from those of the Everyday Africa photographers?

  • How would you weigh the importance of the images used in these news articles versus the images made by the Everyday Africa photographers?

  • Which kinds of images will have more influence on you as you work, the news images or the everyday images?

Part 3: national/international News Review – 15 minutes

Ask the students to engage in the same process used in Part 2, this time using a national or international news article.

Have the students break into pairs or small groups. As a group, have them find one news story per group online, and then have them discuss the stories together in their group. You can use the same list of prompts/questions as written above. Try to keep their work to less than 10 minutes, so there is time to reconvene and have a couple of groups present their findings to the class.


❖ Teacher Notes

❖ This may take a little time, but you can help struggling groups progress through the questions by asking them to move on to the next question and giving them prompts to advance in their process of discussion and analysis.
❖ The biggest challenge may be selecting an article. Emphasize to the students that this needs to be done quickly and that even seemingly uninteresting articles can provide a good opportunity to explore this process and analysis. Also be sure that the students are selecting articles that include photographs – preferably images that are not just portraits.


★ Check-In

★ Have students reread the definition of stereotype they wrote in Lesson 1. Then have them add to that definition in Part 3 of the Lesson 5 Activity Document.
★ On a blank piece of paper, create a simple T-chart and have students fill it out:
Title: When consuming or creating journalism
Column 1: What not to do
Column 2: What to do


At this point, your student should start to think about what they need to do to prepare for the class exhibition of their Everyday project. Task them with reviewing the work they have done holistically, asking themselves, what else do I need to do?

If they are working on a personal project that will be part of their overall class project, maybe this means there are aspects of the story or theme they are working on that they have yet to tell, and now they need to focus on that.

If your whole class is working together to document different aspects of their community, then students as individuals should ask themselves, what do I want to photograph that I haven’t yet? What do I want to showcase in this community that I haven’t been able to document yet?

Either way, they should also review the Photography as Storytelling presentation and Elements of Photography handout from Lesson 2 and ask themselves, what type of photography have I not yet successfully made? Have I only been focusing on portraits, and now I need some scene-setting photographs? Have I captured any unique moments? Have I only been photographing at one angle, and now I need to experiment?

(If they are still working on their Photo Next assignment from Lesson 4, to make one strong photograph per day for five days, then they can combine that with this assignment).

Make sure your students send you their best photos ahead of time, using whatever method you have established.


This additional video, “Documenting Your Community,” featuring members of The Everyday Projects from around the world, may be an additional inspiration for your students.

The video features four photographers discussing why it is important for them to document their own communities and why they chose the powerful tool of photography for this task.


Tasneem Alsultan | Saudi Arabia, contributor to Everyday Middle East
Orlando Barria | Chile, living in Dominican Republic, founder of Everyday Dominican Republic
Rhynna M. Santos | USA, curator of Everyday Bronx
Khaula Jamil | Pakistan, contributor to Everyday Asia

This curriculum is produced by Everyday Projects, and presented in partnership with PhotoWings.