Activity And Project

Blog About Courage Using Photos

9 - 12
Activity Time
30–45 minutes prep time; 60–90 minutes for the activity over two days, plus time for the teen to take or find photos
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Activity Description

This activity has teens think about the concept of courage and then find or take photographs from their own lives that they think exemplify courage. These photos are posted to a blog where the teen can then write about them, either in self-reflection or by opening access to the blog to a small group of teens, family, or friends who can write comments responding to the photos and even contribute by posting photos of their own.

Why This Is Helpful

Not all teens enjoy writing, and they may find it especially difficult to write in a focused way about one idea. This activity has teens practice this kind of writing by asking them to connect the idea of courage to their own lives through writing and photographs. Using a blog allows teens to work in a format that may already be familiar and comfortable to them. And when used in a small group where teens can respond to each other, this activity helps inspire communication and build community within the group.

This activity was modified from the ReadWriteThink lesson plan “Blogging With Photovoice: Sharing Pictures in an Integrated Classroom.”

What You Need

Here's What to Do

Preparing for the Activity

1. This activity uses the question What is courage? as an example, but if you think the teen (or teens) you are working with would prefer to explore something else, you should feel free to change it. You will need the question decided before you start the activity, so you should talk with the teen about what question to use. The question should be about an abstract idea: something that you can’t see or touch; for example, What is happiness? or What is anger? It works best if the question has a personal connection or purpose for the teen.
2. Before starting this activity, you will need to set up a blog that allows pictures to be uploaded and responses given. Wordpress and Blogger are free blogging resources. Set up the blog so that only you and the teen or a small group of teens have access to it; you will need e-mail addresses for each of the students. For help setting up the blog, see Blogger Help or Wordpress Support.

Note: If you are not familiar with a blog, learn about it and practice using it before working with the teen. As an alternative, find someone who knows about blogs who can support you and the teen through the technical aspects of this activity.
3. Post two or three of your own photographs that respond to the question What is courage? on the blog; these can be pictures you have taken or pictures of you. Give each picture a title, explain why you chose it, and write a few sentences about how it shows courage for you. You might want to include both examples you think work well and those that do not.


Conducting the Activity

4. Begin by asking if the teen is familiar with blogs, has created one before, or visits any regularly. Talk a little bit about what blogs are and how they are used.
5. Explain that in this activity you will be creating a blog to explore the concept of courage—or whatever concept you and the teen decided would be of interest. It is more motivating for the teen if the concept is related to some real purpose or situation that he or she is dealing with. Spend some time talking about what the teen might learn or gain from this activity.

Ask the teen to spend five minutes thinking and writing about what pictures come to mind when he or she thinks of the word courage. You might ask the following questions:

  • What is courage?
  • What does courage look like?
  • How do you know if someone is courageous?
  • When have you been courageous?

Share the pictures you have posted on the blog. Ask the teen to talk about what courage looks like in each picture and why the picture may have been chosen. Invite the teen to click on the comment link to type some responses in the blog, such as

  • A statement that agrees or disagrees with the picture and text addressing the theme
  • An explanation of the reasons for agreeing or disagreeing
8. At this point, challenge the teen to find pictures to share. These pictures can be ones that he or she takes or ones selected from a collection of photos at home. If photos are unavailable, pictures can be scanned from a magazine or imported from a website. When taking or choosing photos, the teen should keep the following questions in mind: What is courage? and What does courage look like? Talk about what pictures would be appropriate, stressing that they should not show violence, intimidation, or illegal substances.

If the teen is using a digital camera, pictures should be saved to a disk. If using a conventional or disposable camera, the pictures will need to be developed and scanned. Ideally, the teen will bring in between five and seven pictures.
9. Looking at either prints of the photos or digital versions on a computer screen, work with the teen to help choose which photos will work best on the blog. Fill in the first part of the Picture Selection and Description Sheet together. After this is filled in, talk to the teen about which two photos will work best for the blog and why, using the sheet as a guide. Have the teen fill in the second part of the sheet, which provides writing space for descriptions of the two chosen photos.
10. Post the photos on the blog. If you are working with more than one teen, make each set of photos a separate blog post. Have the teen include a title for each photo, write a sentence that explains why he or she chose it, and write a few sentences about how the picture shows courage.
11. If you have more than one teen in the group you are working with, ask them to comment on one another’s blog posts, using the same format as in Step 7. If you are working with one teen, you can write comments or you can suggest that the teen invite friends or family to view the blog and add comments.

Note: You will need e-mail addresses for anyone who will be looking at or commenting on the blog to give them access to it.
12. Refer back to the initial discussion in Step 5 and talk about ways the teen might use what was learned in this activity in his or her personal life.

More Ideas to Try

  • Repeat this activity with different themes; for example, What is joy? What is sadness? or What is love?
  • Explore the issue of staying safe online with the activity Creating a Safe Online Profile.

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