In creating the class photobook each student had to compose a photo in which they would appear and shoot a photo that included one of their classmates. This made an authentic project even more engaging and meaningful to the students and their families.

Janet Radoman


Provide a variety of alphabet books for students to read and explore. The structure and features of ABC books remain consistent and are a well-known text type to the students. You may be able to find some that integrate print with photography so that students can consider how the photos and writing work together.

Materials needed :

  • ABC books

  • Digital point and shoot cameras

  • Computer

  • Blank storyboards

Call attention to the layout of pages in the ABC books.

  • Which pages are the most effective?

  • What works well and why?

  • What might they want to try when they design their own page for the class book?

Have students work with a partner to talk about a variety of photographs that show people within a particular landscape, e.g., people on city streets, in a small town, or on a school playground.

Key questions to guide discussion

  • Why do you think the photographer chose to shoot the photo this way?

  • What is the most important part, or focus, of the photo? Why do you think so?

  • How does the photo make you feel?

  • How does the camera angle contribute to the feeling you get about the subject?

  • What techniques might you like to try in your own photo?

Partners share their thinking with the class.


Take students on a photo walk around the neighbourhood looking for possible shots and thinking about what they want to show others. Have them jot down their ideas.

Back in the classroom, have pairs of students decide on the letter(s) they will represent with their photographs. Each student will be the photographer for his/her partner.

Have each student create their own storyboard showing:

  • what their final photo will look like

  • where it will be shot

  • where the camera will be

  • what is to be included in the shot

Please note: the photo walk, group discussions and creation of the storyboards are an essential part of the process. Most of the class time will be spent on this part of the production process. Before the students shoot their photos they need to know exactly what they are looking for. It will make the actual time spent on taking the photo much shorter.


During the production phase of the project students:

  • go outside to shoot their photos

  • can take 4 or 5 shots using the review button to look at the photos

  • make any necessary changes to the angle of a shot or the frame in order for the photo to reflect what they want to show to their readers about their community

  • download the photos to the computer and have the students select the ones they want to use

  • use the writing process to create personal writing for their page in the classbook

It is important for the students to talk about their photos. Through talk they begin to realize the way a photo was framed, and the angle from which it was shot, could change it’s meaning.

During this project, the students did not like this photo of the boy standing in front of the graffiti because they thought it made him look guilty. After much discussion they decided to take another photograph from a different angle and distance to reflect their intended message.


All work can be done with simple writing programs on the computer. Print copies of each page or create digital pages.

Students then decide on the layout of the book. You might want to appoint a small group of students to make these decisions including designing the cover and inside title page of the book.

Copies of the book can be printed and bound at a self-serve store or digital versions can be shared.

Have a book launch to celebrate the completion of the project. The students at St Patrick School had a small celebration and every child received their own copy of the classbook. Feedback from their families was very positive.


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