I used Wendy Ewald’s beautiful book, The Best Part of Me, to inspire my Cycle One students. I wanted to create an integrated project that would tie together visual and print literacy. I decided to have my students create a class book using their own photography and writing.

Barbara Kurtzman


Since students will be combining photography and print in this project, it is important that they have the opportunity to view model texts similar to the ones they are being asked to produce. You can find many examples online by entering "The Best Part of Me" into Google or other search engine, and clicking on images.

  • Look at the model texts with the students.

  • Ask them what they notice about the way the words and the photos are placed on the page and how they work together to answer the question "What is the best part of me?"

  • Have the students talk about the photographs and consider how they were taken.

Materials needed

  • Blank storyboard template for each student

  • Digital point and shoot camera E.g. Canon PowerShot.

  • Computer for downloading photos

  • Printer

Key questions for exploration of photos

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

  • What is the most important part of the photo? (What is the focus? Who or what holds the centre of attention?)

  • What do you think the photographer was trying to communicate given the focus of the photo?

  • What do you like about the photo?

  • Why do you like this aspect?

  • What can you learn from this photo that you might use for your own photo?


During the planning stage of the process the students:

  • talk in pairs about the question, "What is the best part of you?" and think creatively about the reasons for their choices

  • brainstorm ideas for their own class book thinking about the photos they would take and the kind of writing that would work well with the photography

  • 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

The purpose of the storyboard is to help the student make decisions before the actual photo shoot and to provide information for the student-photographer. It makes the actual time spent on taking the photos much shorter.


During production students:

  • work in pairs to photograph each other using their respective storyboards as a guide

  • take 4 or 5 shots in order to choose the one they like best

  • use the writing process to create their poems for the class book


At this stage, students:

  • transfer the photos from the camera to the computer

  • select the photo they wish to publish in the class book.

  • decide on the layout for their photograph and final copy of their personal writing

  • use an image software program or just cut and paste their photo and text on to paper to create the layout for their page in the book

Assemble the final class book.

Print copies or create a slideshow or podcast in order to celebrate the final product.

I created a slideshow of the finished book which was narrated by one of the students. This is a great example of the power of voice. You can hear each child’s personality through their words.

Barbara Kurtzman

View the slideshow here.


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