Last fall, when the New York Times Education section launched a new interactive feature – “What’s Going On in This Picture?”– Santa Barbara 5th grade teacher Sean Federbusch was quick to recognize its value in the classroom. The 2010 Antioch MA in Education/Teaching Credential alumnus, one of the area’s leading teachers in using technology, immediately began incorporating the weekly experiential exercise into his curriculum:
“How do you make sense of what you see when you look at an image, especially if that image comes with no caption, headline, links or other clues about its origins? What can constructing meaning from an image teach you? That’s what we hope students will figure out together through our new feature, one that focuses on Times photojournalism, visual literacy and critical thinking by asking viewers to think about one interesting photograph a week.”
Federbusch explains that, “Supporting claim with evidence is a big theme in 5th grade (and beyond). To practice this skill, my class would start out Mondays with an ambiguous picture, offered from the NY Times Education page. My students would write and then debate the content and subject of the picture, which helped them to increase their ability to make a claim based on the hints and evidence within the frame.
“At the end of the series, they asked for feedback and my class submitted comments, which were published in the concluding article on June 3. I was thrilled and very proud of them all.”