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EL 104: Smithsonian Project. Photo Essay Blog. EL 104: Course Objectives.

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EL 104: Smithsonian Project

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El 104 smithsonian project

EL 104: Smithsonian Project

Photo Essay Blog


El 104 course objectives

EL 104: Course Objectives

  • This is an advanced composition course for non-native speakers of English whose proficiency in English is substantial. The emphasis is on the stages of the writing process including editing, revising, and the use of major patterns of organization.


Course content readings

Course Content Readings

  • “Traditional American Values and Beliefs”

  • “Ethnic and Racial Diversity in the U.S.”

  • “The American Religious Heritage”

  • “Education in the United States”

  • “The Heritage of Abundance”

    • All of these themes play well into our Fellowship theme: “A Lens on Social Justice”


Building connections

Building Connections

Making it Real

My students come from all over the world. They bring their own cultural values to the discussion. Yet, like their native speaking colleagues, they also need to build their understanding of what values like justice means in a larger context. They need to consider how their views connect to a larger world. The expression of these views, and the developing understanding of how to articulate them, offer an important avenue for developing language skills.

I would like to bring the readings to life for them. For example, as we study the foundation of American democracy as being grounded in the value of freedom, how does that relate to the stains of slavery and segregation?


The project

The Project

  • Choose a cultural value from the reading “Traditional American Values: Racial, Ethnic, Religious, Cultural Diversity.”

    • The 6 American Cultural Values in the reading are:

      • Individual Freedom

      • Self-Reliance

      • Equality of Opportunity

      • Competition

      • Material Wealth

      • Hard Work


At the museum smithsonian nmah

At the Museum: Smithsonian NMAH

  • Look for an exhibit that reflects one cultural value

    • Visit the website before the visit to get some ideas of which exhibits will best suit this project

  • Look at how the ideals of the values are reflected in the exhibit

    • Also consider examples where injustice may have occurred to prevent America from living up to these values

  • Take pictures of the displays in the exhibit


Organizing a photo essay

Organizing a Photo Essay

  • Follow a similar pattern to the organization of an essay, but with the added support of images:

    • Start with a photo that serves as an introduction to the topic with an introductory paragraph which includes the thesis

    • Choose photos that support the thesis and match them with clear topic sentences; build supporting details while relating the photos to the overall essay.

    • Choose a photo that you think serves as a conclusion to your photo essay

      • In all there will be between 5-10 photos used in the essay


Publishing the photo essay as a blog

Publishing the Photo Essay as a Blog

  • An early draft is turned in with the photos and the essay matched up

  • After that draft a final version is published online in a personal Blog


Reasons for publication

Reasons for Publication

  • Visual Argument needs a Visual Media

    • They are creating an argument with their visuals and they need a platform where that can be displayed to effect

  • Authenticity of an Audience

    • Adding to the authenticity of real writing, and real objects in the museum, publication of their work adds to the “real” value of their work

  • Motivation for the Revision

    • They know they are putting something out there for the world to see


Logistical help provided

Logistical Help Provided

  • Created my own Photo-Essay Blog sample

    • Used a different Smithsonian Museum

      • el104smithsonian.blogspot.com

  • Traveled to the Museum with a Small Group

    • Shared the pictures I took that day

      • picasaweb.google.com/ClanMacCloud/SmithsonianMuseumOfAmericanHistory

  • Created a screen capture video of how to Blog their work

    • Software called Jing

      • www.jingproject.com


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