Units August 8, 2023

Picture This!

Lesson Summary: Students apply close reading and photo analysis skills to analyze underreported global news stories. They then compose photojournalism projects capturing underrepresented stories in their communities.

This unit was created by Renee O'Connor, a 9th-12th grade teacher in Miami Gardens, Florida, as part of the 2022-2023 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across seven 45-90-minute class periods, with work outside of class.

For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.


Students will be able…

  • Learn about underreported stories, and analyze how those stories differ from other stories they hear about in the news
  • Evaluate the importance of photojournalism, and how photos are composed to communicate underreported issues.
  • Analyze how underreported stories reflect issues and experiences that are connected
  • Research and compose a photo story that reflects an underreported issue in their communities
  • Research and compose a photo story that reflects underreported strengths and joys in their communities
    • All too often, only NEGATIVE stories are mentioned about our communities; the positive stories are far too often underreported.

Unit Overview:

This unit engages students in analyzing a  combination of underreported news stories from various countries throughout the world to evaluate why they matter and how the issues presented in the stories connect to students’ lives. This unit will focus on the images that are used in these stories and the ways that photojournalism can support engagement in underreported global issues.
Students are also watching the TED Talk “Danger of a Single Story” from Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, which talks about WHY we should not allow a “single story” to be told about any one individual or set of people.

After analyzing the Pulitzer Center-supported stories and the photos that are used to report on these stories, students will practice sharing underreported stories from their school through a photo assignment.

The classroom will discuss WHY these are underreported stories and how they connect to some of the Pulitzer Center-supported stories they have been researching. They will also reflect on the ways that overreporting of certain issues in a community can lead to stereotypes and biases.

At the end of the unit, students produce  a series of photos which dispel the negative images of their communities and create final projects that explain why these NEW images can serve as underreported stories.

Performance Task:

Formative Assessments:

  1. Students utilize photography and their own to summarize underreported news stories and make local connections to those stories.
  2. Students compose a photo story that reflects underreported issues in their communities

Summative Assessment:

Students will compose photo stories (at least one image) that utilize original images and captions to communicate underreported stories from their communities. The photo stories should reflect skills they explored throughout the unit, and captions should reflect their understanding of the issues explored in the unit. 

This is our underreported story—the GOOD things that happen—and our response to “A Danger of a Single Story.”


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