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A strong image can convey a powerful message

My students were presenting their personal inquiry projects that had been inspired by the reading of Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin. They had identified themes and ideas inspired by the book and were inquiring into them; Young Pioneers, Stalin, KGB, propaganda etc.

One of the students was sharing her findings about propaganda posters and I realised that the designers of those really had a good understanding of media literacy. This poster is telling people to reject and stamp out drunkenness, laziness etc


There is good use of CRAP, the rule of thirds has been used and this is definitely an example of a picture being more powerful than words.

This gave me the idea of asking the students to find a picture that represented for them the issue that they were inquiring into for their summative assessment. The Central Idea is:

Government systems and decisions can promote or deny equal opportunities and social justice. 

The students have been asked to identify an issue that a government is dealing with and to find out about the issue and the different perspectives on it.

I asked them to look at the following questions and think about  their chosen image in the context of these questions.

1. Who is the producer/storyteller of the message?

2. What is their purpose/motive/agenda?
(to inform, to persuade, to educate, to call to action, to entertain, to shock)

3. Who is the intended (primary) target audience?

4. What does the message say? How does it say it?

This activity was great for my students as it got them to really think about the importance of the image and the message that they are trying to convey. They have a tendency to ‘litter’ their presentations with pictures and this got them to think to think about that and whether just one image may have more impact. It also helped them to clarify their understanding of the issue that they are inquiring into at the beginning of the process.






One thought on “A strong image can convey a powerful message

  1. Profile photo of Jason GrahamJason Graham

    Nice post. In grade 5 we have been looking at ‘fake news’ and what message these images send. In the unit on immigration and refugees we found a lot of images that we tries to unpack the meaning. Who took the photo, why? Does the photographer or publisher have an agenda? Is the photo even real? What does real mean? Pretty deep for grade 5 kids but it was great for them to think critically about the image, something many of them had not done before.I scaffolded this with them of course with a some question prompts. They ended up adding even more critical eye questions.


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