ESL Photography Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

Smile and say cheese! Activities in this lesson plan will involve English Language Learners exploring cameras and photography, culminating in their developing a children's book using photography for illustrations.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will:

  • Identify and define vocabulary related to photography.
  • Identify the parts of a camera, using correct terminology.
  • Discuss photographs using English.
  • Develop a short children's book using photos they have taken themselves.


120-180 minutes

Curriculum Standards

ELP 9-12.1

ELLs will construct meaning from oral presentations and literary and informational text through grade-appropriate listening, reading, and viewing.

ELP 9-12.7

ELLs will adapt language choices to purpose, task, and audience when speaking and writing.

ELP 9-12.8

ELLs will determine the meaning of words and phrases in oral presentations and literary and informational text.

ELP 9-12.9

ELLs will create clear and coherent grade-appropriate speech and text.

Materials Needed

  • Student photographs
  • Camera (or more than one kind, if available)
  • Negative
  • List of vocabulary words (1 per student)
  • Whiteboard or blackboard
  • A variety of photographs, including those that are blurry and poorly done (4-6 per group)
  • Several books that feature photographs, such as:
    • City by Numbers by Steven T. Johnson
    • Alphabet City by Steven T. Johnson
    • Alphabet School by Steven T. Johnson
    • Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban
    • Is It Larger? Is It Smaller? by Tana Hoban
    • I Read Signs by Tana Hoban
  • Digital cameras for student use
  • Computers for student use


  • Camera
  • Darkroom
  • Develop
  • Digital camera
  • Exposure
  • Film
  • Flash
  • Lens
  • Lens cap
  • Negative
  • Photo
  • Photograph
  • Photography
  • Point and shoot camera
  • SLR camera
  • Tripod
  • Viewfinder

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