Contoocook Valley Regional High School, Peterborough, New Hampshire
"Supporting current research on different cognitive styles
of learning, the students benefited by 'seeing' the information,
as well as hearing and reading about it."
Purpose and Description of Project
The purpose of Donna Wilson's project was to prepare a slide/sound
presentation designed to introduce eighth-grade students to the
academic courses and extracurricular activities at the regional
high school. The project, entitled "Freshman Orientation,"
was the creation of student volunteers; their only common trait
was an interest in photography and their skill levels ranged from
beginning to advanced photographers. The students met after school
to complete the presentation with Wilson, a guidance counselor,
serving as faculty advisor for the group.
Students decided among themselves who would photograph which classes
and activities; each was made responsible for a specific number
of photos to complete and given a definite deadline. This made
planning essential because they had to share one
from the Media Center. Experienced photographers shared their
knowledge with novices as they photographed ninth-grade classes,
sports events, club meetings, pep rallies, and other activities.
As a group they decided which slides to use and in what order
to present them. They consulted teachers and department heads
to gather specific information on courses, recommendations for
college and vocational bound students, and required and elective
courses. The students added their own suggestions on "pitfalls"
to avoid. One student was chosen to write appropriate narration
for each slide, and another to record it. Wilson and her students
presented "Freshman Orientation" to eighth-grade students
in the nine towns served by the high school prior to their choosing
their ninth-grade courses; a question-and-answer session followed
Materials, Resources, and Expenses
Wilson was the only non-student participant. In addition to serving
as the group's advisor, she supplied the KODAK ELITE Chrome Slide Film
for the students, had the slides developed, and accompanied the
students on their presentations to assist them in answering questions.
The 35 mm camera and slide/sound projector were supplied by the
Outcomes and Adaptability
Wilson finds that "The high school students who worked on
the project learned not only the expected photography skills,
particularly in the areas of lighting and composition, but many
interpersonal skills as well." The latter skills were evident
as they shared photography knowledge, brainstormed ideas, provided
and accepted constructive criticism, and reached consensus decisions.
Wilson says all participants showed self-motivation, task commitment,
and the ability to plan and manage their time.
The slide/sound presentation clearly achieved its objective of
orienting the eighth graders in a new and different way. They
listened to the presentations without becoming restless and they
delighted in recognizing former classmates. It was also evident
that they had retained much of the course information because
they had much less difficulty than previous eighth graders when
it came time to make their course selections. Faculties were also
pleased that all junior high schools received the same orientation.
"Minimal expenses, equipment, and adult involvement make
this project ideal for replication in any school environment,"
according to Wilson. A slide projector and tape recorder could
be substituted for the slide/sound projector, or students could
provide "live" narration. Though this project was designed
for orientation, a similar presentation could be shown to parents,
transfer students, community groups, etc. The project could be
prepared by art classes, photography clubs, student councils,
or others. It also could be adapted for elementary students entering
junior high school.