The time has come to officially post the TMS photo stories of 2012! All the videos are available for your viewing enjoyment on our Youtube and Vimeo channels, but I wanted to write specifically about the Audiah Memorial and Bansilalpet photo projects. While the students of Railway School were assigned a poem by William Wordsworth to interpret photographically, our AIF schools had the added challenge of writing and storyboarding their own original ideas. With the hopes of prompting some “change the world” thoughts, Emily and I held a cause-and-effect lesson. We talked with the students about how one action can often have multiple, unforeseen effects. We crafted several mini-stories out of photographs pulled from the web. The classic example of someone throwing a stone into still waters and thereby causing continuous ripples proved particularly helpful in getting our point across.
From this lesson we moved into a brainstorming session, which was easily one of the most fun and exciting days for us at these two schools. The students thought of stories about the carelessness that can lead to life-changing traffic accidents. They talked about the dangers of bad habits such as smoking, and the impact of one person using a trash bin instead of the street. Once everyone’s creative juices were flowing, we moved into making a full story based (loosely) on the cause-and-effect theme. Emily and I really tried to sit back and let the students take the reins. We were rewarded by two very different stories: one about the good and bad effects of Hyderabadi rain, the other about the rewards of perseverance.
We liked both stories for their connection to life in Hyderabad and for the fact that they were pieced together by all of the students in each class. That is, every student contributed in at least one way to the final product. Since some of our students are significantly less outspoken or less brave with the cameras than others, we felt that this inclusiveness was an important achievement.
At Audiah Memorial, we discovered that a balance is needed between action and planning. While our brainstorming and storyboarding sessions were very useful, some of the best ideas came spontaneously when we were shooting images for the story. Bansilalpet stuck more closely to the script, but also came up with some excellent on-the-spot solutions when their original ideas weren’t living up to their expectations.
At both schools, making the photo stories was an incredibly fun and rewarding process. We have high hopes for the next piece in the TMS puzzle: video shorts!