I took this photo nearly ten years ago for the ClipPix ETC website. At the time, I had intentions to create a whole series of photos illustrating various proverbs, aphorisms, and idioms.

Well, the series never happened, but the first image is still a good one for class discussion. Here are a few questions to get that started. Remember that visual literacy isn’t just for art classes. Nearly every subject area requires students to interpret, integrate, and create visual information.

    • What proverb, aphorism, or idiom do you think the photographer was trying to represent?
    • Why do you think the photographer isolated the subject? Would the picture be as effective if the basket of eggs had been photographed on a crowded kitchen countertop with a set of canisters, a can opener, a toaster, and other kitchen clutter?
    • How many sources of light do you think were used in the photo? Would the eggs have looked as rounded if there had just been one source? Or if there had been even lighting from all directions?
    • Why do you think the photographer chose the type of basket he did rather than a square or rectangular basket with a wide, flat bottom?
    • (Once the photo has been identified as “all eggs in one basket”) What would you have done differently to represent “all eggs in one basket” or “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket”?
    • “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a familiar proverb to many. Can you think of similar proverbs that could be represented by a single photograph? What are they?

An Activity

Most students have access to a digital camera of some sort. After discussing the eggs photo, ask students to take photos that represent a given topic, such as a proverb, aphorism, or idiom. Take advantage of the distance learning environment many schools have implemented. This activity will work better if students are all at their own homes rather than all in the same classroom. Students can then share their photos with other class members who will try to identify the selected idea.

Here are some sources for topics:

Roy Winkelman is a 40+ year veteran teacher of students from every level kindergarten through graduate school. As the former Director of FCIT, he began the Center's focus on providing students with rich content collections from which to build their understanding. When not glued to his keyboard, Dr. Winkelman can usually be found puttering around his tomato garden in Pittsburgh. Questions about this post or suggestions for a future topic? Email me at winkelma@usf.edu. To ensure that your email is not blocked, please do not change the subject line. Thank you!

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