Lesson Plan: Everyday Things
Robert Benjamin, United States
1993, printed 2009
After becoming familiar with Robert Benjamin, his approach to photography, and his photograph Nellie and Her Italian Soda, Boulder, students will create two drawings, one of an everyday activity and one of an uncommon activity.
21st Century Learning Skills Addressed:
- Critical Thinking and Reasoning
- Information Literacy
2009 Colorado Academic Standards Primary Subject Addressed:
- Observe and Learn to Comprehend
- Invent and Discover to Create
- Relate and Connect to Transfer
Additional 2009 Colorado Academic Standards Addressed:
- Oral Expression and Listening
- Reading for All Purposes
Length of Lesson
Children develop an understanding of perspective by comparing their observations of common and uncommon activities.
Students will be able to:
- think of a common activity at school and create an illustration of it;
- draw a picture of an uncommon activity;
- use language to discuss concepts and ideas about observations they make; and
- make connections between their thoughts and how to develop them into a drawing.
- Whiteboard or other projection tool on which to write
- Optional: Images of everyday and uncommon activities
- Paper and colored pencils, markers, or crayons
- About the Art sheet on Nellie and Her Italian Soda, Boulder (found at the end of the lesson plan)
- One color copy of Nellie and Her Italian Soda, Boulder for every three students, or the ability to project the image onto a wall or screen
- Begin with a visual observation exercise. Ask students a series of questions about the photograph. Examples: Is this a photo or a painting? How do you know? What do you see in the photo (encourage them to be specific)? Where do you think the photo was taken? Why do you think the photographer took the photograph?
- After three to four minutes of observation and discussion, ask if students think this is a picture of an everyday activity or an uncommon activity. Then share information about Robert Benjamin’s practice of photographing his family in common, everyday situations. Refer to the "What Inspired It?" section of the About the Art sheet for more details.
- Spend time talking about how you can tell the photograph is of an everyday activity verses an uncommon activity. Give examples of things you would do every day and something you would do only occasionally. If some students think this looks like an uncommon or special activity, that’s okay, too—talk about what they see that makes them think that.
- Have students generate ideas of other everyday activities as well as activities that are more uncommon. Optional: Show images of other common and uncommon activities.
- Ask students to think of everyday activities happening at school today. Explain that they are going to take a tour of the cafeteria or another area of the school where children are participating in everyday school activities.
- If possible, provide students with a place to sit on the floor in one of these locations and ask them to draw an everyday activity they see. Then ask them to draw an uncommon activity. (Or they can draw an imaginary set of activities.) Provide them with drawing supplies. If it is not possible for them to sit somewhere outside of their classroom, return to the classroom to draw.
- After they have completed their drawings, have students share about the everyday activity and why they think it is a common activity. Then have them share about the uncommon activity. Encourage them to talk about the differences and similarities between the two.