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High School Photography Lessons Inspire Students to Do Social Good

“Who am I? What do I care about? How can I make a difference?”

Teens continually attempt to figure out their place in the world. As teachers, we can make a profound impact as our students learn and develop. We can guide those in our classrooms to use their passion, creativity, and energy to make a difference in the world. And now there’s a new resource, created by the Getty Museum, to help teachers do just that. The Getty Unshuttered Teacher Portal is a cross-curricular resource that provides high school teachers with free lessons that inspire students to raise their voices for social good through photography.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Melissa Barales-Lopez, Mia Bella Chavez, Grecia Carey Ortega, and Norma Vidal, [untitled], 2018

Cross-Curricular Lessons

Originally developed as a free, photo-sharing app, Getty Unshuttered encourages teens to inspire others with their creativity. The app also teaches photography skills and posts photo challenges. The Getty Unshuttered Teacher Portal is a new resource that provides high school teachers with lessons that incorporate photography and enhance curriculums across a variety of subject areas, such as ELA, history, politics, art, photography, and more. 

Social Justice Themes

The carefully developed lessons tackle social justice themes that resonate with high school students. For example, Exploring Your Background is a lesson that shows students how to use self-portraiture to express their identity. In the accompanying activity, students use their smartphones to capture selfies that reveal their cultural background, family history, and place in society. The lesson also incorporates photography skills videos from the Getty Unshuttered app , and resources such as portraits from the Getty Collection and an “identity map” graphic organizer. 

Other cross-curricular, high school photography lessons from the Getty Teacher Portal delve into impactful, social justice topics, such as:

  • Exploring Communities
  • The Role of Photography in Social Justice Advocacy
  • Identifying Types of Service 
  • And more!

Useful Tools and Resources

Currently, there are eight social justice lessons available on the Getty Unshuttered Teacher Portal. Over the next school year, there are plans to add lessons on photography skills and visual narrative. All lesson plans include a variety of tools and resources. Examples include relevant activities, photos, videos, discussion guides, graphic organizers, and assessments.

Explore the Getty Unshuttered Teacher Portal

Tap into your high school students’ creative expression through photography that helps them develop a deeper understanding of art, history, literature, politics, and more. Inspire them to raise their voices for social good through Getty Unshuttered’s cross-curricular, high school lessons.

Explore the Getty Unshuttered Teacher Portal

Note: The aim of the portal is to be a tool for educators, and the Getty wants to hear feedback from you directly (unshuttered@getty.edu) in order to be responsive and ensure resources work for you. Going forward, you will see updates to lesson plans as feedback is incorporated.




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