Students explore contents of photographs to encourage focus.

Place photographs on display (I use photos from the web on the SMARTBoard). Ask students what they see. At first, they will notice the main subject, but as you prompt, they will begin to see the details in the picture. For instance, in a photo of a person, they will first notice what he looks like, what he is wearing, and so on. Then you can move on to the background, the expression on his face, and the body language. This teaches students to slow down and really look at what a picture is telling us. There is always a message in photos, and the more students get used to this, the more they will "see". Ask them to imagine why the photographer took the photo from that angle, in that place, and of that subject. In doing so, they will be reading the photograph and creating stories in their mind to go along with the picture. Their own experiences will play a part in this, as it does in their own photographs.