Getting in the Frame & Giving Voice: 7th Grade Introduction to Photography and Audio Engineering

By Luzviminda Uzuri “Ms. Lulu” Carpenter, 
5th-8th Grade Performance and Media Arts (PMA) Teacher

At SGS, 7th grade has Performance & Media Arts (PMA) in term 2 and 3. It has transformed over the last few years to incorporate more technology and media than before as we acquired a STEAM grant that allowed us to purchase DSLR cameras.
Before this time, we definitely made music videos to match what they were learning in social studies about the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  In 2019, I became the Station Manager of KVRU 105.7 LPFM, because radio and podcasting became a passion of mine since 2015.  It was the reason I leaned into technology and learned about Media Justice. This brought access to new knowledge of audio engineering and I incorporated Zoom Reorders into my SGS media library and I learned about the history of commercials through a social justice and anti-bias lens and how to teach it to middle schoolers.  Over time, the Bill of Rights Parody or Music Video Project was born and has continued to develop over the years combining the basic knowledge of photography and audio engineering, so that they can understand linking visual tracks and audio tracks. This is the foundational knowledge needed to build a music video. They learn these skills, so they can build upon them in their 8th grade year and support them creating longer news videos and short films.

In their photography unit, they learned nine basic composition tricks and then practiced framing, focusing, and zooming techniques with multiple assignments. They chose two of their favorite photos that reflected them and then wrote a “reflection poem.” Those photos can be seen on the second floor on SGS in the shared learning space hallway.  One is a self-portrait and the other is a photo that describes them. You can read their poems next to this “Reflection Wall” and see some of the mirrors they used to create awesome poetic photography. 

Within their audio engineering unit, they learned about voices in old time commercials and how they can also hold bias to denote race, class, and gender. Then, they created their own mock commercials and created “liners” and Public Service Announcements (PSAs) for our community partner, KVRU 105.7 FM (  Check them out streaming on-air and online at random times as they “give voice” with clarity, power and authority which is befitting of the 7th grade overall theme of “VOICE!”

We are ready for the next foundational step leading us towards 8th grade.  In term three of their 7th grade year, they will make our annual music videos by embodying their knowledge of the Bill of Rights with silly and serious movements and lyrics.  Look for them at Community Meeting during the Performance Highlights or posted online at the PMA Blog.

Located in the Central District, Seattle Girls' School is an independent school for girls and gender nonconforming students in grades 5-8. Our mission is to inspire and develop courageous leaders who think independently, work collaboratively, learn joyfully, and champion change.