Everyday DC: Lesson 1

Everyday Africa photo

Everyday Africa photo

Early cell phone photo from the Everyday Africa project. Image by Peter DiCampo.


Students will be able to evaluate how different communities are represented and how that representation relates with everyday experiences in communities.


Students brainstorm first impressions of Africa. Teachers should create a list of the words students associate with Africa.

Introducing the Lesson:

Students view images of Africa as presented in mass media in the U.S.

Then, students look through Everyday Africa images and pick a favorite. Students compare the image they have chosen to how Africa is represented in the set of U.S.. media images.

Discussion and Activity:

Introduce an additional set of images, this time of how D.C. is presented in the media. Students look at images from news clips and articles about Washington D.C. to compare how D.C. is represented with how students experience their city. Students look at images from their personal social media feeds to compare their visual experience of D.C. with these mass media images. After this discussion, students look at a mix of photos and try to determine whether photos are from D.C. or not from D.C.

Then, students return to the Everyday Africa photos and make connections between the photos from the project and photos from their own social media platforms.

Teacher introduces the Everyday DC project: students will be using reporting and photography to create their own Everyday DC exhibit. Students brainstorm themes they want to explore with their images.

Optional: Teachers have students devise questions they could ask a journalist contributing to Everyday Africa about how they select images. Students can then meet with a photojournalist via Skype in Lesson 2 (access provided by Pulitzer Center; see Educator Notes for details).


Students evaluate how different communities are represented and how that representation relates with everyday experiences in communities.

Educator Notes: 


Analyze why and how an exhibition or collection may influence ideas, beliefs, and experiences.


Identify and interpret works of art or design that reveal how people live around the world and what they value.

The Everyday D.C. cornerstone unit is an opportunity for students to apply photography, photo analysis, and investigative reporting skills to the creation of photo essays that reflect their everyday realities as residents of Washington D.C. Students will create group photo exhibitions that they feel accurately and responsibly represent their communities. Participating schools will have the opportunity collaborate with DCPS and the Pulitzer Center to select students who will help curate a district-wide Everyday D.C. exhibition featuring images from all schools participating in the unit.

This photography and curation unit is inspired by the Everyday Africa project created by journalists Peter DiCampo and Austin Merrill and supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Everyday Africa, a collection of images shot on mobile phones across the continent, is an attempt to redirect focus toward a more accurate understanding of what most Africans experience on a day-to-day basis: normal life. The project is a response to the common media portrayal of the African continent as a place consumed by war, poverty, and disease.

Additional Resources:

Through the Pulitzer Center, teachers have the option to connect professional photojournalists with their class in-person or via Skype for this unit. To schedule a classroom visit, or for other questions about this unit, contact education@pulitzercenter.org.

This curriculum was designed by Fareed Mostoufi (Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting) & Andrew Westover (DCPS).

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