Project Title: Obituary Writing
Photoshop Elements or some other Photo editing software
Subject and Grade Level: High School
Intergrated Subject Areas Also Covered:
At the end of the school year, when we don’t have time for one more edition of the school paper due to mailing due dates, I like to do a fun project related to journalism. Since obituary writing is often the first position a reporter holds on a newspaper staff, I needed to find a fun way to teach this style of writing. We decided it wasn’t that exciting to write your own obituary for today. It was more fun to imagine your exciting life when you die at the ripe old age of at least 90. But that wasn’t enough for my girls. They wanted to take it the next step and see what they might look like as old women.
After the obit was written, we used a digital camera to take head shots of each other (we pulled hair back off our faces to make it easier to blend out the current style). We then downloaded funny pictures of old women. Things they looked for in the pictures were “good face wrinkles,” interesting hair styles, clothes old women would wear, glasses, etc. They then used the clone tool in photoshop elements to clone the wrinkles onto their own faces (they couldn’t cover their own eyes or pick new noses – we wanted the viewers to at least some facial features). We also used the other tools to cut out “good hair” and clothing to put over the original pictures.
(Some of a First Draft of Obits written in 10 minutes:)
A.L. Miller Mathers Depp, 103, of Arnold died April 25 2006. While taking her afternoon swim, she bent down in the water to scratch her foot. Little did she know that scratching her soggy foot would lead to death in the Arnold pool. When she bent down, she lost her balance and flipped over, her head splashing into the water.
She wasn’t noticed until the next day when the pool opened up. Her husband, Depp, found out that she had drowned and rushed down to the pool to try to rescue her. Jumping in the water to save her, he forgot that he didn?t know how to swim and started to drown. Luckily they saved him before he had a tragic death like Eleanor’s.
A. was born April 22, 1903 in Broken Bow, Nebraska to Mark and Judy Miller. She started school in 1908. In 1917 she became a lifeguard. In 1919 she graduated from Broken Bow public schools. After she graduated, she went to college to become an oceanographer.
In 1925 she got married to Marshall Bruce Mathers II. The wedding was held at the Kearney hospital. She then changed her name to Eleanor Jean Miller, Mathers. A year after they got married they had 2 marvelous children, Francis and Jimmy Mathers. In 1930, she divorced Mathers and married Johnny Depp. They had one more child, Josephine.
In 1956, her oldest daughter, Francis adopted 5 children. Eleanor was a grandmother to 8 and a great-grandmother to 5. In 1930 Alicia changed her name to Eleanor Jean Mathers Depp.
Eleanor was preceded in death by her father, Ray, her mother, June, and her uncle Billy. Eleanor Jean’s funeral was held on April 27, 2006 at the United Methodist church at 2:00 for everyone that knew Eleanor.
Some students find it creepy to write their own obituary, so obviously I give them the option to write a ficticious obituary for a ficticious person – male or female. However, if they don’t want to make themself old in the photo, then they have to have permission from the person they are aging before beginning.
Examples of Obituaries
Digital Camera for head shots