Faith CoLab: Tapestry of Faith: Families: A Jr. High School Youth Program that Explores the Diversity, Commonality, and Meaning of Families

Activity 3: Write-backs

Part of Families

Activity time: 20 minutes

Materials for Activity

  • Paper and writing implements, including newsprint and markers
  • Participants' family photographs
  • Extra photographs of families for participants who forget to bring one from home

Description of Activity

Besides-or in addition to-interviewing families, tell participants that they may ask the families they photographed to "write back" about the photographs. Write-backs are another source of narrative information. They provide an open-ended prompt as well as an opportunity for the photographed families to offer their perspective on the images. The technique insures that their evaluation is included and respected.

Invite the group to generate prompts for write-backs. Record them on newsprint. Encourage them to think of open-ended questions. Some examples include:

  • What do you like about this photo?
  • What does this photo show about your family? What does not it show?
  • If you could add something to this photograph, what might it be? Why would you add it?

Invite families to have fun with the write-back. They can compose a poem or a song. The write-back can be a narrative paragraph or be composed of statements by different family members.

Inform participants that they will get an opportunity to practice what you have discussed. Ask participates to analyze the family photographs they brought from home and write their own write-backs. If participants forgot to bring a photograph, they can use a photograph you provide - and their imagination. Allow five minutes for writing. If time permits, invite participants to share their write-backs with the group.

Discuss with youth how to arrange write-backs with the families they have photographed. One method is to invite families to return for Family Event 2 for a write-back and/or interview. Another method is for youth to make direct contact with families. In either case, youth can choose to (1) interview the family about the photographs and write the information, (2) invite the family members who were photographed to write their reaction themselves on special paper that can be used as part of the final project display, or (3) do some combination of the two approaches. Decide on a plan with youth. Different participants may have different plans.