In the early 1990's Peter Menzel created a photo expose of "average" families in several countries. He asked these families to take out all of the possessions from their house and arrange them with the most important items in the foreground. The result is his remarkable "Material World" and a few of the photos are featured below:
James Mollison recently published a photo book called Where Children Sleep. Once again it takes selective subjects from all over the world and photographs them and their bedrooms. A few of those photos are featured below:
I try to combine both of these projects into part of a values unit that teaches us about ourselves and our classmates. After choosing a Material World poster and studying it, the children create their own "Material World" photo, but instead of hauling everything outside, they arrange it in their bedrooms:
The photo then becomes a piece of a much larger project of tangible values using Fotobabble, which we publish on our individual websites and share with each other. It's also part of an evolving bulletin board, which I'll feature in the next post.