The Meanings of Life – a Journalism Online Installation

For the first Journalism Action Project, GCE Seniors investigated the following guiding question:

What’s the meaning of life… in 1000 words & 1 photo?

Here’s the scenario students were challenged with:

Right before the Holidays, in December 1988, LIFE Magazine published a special edition called “The Meaning of Life”; the editors asked “scientists and theologians, authors and artists, celebrities and everyday sages on the street” about their views on the meaning of life. They also invited “seven photographers who captured the meaning of life on a single frame of film”. These quotes are from the magazine.

Now, in a new century, LIFE Magazine decided to recycle the project “The Meaning of Life — in 1000 words & 1 photo”.  LIFE invited High School Senior students from all over the world to take on the role of a journalist to interview and photograph someone they believe to have an interesting/important/unique view of the meaning of life. The participants need to submit a single photo, together with a 1000 words-max text.  The best submissions will be shared with the world on the LIFE legendary magazine.

Please find below the online installation we created, featuring the different meanings of life explored by GCE Seniors. Please click on the links to open the full profiles & pictures by each student.


Alignment with Common Core ELA Standards



SL.11-12.7. Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects to answer a question (including a self- generated question) or solve a problem; narrow or broaden the inquiry when appropriate; synthesize multiple sources on the subject, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation.

SL.7.1c. Pose questions that elicit elaboration and respond to others’ questions and comments with relevant observations and ideas that bring the discussion back on topic as needed.

SL.11-12.1c. Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that probe reasoning and evidence; ensure a hearing for a full range of positions on a topic or issue; clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions; and promote divergent and creative perspectives.

ON MULTI-MEDIA (Photo-analysis):

RH.11-12.7. Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

SL.8.5. Integrate multimedia and visual displays into presentations to clarify information, strengthen claims and evidence, and add interest.


W.5.5 With guidance and support from adults and peers, focus on a topic and strengthen writing as needed by revising and editing.

L.6.2a. Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.

L.6.3a. Vary sentence patterns for meaning, reader/listener interest, and style.

L.7.3a. Choose language that expresses ideas precisely and concisely, recognizing and eliminating wordiness and redundancy.

L.8.1d. Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb voice and mood.

WHST.11-12.0. Write routinely over extended time frames (time for reflection and revision) and shorter time frames (a single sitting or a day or two) for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences.

WHST.11-12.2. Write informative/explanatory texts, including the narration of historical events, scientific procedures/ experiments, or technical processes.

a. Introduce a topic and organize complex ideas, concepts, and information so that each new element builds on that which precedes it to create a unified whole; include formatting (e.g., headings), graphics (e.g., figures, tables), and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension. 

b. Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience’s knowledge of the topic. 

c. Use varied transitions and sentence structures to link the major sections of the text, create cohesion, and clarify the relationships among complex ideas and concepts. 

d. Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic; convey a knowledgeable stance in a style that responds to the discipline and context as well as to the expertise of likely readers. 

e. Provide a concluding statement or section that follows from and supports the information or explanation provided (e.g., articulating implications or the significance of the topic).