SchoolArts Magazine

December 2015

SchoolArts is a national art education magazine committed to promoting excellence, advocacy, and professional support for educators in the visual arts since 1901.

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CONTINUED FROM PAGE 31. with the following questions: 1. Does the cartoon make sense? 2. Is it offensive? 3. How could it be improved? 4. What statement is the cartoonist trying to make? The completed review sheets were shared with each student so they could see others' feedback and make any needed changes. Results This was one of the most successful projects for my introduction to art class in terms of student engagement and variety of responses. Student car- toon topics included the presidential race, immigration, plastic surgery, child neglect, animal rights, the environment, war, and more. Each student's finished cartoon reflected his or her own point of view and individual drawing style. Many com- mented that they felt empowered by the opportunity to share their beliefs, which I believe helped them make more authentic decisions in their art- work throughout the year. Robb Sandagata is the digital product manager at Davis Publications. He taught this lesson at Buena High School in Sierra Vista, Arizona. N A T I O N A L S T A N D A R D Connecting: Relating artistic ideas and work with personal meaning and exter- nal context. W E B L I N K S thenib.com www.cagle.com 32 DECEMBER 2015 SchoolArts SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 33 H I G H S C H O O L P olitical cartoons offer a visual history of the political, social, and global trends that effect our world. They document and com- ment on hot topics, tragedies, and our rapidly changing environment. Political cartoons are also a pow- erful vehicle for students to share their authentic thoughts and opinions without requiring a high level of skill, making them perfect for students in beginner art classes. With an intense presidential campaign dominating the media and multiple topics blowing up on social media (Black Lives Mat- ter, gay marriage, transgender rights, terrorism, the European refugee crisis, etc.), this is the perfect time to explore political cartoons in your classroom. Authentic Opinions, Authentic Voices I taught this lesson during the intense 2008 presidential election, and, much like today, politics dominated television and radio airwaves. Since then, social media has amplified and extended social and political discus- sions, making many students more engaged in these issues than ever before. Make a Robb Sandagata STATEMENT Students became captivated by this project because of the low threshold for entry (they did not have to be skilled in drawing) and the opportu- nity to express their own opinions in school, something they feel is extremely rare. The combination of authentic opinions and the establish- ment of an individual cartoon style helped students find their artistic voices. Examples and Styles I began by collecting a variety of current and historical political car- toons from the Internet, making sure that I represented a wide variety of topics and multiple points of view. Great historical examples include Ben Franklin's pre-Revolutionary War "Join or Die" cartoon, and Dr. Seuss's political cartoons from World War II. I also included cartoons that commented on social issues and controversial topics. Remember that this lesson is about allowing students to express and develop their own opinions, so be sure to offer opposing viewpoints. Next, I shared and discussed the cartoons with students while empha- sizing the following points: • Political cartoons can influence history. • Political cartoons discuss the most important political and social issues of the day. • Political cartoons help us under- stand and memorialize tragic events. We also analyzed the cartoons to identify frequently used techniques, such as simplifcation, exaggeration, distortion, use of text, and use of sym- bolism. Ideation and Creation Next, I asked students to pick one or more topics that they considered important. Topics could pertain to politics, society, culture, or any part of modern life. Students were asked to create three or four sketches to explore their ideas. I met briefly with each student to discuss the content and style of his or her cartoon. I emphasized that the cartoons should fit "your style and drawing ability," and that simplicity is often the key to success in visual communication. It is important to discuss the content of the cartoons with students, as they may need help making sure that any challenging or controversial statements are appropri- ate for the school community. This is a good opportunity to discuss freedom of speech and appropriate ways to respond to opposing points of view. Sharing Before students completed the final details of their cartoons, we con- ducted a peer review. Each student read at least two cartoons by other students and filled out a review sheet The combination of authentic opinions and the establishment of an individual cartoonst le helped students find their artistic voices. CONTINUED ON PAGE 41. SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 45 REMOVES WET & DRY OIL PAINT "The Masters" ® Brush Cleaner and Preserver removes wet and dry oil paint, acrylics, alkyds, watercolor, gouache, stains, and more! Water makes it work - no solvents! 24 oz Tub is the Perfect Size for Classroom & Studio C l e a n e r MADE IN THE USA General Pencil Company, Inc. 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