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SCHOOLARTSMAGAZINE.COM 35 With our source material selected, I scanned the first two chapters and adjusted the images in Photoshop for clarity and sharpness. On the first day of the lesson, I handed out a packet of the photocopied pages from which students would create their recon- structed text. Reconstructing the Text Students' task for the period was to read through the packet and choose words from a single page from which to create their reconstructed text. Working with pencil so changes could be made, students started with a word that caught their eye, then built a phrase or sentence from that word. This reconstructed text would become the theme for their artwork. Planning a Photo Shoot With their texts chosen, students filled out a photo-shoot planning worksheet that asked them to visu- alize their photography. Locations, models, wardrobe, props, and time of day were taken into consideration. I gave each student two weeks to shoot at least twenty-five photographs from which they would work. Creating a Digital Collage I shared a demonstration with stu- dents, reviewing how to layer and create digital artworks in Photoshop Elements. I then provided them with a digital scan of their reconstructed texts. These would be the base layers for their collaged artworks. Next, I showed students how to white-out their reconstructed text and add connecting lines to link their cho - sen words together. Now it was time for them to choose from the photo - graphs they to create a digital collage. I demonstrated how to use layer effects such as Hard Light, Vivid Light, Linear Light, and Opacity to allow an image layer to mix and blend with other layers. I also shared the processes of adding additional lay- ers, as well as scaling, rotating, and manipulating elements. Emphasis on Design Since the artworks would be com- posed of many elements, I reminded students of the desired hierarchy of design: Shout (a strong focal point), Speak (middle-ground elements), and Whisper (background elements). Proportion, color, shape, and value were the means by which students achieved contrast. Unity was stressed by means of repetition of color, shape, and overlapping elements. Discovering Personal Meaning At the end of the project, students completed a self-assessment rubric. VoiceThread, an online critique tool, enabled students to critique their peers' artwork via comments or recorded video or audio. The VoiceThread comments pro- vided wonderful feedback into the creativity and expression that stu- dents saw in each other's work. They all enjoyed the challenge of finding their own personal meaning through an art project that used a common source as its starting point while allowing them to express their indi- viduality and creativity. Michael Sacco is an art teacher at Three Village Central School District in Long Island, New York. msacco @ 3villagecsd. k12.ny.us 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 external context. W E B L I N K www.tomphillips.co.uk/humument/ I searched for something that was challenging enough for m reshmen and would also provide them with an opportunit o spread their creative wings. Left: Aidan Hopkins. Middle: Charlotte O'Dell. Right: Ryan Abbatiello. Bottom left: Natalia Fallon. Bottom right: Komal Grewal.