Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Lesson idea: Black History Month 3-Vu portraits

We did this project to commemorate Black History month. The idea was to illustrate and illuminate three different perspectives of an individual of Black History all in one project. The idea originated from a kit I found on Dick Blick called the Scratch-Art 3-Vu Kit which was pre-fab in nature and probably aimed more for younger kids/artists but that I thought would be a great springboard for my high schoolers to really push their ideas with. Sadly? The kits left a lot to be desired for because the strips that were to be used were torn/separated in such a way that they showed heavy perforation textures that detracted from the overall aesthetic of the works of art and when I tried to remedy the issue and "save" the project idea by hand cutting the strips, well... it just didn't work out as planned in the end. The strips ended up getting warped over time and instead of them looking like the example that was promised of the finished project, many students ended up with essentially ruined work. Oh well. Live and learn. And now I know what I should do instead (IF I do this again *grrrr*) and I don't have to buy the kits since ultimately I hate to create an alternative to most of what was included with them anyway.  The really unfortunate thing is it had so much potential to start with.

Anyway, here are some of the finished pieces that weren't too badly ruined. Each slideshow is of a whole piece of work showing three different views of a person in these ways:

  1. Individual's name presented in word art/stylized way
  2. Picture of the individual (could be silhouette in nature)
  3. "Snapshot" of the individual's life that which made them so noteworthy within Black History
The way you look at the physical piece is to look straight in and see one view, step slightly to the left and see another, and then step slightly to the right and see the last view...



Things I liked about this project:

  • It required the students to really think critically about the person they were attempting to illuminate so that they weren't just considering the first thought that came to mind about who someone is/was.
  • It explored the idea of visual representation and how that can really help explain something better
  • It required actual physical research (Yay for cross-curricular learning!) that helped them develop skills that are critical for their success in traditional academia.
  • Most of them learned things about someone who was both new to them and had also contributed something important to the world around them vs. them watching another horrible "reality" television series on MTV or the like.
Things I didn't like about this project:
  • Those horrid perforated strips included in the project kits that actually made me feel like I/we were ripped off!!
  • The horribly inadequate directions included in the kits that hardly explained the proper way to assemble the finished pieces and more or less frustrated and upset my sweet kids. (You have no idea how much I love my students/kids! Seriously! I love my classes and job so much!)
  • The fact that the whole project took over a month to complete despite the fact that we started them before Black History month even commenced and they're only now being shown in the student gallery a FULL MONTH AFTER Black History month happened. *hrumph*
If you do try this project on your own, I suggest you don't get the kits because figuring out how to do them without the kits is simple enough and will be less exasperating and probably yield much better quality results.  I mean, I guess it's sort of my fault for buying into the gimmick and novelty of the idea and I really should have known better but still.



I'm over it.

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