Activities Inspired by the Visual Can Yield Amazing Results
In the lead up to teaching Persepolis this year, I wanted to give my students as many opportunities as possible of working with the visual. If you read my blog post about the "Cave Art" activity, you'll recall that it required students to depict a day in their life, a challenging encounter, or their best moment on the planet, etc. as a cave art montage. In effect, the Cave Art activity is a kind of visual brainstorming about a moment in the student's own life. The above collage by Marwa is fantastic, looking like it sprang to life out of the Futurist movement in Western art.
There's a very cool variation on this activity that I alluded to last time. It has the following steps:
- The student takes about five or ten minutes to brainstorm a series of adjectives that describe him or her. They can do this on their own.
- Now--as a Think, Pair, Share activity--students are put into partnership to whittle their lists of adjectives down to ten. The partner can be useful in saying things like "Well, I think your kindness is a more important feature of your character than your shyness, so I would keep 'kind' and get rid of 'shy,'" for example. Once they have shared with a partner, things can be redirected into a class discussion about how easy or how difficult it was for the students to come with their lists.
- The second part of the activity is not terribly challenging, but it must be conscientiously done. The student should identify a living or non-living thing that comes to mind when they think of each of the adjectives. If the student thinks "loving" is a characteristic he or she has, then a heart or similar symbol might be chosen. Once students have their ten items, they go on to step 4.
- In this step, the students must produce a collage of the items they chose, whether by hand or using technology. Their goal is to attempt to render the items in such a way that the items visually represent them.
- When the collages are completed, students take turns presenting them, ultimately addressing the question of whether or not they feel the final piece does or does not represent them. They then submit a reflection piece that describes the process they went through in putting the assignment together.
What are some neat results?
As a side note, I did my own collage to see what I would come up with. The result is below: