Sunday, December 30, 2012

Turning a Negative Into a Positive

Gearing up for new lessons for the new year. One lesson I'm going to miss is the "Turning a Negative Into a Positive." This was one of my favorite ways to engage my high school students in working with social issues. I'm offering up the lesson plans, rubrics, etc over at Teachers Pay Teachers. Below are some samples of the typical results from the assignment.

I think what I loved most about this lesson were all the teachable moments that always popped up. While the primary objective was (from a studio standpoint) their use of negative space, the discussions on how to unpack a social issue were some of my favorites. When students brainstorm, they typically yell out an issue: "medicare" to which I would throw back "what about it" and we would banter for a long time until the student got to the crux of their issue which might be that their grandparents couldn't afford their medication. What would be the symbol for that?

It also allowed most students in my introductory level one class to be successful. As a warm up activity I would have students place a pair of open scissors on a colored square of paper with both handles and both blades touching an edge of the paper. Then they would recreate in their sketchbook by drawing the negative space (the colored parts that show through). Some of the students choose to use the scissors as the item for their final project and choose a topic of something they'd like to "cut out" or get ride of (like smoking or guns).

This is one category from the rubric that I use with the assignment.

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