Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Lesson Plan: Black History Month & Creating a Self Portrait Using Text
In just a few days it will be February and Black History Month. It has always been important for me to celebrate Black History Month with my students. I know that sometimes people find celebrating one race for a month disconcerting. . .I've heard people say "Why isn't there [other racial group] History Month?" That is a long and lengthy debate; and honestly, I haven't ever found it very informative or worthwhile (other than to identify really unsympathetic people).
I find Black History Month to be a great, inclusive, and authentic way in which to encourage my students to talk about race, culture, and diversity in a positive manner. Some students want to share about African American triumphs and they educate their fellow students while at the same time, opening up the opportunity for students of other racial backgrounds to share similar histories, experiences, or understandings.
Additionally, I was floored when I realized my students didn't know what "civil rights" meant. Sometimes, we make assumptions that are really unfounded. Why would they necessarily know about civil rights?!
The most important thing to me is that my students develop a sense of global diversity and want to both learn and share about culture. In the spirit of that, I created this digital art lesson.
Step 1: Students take a picture of themselves against a white wall. You could take it the week prior to this lesson.
Step 2: Introduce the concept of cultural diversity and share the stories of specific African American artists. . .I think it is good to add other "non-dead-white-guy" artist as well!
Step 3: Introduce the project in full to students.
Step 4: Have students complete the "55 Words About Me and My World" worksheet. My favorite prompt: "15 words that reflect how I would like to see the world change are:"
Step 5: Have students manipulate their color photo into a high-contrast black and white photo using Microsoft Office Picture Editor.
Step 6: Have students go to www.tagxedo.com and upload their photo using the directions provided (my click-by-click directions are below and available for download!).
Step 7: Have students enter text from "55 Words about Me and My World" worksheet and manipulate the font and color of their portrait. Save.
Step 8: Students insert their finished text portrait into MS Publisher and add their name beneath their portrait.
Step 9: Save and Print!