Thursday, May 03, 2012

More than a sum of its parts . . .

How important is it to push our students beyond their academic comfort zone? Beyond the usual set of rules played out in the 'game of school.'  Personally I believe pushing our students is a crucial aspect of our charge as educators.

I recently worked with a Language Arts class on a project that took an individual Winslow Homer illustration, courtesy of the Portland Museum of Art, and create a video that took the viewer through the  stylistic elements that Homer conveyed in the image. Copyright concerns were addressed and the students create videos that included an image, narration, some sound effects and a music track. We talked a lot about the difference between being a cook and being a chef. Getting the same ingredients as everyone else in the class, and seeing what you could do with them.

     INGREDIENTS
          1 image, courtesy of the Portland Museum of Art.  
          About 10 paragraphs of narration about elements in the image   (lightly salted.)
          A pinch of sound effects.
          A thin layer of royalty free music.

     DIRECTIONS
         Cut, mix, and burn these pieces into a final presentation steeped in creativity.

It's not easy.

I knew we were on to something worthwhile when some of the 'best' students (think Hermione) felt this project was too hard. These are the students who willingly repeat back whatever their teacher has told them and to expect this level of creativity was something foreign to them.

Here's an example.




The Image.






The Text. 









The Music.

Dvorak's Second Movement in F





The Result.