A Picture Is Worth 1,000 Words
Learners use visual literacy skills to analyze the components and message of an image. They listen carefully and seek to understand the different opinions and perspectives of their peers. They identify issues that are meaningful to them and create a simple image and text to communicate a message that causes others to think.
The learners will
- use visual literacy thinking skills to explore the meaning and emotions presented in an art image.
- discuss ways to listen with generosity to value others' perspectives.
- identify a difficult issue that they care about.
- examine the elements of design and language to communicate effectively.
- create an image and text to advocate for a postition.
- A single image for students to look at closely, such as a piece of art or Obama's Hope poster or Rosie the Riveter
- You may also look at one of these images from NYT "What's Going On in This Picture?" feature.
- Optional: 10-15 cutout images from magazines of popular culture, emotional things in the news, people, and places (showing shared values of respect, patriotism, freedom, safety, individualism, equal opportunity, personal happiness and success, justice and fairness)
- Poster materials or technology for making memes
- In the final project the learners create a "meme." Show them an example of what that means to you. You can provide a variety of examples of simple graphic images that portray powerful or subtle meanings. These images may come from historical events like elections and protests or from art pieces. For example: Here's a link to visuals used by the United Farm Workers in the 1960s and 70s as they fought for worker justice with the assistance of a consumer boycott. And here is the iconic I Am a Man sign held by the striking sanitation workers in Memphis--the event that brought Dr. King to the city of his death.
- Learn about visual thinking strategies here https://youtu.be/d-YVvNiAm6Q
Elements of Design: line, color, texture, shape, symbol, space, juxtaposition, font
- What are ways we are all alike?
- How do you feel when you are truly heard?
- What are ways to show others you are listening?
Display a visual image that encourages observation and interpretation. Look at elements of design to communicate tone, feeling, and message. Give these Visual Thinking Strategy prompts and have them pair up to discuss before sharing in whole group:
- Observe the image quietly. (Build up tolerance for looking carefully for a time).
- What is going on in the picture? (Accept all responses without judgment; paraphrase their inferences.)
- What do you see that makes you think that? (Ask for evidence of their inferences. Keep it safe for risking.)
- What more do you see and think? (Encourage wondering and observation.)
- Thank you for making observations of this art. We bring our own interpretations to art from our different experiences.
We have different experiences because we have different identities and backgrounds that make us who we are. For Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we want to focus on issues of justice, fairness, and respect for differences.
Our world is made up of very diverse people. Our differences make a more colorful and interesting world, and our world needs a variety of skills, interests, and traits to be vibrant and smart, and it is not always easy to get along with people who see, think, or believe differently. Brainstorm a list of ways people can be different, such as race, abilities, religion, family relationships, interests, and values.
One way for people to have productive conflict is to listen with generosity. Ask the learners to think, then turn to their neighbors and define what it might mean to "listen with generosity." Then discuss as a whole group some agreements about how they want to be together as a group. Some words that come out in their discussion and debriefing may be:
- listen first before giving your point of view
- take turns talking; don't interrupt
- repeat back what you hear without judging
- be tolerant of differences
- show respect for a different point of view
- listen with the idea that different is not wrong
- seek to understand before trying to be understood
- be kind and supportive to the person who is talking
Advocacy is one form of doing service to make the world better. By sharing messages of respect, we are advocating for a better world. Watch this video that defines Advocacy.
Project: Make a poster or meme with a simple image and text that commuicates to others the importance of treating everyone with respect, justice, and fairness. For example, it could be an image of a lonely teen with the word INVITE across the top or the word LISTEN with symbols of conflict in the letters. Show them some examples of what you have in mind (see Teacher Prep above).
Put up the posters around the school or post a meme on social media to let others know the ways we can help others through respecting our differences.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
Benchmark MS.1 Identify different types of communities with which an individual might identify.
Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
Standard VS 03. Providing Service
Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.