Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Analyzing Images with Student Artwork from Poland

Analyzing images is not only a great way to introduce and use vocabulary, but also to practice finding evidence "in the text". Here's how we learned copious amounts of vocabulary for different values in our beginners ESL class this week:

Recently we received a package in the mail, and inside were pictures and artwork from students in Poland! Once again, through the work of Connected Classroom's ArtLink program, we exchanged pictures based on a shared theme. This year's theme was "Picture the Moment". The premise was to use brushes, paint and art materials to create a snapshot of your life. Think of it like an artist's rendition of a selfie, snapchat, or instagram image!

What would YOU include as part of your special image? Which moment would capture the values, people, and/ or places that are most important to you? And how might it be captured differently without technology?

Well, students in Poland were asked the same question, and we recently received their work. (They had received ours in December)
1)  As part of our vocabulary acquisition, first we talked about different values and divided up a list of common values, concepts and more tangible things that were important to people.
2)  Students jigsawed the list of values, then found synonyms and translations for each word with their groups.
3) Each group shared their findings with the class, taught each other their words, and answered each other's questions for clarification.

Simple guide for students to keep track of
values and clues for each piece of art.
Finding synonyms and translating values.

Now it was time for the analysis of the pictures. What values did students see represented in the artwork? And even more importantly, how did they know? What "evidence" in the pictures spurred them to consider that particular value?

4) All of the artwork was numbered and set up around the classroom, gallery style.
5) Students had a piece of paper with two columns simply labelled "Values/ Clues", and were tasked with listing 3 values they felt each piece of artwork represented, along with at least 3 clues that made them think that.
6) Students had 3 minutes per station/ piece of artwork.
Analyzing images for the values they thought
were represented. 

Once they had done the analysis, it was time to evaluate our findings.

7) We picked a few (not all of them) pieces of art and shared the values students had determined for each, comparing responses. Many were similar, but there were a few differences. Landscapes, for example, were considered "distractions" by one group, but represented "peace" and "quiet" for other groups. When explaining the choice of "distraction" they said landscapes and nature "distracted" their brains from other things that were bad. This is why image analysis can be so fascinating to me--students have such immense background knowledge that deserves to be tapped into!
8) Each group tallied their top 5 values from all the artwork.
9) Lastly, the class as a whole tallied the top 5 values overall. Looking at the art samples below, which values do you think they found represented the most?

So, after tallying each group's top five, the class as a whole determined that these are the top 5 values represented in the artwork from Poland:

1) Traditions (clothing, holidays, symbols, etc.), 
2) Love and Respect, 
3) Peace/ peacefulness, 
4) Family,  
5) Freedom (as depicted through landscapes and nature)

Do you agree?

And this activity leads nicely into talking about family and homes in our next unit of study!

*Logistical notes: Each group had approximately 10 words to learn and teach others.  These lessons took 5  45-minute periods. (2 1/2 90-minute blocks, actually)