Monday, March 12, 2012

An image is worth a thousand words... at least

Lately I have been working with photos more and more in the classroom. (I was inspired by a recent conference I attended.) I like taking a photo or painting and separating it out into many sections. I literally print out the image and cut it into multiple sections.; maybe 5 or 6 pieces. (I will print out the image 5 times and cut each printout into the same 6 different pieces so each student can have a section of the image.) I try to pick photos that are complex and have a lot going on in them.

I suggest the image below that could be used for dissection. In fact, if you CLICK HERE, there are enlarged sections of this image ready for you to print off.

You could ask students things like:
What is going on in this section?
How are people dressed?
Who do you think painted this image?
What is the mood of the section?
What is the quality of the art?

I put each section up on the Powerpoint, one piece at a time, and ask those students who have that piece to talk about what they saw. In the end I put the entire photo up and ask if there is different meaning with all of the pieces put together.

I think this might be an interesting way to introduce the Holocaust. This photo is actually a mural that was in the common area of the children's barracks at Auschwitz-Birkenau.

You could talk about what type of supplies might have been readily available to paint this mural. How is the painting of this mural a form of defiance? How might this be a way for the young people to cope with their situation?

An activity like this can usually be done in less than 20 minutes as an introduction to a lesson or unit of study. It is a real attention grabber and students tend to mentally associate the image with the lesson.

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