We all know that our students are bombarded by visual information every day. The multitude of screens in their lives give them a steady diet of video, typography, photos, digital art media, etc… not to mention the amount of print they are exposed to in the form of books, magazines, billboards, signs and so on and so on.
In our professional development in my school district, we set and gather data for SMART goals. My SMART goal for the last couple of years has been focused on Visual Literacy with my high school students.
I love this definition: “Visual literacy is the ability to see, to understand, and ultimately to think, create, and communicate graphically. Generally speaking, the visually literate viewer looks at an image carefully, critically, and with an eye for the intentions of the image’s creator. Those skills can be applied equally to any type of image: photographs, paintings and drawings, graphic art (including everything from political cartoons to comic books to illustrations in children’s books), films, maps, and various kinds of charts and graphs. All convey information and ideas, and visual literacy allows the viewer to gather the information and ideas contained in an image, place them in context, and determine whether they are valid.” http://www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/675
I present various visual pieces to the students and ask them to do a visual analysis. We have critiqued artworks, photographs, print ads, youtube inspirational videos, and most recently…this movie trailer. (The Monument Men: Have you seen this trailer? I cannot WAIT for this movie - and after viewing it, my students can't wait either! It is based on a true story and we are extra proud because George Clooney's character was born in Iowa.)
Here is the document the students use:
(I tweaked it, but the original information came from this website.)
Here is the simple rubric I wrote to gather the data for my SMART goal.
We have had some great discussions based on this process. If I am being honest, my students do not love this part of the class…but I’m ok with that. I keep telling them that it is SO good for their brains!! Thinking! Processing! Analyzing!! Reflecting!! I love it enough for all of us!!!