I will present the visual information of the Revolutionary War based upon the techniques of Scott McCloud, Edward Tufte, Richard Langham, and John Berger.
Richard Langham states in his chapter "What's Next for Text?" that "When we see text move, we are drawn into the movement, and when the movement takes us to a land where meaning has visual embodiment, we pay invigorated attention to it."
His idea is for the reader to bring the elements of literacy to a third dimensional world. The elements of the text are brought to life by the reader who reads it through an abstract world of its own. The object and the text are placed into an abstract world, one that the reader alternates back and forth between text and words. Langham states "We want to bring the world of literacy, and all that literacy brings with it, into a world of objects and oral conversations."
The object is placed in an abstract world that is familiar to the reader and recognizable in our everyday lives. Words and text are brought together with an applicable meaning by a third dimensional shape.
In a similar way, the students will pay attention to a poem if it is in the shape of a Liberty Bell or a flag because they are two symbols of freedom. Their ideas for what these two objects mean will outline the inside of the poem. This idea is called pattern poetry, or a poem whose shape refers to its subject.
Teachers can download templates of flags, bells, and other related shapes for use with this unit on the following websites: http://www.readwritethink.org and http://www.teachervision.fen.com. Students will enjoy illustrating them after the text has been written in the outline of its shape. Teachers can also choose to draw their own template of an iconic symbol for the students to write their poetry in. The websites are the most helpful for reproducible templates.
Show and Tell
uses cartoons as way to explain words and images. Students can retell history through a comic strip that will tell the story of the Boston Tea party. The cartoon strip will depict the colonists disguised as Mohawk Indians, throwing 342 crates of tea overboard. This idea is more creative than just discussing the Boston Tea party. Here, students can invent their own dialogue and express their own feelings about the event through the characters that they create. The students can choose to write a script and act out the scene that they have created. Now, the students have made a connection to the subject matter because they are placing themselves into the action of the event.
Ways of Seeing
shows how students can make their own meaning of various paintings and portraits of the people of the Revolutionary War. Students will view portraits of life in England during the 17
century from the Yale Center of British Art on its website at http://www.britishart.yale.edu. Some interesting portraits for students to look at are:
Charles Stanhope, Third Earl of
by Joshua Reynolds
, Portrait of a Group of Children
by Arthur Davis, and
Two Gentleman Shooting
by George Stubbs. These paintings represent social class, leisure activities, and even an idealized view of a British soldier who once fought in the war, all of which are especially helpful when trying to get a sense of what the people were like and how they looked. Students can develop their own interpretation of the P
ortrait of a Group of Children
and verbalize their thoughts about what they think the picture means, while raising questions. For example, are these children similar to or different from the children of today? And would you like to be friends with any one of the children? Tell why. The students will write thoughts, ideas, and feelings they have about the portrait in their journals and then draw the child they would want to be friends with.
Edward Tufte's chapter on "Images and Quantities" will promote understanding of location in relationship to where we live
. Tufte explains that maps express quantities visually by location and by surface coverage, but the maps in this unit are on a small scale, so that the students can see the location and use their cardinal directions to point out the next destination of another event. The reason why maps are most useful to students is because they are important tools in understanding the world around us. Maps have symbols that show information like mountains and highways and a map key to explain the pictures. Information is apparent to the students because the data is highlighted by color, or special symbols to show how much area of land there is and how much of the Earth parts of United States cover. I will use a map of the world from the
Our United States
textbook atlas pages to show where Great Britain is in relationship to the United States. The teacher can use an atlas of his or her choice to demonstrate the relationship between Europe and the United States.