Self Superhero Lesson Plan

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Self Superhero

Grade Level: 6-8 (middle school)

Time needed: 8 Days

Focus: The focus of this lesson plan is to address media literacy in today's society particularly focusing on comic book superheroes.


  • Develop and artistic statement, including how audience and occasion influence creative choices (

  • Analyze and interpret a variety of media artworks using established criteria. (

  • Demonstrate use of a variety of tools, materials and techniques in media arts based on the characteristics of the hardware and software (

Motivational Resources:
  • Blog

  • Comic Book examples

  • Power Point

  • Youtube Videos:

Art Material:

  • Paper (for sketches)

  • Pencils (2 for each student)

  • Flashdrives- 4 (Students assigned to certain flashdrive)

  • Wacom tablet (one for each student if available)

  • Computers with Photoshop

  • Scanner (if tablets are not available)

Introduction to Lesson:
The media is one of the strongest influences on our society. No matter how hard we may try, we cannot escape today's media culture. Media literacy is a way to help students control the interpretation of what they see and hear. Media literacy is the ability to analyze the messages presented to us in everyday life and in today's digital world. Technology is all around us but using it and understanding it are to very different meanings that need to be addressed in today's world. Being media literate is about being able to notice what is or is not there. It is the instinct to question a production's motives and values and to be aware of how these factors influence content. There are important questions to think about when viewing an advertisement like: how did they capture my attention?, who is the message intended for?, whose voices are or are not heard?, etc. Media literacy is not about having the right answers. It is about asking the right questions.
One of the greatest examples to use for understanding media literacy in our culture is "Iconic Superheroes" and the huge influence they can have on many people. The superhero iconic image has been a part of our culture, ever since the first superhero, Superman was created in 1938. Within its context and history, superheroes are used for commenting on social and political issues as well as been known to reveal idealized popular values within the western culture (Superhero, 2010). The superhero image over the years has evolved widely through pop culture and the media. In the United States today, superhero movies have soared into our societies through large
blockbuster movies, television shows, games, and comic books (Jha, 2010). Our media alone has spent 12 billion dollars on influencing children regarding superhero styles, qualities, and perceptions (Jha, 2010). The media uses kid's meals at restaurants as well as clothing to emphasize their idea of the "awesome role model" for today's children (Jha, 2010). Superheroes have always infiltrated controversy as a role model for society, however because of the change in pop culture and push into digital technology, Mass media has created Superheroes to be further intensely transformed, exploited, and even seek aspects of injustice, which is contradicting term in the superhero realm (Jha, 2010). Today many superheroes actually use justice and caring as a kind of excuse for violence, explosions, and revenge. The Dark Knight movie from 2008 raised over $533,000,000, making it one of the most watched movies of all time. In the movie, Batman is filled with luxury. In one scene he asks his servant for a modest car, only to choose a very expensive, Lamborghini. The other latest movie, Iron Man also emphasizes fame and wealth as the only ways of being successful in life (Jha, 2010). Both examples reveal idealized fortunes and the greedy ideals of consumption that further promote the expansion of overconsumption in the United States. Superheroes also maintain a level of an impossibly perfect physique on both female and male forms. Female bodies carry the look a Barbie doll and are constantly seen with unrealistic and tight clothing, and very few carry a leading role within the storyline. (Jha, 2010) While the growth of diversity with the superheroes has expanded the dominant standard image is still Caucasian, young to early middle age, and middle or upper class (Superhero, 2010). The X-men series has developed roles of both male and female characters, however the movies focus more on explosions and revenge that develop into adult rated material that is questionable for kids. The downside with movies is its difficulty to help develop characters more and make the more personable (Jha, 2010). Furthermore, if a child doesn't live up to the expectations of being number 1 just like their favorite superhero, the media has also pronounced its influence on and promotion of becoming a slacker, sidekick, or class clown (Jha, 2010). Movies like the Green Hornet, and Hancock all have some act of emphasizing the "slacker/Careless" role for comedy (Jha, 2010). The best thing to do regarding superheroes is to become media savvy and be able to find lies within marketer's tools on influence. Superheroes can have a positive impact for our society. Superheroes aren't just super strength, and good looks. They should embody the act of justice and/or positivity and good will. Everyone can be a superhero in his or her own right in the everyday world.
Students will learn about media literacy through comic book heroes. There will be a discussion about what is a hero, how the media describes a hero, and how the media's description of a hero impacts us, the viewers. After the discussion, students will then create a 1-2 page comic strip of themselves as a hero in a daily life situation, first by drawing on paper. Once their comic strip is complete, the class will then scan their comic strips onto the computer. Adobe Photoshop will be used to learn how to draw digitally, add color, dialogue bubbles and text, and then finally to print the completed comic strip.

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Report 4: Photo Essays

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The lesson plan, "Photo Essays" from PBS Teachers is geared towards middle school and high school students. Provided is information about a featured artist who works in the syle of photo essays: Herman Krieger. The overview of this lesson is to encourage students "to experience storytelling as a visual art form by photgraphing and documenting members of their own community."(May) There are three activities given. According to the lesson plan, the objective of this first activity for this project is to "examine their own community through a journalistic perspective" and to interview their parents and neighbors. The second activity entails learning how to take "good-people pictures", as well as the functions of the camera. Finally, the third activity consists of finalizing the photographic essay (May).

This kind of project seems very productive and interesting to use in my future class. Presenting a featured artist is a great idea; it allows the students to know and learn about contemporary artist who use the art form or style that they, themselves, are using and exploring. This project will allow students to get out into the community and learn more about their surroundings, neighbors, friends, and family. I like that it is not restricted to just the classroom setting. I would use this project with my own future students. Instead of typing out the interview, however, I would have my students put their photos and their recorded interviews into iMovie. They would have to add traditions between each of the photos, a title sequence, and a credits sequence.

Works Cited:
May, Susan . "Photo Essays." PBS Teachers . Oregon Public Broadcasting, 2011. Web. 17 Nov 2011.

Claymation of a Satirical Narrative

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Claymation of a Satirical Narrative
Grade Level _____9-12 grade____
Time Needed _____6-7 days_____

Focus: Students will learn how to create a (satirical) narrative through claymtion.

a. Students will be able to analyze how the elements in media arts such as image, sound, space, time, motion and sequence, are combined to communicate meaning in the creation of, presentation of, or response to media arts. (
b. Students will be able to analyze how the characteristics of a variety of styles and genres such as documentary, narrative or abstract, contribute to the creation of, presentation of, or response to media artworks. (
c. Students will be able to integrate tools, materials, and techniques to create original products for artistic purposes. (

Motivational Resources:
PowerPoint to introduce what a claymation is.
Video titled "Boxing Day" to show what the project consists of.
Beginner's Guide to Animation by Mary Murphy

Art Materials:
digital cameras (SLR); *if SLRs are not available, point-and-shoot digital cameras are fine
Photoshop, Garage Band, and iMovie
Mac computers
display boards (for background)
markers/colored pencils, tissue paper (to make the background scene)
assorted colored molding clay
printed storyboard outlines
baby wipes (to smooth the clay figures)
plastic or wooden modeling tools (or a pencil or toothpick)
small, white glass or plastic beads for eyes (or buttons or dried beans)

Introduction to the Lesson:
Claymation, a form of stop-motion animation, is the art of making figures out of clay to talk, to move, to sing, to come to life. Claymation dates back to 1897, when plasticine was first invented ("Claymation"). One of the first claymations was created in 1902; this film used clay as a lightning sculpting. Six years later, clay animated sculptures were used in the 1908 film, A Sculptor's Welsh Rarebit Nightmare. At the time claymation was not very popular among the masses until the 1980s, when Gumby was created by Art Pokey ("Claymation at PWC"). More current claymations such as Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run created by Nick Park, are renowned for technical precision because of the technology used today.
Through this lesson, students will learn how to create a satirical narrative (story) through the use of claymation (their films should be at least 20 seconds). Students will first research any animal of their choice, as well as their behaviors in their natural habitat. After they have compiled their research, students will then create a storyboard, as well as a pitch and treatment (their narrative should make a satire out of the behavior of the animal they choose). When they have finished creating their storyboards, they will then create their characters out of the clay provided by the teacher, and begin to take pictures. (Note: when taking pictures, for the smoothest claymation possible, the characters must be moved subtly before taking the next picture.) When the students have finished shooting their animation, they will then upload it onto Photoshop. Through the computer, the students will learn how to animate, as well as add sound through Garage Band and a title and credits through iMovie. Finally, when all animations are complete, the students will showcase their videos to the rest of the class.

Report 3: Why Blog in the Classroom?

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Lately, I have not been too keen on using a blog...especially in a future classroom setting. However, since kids are growing up with more technological advances, it only makes sense to teach them by using technological methods in some way or form that are relevant to modern day. So, to understand why I should even consider using a blog in my future classroom, I found a blog/article that addresses that exact question. First, the blog, "Teaching Today", explains that technology is advancing each day, so in order for teachers to relate to students, using technology in the classroom is the way to go. Next, it describes what exactly is a blog- "a Web publishing tool that allows authors to quickly and easily self-publish text, artwork, links to other blogs or Web sites, and a whole array of other content" (Teaching Today). The blog goes on, and highlights different aspects and reasons why blogging is suggested. Blogging is user-friendly and has educational benefits. "teaching Today" also addresses the "four basic functions of a blog" in-depth : Classroom Management; Collaboration; Discussions; and Student Portfolios (Teaching Today). One thing I admired about this source was that it also addressed blog risks to consider, how to prepare your own students for blogging, as well as how to start a blog. I learned quite a bit about blogging from this source. It has also changed my perspective about using a blog as a learning tool for my future students. I would even go as far to say, that I might consider using a blog in the classroom.

Teaching Today. October.2006.

Cut Out Animation

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10 Steps to Cut Out Animation

Let's make a paper cut out animation! To get started you will need the following supplies:

  • Animation stand

  • Digital camera

  • Paper cut outs (artist's choice)

  • Plexi glass

  • (8) 1" blocks

  • Computer with Photoshop programming

  • Note your lighting conditions when shooting

Step 1:You'll need a base to set your scene onto. An animation stand is a great tool to use for this project.


Step 2: For this step you'll need your digital camera. The camera will be attached to the animation stand for stability.
Step 3: Center the digital camera on the animation stand pointing downward. Make sure that the camera will take pictures in the smallest memory setting. It's also important to view the frame with no zoom to start out with.

Step 4:
Gather paper materials for your project. As the creator you have creative freedom. Your project may have a theme, it could be random, or you could incorporate 3D aspects.


Step 5: Your animation station will need a platform. You should have (8) 1" blocks. Place two blocks (stacked on top of each other) on each corner of your animation stand. This platform creates a raised surface once the plexi glass is placed on top.
Step 6: Creating a background is completely up to the artist. It is recommended that your background remain underneath the plexi glass. These pieces will stay in the same place.
Step 7: Now your video is ready for action! Place your desired characters onto the plexi glass to create a story.
Step 8: With each frame movement take a picture with your digital camera. Some important tips:
  • Be sure to use the digital camera on the manual setting. Flash photography may alter your video quality.
  • You're in charge of your characters. This means that you can take a picture with very small movements one character at a time. Otherwise you can have many parts moving at the same time within a frame. Small movements and many pictures create a more interesting video.
Step 9: Upload all of your photos onto a computer. Photoshop is a helpful tool to organize and create your project.

Step 10: After uploading the photos in order, select the appropriate times in between frames. Music can be added in this final step as well.

Here is an example of a completed, cut-out animation!

Report 2

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Pixilation Lesson Plan
This week I looked at a lesson plan for a project dealing with pixilation from this website called, "Teach Animation". When I clicked on the link, it show-cased an example animation; it also provided the lesson plan. This particular lesson plan did not only provide the standard criteria within a lesson plan (objective, introduction to the project, list of materials, and evaluation), but there was also a section about different ways to pixilate and two different exercises that you could do with the students: class collaboration and small group collaboration. The lesson plan also gave a list of what you can give students to consider. This part of the lesson plan was the most helpful for me because I wouldn't really know what to have them consider when it comes to pixilation animation. I would use this lesson plan for a project with my class.

Report 1

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Digital Artist
So, as I was surfing the web for different digital art topics, I came across this website called "Digital Artist", which is an online magazine about digital art. It has many links to view different galleries, blogs, and even tutorials. It also allows you to submit your own digital art to the "Digital Artist Network". I thought this could be a kind of tool in the classroom, especially with the available tutorials files (although, you would have to subscribe to the magazine in order to receive those).

Infringement and Jeff Koons

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In the article "Copyright: Infringement, Fair Use, Compulsory Licensing, and Permissions", the case of Rogers v. Koons and Sonnabend Gallery, Inc. was used as an example about infringement and other copyright issues. Basically, Koons got this post card of a man and woman holding a bunch of puppies (which was photographed by Art Rogers and titled "Puppies"), tore off the copyright notice from the back of it, and made four sculptures identical to the post card; he then sold three of them for about $367,00. The only things he did differently to the original, besides using a different medium, were adding colors and titling it "String of Puppies". He didn't do anything innovative to the piece, yet tried to justify it by calling it a parody. All in all, Koons lost the case.

Recent Comments

  • Betsy Hunt: This is really great Michelle. Pending the age group you read more
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