Media Literacy and Studio Project

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"Exposing Gender Stereotypes"

Here is the studio project I did that goes along with the lesson plan on media literacy:
Full Lesson Plan:

Overview of Lesson Plan:

Grade Level/Age: 11th Grade
Time Needed: Six Class Periods

Focus: To make students thoughtful viewers.


a.)The students will identify the functions of software such as photo editing, video-editing and sound-editing tools, in creating original products for expressive intent. (
b.)The students will analyze the meanings and functions of media arts. (
c.)The students will analyze, interpret and evaluate a variety of media artworks by applying self-selected criteria within the traditions of the art form. (
d.)The students will discuss characteristics of male and female stereotypes in our society.

Motivational Resources:
1. A PowerPoint to show the class that gives a general idea of what media literacy is so they get a better understanding of the purpose of the assignment.
Presentation (Blog)-3.pptx

2. An interactive worksheet where the students will answer questions based on deconstructing a media message and their interpretation of specific gender role qualities (based on the PowerPoint given above).

3. Short clip(s) of the Disney movies that display gender role qualities (specifically for this project: two clips from the Disney movie, Beauty and the Beast.
(Start watching clip from start to 2:39)
(Start watching clip from 3:06 to 4:46)

4. Teacher's blog to show an example of a possible idea for the project.

Art Materials:

•Access to a computer lab (preferably a MacLab where iMovie and GarageBand is available)
•Video cameras (number of how many depends on number of groups there are)
•Memory cards (to store the video data)
•Tripods (optional)
•Props you need to create the movie of your choice
•Flash drives (if possible, one per group to save the data after each class period)


"Media literacy refers to the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media messages of all kinds ("Introduction to Media Literacy). Studying and learning about media literacy can help people in many ways understand the world around them. It's an important lesson to learn in schools and in public life. Learning about media literacy allows students or the community to engage in practicing critical thinking skills and be aware of our media culture that we are influenced by every day. There are ten basic fundamental concepts that the study and practice of media literacy is based on including: media constructs our culture, media messages affect our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, media uses "the language of persuasion, media constructs fantasy worlds, no one tells the whole story, media messages contain "texts" and "subtexts", media messages reflect values and viewpoints of media makers, individuals construct their own meanings from media, media messages can be decoded, and media literate youth and adults are active consumers of media ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). One important way to learn and evaluate media literacy is to "deconstruct" messages that creators develop in our digital world. Deconstructing means breaking down or "taking apart" messages that the creator is trying to send to its audiences ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). Some important subjects that are key to look for when deconstructing a media message include: who is the source?, who is the audience?, what does the text say or read?, what are the subtexts that the audience is interpreting while looking or hearing the message?, are there any persuasive qualities to the message?, and whose point of view is in the message? ("Introduction to Media Literacy"). Knowing the basic literary concepts and learning how to deconstruct a media message are two important lessons when learning to be media literate.

Digital Natives


In a recent poll 70% of the people agreed that "digital natives" is not a myth. The study goes on to show, however, how much the young digital savvy have left to learn. Although many young people are really good at using digital things they often don't use them to their potential. They often primarily use their digital skills to listen to music or surf the internet. Personally I do not think the ability to use digital media makes a person digitally literate. With the help of teachers, however, students can become digitally literate easier with their preexisting skills using digital media. I think teacher's should embrace student's desire and skill with using digital media. I think teachers, and even some of my professors, think it is distracting for students to be on computers but I think it is a really good way to get students excited about what they are learning. I think the best way to make students eager and interested in learning it to make it accessible. If students are bored or so unfamiliar with the information they are uncomfortable they won't want to learn. I think incorporating digital media with students that are growing up with digital media being more and more common in their lives from teachers that may not have grown up with it also provides an opportunity for collaboration in the classroom. I really think young students can show a lot to their teachers as well as the teachers leading them. A good place to start with this is class blogs. I think that even if the assignment is small it is fun and interesting for students to get to use technology and put things online.

"Is the digital native a myth?" Learning & Leading with Technology Nov. 2011: 8. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Dec. 2011

Why Art Education is Important


Arts are being frequently cut from school as budget problems arise. This is really awful. The arts are critical to student's, of all ages, development. Research shows that art benefits students immensely. It helps develop their academics and emotional as well as social development. Making art improves critical thinking, reading and math skills as well. Additionally art brings students together and allows them to view different perspectives. Largely due to No Child Left Behind art time is being shortened. With teachers and schools feeling pressure to raise scores and teach to tests art is no longer a priority. The problem is that arts are just as important as social studies, math and reading. Studies are finding art and using art as a teaching tool helps students learn, make them more creative and improves student's overall success in school. I recently read an article about the best majors for job placement. Actuarial science, astrophysics and engineering were at the top. Realistically, how many of us are that good at math or will become an astrophysicist? Art does however play a role in those jobs. Innovative thinking comes from art education. Social skills and confidence are also outcomes of art in schools. Regardless of the career path a student takes they will use the tools the learned in their art classes. Art education is an investment every school district should make.

Smith, Fran. Why Arts Education Is Crucial, and Who's Doing It Best. <>.

Animation Lesson Plan

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Grade Level: Middle School, Grades 6-8

Time Needed: 5 class periods

Focus: Through claymation, pixilation, paper cutout or sand animation technique students will demonstrate a cycle.


A. Students will analyze and interpret a variety of media artworks using established criteria. (

B. Students will select a variety of software such as photo, video and sound-editing software, to create original products for expressive intent. (

C. Students will develop an artistic statement, including how audience and occasion influence creative choices. (

Motivational Resources:

PES films would be a good introduction to the lesson. He generally does a good job having his short films tell a story, which is the main idea of the project. In addition to PES videos I will also show a variety of videos using different animation techniques allowing the students to decided which they like best and want to explore on their own. I have a friend who has his own production company. It would be really valuable, as well as interesting, for the students to see his work, hear him speak and see how what they are making could translate into a job later on. I will present the project through a PowerPoint with links to various videos. I will make the PowerPoint available on a class blog. It will include expectations for the project also.

Art Materials:


Materials based on type of animation:
Claymation: Clay, other materials (cotton balls, paper, etc.) for background
Pixilation: Props, green screen, etc.
Paper Cutout: paper, magazines, tissue paper, etc
Sand animation: Sand, stones, tools for moving sand
Introductions to the Lesson:

In this lesson I want students to explore animation. They will choose from making a claymation, pixilation, paper cutout or sand animation. In their animation they will be creating a short film based on some sort of cycle. This could be the seasons, a seed to a tree or anything else they wanted to create. They will work in groups of 3. The final project will consist of a video complete with sound. Students will be allowed to choose the materials they want to work with. The final video should look polished.
In addition to creating the video I would also like the students to chose a current or former animator. They will research the animator's work and write a brief statement on how they were inspired and what they learned from the animator they chose.

Instructional Procedure for Art Making:

This project will take four class periods. On the first day students will pick their groups, concept and type of animation. They should begin storyboarding their idea and have it completed by the next class. On the second day students will get in their groups and prepare their tools and props for their animation. If they have time they should begin shooting their video. By the third day all of the groups should be shooting their videos. On the last day they will put their pictures into Photoshop and add sound. Because students may have more elaborate projects than others I will set aside time on day after school before the project is due for students to come in and finish their work. On the fifth day we will show the videos and talk about them. I would like the students to talk about their own work; what went well and what they would like to improve. I would like the other students to provide positive feedback as well.

Discipline-Based Art Education:

Students will explore the history of animation through their research on an animator. They will be graded on the aesthetics of their project and encouraged to be thoughtful and careful in the making of their video. Students will learn how to create a stop motion film, learn Photoshop animation and how to add sound in garage band. Students will gain art criticism experience through the final critique as well as when they look at their animator's work.


I will be looking for a finished animation complete with sound that demonstrates a cycle. I will look at quality of the overall project based on the animation's ability to tell a story and aesthetic value. I will also be evaluating student's ability to work in groups and that everyone participated equally in the creation of the final product.


Claymation; The Seasons

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The Artist and Their Environment

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After reading an article on PBS teachers called The Artist and Their Environment I have an idea for a lesson based on the article. Often landscapes are not exciting projects to students like still life's or the other basic projects.
The point is to see how environment effects an artist. I think you could make this into a fairly elaborate project for advanced art students. Students could pick a landscape artist they find interesting and research their personal life extensively. After researching an artist the student could make a video on the artist's life and how it effected their art. After making the video the student could work on a project that shows their environment's influence on their art. This would be a great way to have students create landscape in a interesting and meaningful way.

Kathleen Dinges. The Artist and Their Environment (2011)

Whiteboard Example

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I was reading a teacher's "Technology Tips" blog and she was writing about how she uses Pinterest. She used it to share ideas and take them from art teachers all over. She made really great signs for shortcuts. For example on an image of a scissors (for cut) she wrote the symbols and letters needed to cut something. In addition to being a great way to connect with other art educators I think Pinterest could be great to use with students. If all the students in an art class created a Pinterest account they could collect a large array of possible projects they find interesting. Something like weekly or monthly students could individually or in a group have to complete one of the projects on Pinterest. They could look at each other's pages for inspiration. It would be a great way to incorporate additional creativity in students. The projects could expand way past fine arts as well. A do it yourself craft or elaborate cooking project could be great ways to get students excited about thinking creatively. A discussion or writing component could be added to the project. If students had to explain why their project was creative or an art form they would be opened up to a new way of thinking. They may begin to start to look at everything with art and creativity in mind.

Here is a tutorial on how to create your Pinterest account!

How to Create a Pixilation

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How to Make a Pixilation Animation:

Pixilation animation is stop-motion animation with live actors as subjects. Objects may be incorporated as well.

Equipment needed:
-Digital camera
-Tripod (optional)
-Computer with Photoshop software
-A location to film or a capture station (such as a large sheet of colored paper to use as a background)

Making the animation:
The first step in making a pixilation animation, once you've got all your equipment, is to plan a storyline. Figure out what you want your actors to accomplish and what kind of props they should use, if any. After a rehearsal or two, it will be time to bring out the camera!

It's important that your camera's setting is manual rather than automatic. This is because automatic settings adjust to the light after each snap of a picture, and that may lead to a slightly distracting flickering effect in your animation. On manual, the lighting will remain the same throughout the entire shoot. Also, it's important that you shoot in a small file size, such as jpeg.

Shooting your pixilation animation is fairly simple, and the length of time it takes to film depends on the complexity of your idea. One picture is taken per movement of the actors and/or objects in your animation.

Simply move, take a picture, move, take a picture, move, take a picture, and so on...

By doing this, you can:
-Make people scoot across a surface without moving their legs!
-Make inanimate objects move!
-Make people magically appear and disappear!
-And more!

When you feel as if your shoot is complete, load the plethora of pictures you just took onto Photoshop and put the finishing touches on your animation!

Here is an example done professionally:

Here is an example I created with Dolly Phillips and Amanda Dahl:

Quirky Anxiety in Disguise from Amanda Dahl on Vimeo.

"Her Morning Elegance." Song by Oren Lavie. Animation by Yuval and Merav Nathan.

Murphy, Mary. Beginner's Guide to Animation: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2008.

"Pixilation Animation." The Flying Animator. 6 Oct 2011.

Videos in the Classroom

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Foundry Dance
Matt and Heidi Hoy created the video called Foundry Dance. Matt is a student at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His mother, Heidi, is an artist and teacher. In addition to being a student Matt has started a film production company called Great Goggin Productions. Not only is this a really beautiful and well-done film this piece could also be used as a tool in the classroom. This video breaks down the process of bronze sculpting. Instead of a time consuming in class demonstration a teacher could show a video like this. Not only would it be time efficient but also I think it would be far more exciting and interesting for students. I think Heidi and Matt did a really important thing in creating this video. Heidi asked Matt to help make a video about the bronze process. Instead of a step-by-step instructional video Matt, in collaboration with his mother, created art. Now their art can be used to teach a larger body of students.

500 Years of Women in Art
I think this video is a good example of a video that could teach students a lot in a small amount of time. In my high school art classes there normally wasn't a lot of time for art history to be incorporated. I think it is really important, however, for students to understand what has been created and done before them. Videos like this and the previous one would be really simple and quick ways to add a large amount of value to classroom time.

Teaching through Video
I think art classes (primarily high school) could really be enhanced with class blogs with helpful and inspiring videos like the two above. Teachers could create their own in addition to using ones they found. Learning from these videos would save time and allow students to have more work time during class time, allowing them to ask questions relevant to their own projects. Websites like gives teachers a place to find and share great videos for teaching.

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Recent Comments

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  • Betsy Hunt: You are right, just because students are comfortable with digital read more
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