Friday Two Cents: Media Literacy Inquiry


 

This week I had the opportunity to “Captain” a class for the first time in the sense of setting the curriculum for the students, in a kindergarten class, as a teacher. Last week I followed the plans the teacher had laid out but this week I was able to plan for the week. During the first week, I was able to observe the students and I discovered an area they were interested in; superheroes. From this information I was able to create a program to help the students explore this subject while helping them in other subject areas such as media literacy, language and art.

If we are doing heroes, I though why not start with one of the first stories based on a hero. Therefore I started the week by introducing them to a picture book called Hercules. It is based on the Disney movie version. It is about 100 pages so we read only a few pages a day and I had my special bookmark to help us remember where we left off. The students loved this story and every morning they would ask when are we reading the story of Hercules.
artWC

Warm and cool colour art


I then helped them to start thinking of colours as warm and cool with an art project. They would create a sun in the sky, divide the paper by drawing two horizontal and two vertical wavy lines and then colour it with warm and cool colours (the sun warm and the sky cool).
We then explored the world of heroes and villains by using characters they were use to from the media. I told them media are things they see and hear from movies, television, radio, newspaper, magazines and the Internet. We focused on the characters from the Marvel, DC and Disney universes and they came up with a comparison chart of what makes a hero and villain. They came up with words such as good, happy, helpful, smiling and kind for the heroes and bad, evil, scary, fights, steals for the villains. I also asked them if they noticed the colour of the outfits each group wore. They came up with light or bright colours for heroes and dark colours for villains.

Media Anchor Chart

We than had group activities where they would create their own superhero. One day it was a male hero, on the second it was a female. We noticed that there were more male/boy characters then female/girl. I then had them talk amongst themselves to come up with a few female character names. They came up with a few and we wrote them on post-it notes and placed it on the chart.
We also explored the idea of violence in cartoons. I showed them the scene of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football but Lucy moves it at the last-minute and Charlie goes flying. It may look funny but I asked, ‘How to you think Charlie feels?’ I also showed them a scene from Peter Pan when Peter and Wendy meet the mermaids. They said that the mermaids look like the heroes but after they saw the video they said that they were mean for picking on Wendy, pulling her hair and getting her wet while Pan just laughed. Scenes like that may look innocent but I asked how do you think Wendy feels. They said the mermaids were bullying her and Peter should not have laughed. They were very aware and we had a little discussion about it.

The final project for the inquiry was to create their own hero or villain. I gave them a choice of a male or female character outline to create their own character. I reminded them about the colours they should use for their character to make them look like a hero or villain. The results were amazing to see.
We finished the media literacy inquiry with the final project but the students wanted to do more. I told them that I will have the chart up for them and we can use the iPads to help them explore more during the last week of school. We also finished the story of Hercules and as a bonus I would bring in the DVD of Disney’s Hercules for everyone to watch. They were all excited and could not wait for next week.
Next week is the last week of school and the students are engaged and excited to learn more. As a teacher I can’t think of a better compliment they could give me.

 

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Art Inspiration: Heroes vs. Villains – Lord Ominous


Getting and finding inspiration is extremely difficult at the best of times. Yet I have been very fortunate to work with some people who push and inspire me every time I am with them, the students. No matter what I may think of what they may have in store for me, the students throw those plans out the window and make up some new plans.

That was very clear when I did a drawing club with the students. They range in age from grade 3 – 5 with a large variety of skills that they bring to the class. Within the class, I helped them to learn how to draw three-dimensional objects but mostly how to draw in the style of popular comic book characters. We drew Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and even some Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse.
They did a wonderful job with their creations and so close to the end of our time together I gave them a final assignment. I asked them what would they like to draw as a group theme? I suggested, superheroes, Greek gods, comic book characters, animals, mythical creatures, etc. They decided to create superheroes, therefore I instructed them to create their own superhero or villain in the comic book style. They actually wanted me to draw their character for them. They would describe it and then I would draw it. I said, “No way. I wanted to see what they could do and how creative they can be when it comes to creating a character from scratch, including their powers.”
They kept on asking me to create their character from them, then I said, “Ok, I will draw their character, however I needed their drawing first as a guide to help me with my drawing.” They said they could just tell me and I said, “No it takes time to draw these characters and I cannot do it with the hour we had.” So they agreed and created their own characters with up to 2 powers, a unique name and if they were either a hero or villain. The variety I received was amazing and it inspired me on creating a wide range of characters.
Over the next few weeks I will be posting some of my finished characters inspired by the students’ imagination and creations.

Villain 01 – Lord Ominous

I decided to start of the creative process with my own character.   I took a character I created from another class when we created a comic book with superheroes and villains. My character is a villain. Not just any villain but the leader of the Legion of Doom; Lord Ominous. I drew him as a cross between an ancient Spartan warrior and Lord Vader from Star Wars. His weapon of choice is a Scottish Claymore, not to mention a pair of Colt 45s.

The students inundated me with questions about him. I showed them the comic book my other class and I created. In it, it shows that he was genetically created from DNA samples taken from the League of Justice (good guys) and the Legion of Doom (bad guys). The Legion of Doom wanted to create a new super villain leader with all their powers to lead them against the good guys. His powers included, accelerated healing, super intelligence and strength, advanced combat skills, telepathy and telekinesis. They asked why did he need weapons if he had super powers? I told them, “He’s a super villain and he does not play by the rules. He will take any advantage he can to win. Also it makes him look menacing.” Which they thought it did.

I hope you enjoy the first character from Heroes VS. Villains – Lord Ominous.

Ailish Sinclair

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