Monday, July 31, 2017

Visual Literacy - Using Images to Elicit Thought and Conversations


    There is real value in using images to promote thought, provoke feelings, and to elicit conversations. Images help us learn, images grab attention, images explain tough concepts, and inspire.
    We are very visual creatures. A large percentage of the human brain dedicates itself to visual processing. Our love of images lies with our cognition and ability to pay attention. Images are able to grab our attention easily, we are immediately drawn to them. Think about this blog, for example: did you look at the words first, or the image?
    In a world where we are bombarded by stimuli, we often seek the easiest and most fluent way of acquiring and learning information. Reading can be a slow and time-consuming activity. It takes a lot longer to read a long sentence than to analyze a visual scene.

Provocative Satirical Artwork by Pawel Kuczynski

Pawel Kuczynski is a Polish artist that specializes in satirical illustration. Born in 1976 in Szczecin, Poland, he graduated with a graphics degree from the Fine Arts Academy in Poznan. Pawel has been focusing on satire since 2004 and has garnered nearly a hundred prizes and distinctions since then.
Much of his artwork deals with serious themes such as poverty, greed, politics and mortality. While his subject matter is stark, his illustrative style is whimsical and cartoonish. This provides great contrast and makes his work interesting to analyze. I find his artwork lends itself to be used to provoke student’s thoughts on current political issues and lifestyle choices.

Below you will find a curated selection of Pawel’s provocative illustrations: 

Fat Mouse




Kuczynski’s work is clever in that if gets you thinking long before you know the signifigance behind his message. In that way it challenges us to re-examine our preconceived notions – or even the notions we ignore – giving us a chance to reassess our thinking.
Observation Chart Strategy

Observation charts are a type of inquiry chart that stimulate students’ curiosity. They build background information while providing teachers with a diagnostic tool. And they provide opportunities for language support from peers. During an observation chart, I use real pictures or paintings attached to white poster paper or butcher paper that contain a theme (e.g., food from a culture, ways of transportation, games a culture plays, etc.). My students walk around from observation chart to observation chart and write down either a question they're wondering about, a comment they'd like to make, or just an observation (i.e., statement of fact).  
Click on this link to access the file
Observation charts are a great way to engage students in learning new content, as it allows them to observe real images from the content being learned, to make observations, ask questions, and make comments about what they are observing. This document outlines how to implement this strategy in your classroom, as well as providing some real examples of observation charts. Use this as a diagnostic tool to gather information on what your students already know. Also, refer to them throughout the unit to change, revise, or add onto the charts as they are learning the content.

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All my Visual Literacy resources are posted for FREE in my Ed Communities group. Click on the "common core K-5" link below to take you directly to the site. It's completely free, since it is funded by your NEA dues. 
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The NEA Professional Practice Communities, a place where teachers, parents, school support and administration professionals, and community members share ideas and resources to improve student success. It is free and open to all!

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