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TeachNet Everywhere Grant: Illustrated Children's Books

Project URL:


How it works:
This unit of study is designed to introduce students to the concept of "illustration" as a component of the visual arts and graphic design. Introductory focus is on illustrators who have earned the distinction of having their illustrative art work recognized with the Caldecott Award. Many of the books on the Caldecott list are titles students recognize from their own childhood, giving them more of a relationship with the project.
In this unit of study, students will research (online) the Caldecott Award as it relates to the visual arts; select and research a specific illustrator who has received a Caldecott Award and submit their findings using an online submission process; write and illustrate a book for a small child with a cultural connection; create decorated "paste papers" for use in creating book images in a collage process; and, manipulate created images using Adobe Photoshop software to develop pages.

Standards addressed:  
All National Art Education Goals are addressed via this unit. At the culmination of study, students will be able to: Develop critical and creative thinking skills and perceptual awareness necessary for understanding and producing art; Develop skills necessary for understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes; Recognize, apply and evaluate the design principles used in composition; Choose and evaluate a range of subject matter and ideas to communicate intended meaning in artwork; Understand the visual arts in relation to history and culture; Reflect upon and assess the characteriastics and merits of their work and the work of others; Perceive connections between visual arts and other disciplines; Develop an awareness of art as a profession.


Several types of assessment take place during this unit of study. The initial introductory research activity and submission is one assessment. Bringing in the book researched is another credit earned. Story line and sketches help pace the students and serve as another check point. Having all images completed and ready for scanning and going to the computer lab is another check off. The actual page and book development is the "finale" and culminating activity, and is assessed using a rubric that addresses overall art related concepts and assignment goals. Interaction and observation of students at work also provide opportunities to assess understanding and progress.

Overall value:
This project is loaded! There is research related to an honorary award with which many students are familiar. The students are challenged to write and visually represent their thoughts, and to do so in a format that would be fun and appropriate for a small child. There is a high level of success. The students use technology in several ways, first on line as described above, as well as exploring Adobe Photoshop software. In addition, students are required to write or create their books in such as way that they reflect on another culture, either through incorporated use of a second language, or using a cultural approach to the story line. The process used to decorate and use the paste papers for the images always is exciting and colorful. I am always surprised by all the variations on stories and imagery. The students learn quite a bit and are excited about their books!
This project provides an introduction that is teacher-designed and student-executed. The students are responsible for their own preliminary/introductory self-learning related to the unit of study. Because they use the online submission, their "report" is documented and timed, and the areas to be covered in the research are specific and identified in the submission form. The project allows for a variety of learning styles and differentiation due to the variety of activities and the personal choices provided the students both for their research, book theme, and image development.

Pam Wittfeld

About the teacher:
Pam Wittfeld presently works for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, NC, where she teaches Crafts, Graphic Design, and Art II. Pam is involved in a wide range of leadership and professional development activities at the local and state level. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher with 24 years' experience, and was recognized by the NCAEA as the NC Secondary Art Educator of the Year 2003. Pam has been a recipient of several IMPACT II "Teachers Teaching Teachers" Grants, is a recent TNPI Fellow, and also has licensure in Talent/Gifted Development.

E-mail: wittfeld@aol.com

Subject Areas:      
Graphic Design                     

Grade Levels: 
10th - 12th grades



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