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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Composition Compositions

Project URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnet-lab/meisler/composition.htm 

How it works:
Students use the Internet to explore the theory of composition in visual art. They explore the relevance of symmetry, asymmetry, and balance by viewing well-known works of art online and interacting with sites where art principles are animated. The students' task is to sketch a composition of at least five elements and use the drawing and painting tools of Macromedia Flash to recreate it. An animation of at least 30 frames is planned; students write compositions about their animated compositions and assemble the final digital media piece in simple web pages. A virtual gallery is displayed here:

Standards addressed:  
Students understand and apply media, techniques, and processes related to the visual arts; know a range of subject matter, symbols, and potential ideas in the visual arts; and learn how to use structures (e.g., sensory qualities, organizational principles, expressive features) and functions of art. They employ the general skills, strategies, and grammatical and mechanical conventions of the writing process, and use viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.

Materials used:
This program requires a networked Macintosh lab with Internet connection, Macromedia Flash, Microsoft Word, and Dreamweaver software.

The students:
The ninth grade digital art students at the Institute for Collaborative Education, a small 6-12th grade NYC public school, are heterogeneously mixed with a wide range of art, technical, and writing skills. 

Overall value:
The web links for Composition Compositions are full of interesting things that spark each student's artistic eye. There are virtual hands-on examples of composition they can "play around" with. Anyone can feel successful at this project, even if they "can't draw," because the compositions can consist of abstract shapes. The program can easily be adapted to any level, grades 5 and up. Once the students become aware of symmetrical and asymmetrical composition, they see it everywhere they go. Animation captures the imagination of students as they explore this diverse subject.

You can use any animation program, such as ImageReady, or create animated gifs to do this project. The kids can write a composition first, and then plan a visual or vice versa. The students can work in teams; one can write the poem while the other does the visual.


About the teacher:
Meryl Meisler, digital art teacher at the Institute for Collaborative Education, began teaching in 1979. She has received a Disney American Teacher Award in visual arts, serves on the Teachers Network Board of Directors, and is a consultant to the Whitney Museum's online learning department. Meryl is an accomplished artist in her own right.


Subject Areas:                            
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 



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