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TeachNet NYC  |  Lesson Plans  |  Teachnet

Unseen Perspectives

How it works:

In Unseen Perspectives, s
tudents see themselves and their surroundings from different perspectives and gain insight into how others might see them. In Humanities or English class, they discuss how and why they act differently at home versus school, with adults versus children, with friends versus acquaintances, etc., and talk about the “unseen” sides of themselves. The class brainstorms the multiple meanings of the word “perspective" and discusses how their perceptions of someone might change if they could “stand in that person's shoes” and see them from another perspective. Students begin by listing and outlining perspectives of themselves others may not know about. For homework, they write their first draft of a composition about their “unseen” selves. In class, they share their first drafts in small groups and critique each other’s work for content, interest, spelling, and grammar. For homework they write their second draft. After the teacher proofs this, the students are ready to write their final draft using a word processor.  

In Digital Art class, students discuss what the word “perspective” means in relationship to the visual arts. The students use the Internet to find step-by-step instructions for drawing using one- and two-point perspective. Each student makes a pencil and paper sketch of his/her favorite room at home using one-point perspective and a similar sketch of their street or a place they like to go to outside their home using two-point perspective. They learn the fundamentals of drawing and creating animation with Macromedia Flash, create their first Flash animation using their sketch of a favorite room at home for reference, and continue to create step-by-step animations to illustrate their compositions. After the animations are completed, they are exported as SWF files. The word-processed text from their story is copied and pasted into a Dreamweaver document. The students format the text to be visually appealing and create links from specific words in their story that correspond to animations they created. The pages are tested on a web browser for working links before posting on the Internet.

Standards addressed:  
Students use a variety of strategies for prewriting, editing, and publishing; evaluate their own and others' writing ; use content, style, and structure appropriate for specific audiences and purposes; write compositions about autobiographical incidents; and understand what makes different art media, techniques, and processes effective in communicating various experiences and ideas.

Materials used: 
The program was designed for use with a networked Macintosh G3 lab. Each station is equipped with Internet access, and Microsoft Word, Dreamweaver, and Macromedia Flash software.

The students:
Two classes of heterogeneously grouped sixth grade students at the Institute
for Collaborative Education, a small New York City public school, helped develop Unseen Perspectives. The writing, artistic, and technical skills of the students were varied.

Overall value:
It's great to combine the work of two courses; the cross curriculum concepts reinforce the learning and levels of excitement and energy in the classroom. The students find the connections between their personal lives, in and out of school, and their own perspectives on the world. Perspective drawing and computer animation are powerful tools that give the students a lot of confidence in their artistic abilities. They are very excited to see their drawings and words come to life.

The teacher can cut up recycled file folders in half, diagonally, to create 30-, 60-, and 90-degree triangles for the kids to work with. This is a lot cheaper than buying triangles and rulers!

About the teachers:
Meryl Meisler and Grace Raffaele are colleagues working with the middle school students at the Institute for Collaborative Education in NYC. Meryl teaches Digital Art and Grace teaches Humanities. They like to collaborate on units that involve both curricula.


Subject Areas: 
Language Arts

Grade Levels: 


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