Teaching aim - to teach students how to identify what has to be present for a poster to be a propaganda poster

Thinking aim - To identify what parameters are constant in posters and what the variables for a regular poster and propaganda poster would look like. To create the initial steps for a descriptive algorithm.

These two aims are closely entwined, actually I think the thinking aim is the tool I will use to achieve the teaching aim.

Lesson outline

We started by spreading out the circular sheets we had created last time and in twos or threes, students decided which parameters (or even which of the values) were constant, and wrote these on a list.

We then introduced a poster than two students had made earlier on in the week (most of the class had been out on a rafting expedition, but the two girls who stayed at school had created a poster.They were instructed to keep secret what it was about and to use limited amounts of text). Each group worked through their list identifying the values they could see for each parameter. They were allowed to write more than one value. Then, based on their list of values, they were to try and identify what the poster was about.

The second part of the lesson involved each group going to the internet and randomly selecting a poster for another group to work with. This was important as it gave them a chance to move about and have a degree of ownership over the materials we were using. Once the posters had been given out they had to divide their paper into three columns, first they used their list of parameters and identified what values they could see in their poster, then in the third column they had to write what would this value look like if it were to be transformed into a propaganda poster. Already we discovered that to make sense the parameters had to progress in a certain order. For example colour only made sense if it came after theme and message. One group found this straightforward to do, one need some help and one struggled.

Reflection

I really enjoyed this lesson, although I have no idea if I am actually teaching them anything useful when it comes to thinking or not! We will test out whether these parameters and values are useful by transforming the poster into a propaganda poster next time. Initial discoveries from the lesson today seen to be that message and theme (two of our parameters) can have the same value in a regular poster but should have different, though related, values in a propaganda poster. It strikes me that the thinking tools (in my case the ENV model) are a way to structure the teaching of analysis in art, but I have in the past tried to use a form of algorithm to teach them this skill. I also would like to have more materials to refer to in class, rather than be reliant on the internet for images. So building a bank of images/resources is now part of my plan.