I’m going to tell you a secret about me. I love old technology. Don’t get me wrong; I work hard to keep ahead of the curve on new technologies, but after all the book is one of the oldest technologies around. Over the years I have kept exactly ONE of each of a few gems. ONE record player, ONE slide projector, ONE sound filmstrip projector, ONE overhead projector, etc. etc. I keep them on hand because believe it or not, they still get used. Seldom though the use may be, it is still my job to give my patrons what they need when they need it!
I recently teamed up with our awesome art teacher, and we were able to connect one of these old technologies with new learning and artistic expression for our 3rd and 4th grade students. Our school set time aside this year for teachers to collaborate as part of a PLC. Alice, the aforementioned awesome art teacher, approached me with an idea that she had read about called “The Me Inside Myself: Visual Art Meets Reading, Writing and Beyond”. This original idea came from Judy D. Wells and was published in Arts and Activities, September 1, 2014 issue. I just love that we we able to use Alice’s extended Professional Learning Network to take an excellent idea and place our own spin on it!
We developed a series of lessons that incorporated both information literacy and artistic expression skills. We began by sharing the poem Me I Am by Jack Prelutsky. The lovely picture book version of this is illustrated by Christine Devenier.We then used the ONE overhead projector to trace students’ silhouettes onto black paper. The silhouettes were then cut out and I was able to quickly take pictures, upload and organize the images using my handy-dandy Google Drive app. During library times, students used a graphic organizer to help brainstorm keywords that describe themselves. This tied in nicely with recent learning about how using effective keywords makes for an efficient strategy when searching for information in various formats. Then, they practiced navigating their Google drives by creating a document with those keywords and sharing it with me. The keywords were then uploaded to Tagxedo, which allows users to generate a word cloud in the form of a silhouette. Remember the pictures I took of the silhouettes? Upload the picture, insert keywords, and see the word cloud generate. So very cool! During art classes, students translated their keywords into a visual format. The finished products are now gracing the halls and show two silhouettes, both celebrating all those little things that make our students the wonderful individuals they are. Thank goodness I kept that overhead!