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Lesson Plans

A&E.O:lesson plan/studio re:homelessness

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 24 Nov 1997 10:58:19 -0500 (EST)

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hello. andrea here from Ohio State University. I am looking for any feed
back or additional ideas on my proposed plan for teaching about homelessness.
The broken lives of individuals and families who live in poverty and without
homes litter our cultural landscape. Although this problem has existed since
the very begennings of human existance, never before has it seemed so out of
place as it does in todays contemporary society of wealth, access,and
priveledge. Although this issue has decreased in "popularity" since the late
80's/early 90's, it didn't go away. Social Restoration indeed. Here it

Lesson Title: Homelessness In Contemporary Art
Issue: how art can be used as a vehicle to influence social awareness
Grade Level: high school (9-12)
Studio: photography using pin hole cameras made by students

Introduction: The introduction as presented to the class will attempt to
provide answers to these questions: What is homelessness, and why is it an
Who is homeless, and why? Exploration of the different types of people who
are homeless all over the world, and how they arrived at their situation.
What is being done to improve/solve the problem, and how does making art
about it help?
We will study three different artists of diverse backgrounds who explore the
issue from very different angles:
1. Krzystof Wodiczko-public performance/sculpture about homelessness
2. John Decker-photographer of homeless living along The Ohio River
3. S. Rene Jones- photographs by a homeless person
Studio: 7-10 classes
the first day will consist of a prepared introduction to the issue, slides of
the artists mentioned, and close with a participatory discussion with
questions and explanation of the studio/artmaking project
the second day will be for students to research their ideas and begin
construction of thier cameras. research could include: The Internet(if
available), library, and interviews with people in homeless shelters
(volunteers, staff, or residents).
the third through fifth day will be used for studio. As students begin to
take pictures, there will be a demonstration on the process of developing
their photos.
the fifth through seventh day will be used for finishing the artworks, and
displaying them in the classroom for a formal assesment. (discussion,
critical writing activities etc.)
the additional days(7-10) could be used for an extended version of this
In the longer version, students would write proposals either for the donation
of materials (developing chemicals, photo paper etc.). this would depend on
whether or not the specific school in which this lesson was taught could
afford to supply the students with these items. (photography can be pretty
expensive even in this simple method)
AND/OR the proposals could be written to access public or private space for
displaying the finished artworks. For example a gallery, or lobby of a
building. The community often likes to get involved with displaying student
work, it gives the students an opportunity to participate in this aspect of
artmaking (showing), and it gives the community an opportunity to observe and
learn from their works.

The Studio Activity: students will receive instruction on how to make and
use pin hole cameras.
the cameras will in some way reflect the ideas they have about homelessness,
and/or the ideas they have for the photographs they will be taking.
for example: empty coffee cans and Quaker oat containers ( you know, the
cardboard cylinders) make great pin hole cameras. students would then
transform these containers into art that also functions as a camera. The
purpose of this is that the final photos will be displayed along with the
The Purpose: The purpose of this acitivity is to encourage students to
identify and explore this issue (and themselves) thorugh the medium of
photography. Through the teachers introduction and student investigation
(research/resources) students will gain a broader knowledge of the issues
which effect the world and local culture. Students will gain insight to these
issues as they express their views, and in some way become more involved with
issues that concern our society. Through this involvement, students will
broaden their understanding of their own values, and the (un)changing aspects
of our cultural environment. This involvement(communication) is the first
step toward change and resolution of one of todays sad realitites of human
existance; homelessness.

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