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Vocabulary Building Through Visualization Of Word Meanings To Create Digital Art

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Keywords: montage, composite, meanings, manipulation, visualization, words, vocabulary, photography, digital, art, collage
Subject(s): English/Language Arts, Photography, Information Skills, Special Needs, Technology, Art, Spelling
Grades 7 through 8
School: Raul Yzaguirre Sch for Success, Houston, TX
Planned By: Tom Chambers
Original Author: Tom Chambers, Houston
Typical vocabulary building begins with looking up words in the dictionary for their meanings, and this approach was used initially with the project, DA_7_8_RYSS by having the students go online and look up the definitions for their assigned words to begin to have an understanding.

Retention of this understanding was the important component of the project, and a second approach was used by having the students visualize the meanings in photo software such as GIMP [freeware and Photoshop equivalent] to begin to move towards remembering the word concepts and to also create digital art a product or byproduct, if you will, as a part of the process.

Vocabulary enhancement came to the forefront with acquired skills of manipulating photographs ... utilizing various tools and filters within the software and this cognitive and creative process placed the students in a new environment of hands-on with photo software and the requirement of researching the "real" meanings of words, then translating these "realities" into "creative" ones through visualization.

Creating art in this respect was a first for these students and precedent setting for my school, Raul Yzaguirre School For Success [Houston, Texas] to manipulate photographs via photo software. They 7th and 8th graders joined the multitudes of individuals who are currently pursuing digital and new media art in all sectors of global society as a part of the Digital Revolution, which means this classroom process was also vocational.

An interesting aspect to this process is the fact that the students took the word assignments in stride to be able to visualize their meanings. Traditional or typical vocabulary building is usually a struggle within a somewhat cut and dry atmosphere.

The digital art can be seen:


Disclaimer:photographs for the manipulations were downloaded from the Internet strictly for educational purposes.


East End Gallery, Houston Institute for Culture, 708-B Telephone Road, Tlaquepaque Plaza, Houston, Texas:

Exhibition: January 7 March 15, 2009

128 Digital Art prints by students from Raul Yzaguirre School For Success and short videos by students from Deady Middle School and Southmore Intermediate School [Pasadena ISD].

The Digital Art prints by the RYSS students were displayed as a slide show at the 4th annual Carnival of e-Creativity & Change-agents Conclave [2009 CeC & CaC], February 27 to March 1, 2009, Sattal Estate, Bhimtal, near Nainital, in the Lower Kumaon of the new Himalayan Indian state of Uttarakhand, India.

Teacher's Statement:

"I believe the most important aspect of this digital art project and its showcasing is the fact that a classroom assignment such as this ... or any other ... has transcended the confines of the room and the school system to provide impact or stimulus within the community.

This impact or stimulus is a realization for the students who participated, their families, their school system members and community members that what happens in the classroom can also be transferred to outside situations within a real world context.

The classroom assignment and its end result have moved from the student's notebook to a product on display for public consumption and evaluation. This fact indicates to the student that what he/she does can have more meaning within a wider setting. And because of this, it builds greater confidence levels to continue and in parallel with everyday activities in society."

News coverage:

"Estudiantes hispanos se expresan con arte digital", RUMBO, Houston, Texas [January, 2009]

"Del salon de clases a las galerias de arte", SEMANA News, Houston, Texas [February, 2009]

Tom R. Chambers, Teacher, Technology Applications, Junior Academy, Raul Yzaguirre School For Success, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

The above categories selected to expand Technology Applications capabilities for more student exposure to vocational aspects of the field.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Crossover with Language Arts to expand vocabulary for better comprehension and self-expression.
Additional visualization to create digital art and showcasing in exhibition form. This particular activity will continue to be shown this summer [2009] at two venues in Houston, Texas: Talento de Belingue Hispanic Art Center and Lobby Gallery at Houston Public Works building.
Links: Other Project Listings
Teacher's Website
School Website
Vocabulary/Digital Art Exhibition
Materials: Video Tools, Animation, Screen Capture, Clip Art, Slideshow, Web Page, Authoring and Publishing, Keyboarding, Podcasting, Art Tools, Word Processor, Writing, Office Suite, Flash/USB Drives, Ports and Hubs, Headsets, CDs and DVDs, Memory Cards, Batteries, Tripods, Camera/Video Accessories, Printers, DVD/VCR Players, Televisions, PA Systems, Microphones, MP3 Players, Digital Voice Recorders, Projector Screens, Portable, Projectors, Digital SLR, Digital Cameras, DVD Camcorder, Video Cameras, Sound Libraries, Integrating Technology