This unit was created by Jane Kang Lawrence, a high school Visual Arts teacher in New York, NY, as part of the 2021-2022 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellowship program. It is designed for facilitation across approximately four weeks with daily lessons.
For more units created by Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellows in this cohort, click here.
Students will be able to...
- Engage and make connections with visual art and its voice in society through discussion in English
- Discuss what might categorize news as underreported and why some stories go unreported
- Create woodblock/linoleum prints in response to the central theme of an underreported story they select on their own
- Synthesize and analyze their comprehension of articles explored through the creation of a video
- Develop and demonstrate presentation skills by introducing and screening their videos
In this unit, students will encounter global issues where art is a vehicle to share the underreported story, both in traditional news stories about art and artists and in news stories told through artistic means. Uncovering news outside of mainstream media through the visual arts develops media literacy skills and allows another means for students to have a powerful and just voice to share news.
Through this art project-based unit, multilingual learners (MLLs) will explore news stories supported by the Pulitzer Center and witness how the visual arts are used globally to communicate underreported stories. MLLs can benefit from using art as a vehicle for communication, as it is a fluid language spoken by all. Waste Land, a documentary about artist Vik Muniz, will be viewed in class as examples of empathy in motion. Lessons will be supplemented with an introduction to contemporary artists who use their work to tell stories of underrepresented individuals and groups. During each class, students will engage in discussions in various ways, including circles, small groups, graphic organizers, and note catchers.
After looking at examples of how artists interpret and share global issues through Pulitzer Center news stories and Waste Land, students will begin adapting and creating their own visual response. The students will create a linoleum or woodblock print focusing their visual art skills to tell a story of a person or people whose voices deserve to be amplified. As students create their prints, they will also film their work in progress (similar to a video journal). These videos will include dialogue explaining the artistic process and conclude their filming with a conversation with a viewer outside of class. The conversation will record reactions to both the print and the underreported story.
The two products students will have at the end of their project is: one series of prints, and one 5 minute video. The project concludes with a class or schoolwide film screening.
Students are encouraged to create a series of woodblock/linoleum prints that uplift an individual or group of underrepresented people based on independent reading and research. Students will explore news using the Pulitzer Center website and create artwork that responds to the individual or people represented in the story of their choice. Their visual responses can be symbolic or illustrative of the story.
Students will also create a video that includes footage of their print in progress and dialogue explaining the artistic process.
Four-week unit plan, including warm-ups, texts and multimedia resources, activities, and performance tasks for the unit.
|Resources on understanding underreported stories||"What are Underreported Stories?," a video from the Pulitzer Center
"How To Find Underreported Stories," a video from the Pulitzer Center
|Underreported stories about and/or told through art||“Behind the Dream: A Family Broken by a Jade Mining Disaster” by Shawanang and Emily Fishbein for New Naratif and the Pulitzer Center
“Art on the Front Lines of a Changing Sudan” by Antoaneta Roussi and Matteo Lonardi for Al Jazeera and the Pulitzer Center
“The House Where Our Stories Live” by Sarah Shourd for Medium and the Pulitzer Center
Flying Kites, a graphic novel created collaboratively by members of the 2018-2019 Stanford Graphic Novel Project, which tells the story of the 2013 California prison hunger strike through the perspectives of a man in solitary confinement and his daughter. (Hard copies can be purchased from Haymarket Press here.)
Indigenous Memory of the Pandemic by multiple journalists for OjoPúblico and the Pulitzer Center
>“Visions of Coronavirus” by multiple journalists for OjoPúblico and the Pulitzer Center
No Time to Complain: Art and Work Get This Student Through the Pandemic by Hélène Goupil, Molly Oleson, and Sindya Bhanoo for Mission Local
Waste Land, a documentary about artist Vik Muniz directed by Lucy Walker, João Jardim, and Karen Harley for PBS
|Resources on the print-making process||The Printing Press Revolutionized the Spread of Information PBS
Student-made video: How to Create a Woodblock Print
Liz Johnson Artur
Woodblock prints created by students who completed this unit in Jane Kang Lawrence’s class at Manhattan International High School in spring 2022
Common Core State Standards:
Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text, including determining where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.
Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in different media or formats (e.g., visually, quantitatively) as well as in words in order to address a question or solve a problem.
Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
Develop the topic thoroughly by selecting the most significant and relevant facts, extended definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples appropriate to the audience's knowledge of the topic.
Use precise language, domain-specific vocabulary, and techniques such as metaphor, simile, and analogy to manage the complexity of the topic.
National Common Core Visual Arts Standards:
Investigate: Organize and develop artistic ideas and work.
Reflect, Refine, Continue: Refine and complete artistic work.
Synthesize: Relate and synthesize knowledge and personal experiences to inspire and inform artistic work.
Relate: Investigate ways that artistic work is influenced by societal, cultural, and historical context and, in turn, how artistic ideas shape cultures past, present, and future.
Interrelate, Extend: Investigate ways that artistic work is influenced by societal, cultural, and historical context and, in turn, how artistic ideas shape cultures past, present, and future.
Interpret: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
Select, Preserve: Select, analyze and interpret artistic work for presentation.
Share, Relate: Convey meaning through the presentation of artistic work.
Students create a series of woodblock/linoleum prints that uplift an individual or group of underrepresented people based on independent reading and research. Students explore news using the Pulitzer Center website and create artwork that responds to the individual or people represented in the story of their choice. Their visual responses can be symbolic or illustrative of the story. Students also create a video that includes footage of their print in progress and dialogue explaining the artistic process. See below to explore examples of Manhattan International High School students' art-making process!
Part 1: Sketching images to capture an underreported story
Part 2: Transferring sketches onto wood/linoleum blocks and carving them into the blocks
Part 3: Inking blocks and creating prints
Part 4: Documenting the process
These videos document the art-making process, and explain the significance of the underreported stories students chose to uplift. Some students' videos also incorporate interviews with artists and/or community members about the importance of art or the issues they chose.