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TOTEM TRANSFORMATIONS


The unit is introduced in the Humanities class, as students learn about the origins of Totems in Native American folklore. Students read Totem stories and explore the meaning and symbolism behind the myths at:
Totem Poles: An Exploration http://users.imag.net/~sry.jkramer/nativetotems/default.html


They read about the first totem pole through this online exhibit of the Virtual Museum of Canada:
http://virtualmuseum.ca/Exhibitions/Haida/java/english/totem/index.html


Students then write their own myth and poems describing how each of them find their own totem anima (or how they were found by their totem).

While writing and editing their stories and poetry in Humanities class, the students are using their time in Art class learning how to draw representational self-portraits using guidelines and proportion. They explore the following sites to actively learn about drawing portraits in proportion, using guidelines:
http://sanford-artedventures.com/teach/lp_portrait2_complete.html
http://sanford-artedventures.com/create/tech_proportion.html
http://sanford-artedventures.com/create/tech_face_shapes.html
http://compusmart.ab.ca/fhaddock/portrait.html
http://learn-to-draw.com/drawing-people/

Students take turns modeling in front of the class. The teacher leads a step-by-step demonstration of drawing a portrait of the student model using proportion and guidelines. For homework, students draw self portraits.

The self-portraits are re-created in class digitally, using Photoshop (or any other drawing program). The students make two photocopies of their drawn self-portrait and transform their image into their chosen totem (for example, a hawk). In the first copy, they make themselves half/human and half/totem. In the second portrait, they are 75% - 100% totem.

In the computer lab, the students export their digital self portrait into Imageready (the animation component of Photoshop). They duplicate the layer with their self portrait, and begin transforming their portrait into the totem (adding details that resemble the totem). The second layer (part human and part totem) is duplicated and more details and features of the totem are added to the portrait.


The process of duplicating layers and transforming the portrait into the totem is repeated at least three times. The transformed layers are animated using Imageready. The animation is saved as a .gif file.


The students use Dreamweaver (or another web authoring program) to create three connecting web pages. On the first web page they insert their animated portrait that transforms to their totem. The second and third pages include their totem story and poems respectively. The three pages are connected with word and image links.

The completed projects are published on the WWW.

 

Created by Meryl Meisler and Grace Raffaele for TeachNet 2004

 

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