Monday, November 11, 2013

Books and Knives

As the culminating project of the year's first unit -- a unit designed to philosophically explore the question "What is History?" -- Books and Knives cut right to the heart of the matter. To start the unit, we studied quotes about history, then wrote poetry about history, then applied the Allegory of the Cave to history, and then finally we were ready to cut up some textbooks.

The idea that history does not equal textbook and vice versa drives the unit. Through this project the students were given a chance to practice redefining history. The requirements were to tear the pages out of a history book and use metaphor and collage to communicate a personal definition of history. Allowing the students to define history on their own invites them to engage with the year's curriculum more deeply -- it has now become something personal.

The end product of the unit is a personal definition of history. I just had to choose a format for communicating that definition. Since art is often a very personal endeavor, it made sense to integrate art into this unit. Collage was a simple enough medium for the students, and it allowed for wide-open creativity.

The students wrote metaphor explications which will accompany their books at the Middle School art show. However only the books are shown in the slideshow below. Enjoy!