Monday, March 4, 2019

Black History Month: Words For A Just World

Source: Student - ASIDE 2019
It seems this year we've gravitated toward the power of words. Our main bulletin board for the middle school is all about how words change worlds. We remembered seeing a bulletin board project using quotations on social media several years ago celebrating Black History Month; so we decided to follow our "word" theme to create a display entitled "Words For A Just World."

Source: Student - ASIDE 2019
Our students chose inspirational quotations to represent a cross-section of individuals whose wisdom honors the spirit of Black Americans. Many are by individuals from the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, when there was an artistic and cultural explosion among African Americans. Other quotations are by those who struggled for freedom and civil rights.

Source: Student - ASIDE 2019
In their process of reflection, the students selected the passage that resonated with them and created their individual works by hand using only black, silver and gold. This personal approach allowed them to connect the heart and mind by carefully thinking about the words. Each one demonstrates an individual touch in bringing the quotation to life in a personalized way.

Source: Student - ASIDE 2019
They made a powerful statement as they were exhibited together side-by-side. Our hope was to draw viewers into a quiet contemplation of these words or to provoke them into a conversation about what they mean.

Source: Student - ASIDE 2019

Building a just world can start with just words!

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Student Hope Sculptures: The Analog Version

Source: 6th Grade Students, ASIDE 2019

In our last post, we wrote about using the "Building Hopes" website, or app, to create "Hope Sculptures." While we realize the value of technology, sometimes the simple act of looking, drawing, and coloring by hand is just as effective.

Source: 6th Grade Student, ASIDE 2019
Our students in their leadership class used their Chromebooks to view the web version, in order to select the topics that were most important to them. They used social media to share them with others, but then they also constructed these hand-drawn sculptures to display in the library.

Source: 6th Grader, ASIDE 2019
Their drawings received a lot of attention from other students who wanted to know more about the designs, and so we thought we would share their visual creations with our followers.

It was touching to see how this exhibit led to lots of students thinking about hopeful things that were important to them, as well as wanting to know how to build their own sculptures to share.


Source: 6th Grader, ASIDE 2019
We were delighted to assist the students in this activity, and we posted the website on their student portal. They went straight to work, carefully selecting their choices to design their own personal, hope sculptures.

Source: 6th Grader, ASIDE 2019
Of course, we had plenty of colored pencils and paper around for them, too.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Building Hope Wth Art, AR And Data - Get Students To Visualize Their Hopes For 2019

Source: Accurat

With so much turmoil this year across the political spectrum, with the upheaval in the economy, and with the constant headlines asking the question, "Why is there so much hate in society?," we found it hard at times to keep a positive attitude and neutral position in our classrooms. It's also no wonder that according to Google search trends for 2018, the world searched for "good" more than ever before; people needed something positive.



We did, too. We're sure that's why the "Building Hopes" visualization designed by Accurat caught our eye. It appeared on a list for top visualizations for 2018. This interactive visualizations lets users create "Hope Sculptures" by balancing rocks to represent the things that they are hopeful for. Ironically, the size and rotation of the rocks, including their direction and speed, are linked to Google Trends data on the topics that are chosen.

Source: Building Hopes
Source: Building Hopes
While the website lets you build "Hope Sculptures,” such as the images in this post, the mobile app, which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play, takes it to another level.

By walking closer toward the floating rocks, the topics appear for selection. The user needs to pick at least four in order to build and place his or her "Hope Sculpture." It can be placed down anywhere, such as the image at the beginning of this post.

There are ten different topics to choose from, and each rock can be weighted depending on how much hope there is for each one. They can be viewed by hopes or by topics, but what makes it even more interactive is how your hopes can be compared to others who participate in the project.

Once the sculpture is created, it can be used to access Google Trends data to see how people around the world are searching the same ideas, concepts, and movements. The size, rotation, direction and speed of the rocks represent different data trends.

Source: Building Hopes
We think letting students create their own hopes for 2019 would be an excellent way to begin the new year in our classrooms. Students can use this information to discover what others are hopeful for, and how passionately.

It provides an opportunity to think about what's important and to share ideas in an innovative way. It could be incorporated into classroom discussions or written reflections.

Hope is what we need for the future; it brings out the good in all of us.



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