Whole School - Light Graffiti

I originally explored light graffiti with my middle school students.  After working with only elementary students for a year, I thought I'd give it a shot - see what they could do with some flashlights in a dark room.

I started out by scouring the internet for videos explaining light graffiti.  I used these with my students:   Talk Talk TV Commercial using Light Graffiti  and  Light Graffiti Tutorial.

Next I used black paper to cover all the windows and doors in my room - make it nice a dark.  We had a bunch of flashlights we used for the musical earlier in the year, so I borrowed those from the music teacher.  I then contacted a local theatre and asked to have their theatre gel scraps (thin plastic they use to color lights in the theatre).  I gelled a bunch of flashlights for different colors.  Last, but not least I checked out a digital camera from the computer lab - set the correct aperture on manual setting (by trial and error).  I hooked up the camera to the TV in my room so that the students would get immediate feedback.

The students and I watched the videos - then we gathered around the open space in the room - I had students in pairs pick out flashlights and move around in front of the camera.  Each pair of students got two turns.  The first picture they see immediately on the TV - they can actually see what they drew.  The second turn is almost always better - the learning curve.  The students not only learned by doing, but by watching each other.  One class a student moved up towards the camera and then back - creating something the class hadn't seen - after that the students were much more curious and adventurous.

We did light graffiti for two cycles.  The second time the students came we tried to make pictures.  I had slips of paper with words like:  cloud, tree, house, mountain, sun.  Each student was in charge of making that object.  In a group they had to plan out their picture.  We drew them on white boards, practiced in the air and then did them for the camera.  Some were more successful than others - but they enjoyed trying.

All these light graffiti pictures were made solely by K-4 grade students!


Mr. R said...

This is SOOOOO.. Cool....
I might have to give that a try...


Ms Novak said...

It is a TON of fun! The great part about it is - if you can hook it up to a tv you can actally see the learning curve kids go through. They try something - they see the results and then you can almost see the fireworks going off in their minds saying 'hmm I wonder what would happen if I did this.....' Then the other students watch and learn from them as well and the learning curve is exponential!

Beth said...

Hi Ms. Novak.

We met when I worked in Cedar Rapids. I taught middle school art at Mckinley and moved back to my hometown 2 years ago. We would meet on curriculumn days with Linda Black-Smith. I remember your light graffiti lesson and just found a link to your blog, so cool. I am now teaching k-5 and plan to try this with my 5th graders this year. Hope you are having a great year.

Ms Novak said...

Hi Beth! I am glad you found my blog! Light Graffiti is truly a blast! Do you have a blog for your classroom? I'd love to see your results when you are done!

Enjoy the school year!