Light Graffiti (Week Two) -- Whole School

So, the second week of light graffiti is a less experimental and more deliberate.  Our goal the second week is to create recognizable pictures.  Students work in groups to create simple compositions based on a slip of paper they pull from a bucket -- it is harder than it seems.

So I do an example with a few volunteers from the class so that kids understand how it works.  I first ask my volunteers to each pull a strip of paper from a bucket.  In the bucket there are strips with words and a simple picture: grass, house, flower, tree, cloud, sun, and stars.  When we each have a strip of paper telling us what we are going to draw - we combine our images onto a piece of paper to make a picture.  I let each person draw their element on the paper and point out that no one is being bossy and telling people where to put each piece.

1st Try

2nd Try
Next  I show where to hand in the paper and return the slips.  Then I call my group to get their flashlights and get ready.

I help set up our picture by asking the class to help us figure out where to stand.  I ask them "Where should the grass be - front, back or middle?" - Most of the time they all agree with the front, but some classes need a little help figuring it out.  "Should the grass be drawn up in the air by my belly button?"  - No. "Where should the grass be?" -- On the floor.  "Okay, so now where should the flower go?" - Behind the grass.  "Where should the flower grow from?" - The grass/floor".  This process goes on till all our elements are in place.  Next, we take the picture.  When the picture is displayed on the projector we take a look and make adjustments to where we are standing, how fast we need to draw, covering our light when we are done, or perhaps getting a new light.  We then do a 2nd picture to try and improve.  Often times the 2nd picture is WAY better - though not always.  Below is a video of students doing their 2nd picture.

Next, the students break up into groups of about 5, pull their strips, draw their picture, hand in their picture and wait for their turn.  We go through the groups one at a time - making sure each group gets at least 2 pictures from the camera.

Most groups did a great job and exclaimed how much harder it was than they thought it would be.  


Light Graffiti -- 2012 (week one)

As always, light graffiti has been a HUGE hit with my students the last two weeks.

The first week I introduce Light Graffiti by asking the kids what they know about 'graffiti'.  Generally someone says that it is done with spray paint and that it is illegal.  I tell them that is true, but graffiti can be more than spray paint.  I explain that graffiti is making a permanent mark on a surface that you don't have permission to write on  - and yes it is illegal.  We briefly discuss that some art might look like graffiti but are really murals.  I explain that graffiti can be a mural when the artist is granted permission to do their art on a specific surface.

After discussing graffiti and murals I ask students why they think that LIGHT graffiti might be a popular alternative in the art community.  Some classes get it right away and other classes need a little push.  I will often emphasize the word LIGHT in my sentence again.  How do you think LIGHT graffiti would differ from normal graffiti and why might artists like the alternative?!  ::POP:: ::DING:: the hands shoot up all over the room.  Yes, yes, light won't make any permanent marks on the surface - so it isn't illegal!! 

Next we watch the following two videos that I found on youtube.  I explain that the first one is a commercial and that we will watch it twice -- once for fun and the second time to look for the people creating the light graffiti.  The second video is a tutorial that explains what we need to make our own light graffiti.

1st Video:

2nd Video:

After the videos the students tell me what we need for the day:  colored lights, camera, tripod, and setting settings.  (If there is time at the end of class I explain and show the students the shutter/shutter speed).

Next, I explain that I will call up two students at a time to pick out one or two colored flashlights.  When they are ready they will step inside of the polygon I taped on the floor (yes we really do talk about what a polygon is).  Then I will say "Ready, Set, Go" when I say go they can start moving around for their picture.  When their picture is over I will say something like, "Let's check it out" or "Lets see what it looks like".  The picture is then projected through our projector on the board!  I go on to explain that they will get another turn right away so stay where they are.  I want the students to go twice in a row because they learn SO MUCH from that first picture, that I want to give them a chance to try it again once they get the hang of it.  At this point I break and ask if there are questions - there are generally very few.

Then last, but not least, I ask the class if I have only two kids doing the light graffiti what is everyone else busy doing?!  "Watching" they all say.  I really stress that they need to ACTIVELY watch - as they will learn from each other.  It is safe to say that 99% of my students had never done this before and if they watch each other they get ideas and start to build off of other students movements.  It is really very fascinating.  

Again, I ask for questions - if none we get moving!

Here is a video of some kiddos making their first light graffiti:

Enjoy!  This is a blast at the end of the year!