This course provides a general overview of the history of comics and graphic novels, particularly as social commentary in the U.S., using the resources of the Library of Congress. Consider visual literacy, basic narrative techniques, the combination of image and text, as well as some graphic design principles to better understand and analyze this art form. Participants plan classroom activities focusing on this visual resource, exploring the potential impact to engage students in discussions. Projects include researching and evaluating comics, hands-on printing and design activities, lesson plan development, and more. Content appropriate to many subjects; connects tohistory, social science and visual literacy.
In the 1930s, the United States was in crisis. The economic system had collapsed and one-quarter of the country’s workforce was unemployed. In an effort to rebuild the nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt launched the "Works Progress Administration” (WPA) to put millions of jobless people back to work. To promote its vast social programs, the WPA commissioned 500 artists nationwide to created more than 35,000 posters and prints to reach the American public. Of the mere 2,000 posters known to still exist, the Library of Congress' collection is the largest. These striking silkscreen, lithograph and woodcut posters publicized health programs, cultural programs, theatrical and musical performances, travel, education and community activities throughout the U.S. The posters were made possible by one of the first U.S. Government programs to support the arts and were added to the Library's holdings in the 1940s. In this course, learn about the WPA – its artists and its mission – and its connection to history, art, social science and visual literacy that can enrich your teaching. Participants learn about this time period, the power of design to communicate and how to use visual primary sources to engage students. In addition to museum visits, design studio exercises and hands-on printmaking, participants will use the digital archives of the Library of Congress to prepare lessons based on these powerful historic images. Content is appropriate for every subject areas as connections to art, nature, history, material processes and literacy are explored.
Photography has always been a democratic medium and virtually anyone can make a photograph, but learning how to read images and understand what they tell us about ourselves and others is often overlooked. This overview of the history of photography explores visual literacy as a core classroom concept, as participants examine how photography influences identity and how it can be used as a teaching tool in grades K-12. Participants learn how to use the digital photographic archives of the Library of Congress to prepare lessons incorporating visual literacy. Course activities include field trips for an insider's look into local archives and museums. Content is appropriate to a range of subject areas as connections to social science, identity, expression and literacy are explored.