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Venturing Into Visuals Series - Art Spiegelman - Maus

Venturing Into Visuals Series - Art Spiegelman - Maus | English

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Guide for Students

Venture into the rich world where art and literature collide! Our Venturing Into Visuals series takes the hard work out of analysing visual texts so you can enjoy the ride.

Be beguiled by artists and storytellers who create worlds that capture your imagination. But how do they craft stories this way? What makes their images so spellbinding? We’ll introduce you to the art of visual storytelling, whether it’s a single image or an entire graphic novel.

For each text, we offer lessons on:

  • Chapter and overall plot summaries
  • Context
  • Five key themes
  • Building body paragraphs
     

Even if you don’t have a visual text set for your English course, you will still benefit from this series. When it comes to analysing unseen images in class or under exam conditions, our Venturing Into Visuals series helps you brush up on your visual analysis skills. You’ll get the tools you need to unpack meaning in any visual text and ace your assessments!

Each of our videos is a high-quality production, incorporating vibrant animations and helpful annotations to guide you.

Before you get started, we recommend you check out the Venturing Into Visuals videos in our English Essentials series. You’ll learn about all the visual techniques composers use to create images that speak to us.

Here’s how to get the most out of our videos:

Watch them before you start studying the text


Get ahead on your schoolwork! Watch our lessons in the holidays or a few weeks before studying your visual text in class. Watch our plot summaries to get a sneak peek or learn about the context of the text.

Take notes as you watch each video. Draw up a timeline of events and create profiles of key characters.

You can also watch our lessons on the five key themes in the text. Start unpacking the big ideas and developing your analytical skills.

While your class is studying the text


When you know you’ll be looking at a certain part or chapter of the text in class, check out our chapter summaries first! That way, it’ll be easier to remember the characters and events the composer focuses on in that part of the text.

Check out our five videos on the key themes in the text! Watch these when your teacher starts handing out homework and assessment notifications. We’ll analyse lots of evidence, so you’ll encounter a good variety of visual techniques.

If you need to revise a specific technique, you can always check out the Venturing Into Visuals videos in our English Essentials series. This series will give you a rundown of the techniques you need to know so you can have the competitive edge in the classroom!

Our English Essentials – Venturing Into Visuals series teaches you the secrets of visual storytelling, including the:

Different text types and media (like graphic novels, paintings, and movie posters)
Purpose of a visual text and how to connect that to context
Visual techniques composers use (like modality, colour, symbolism, and rule of thirds)


…and much more! We cover everything you need to know to master any visual text in high school English!

What if you’re stuck on a theme or other aspect of the text after covering it in class? You can always watch our lessons to fill any gaps in your understanding. We recommend taking notes as you watch the video. Maybe you want to record specific evidence or add extra thoughts to the analysis. Create an analysis table of visual techniques and their links to context and themes!

You might even note down a question to raise with your teacher later on. No doubt your class will appreciate your contributions to open discussions now that you’ve got the advantage of our Venturing Into Visuals series!

When preparing for an assessment


Feel free to watch our videos to revise for upcoming assessments.

If you’re preparing to write an analytical response or essay, brush up on the key themes in the text. You’ll need them to tackle your school assessments.

But how do you turn your analysis into perfect paragraphs? Check out our two videos on Building Paragraphs. We transform our detailed analysis into structured paragraphs, guiding you through the steps of choosing evidence and placing it into a logical sequence.

Check to see if the series includes syllabus-specific analysis. For our users in New South Wales, we offer videos that show you how to analyse texts for the HSC Modules. We guide you through the analysis and show you how to link it to the key ideas in the rubric.

 

Guide for Educators

As educators, we’re always finding ways to help students become more independent learners. When it comes to studying visual texts, students are often reluctant to engage in their own, rigorous analysis of them. While they enjoy images that conjure other lives, places and times, there can sometimes be a disconnect when it comes applying the metalanguage of visual analysis.

Schooling Online seeks to support you in the amazing work you do every day. Our videos are designed to give students the confidence to actively engage in lessons and take control of their own learning.

Here’s how to get the most out of our videos:

Integrate our videos into your school’s English curriculum


Our online lessons cover a range of significant visual texts. These include texts prescribed and recommended by the New South Wales Education Standards Authority. Our lessons are also valuable for the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme and other secondary English syllabi.

We recommend that you integrate our videos into your lesson plans and teaching programs. This will add another meaningful resource to your arsenal and assist you in the complex, recursive process of teaching visual texts. Our videos explain the key themes in each text, supported by plenty of relevant textual evidence. This helps students cultivate the valuable skills they need for detailed analysis of visual texts. Our vibrant animations and clear commentary will help your students meet their learning outcomes with ease and enjoyment.

Sign up your school with Schooling Online and set lessons for students to watch in class or at home.

Introducing students to a visual text


We know that students struggle to pick apart the meaning and compositional choices in visual texts. So how can we help? Our English Essentials – Venturing Into Visuals series gives you detailed, rigorous teaching material and full flexibility. Depending on the skills you want to target and the level (or Stage) your students are at, the series will help them master the:

Connection between purpose and context in visual texts


Different text types and media – including advertisements, paintings, photographs, movie posters, animation, documentaries, political images, and logos


Visual techniques composers use – including modality, colour palette, symbolism, juxtaposition, perspective, shot types and angles, composition, salience, gaze, vectors, reading path, scale, contrast, characterisation, visual metaphor, body language, posture, facial expressions, text design, intertextuality, parody, focus, saturation, chiaroscuro, point of view, rule of thirds, omission, insets, framing, visual irony, appropriation, paradox, call to action, caption, satire, slogans, and structural motifs


The detail and complexity of our lessons increase for each level of secondary school (grades 7-8, 9-10, and 11-12). This allows you to cater for your students, whether it’s introducing them to visual text types, consolidating prior learning or enhancing their skills in senior years.

For lengthy texts, such as graphic memoirs and novels, we offer chapter and overall summaries of the text. We also dedicate one lesson to introducing you to the composer and exploring the text’s context. This encourages greater understanding of the interconnectedness of life and art. Students can watch these videos before class or you can play them in class to introduce the characters, settings and narrative arc. You could use the videos to spark discussion, practise notetaking skills or as the basis for an in-class task.

Our videos make excellent, manageable items of homework. That way, class time can be reserved for robust discussion, group collaboration and writing tasks. Allocate our videos for home viewing to give students a strong foundation in the unit, greater independence and more confidence in the classroom.

Help students to critically analyse the text


Our videos equip students with the essential skills needed for analysing visual texts. The principles of visual composition are presented using engaging animations and relatable examples.

For each text, we spend five lessons analysing key themes and relevant textual evidence. We show students how to identify ‘big picture’ structural forms and the finer details using a broad range of examples.

Not only will we teach your students how to analyse a visual text, but we’ll also show them how to write critically and analytically about it. Over two additional lessons, we weave our analysis together and transform it into body paragraphs. We want to equip students with the vital tools for writing eloquent essays and extended responses.

For our users in New South Wales, we offer additional syllabus-specific videos. We demonstrate how to analyse the text through the conceptual lens of NESA’s unit descriptions.

Turn your classroom into an interactive learning environment by watching the videos in segments. For the videos we just mentioned, we recommend pausing the video after a new idea has been analysed. This is the perfect time to open discussion with your class, allocate some small group work, or set an individual writing task.

You can check your students’ understanding and actively engage them using these discussion/short response questions:

  • How does the composer portray key characters/people in the text?
  • How does the composer establish and develop a specific theme in the text?
  • What message or values does composer convey through the text?
  • How does the composer portray a particular setting?
  • Where can you see the contextual influences in the text?
  • Identify any symbols the composer has used in the text and explain their meaning.
  • How has the composer used visual techniques to portray the relationship between certain characters/people?
  • How has the composer created certain reading paths? Why do you think they did that?
  • How has the composer used intertextuality/appropriation keep you engaged?
  • Did the composer manipulate the structure of the text in any way? Why do you think they did that?
  • How has the composer manipulated perspective in the image? Why do you think they did that?
  • Did you find the image/text interesting, engaging or relatable? Why/why not? How does your own context influence your reaction to the text?


Feel free to use our videos as resources for the following class activities. Students may:

  • Compose additional images or panels from another character’s point of view
  • Compose an additional scene or panel that explains part of the story or a character’s motivation, e.g. a flashback
  • Compose an image or panel that offers an alternative ending
  • Compose a diary entry or letter from the perspective of one of the secondary or ‘silenced’ characters in the text
  • Make notes that follow key events in the text and plot them visually
  • Create a movie poster for the text that captures its tone and atmosphere
  • Compose an interview with the composer about the text and its contextual influences
  • Compose a critic’s review of the text using persuasive language techniques
  • Compose a multimedia trailer for a film version of the text incorporating sound, voice and image
  • Compose a discursive piece that explores an important idea in the text and offers insight or a fresh perspective
  • Engage in further research about the context of the text, including the composer’s personal & professional influences
  • Create a summary of key evidence relating to a major theme
  • Compose a paragraph or extended response analysing themes and discussing values


Note: The clear, conversational style of our voice-over is also a good example of discursive writing. Not only will your students benefit from the analysis offered in our videos, but they could also note down some of the discursive language techniques we use in our commentary. This is a valuable form of compound learning you can utilise if an upcoming assessment task involves a discursive piece.

Use our videos for internal and external assessment preparation


Our videos help students revise with ease and confidence.

We recommend playing the videos in class to refresh students’ understanding of the text. Alternatively, students can watch the lessons at home as part of a structured regime of revision. We’re just a click away!

We want students to go beyond rote-learning the material. Our videos help students understand each example through vibrant visuals and plain-language commentary. This will help them commit the content of the lesson to memory, which can be consolidated through revision and focussed writing.

Our videos help students to interpret texts in their own way, at their own pace. They can re-view our analysis as many times as they need to help them craft meaningful, eloquent responses.

If an assessment task involves analysis of an unseen image, our Venturing Into Visuals series will help your students brush up on their visual analysis skills. The wide variety of text types and visual media we analyse in those videos reminds students of the array of visual texts they could encounter. Likewise, our discussion of the finer details in images showcases all the different ways to unpack meaning in visual texts.

Our videos can also provide a basis for the following revision activities. Students may:

  • Discuss how to approach an assessment task, such as how to structure a short answer or extended response 
  • Write practice paragraphs for peer assessment
  • Create study notes with textual analysis on context, characters and themes
  • Research and incorporate the contextual influences into their study notes
  • Create study notes that link their analysis of the text to key terms in your English syllabus

 

Discover a world where art and literature collide!

Our Venturing Into Visuals series delves into the most popular visual texts, including graphic novels and memoirs, posters, paintings, and picture books! We’ll also introduce you to their composers and explore their contexts.

We make study a breeze with our vibrant chapter summaries and easy analysis of themes and visual techniques. Find out how the analysis comes together in two additional lessons on building paragraphs. Our plain-language commentary and helpful annotations guide you through the process of composing top-notch paragraphs so you can ace your assessments!

What are you waiting for? Start venturing into visuals  today!