Aesop's Fables: telling tales with video.
Student Video Art Projects
New technologies have revolutionized video. We are now at the point where art teachers and their students can easily incorporate new video technologies into the art curriculum and produce professional-quality video art projects on DVDs. All you need is a Mac with iMovie or a PC with Windows MovieMaker and a digital video camera.
Even if you don't have a video camera, your students can still make movies in the style of Ken Burns by importing still images into iMovie, MovieMaker, or another video program and adding transitions and voice overs. A video project that I have had great success with is based on Aesop's Fables.
Aesop, it is believed, was a slave of African descent who lived from about 620 to 560 Be in Ancient Greece. The fables have been and continue to be a popular choice for moral education and offer students a great opportunity to illustrate and interpret literature. For this project, a group of two or three students select a fable. Aesop's Fables, translated by Laura Gibbs, are available for free online (see address at the end of this article). Students then illustrate the fable with images downloaded from the Internet.
You may have students use their own drawn or painted images to illustrate the fable. A voice-over narrative of the fable is then added to the still clips. The second part of the fable project involves students interpreting and rewriting the fable in a present-day context. The students then dramatize their version of the fable and record and edit the video. You can see examples of my students' fables at: www.wyckoffschools.org/eisenhower/teachers/olejarz/digitalvideo/ fables.html.
Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their experiences and ideas.
Harold Olejarz is an art teacher at Eisenhower Middle School in Wyckoff, New Jersey. Harold@olejarz.com