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Text set for "What's Up Milwaukee" unit

INTRO

This unit is currently being taught to my 6th-8th grade students at the school that I work at. The unit was created with the thought that students would be inspired by local artists and their processes and potentially go out and (safely) explore some of the city based off of the resources I gave to them. The first lesson mostly focuses on local art resources for students to utilize/virtually explore/visit. We discussed the difference between studios and galleries and different art workshop holders in the city. It ends with a video about the sculpture exhibit on view downtown right now which I encouraged my students to go and visit if they got the opportunity.

The rest of the unit is broken down into smaller units that focus on a local artist and their process, and students do project in response to what they learned. Some of these projects include zine making, coiling and sewing, pinch pots and clay figurines, drawing techniques such as stippling and other textural techniques, exploring street art through murals and graffiti throughout the city, as well we some architectural exploration through building structures out of popsicle and sucker sticks. The goal of this unit is to not only teach a variety of art making processes and mediums but also to show students how many art programs there are in Milwaukee and that being an artist is a perfectly fine and achievable goal to have!


This next section is focusing on the (6) text sets I will be incorporating into this unit. They are seperated into 3 groups- print based text, multimodal text, and culturally responsive text. Each category will have 2 text examples.



TEXT SET #1 PRINT BASED TEXT

Brady Street Banter "The Arts Issue"

Focusing on "The Community of Yours Truly Studio" article and the "QR Gallery"

Banter issue #3
.pdf
Download PDF • 33.25MB

Bibliographic information

Trapp, Dylan James. “‘The Community at Yours Truly Studio’ and the ‘QR Gallery.’” Brady Street Banter "The Arts Issue", 21 Mar. 2021, pp. 1–12.


Summary

Brady Street Banter is a new newspaper publication that a friend of mine recently created. Artist and writer Dylan Trapp has written 3 different issues of this newspaper so far. Starting as a fun quarantine project, Dylan quickly discovered his love for writing and providing his community with a publication based around Milwaukee events and people. This 12-page edition of the newspaper is filled with a variety of information about Milwaukee arts and artists. The first article is focused on an amazing public art/clay studio space called Yours Truly, located in River West (I might be a little biased, because I’m a member of this studio and the interview is with me and my best friend/studio mate/roommate/soulmate Kelsey Parks.) The article is focused on our mission at the studio and the new goals we want to achieve as a space in a post COVID world. The paper goes on and focuses on a few more local artists and makers, and then we get to experience the virtual gallery. This “QR Gallery” is filled with 95 unique codes that, when scanned, send you to the social media pages/websites of some of the great artist Milwaukee has to offer. It’s a great way to experience a wide variety of art while staying safe in this crazy COVID world!

Because I’m one of the featured artists in this edition, I have unlimited access to copies of this version. Dylan has also been kind enough to share a virtual version of the paper as well, making it more eco friendly and more accessible to share with my students! As for other copies, Dylan sells these for very cheap and also works with people and different organizations for advertising in exchange for free copies. His mission right now is to focus on getting his name out in the world and marketing towards different groups of people throughout the city.

Measuring text complexity with…

Quantitative: to measure quantitative aspects of a text you measure things like word length, word frequency and difficulty, sentence and text length, as well as text cohesion.

The writing in this publication is fairly student friendly, with a small amount of sarcasm and wit to it. Some of the humor might need to be explained but is something the students would really enjoy. When I entered in parts of the newspaper into storytoolz to measure some of those quantitative aspects, the results were what I expected...

6-10 vocab words that may need some support for the 6th-8th graders experiencing the “What’s Up Milwaukee” unit through this text:

  • Banter

  • Publication

  • Accessibility

  • Inherited

  • Multidisciplinary

  • (artist) brand

  • Collaborate

  • Community studio

Because of the complex poetry in the paper, the reading level was brought up to about a sophomore in high school. Because this unit is for my 6th-8th graders, I have to make sure to be careful about reading the specific articles that we will focus on in class to ensure they are accessible for my students to understand.

Qualitative: to measure qualitative aspects of a text you measure things like the level of meaning, maturity of themes, structure/genre of text, knowledge/demands of your readers, and the vocabulary the text used. This is always best evaluated by an attentive/close reader. When applying these themes to Brady Street Banter “The Arts Issue,” I realized the text overall might be a bit mature for my students (6-8th) however the articles I would be showing them are very much age appropriate. Again, the focus of choosing a text like this is to connect it to our other Zine project that we had at the beginning of this unit, as well as showing students how many different artists there are right here in our own community. Most of the artists Dylan curated for this gallery are also young and upcoming, very real positions that students could also be in one day. Parts of the article also discuss some hardships of being an artist and having a small business, all of which is helpful and important information for young artists to have!


Task and Reader Complexity

Task and reader complexity is important to consider when picking text for a unit because it’s all about relevance and sparking interest in your students. The text you pick should inspire students in that content area as well as motivate them and catch their attention quickly. Teachers should also consider students prior knowledge and previous experiences. You can use this knowledge and connection with your students to assist you in picking appropriate and relevant content for them to study. This might be challenging at first for some teachers, but the more you get to know your students, the better you will be able to pick topics and texts that interest them.

The reason I chose this text for my “What’s up Milwaukee” (Brady Street Banter “The Arts Issue”) is because the QR Gallery does a really good job at gathering a bunch of local Milwaukee based artists in one spot for students to explore. This page in the newspaper could also be a fun activity for students to do in class as partners. The QR code style is a fun and almost mysterious way to explore art. Since they are not labeled, it keeps students engaged and excited to see what’s next! This text builds on the student’s culture because growing up in Milwaukee, this city and the people in it become a part of your personal culture. Showing students what artists in the area are making might inspire them to dig into their own ideology and try to discover what their personal culture is. This text connects to previously learned knowledge like the Zine unit I did with them in this unit as well. This was the first activity in the unit, and we talked a lot about accessibility and publications; and Brady Street Banter is a great example of both of those things!



 

TEXT SET #2 PRINT BASED TEXT

Moody the Zine issue 3.5 "Portraits of Femme"


Bibliographic information

Mursch-Rodriguez, Melissa. “Portraits of Femme.” Moody The Zine, 8 Mar. 2021, pp. 1–37.

Summary

Moody is a monthly zine publication made up of artist contributions emphasizing underrepresented creatives. Each month Moody features six new creatives in a handmade publication. Featured artists share not only images of work, but stories, poems, notes on their creative process, QR codes to online content, and whatever else has been on their minds. Moody is woman-owned and independently ran and is in its first year of processing. It was founded by Melissa Mursch-Rodriguez who is a "Milwaukee based queer chicana woman." Melissa is a strong artistic force in the Milwaukee arts scene and does a wonderful job connecting so many artists together in a beautiful zine publication. These publications are also quite accessible. They do cost money, but are often pay what you can. The "Portraits of Femme" issue is based on "pay what you can" payments and all of the money goes to River West Femme Fest. The booklet is collection of photos from different femme artists through the city (myself being one of them :) ). The complexity of this text is very minimal, as this is an all photo zine.



Task and Reader Complexity

The reason I chose this text for my “What’s up Milwaukee” unit is because it does a great job at displaying so many femme artists from around the city for students to explore. The images are exciting and will keep the students interested! There is such a wide variety of work as well and can show students how far they can push their work and artistic ideas. Because our unit is focusing on local artist and makers, this zine is a perfect reference to support that learning. This reiterates the idea of Milwaukee being apart of these student's cultures and contributing to their upbringing and making them who they are today.

LIST OF ARTISTS



 


TEXT SET #3 MULTIMODAL TEXT

Sculpture Milwaukee YouTube video


Bibliographic information

Todaystmj4. “World Class Art in Milwaukee!” YouTube, YouTube, 25 Aug. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UspXS_ZnV0

Summary

This video is about what Sculpture Milwaukee focuses on- creating a fun and interactive art installation in downtown Milwaukee. This years instillation spans almost 2 miles and has 19 sculptures to experience with some of them speaking to current cultural issues such as race relations and voting rights. Those include Nari Ward's 2017 piece “Apollo/Poll” on display at the doorstep the Wisconsin Center convention hall. Echoing the design of the Apollo Theater sign in Harlem, the piece emphasizes the word “poll” in the name to call attention to voting and democracy. The sculpture was intended to stand in the bustle of the Democratic National Convention before it turned virtual.

This text is very accessible as it is a free online video and can be viewed on a mobile device or computer. The text complexity is minimal as the video does most of the explaining that the text also says. Visual learners will especially benefit from this type of learning support because it's like watching a movie of the text.

Task and Reader Complexity

The purpose of choosing this video for a learning support is to inspire the students to go and have fun activity that is COVID safe but also gets them out of the house. while exploring art and the lovely city of Milwaukee! Exploring downtown might spark student's interests into researching more into the histories of the city, researching the architecture, or even looking into street art/artists that they might see along the way.





 


TEXT SET #4 MULTIMODAL TEXT

Interviews with local artists Melissa Mursch-Rodriguez, Tania Espinoza-Bonilla,

and Chris Davis Benevides



Bibliographic information

Burrows, Danielle R. “Melissa Mursch-Rodriguez Zine Interview.” 10 Jan. 2021.

Burrows, Danielle R. “Tania Espinoza-Bonilla Fibers Interview.” 11 Jan. 2021.

Burrows, Danielle R. “Chris Davis Benevides Clay Interview.” 26 Jan. 2021.


Summary

These interviews are meant to show students how artists collect their ideas and form it into a project. Many students struggle with creating meaningful content for their artwork, so it's important for them to hear how other successful artists do it! All of the interviews start with the question of "how do your life experiences connect to your art and what is the biggest influence in that?" The artist takes over the conversation for a bit and dives into some powerpoints with images of their work with explanation of their processes. Since this is in video format, the students really seem to enjoy it. When I announce another "interview class" the students love just sitting back and watching the presentation. Because of this, the complexity is minimal and the interview style question/ answers is pretty easy to follow.

This is also a very accessible text as this is a saved file on my computer and easily shared via the youtube links I made with the interviews.

Measuring text complexity with…

Quantitative: to measure quantitative aspects of a text you measure things like word length, word frequency and difficulty, sentence and text length, as well as text cohesion. Since this is a video of the interview, I will be discussing the dialogue a bit more. The interview starts with a quick intro and goes on to discuss how the artists life experiences connect to their artistic practice. This is a very important discussion to have with your students, especially with those who are pursuing a future in the arts. The artist takes over and shows their

Qualitative:

to measure qualitative aspects of a text you measure things like the level of meaning, maturity of themes, structure/genre of text, knowledge/demands of your readers, and the vocabulary the text used. This is always best evaluated by an attentive/close reader. When applying these themes to the lessons in this unit, the themes fit right into what a 6th-8th grader would be learning about and would be interested in.


6-10 vocab words that may need some support for the 6th-8th graders experiencing the “What’s Up Milwaukee” unit through these texts:

-Zine

-Bookbinding

-Revolution

-Coiling

-Fibers

-Ceramics

-Sewing

-Peruvian ceramics

-Covino & Moche Cultures of Peru


Task and Reader Complexity

I decided to do these interviews for this unit because I wanted to shake it up from the usual death by powerpoint that they were getting during our fully virtual time. Students seem to respond better to videos than lectures and even though the video is still a lecture in a way, the students still observe better and pay closer attention to videos. Seeing what artists look like and how they think can be very influential to young learners. Having a positive role model to follow in your own community is a really special thing to have and through these interviews I might inspire a student to do just that. Again, these are all Milwaukee artists so its building upon their cultural influences as a Milwaukee native.



 


TEXT SET #5 CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEXT

Black Cat Alley Article "Wallpapered City"



Bibliographic information

“Wallpapered City: Three New Murals by Wisconsin Artists to Be Painted in Black Cat Alley.” The Milwaukee Independent, 11 Sept. 2020, www.milwaukeeindependent.com/articles/wallpapered-city-three-new-murals-by-wisconsin-artists-to-be-painted-in-black-cat-alley/


Summary

This article is very accessible as it is on an online format. It is very short but some of the language may be a bit challenging. The article must be supported with a vocabulary sheet for the 6th-8th grade students. The text focuses on the artists and art that is in Black Cat Alley down on the Eastside of the city. This alleyway has gotten quite popular over the years and is personally one of my favorite places to explore!


Measuring text complexity with…

Quantitative: to measure quantitative aspects of a text you measure things like word length, word frequency and difficulty, sentence and text length, as well as text cohesion.


The results for this surprised me a bit. After going back and reading it again, I realized that some of the words are pretty complex and might confuse some of the younger students. Creating a vocabulary list for them to refer to would be a must for this text. I would also only go over the parts of the article that are focused on what the art and artists are about that are in the alley.


Qualitative: to measure qualitative aspects of a text you measure things like the level of meaning, maturity of themes, structure/genre of text, knowledge/demands of your readers, and the vocabulary the text used. This is always best evaluated by an attentive/close reader. When applying these themes to this reading I think the theme is right in the interest of 6th-8th graders. My older students have been constantly asking me for a graffiti and street art lesson, so I thought no better example to show them than the amazing street are we have in our own city!


6-10 vocab words that may need some support for the 6th-8th graders experiencing the “What’s Up Milwaukee” unit through these texts:

-Community jury

-Entries

-Artist "call"

-Murals

-Grants

-Cultural asset

-BIPOC

-LGBTQ+

-Doors Open Milwaukee


Task and Reader Complexity

This article does a great job of explaining what some of the art at Black Cat Alley is about. It is pretty brief, but allows for more exploration beyond the article. After students are done reading it, they will go on to research what other pieces are currently in the alley or ones that have been there. Again, this article is supporting growth in discovering their "Milwaukee cultural identity" and how to make work in response to that.




 


TEXT SET #6 CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE TEXT

Della Wells street art video "Road of Democracy"


Bibliographic information

“Road of Democracy.” Road of Democracy | Community Projects | Bid Basics, www.milwaukeedowntown.com/bid-basics/community-projects/road-democracy


Summary

This article shows us a snapshot of the exhibition that is featuring 58 banners adorned with artwork by Della Wells and poetry by Dasha Kelly Hamilton in downtown Milwaukee. Wells’ collages often portray people, especially women, working toward their freedom, and she chose to focus on that subject for this project. She said “one thing I hope is that it will inspire people to keep working for us to become a more perfect union. I want people to realize that we’re on this road together, particularly in this time of divisiveness.”

Installing these has instilled a deep-rooted commitment to community conversations on race, citizenship, and democracy.

Task and Reader Complexity

At the very beginning of our time together, my students spent a good amount of time collaging. They explored how to create an image through a multitude of different images, and have been also working on narratives. Della Wells' work is a perfect example of both of these processes. It's so awesome that we have such amazing artistic influences in this city. So many people like Dells Wells are using their artistic voices to create discussion and change within their community.



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