By Tara Seale
Last year at the 2009 NCTE Convention in Philadelphia, I was lucky enough to attend a session titled You Gotta See it to Believe it: Visual Literacy and Reading Between the Lines. Shelbie Witte from Florida State University chaired the session and Robyn Seglem from Illinois State and Matt Skillen from Elizabethtown College presented.
During the presentation, Shelbie Witte presented the idea to have students create tattoos for characters in Romeo and Juliet as a modern day family crest. I expanded this idea to include an essay to explain each element of the tattoo. I created and wrote my own tattoo essay so that I would have a model; I used Rosaline because I did not want to take one of the main characters away from one of my students: Rosaline Model Example.
To create the tattoo, my students used the new addition to Google Docs: Google Drawings. You can see from my crude drawing that I am not concerned with students’ artistic abilities, but instead, students’ critical thinking skills. The rubric indicates that I expected students to put thought, intent, and effort into their drawings, and the majority of the student’s grade focused on the explanation of their design: Rubric for the Tattoo Essay.
As part of the assignment, students also discussed tattoos and the reasons why people get tattoos. Additionally, students read an article that discussed the dangers related to tattoos and the procedure to remove tattoos. After providing background information, I gave students the directions for the assignment: Romeo and Juliet Tattoo Assignment Directions.
Overall, I was pleased with the results of the assignment. You can view some of the student tattoos below.
Friar Lawrence Tattoo
This student created a Shakespeare Tattoo