A picture is worth a thousand words, and Classcraft’s Quest of the Month explores how they have been conveying their messages throughout time. Each month at Classcraft, we choose one awesome quest to promote. Our June pick is a picture-perfect high school art lesson plan, “Quest for Images,” created by Timothy Martin (@PMartin1867).
Designed for an art and English Language Arts class, this quest takes students on a journey to study images throughout human history and uncover their rich language and deeper meaning. Students will use the Elements of Media Design and the process of Deconstructing and Analyzing an image (Image DnA) to discover and decode the minds and ideas of past artists.
Quests are personalized, self-paced, choose-your-own-adventure lessons for students. Mr. Martin’s quest gives busy teachers a grab-and-go lesson plan to explore the complex and fascinating world of media. Import this quest now to start using it with your class.
If you use Classcraft, you can submit quests you’ve created to be the next Quest of the Month on our submission page. Our goal is to spotlight the amazing educators who inspire us and share creative, teacher-made content with our global community of forward-thinking educators.
Take it away, Timothy!
What grades and subjects do you teach?
Timothy Martin: Seventh grade
How long have you been teaching?
Martin: Eight years
Where do you teach?
Martin: The Holy Trinity School in Toronto, Canada
What made you decide to use Classcraft?
Martin: Classcraft was suggested by my teaching partner, Frank Severino, (@Mr_Severino), who, like me, recognizes the need for innovative and unique classroom engagement strategies in education. Twenty-first-century education does not simply require 21st-century technology but also 21st-century thinking. This platform also fuses my ABSOLUTE LOVE of narrative story structure, the adventure genre, and gaming.
What kinds of things are you passionate about?
Martin: Apart from my wife (who, like Classcraft, is AWESOME), film, literature, and the arts have always been my strongest passions. Before becoming a teacher I completed my undergrad in Film Studies at Queen’s University and worked in the Toronto film industry for a number of years.
But as the son of two teachers, education has been just as strong of an influence on my life. Teaching as a profession … as a vocation … is something that found me and I am grateful that it did. It has become one of my passions.
Why do you love the quest you created? What makes it special?
Martin: “The dog barked.”
“The dog barked loudly.”
“The noble dog barked loudly as it tried to warn her human about the fire in the next room.”
We live in a world of languages. The more proficient we become in a language, the better and more completely we are understood. Images are no different.
Gaining a deeper understanding of how images can be created, while at the same time developing a more critical eye and mind for media literacy, will enable students to more effectively navigate the visual world in which they live.
My ENTIRE class only saw the Classcraft logo as three mountains … until they realized they were also pencils. Their visual world got a bit bigger that day.
I’d recommend it to others as it has been built especially for busy teachers who don’t have time to create a story and tasks. They just need to adapt it to whichever assignment they’d like.
What did your students think of your quest? How did they react?
Martin: Honestly, the FIRST reactions to the quest were mixed. Many students found it hard to be self-motivated and complete the task on their own schedule while others thoroughly enjoyed the freedom of working at their own pace.
What I found worked well moving forward was letting the students know that this was a quest on its own — something to do alongside our media studies unit rather than a direct part of it. They were free to give answers in a less formal fashion which encouraged some students to just express their thoughts and ideas without feeling like it was “school work.”
Once students learned that Quests were a whole new phenomenon where they had the freedom to express themselves in that less formal setting (and that submitting could earn them greater amounts of XP and GP — leveling up is SUPER important), participation in the quest rose by a notable amount.
What’s one of your favorite things about Classcraft?
Martin: Everything. Seriously, EVERYTHING.
I know it is a simplistic answer, but the ENTIRE platform has become a central part of my teaching toolkit. From the exploration and academic freedom that Quests offer, to the anticipation of an expected (or unexpected 😉 ) boss battle, to the HILARITY that Random Events inject into a day … Classcraft has accomplished a great deal with this resource. I cannot speak it praises enough, and it will always be a part of my teaching.