"The Visual Art of Writing" Exploring Chinese Culture through Film and Illustration

byShannon Foster-Williams

Exposing students to ancient Chinese culture through film, students will use creative processes for analyzing film and writing. This unit is intended for elementary students who are emerging writers and engaging in creative writing. It is intended to guide students through the mental process of summarizing and comprehending content. This unit bridges text and film to enhance understanding of narrative content, using animated film to engage students in stories that are appealing and appropriate for young learners. Students will compare the written legend of Ballad of Mulan to the animated Disney film Mulan, which highlights Ancient China. Activities included in this unit aid students in building pictures that assist with writing. These visual cues will drive a process that leads to detailed and descriptive writing, through a cycle of interpreting stories, class critiques, visual summaries, art compositions, and written narratives. The focus is not only on the artistry, but on a creative way to analyze film and text for the purposes of communicating a story that is clear, concise, and accurate. Challenging students to create a written narrative that mirrors what is seen in their illustrated art work, this unit connects literature, film, history, and art.

(Recommended for Visual Art, Art History, Grades 3-4; Social Studies, Ancient China, Grade 3; Language Arts, Writing, Grades 4-5)


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