Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Creating a Logo for RAGTIME
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the Lesson.
Steps -- Conducting the Lesson.
Tips-- Managing Resources and Student Activities.


As preparation for this lesson, find print resources (posters, books, playbills) related to theater past and present. Show these to the students and exhibit them in the classroom. Ask students to bring in theater memorabilia from home to share with the class.

Student Prerequisites:
Students should be familiar with RAGTIME, the musical or the book, or with the PBS program CREATING RAGTIME. If you videotaped CREATING RAGTIME, shown on PBS in January, 1998, students should view the tape.

The following sites should be bookmarked:

    Read this page to get an overview of the musical and some of the challenges faced by the production team (Director, Musical Director, Choreographer, Designer) in mounting this show.

    A collection of links useful for this lesson.

  • Playbill On-Line
    A place to get ideas for this lesson.

  • Theater Art Search
    Visit this page to search for posters of other shows as inspiration and examples. Do a search for the musical RAGTIME and view the Playbill cover. Students can also browse theater art, playbill covers, billboards, and production photos here.

  • Boutique Items
    Visit this site to see samples of professional graphic design. Included here are examples of posters, programs, T-shirts, mugs, and caps.

    Computer Resources:
    You will need at least one computer with Internet access to complete this lesson. While many configurations will work, we recommend:

    -- Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.
    -- Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.
    -- Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MB of RAM.
    -- IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MB of RAM, running Windows 95.

    For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

    If students have access to a scanner, they could draw with traditional tools and then scan in the image.

    Any decent graphics program that handles text manipulation can be used. Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator are preferred, but KidPix, Canvas, TypeStyler, and CorelDraw could be used as well.


    Time Allotment: 3-5 periods (after video has been viewed).

  • Discuss what a metaphor is with the students. To help facilitate this discussion, have students do the following exercise in abstraction from the Dakota Writing Project (

  • Send about five students out of the room.
  • Pick a color (red works well) and have the class brainstorm items and images that conjure up that color for them (blood, lips, ketchup etc.).
  • Make a list of these items on the board.
  • Have the 5 students come back in and view the list. Their task is to guess what the class was discussing. When the students have guessed, discuss how the items on the list represent the abstract concept of a color in concrete ways.

  • Discuss how designers use metaphors to visualize a graphic image that can serve as the logo for the poster, program, or T-shirts related to a production. After careful script analysis and background research, the designer tries to formulate, in words, a metaphor encompassing the overarching theme and meaning of a play. Some plays immediately suggest metaphors and graphic images, for instance THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams, or THE MOUSE TRAP by Agatha Christie.

  • Students should view THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA T-shirt (link to this from the T-shirt collection at Boutique Items) to see an example of a graphic image that is intricately connected to the meaning of the play: This image is so recognizable that the T-shirt doesn't even use letters or words, but relies on the image of the opera mask alone to convey meaning. Have students work in pairs or small groups to decipher the meaning of this image. Another example of the use of graphic images is the MISS SAIGON T-shirt. (Link to this from the T-shirt collection at Boutique Items.)

  • Another approach to designing the logo/graphics for a show is to turn the letters into pictures. For example the INTO THE WOODS poster (linked to from the poster collection at Boutique Items): Here the letters and words of the title form a picture of the woods itself. Other examples of this approach are the JEKYLL AND HYDE logo -- where the handwriting becomes progressively more bizarre as we scan across the letters, and ends dripping with blood -- or BRING IN DA NOISE, BRING IN DA FUNK, where the letters are arranged in a way to suggest noise and funk in visual terms. (Link to this example from the poster collection at Boutique Items.)

  • Have students begin to work on creating their logo for RAGTIME, using the information in the Student Pathway. If you do not have access to a sufficient number of computers for each student, students could use conventional art supplies and materials (collage, paints, ink etc.).

  • As a final culmination, display the students' work. You could print out some particularly good examples and have students view them and discuss why they worked so well.
    Work may also be submitted to the wNetSchool Student Gallery.


    Working in Groups
    If you have access to one computer in your classroom, you can organize your class in several ways. Divide your classroom into two groups. Instruct one of the groups to do paper research while the second group is working on the computer. Bring in books, magazines, etc., from the library for the group doing paper research. Lead the group working at the computer through an Internet search or allow the students in the class to take turns. (It may be efficient to have a set of bookmarks ready for the students before they start working on the computer.) When the groups have finished working, have them switch places.

    Look for Web Resources Together as a Class
    If you have a big monitor or projection facilities, you can do an Internet search together as a class. Make sure that every student in your class can see the screen. Go to a search engine page, allow your students to suggest the search criteria, and do an Internet search. Again, bookmark and/or print the pages that you think are helpful for reference later.

    Using a Computer Lab
    A computer center or lab space, with a computer-to-student ratio of one to three, is ideal for doing Web-based projects. Generally, when doing Web-based research, it is helpful to put students in groups of three. This way, students can help each other if problems or questions arise. It is often beneficial to bookmark sites for students ahead of time and make suggestions. This way, you can be sure that students have a starting point.

    Submit a Comment: We invite your comments and suggestions based on how you used the lesson in your classroom.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students