Creating a Logo for RAGTIME
Procedures for Teachers is divided into three sections:
-- Preparing for the Lesson.
-- Conducting the Lesson.
-- 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.
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.
CREATING RAGTIME Resources
A collection of links useful for this lesson.
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.
Visit this site to see samples of professional graphic design. Included here are examples of posters, programs, T-shirts, mugs, and caps.
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
-- 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 (http://www.usd.edu/engl/potter97ar1.html):
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
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.