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									Fine Arts / Visual                                             Seventh & Eighth Grades

                                   Medals for Heroes

The Olympic Games provide students with examples of real life heroes. Students
compare and contrast heroes portrayed in the media with Olympic athletes and “local
heroes.” Students design a medal to present to a personal hero that they admire.

Heroism, Civics, Friendship, Respect, Goals

Core Life Skill Connections
Life-long learning appreciates a variety of cultural contributions and artistic
expressions; shows aesthetic awareness through demonstrating an understanding of
the subtleties and details of everyday living and participating in the arts for enjoyment
and personal growth.

Complex Thinking uses creative, critical problem-solving, decision-making, and
innovative thinking processes; puts information together in new and unique ways;
balances reason and emotion in decision making; considers new ideas and various
perspectives to broaden insight and increase understanding.

Effective Communication successfully interacts with others using a variety of mediums;
expresses ideas, feelings, and beliefs aesthetically; evaluates the effectiveness of
communication; receives and understands ideas communicated through a variety of
modes; adapts and adjusts communication to suit the needs of the intended audience.

Collaboration works effectively with others to identify and achieve specified results;
values differences and similarities among groups members; respects cultural and ethnic
differences and builds on them in positive ways; treats others with compassion; resolves
conflicts positively.

Responsible Citizenship acknowledges that all people have innate worth; demonstrates
respect for human dignity, needs, and rights; works towards improvement in society.

Learning Outcomes
Students will:
    Recognize that Olympic values pertain to everyone
    Learn how heroes are created by television and magazines and have students
      make some personal decisions concerning the character traits that the students
      think a real hero should have
    Create two medals that represent heroic values
    Choose their own hero and design a hero’s medal for that person and one for
      themselves that identifies a value they possess or wish to possess. Just as a
      downhill skier receives a medal that is artistically designed with a skier that
      appears to be going very fast, students design their hero’s medal with visuals
      that express the character of that person
Activity 1: Understanding Heroism

Assemble information about Olympic values and contrasting information about the
values portrayed in images in popular culture (TV, CD’s, magazine ads, movies, sports,
websites, etc. An obvious example in sports would be the lack of sportsmanship, civility
and respect exhibited by Tonya Harding toward Nancy Kerrigan in Lilihammer, France;
or the poor example of the US 4x100 meter relay team in the 2000 Olympics in

Assemble familiar icons and logos (like the Nike swoosh), and prepare to discuss their
purpose and prevalence in our world.

Tools and Resources:
TV, VCR, CD player, magazines and newspapers from home and school.
Any art tools available, from a pencil and paper to a computer with graphic design
Internet sites with further resources. (See Further Research section below.)

Ask students to find 2 examples on the web or in TV commercials, videos, CD’s,
magazines or newspaper ads that promote "values" that in your opinion are not
“valuable” (ex. Cigarettes as cool. You must have designer clothes to be liked. Etc.)
Bring them to class on videotape, or CD, or cut them out of magazines.

Critique examples:
     What is being promoted and why? What is the agenda of your example? (Ex. “To
       sell clothes”)
     How are particular values identified and communicated? (Ex. “You will be popular
       if you use a certain shampoo.”)
     What other stereotypes and values are promoted indirectly? (Ex. “The person
       using the shampoo has a certain body type.”)
     What artistic means are used to sell these values? (Ex. “Music and fanfare with
       animation and graphics surrounding “the NBA on CBS.” (Ex. “Saturated colors
       emphasize the clothes against a drab background.”)

Consider Media heroes such as: professional athletes, TV personalities, movie stars,
pop musicians, and anyone who has lots of money. Are these people always heroes? Is
it important that we recognize the real heroes among us? What makes a hero special?
Do you personally know any heroes? Can you be a hero? What does a hero do?

Read or copy for students: “The Olympic Experience.” Discuss the ways in which the
Olympic Games promote values that range from friendship, fair competition,
commitment and honor, to other life skills such as self-discipline, good manners,
cooperation and respect. Our communities are filled with everyday heroes that embody
these real Olympic values, but they are usually not on TV. They could be your friends,
your family, or people that you know. Could you be your own hero?
Discuss examples of people who to you are real heroes. Identify the character
attributes and Olympic values that qualify them as real heroes.

Activity 2: Design Two Medals of Heroism
Ask students to choose someone whom you consider a hero in your life.

List a few of the heroic characteristics of the hero (these can be quite simple:
patience, kindness, truthfulness, etc.)

Ask students to use any art tools available, from a pencil and paper to a computer with
graphic design capabilities to design a medal for the hero. This design should visually
communicate the heroic traits of your chosen character. Remember to use the devices
of strong visual communication that are employed in everything from TV commercials to
fine art to maximize your message.

Students will design a medal that identifies a value that they wish to possess.

Share and critique the individual medals. (See evaluation questions below.)

Students will:
    Communicate the traits of heroism clearly
    Create a medal that is visually pleasing and interesting
    Seek ways to improve the medal design

Encourage students to examine the concept of heroism by listing a number of behaviors
that they can do in their own life to be considered a hero.
Invite students to present their medal to their personal hero. If students want to share
their medals they can be e-mailed (jpeg, tiff, etc. attachments) to the State Fine Arts

Extend an interest in heroes and Olympic values by creating a Webquest for the
Internet to help others create art, music, dance, film, or drama that communicates
Olympic values. Webquest can be submitted to your school website or to the State
Fine Arts Specialist at the State Office of Education at the address above. Educators
may will find instructions on what a Webquest is and how to create one at: and

Further Research
Internet Resources
Teacher will want to review these sites carefully.

          Media/Commercial Heroes
            Nike Town

              Quiksilver and Roxy

   NBC Television,946,-0-2757,00.html – a site that takes an aesthetic often humorous view of
   contemporary advertisements, generally non-judgmental; with streaming

   Heroism In The Modern World – a web site discussing heroes and advice
   on heroic living in today’s world.

   My Hero – a web site hat honors heroes from different walks of life, from
   medicine to family life.

   The Heroism Project – a site that describes a PBS effort to engage
   Americans in discussions of heroism.

   Rm. 223’s Hallowed Heroes Home page - an interesting interactive site
   developed by an 8th grade class. It contains perspectives on everything
   from Olympic heroes to unsung school heroes.

Heroic Art
   National Gallery Of Art – Watson and the Shark – a wonderful step by step
   visual critique of John Singelton Copley’s 1778 heroic painting. Go forward
   and back from this page.

   World’s Greatest Paintings – a number of classic images, mostly dealing
   with heroic themes with wonderful aesthetic observations concerning
   artistic emphasis.

Artists Critique Advertising Values
   Barbara Kruger online – a number of images by the modern artist most
   closely associated with commercial advertising.

   Subvertising – providing some balance to advertisements.

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