I am a maker and always have been.
I made my sister a model greenhouse for Christmas this year, working from scratch to build the structure and create all the various pieces from furniture to flowers. I like making three dimensional models from paper, too.
So, I loved making crafty book reports when I was in school. I made a scale model of the train from The Great Train Robbery using shoe boxes with 3X5 cards marking important locations and actions. I can only imagine what fun I would have had if I had been able to place myself in the model using green screen technology the way Cindy Gonzalez’s students were able to do:
This is one of my favorite green screen projects! 4th graders used the green screen magic to report from inside their dioramas. They researched, rehearsed, built the diorama, filmed in the green studio & edited their videos using @DoInkTweets. #gslearning @gr8ful2teach pic.twitter.com/JqHCGSRbHQ
— Cindy Gonzalez (@CindyGo75) April 26, 2019
As part of the conversation, Joy Kirr shared a link to an article about making dioramas more dynamic
Great question. Here’s something @MatthewXJoseph just sent me – https://t.co/VHcHwqUaPs
The ex I shared looks like history. As an ELA T, I often think of dioramas as old-fashioned “book projects.” I’d ❤️for my students to share their books with the world in more relevant ways.
— Joy Kirr (@JoyKirr) April 28, 2019
I think I bristled a little at the notion that dioramas were somehow irrelevant. But, I have to admit that I like Dr. Matthew X. Joseph’s ideas for making them dynamic by using tools like Flipgrid or Aurasma.
I will defend dioramas, however, as not being irrelevant in and of themselves. Making analog models is a viable skill in our digital age. Do a search on Google Images, Pinterest or Etsy to see some of the amazing work being done both professionally and artistically.
Lora Collins, 3D Studio Supervisor at Smithsonian Exhibits, describes her fascinating career in this article that begins with her early memories of visiting dioramas with her mother and then, as a young artist, finding her way into the field. She focuses on making mannequins but unlike the stiff department store figures, Collins creates figures that tell stories such as the man on the aircraft carrier who looks like he is in a high wind as he guides in a plane. And, she is still honing her craft, learning more about forensic reconstruction as part of her work creating figures from the Ice Age.