My 4th and 5th grade students studied simple machines and robotics in science classrooms with the question, “Does technology bring us progress?” In studio we looked at artistic responses to that question. LEWIS HINE AND THE FOUR RIGHTS OF CHILDHOOD Our study of Charlie Chaplin as an artist-critic of culture prepared my students for the work of American photographer, Lewis HIne, who used his camera as a research tool for social reform.  IMMERSION EXERCISE: Group Learning Poster We explored the topic of child labor in American factories through Lewis Hine’s photos and primary source texts. In a one hour session, students looked through these primary sources. They constructed understanding about the photos by choosing, editing, and arranging images and texts for a poster. Each group shared their poster with the class. Then we looked at contrasting images of hand looms and textile factories showing mill towns before and during the industrial revolution. We discussed their differences. VIDEO AND DISCUSSION: THE FOUR RIGHTS OF CHILDHOOD After we watched the video, “America & Lewis Hine,” I explained that a National Child Labor Committee of concerned adults pushed to change child labor laws using Hine’s photos and other evidence to raise pubic awareness. In 1913, this group wrote a “Declaration of Dependence” to claim four rights that every child should have. My student were offended by the title “Declaration of Dependence.” Right away they shouted out: Hey! It should be “Declaration of Independence! Yea! Kids should have freedom! Yea! Independence! Then I read to them the four rights of childhood.  My students became uncharacteristically solemn after I read these. They realized that children do have a right to be dependent on adults for their basic needs. This document was not about freedom for fun. It was about freedom from tyranny. Through collage, I wanted my students to remove the factory children from the context of abuse and put them into the context of the four rights of childhood. PREPARATION PROJECT: Shoe Installation Before the students began the collage, two 21st century concepts were introduced: indexing and re-contextualization.   The students practiced both of these ideas through group, shoe installations modeled after Eleanor Antin's “100 Boots” installations. Six groups of students used their classmates’ shoes for installations around the school. This piece is called “48 Shoes Go to the Principal’s Office” FINAL PROJECT: New Context Collage Students were now ready to interrupt the contexts of Hine’s documentary photographs. Each student chose one of the four declared rights of childhood and one Hine photo. Students cut out a child from the factory photos and placed him or her on a blank piece of paper. There they recreated a new context of a childhood right, with paint, colored pencil, and colored papers. This is re-contextualization.  The mill girl leaves the factory for a birthday party context in “The Right to Play and Dream”  WIth the discarded factory background photo, students attached black paper on the back, behind the missing children’s spaces. These eerie images served as dark witnesses to the continuous narrative of oppression of the powerless. This is indexing. We displayed the two images side by side. The hopeful images celebrated the work of Lewis Hine and the National Child Labor Committee, while the ghost silhouettes reminded the viewer of the context of labor.  “The Right to an Education (school garden)”  “The Right to Play and Dream”  “The Right of Freedom from Toil for Daily Bread”  “The Right to the Normal Sleep of the Night Season”  “The Right to Play and Dream” ASSESSMENT OF MY STUDENTS’ ENGAGEMENT AND UNDERSTANDING My students enjoyed this project and were motivated to create enchanted, new contexts. I think this was because they were drawn into the imagined story of the child they pulled from the Hine photo. They felt a strong sense of “righting a wrong” and energized to have the power to change the lives of these children even though it was a symbolic gesture. In the past I had students make zines about Lewis Hine, but they always seemed like a glorified book report. This project caught their imagination more through the imagined story and gave them a interesting problem to solve through the media of drawing and collage. This year I am doing it again and my students’ classroom teachers are using the project to support a historical fiction writing piece about the children in the photos. SOURCES National Child Labor Committee. (1913). Declaration of Dependence by the Children of American Mines and Factories and workshops Assembled, National Child Labor Freedman, R. (1994) Kids at work: Lewis Hine and the crusade against child labor. Chicago: Carus. Rosenblum, N. (1996)America & Lewis Hine [VHS] http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/ Art:21 (2001). Season Two: Humor: Antin. http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/antin/index.html Garoian, C. Gaudelius, Y.,(2006, April). A critical conjuring process. Lecture delivered at National Art Education Association National Conference, Chicago, IL.

http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/antin/art_boots.html http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/antin/art_boots.html http://www.amazon.com/America-Lewis-Hine-John-Crowley/dp/630429641X http://www.historyplace.com/unitedstates/childlabor/ http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/kruger/index.html http://livepage.apple.com/