Dark and Light
Exploring the visual language of light and dark.
Lesson length: 1 session
Lesson from Grandma Bird series
Required reading: Whole book
- Visual language: Light and dark
- Graphic Organisers
In a highly visual world, it is crucial to teach children to read images critically. Patterns of light and dark can be used to draw attention to key features in an image, to create mood, or add symbolic meaning. Benji Davies uses dark and light to great effect to convey Noi’s emotions while he hides in the cave during a storm. The drama of the fierce lightning storm is given full force through the lighting effects that Davies employs.
In this lesson, children explore the impact of dark and light on their emotional responses. The discussion provides an opportunity to extend and deepen vocabulary knowledge.
- Copies of Grandma Bird, at least one between two. Alternatively, projection of the book using a visualiser or tablet.
- Copies of the ‘Zones of Relevance’ graphic organiser, or an enlarged version for classwork
Share the double-page spread, ‘Noi listened as the sea thrashed….’.
Prompts to support discussion about the use of light and dark:
- Which parts of the cave are dark?
- How does this make the cave seem?
- Where is Noi? What is he doing? You might extend this to say that he appears to be cowering behind the rock. Does this suggest he feels safe or threatened?
- Can you show how Noi is feeling with your face and body?
- Where is the light coming from?
- Which parts of the picture have light shining on them?
Invite the children to suggest words that can be used to describe the dark.
- Which words fit best with the picture? Use the Zones of Relevance organiser to arrange words from those that are most relevant for the story in the inner circle, to those that are least relevant in the outer circle.
Make explicit that the ‘best fit’ word isn’t always the longest or the most unusual.
Display the completed Zone of Relevance organiser for reference.
Introduce evaluative language.
- Do you think Benji Davies has used light and dark effectively to create an atmosphere in this picture?
Can the children explain in simple terms the techniques that Benji Davies uses and the effects? Encourage them to look closely at the picture.
gloomy, pitch-black, shadowy, dim, dingy, flashing, brilliant, intense
anxious cowering, crouching, shivering, trembling
Zones of relevance
Use this graphic organiser as a vehicle for discussing vocabulary choices. The quality of discussion and questioning is a vital part of this process.