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Tattoo Activity to Teach About Andersonville Prison

Differentiate Instruction for Andersonville Prison

Creating a tattoo is an unconventional activity but it may help draw in students to the content you are hoping they learn.

I used a tattoo activity once to teach about Andersonville Prison while teaching GA Studies. I had them focus on the experiences of the prisoners and come up with a tattoo that someone might have gotten that would represent them. Unfortunately, many of my students could relate to the prison experience because they had been incarcerated themselves.

Tattoos are not just for learning about prisons. Although in many westernized countries the tattoo culture originated there, like in the Soviet Union. Today people get tattoos to symbolize dreams, important people or events in their lives. It can be a versatile activity.

Tattoo activities use different multiple intelligence learning styles. The following are used in a tattoo artist activity:

  • Spatial Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: drawing and design
  • Linguistic Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: explaining how it relates to the content either verbally or in writing
  • Intrapersonal or Interpersonal Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: students should be able to choose if they work individually or with a partner.

A tattoo artist activity can be used to differentiate instruction. Here are two examples of how it can be used for differentiated instruction:

  • Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: In order to differentiate instruction using multiple intelligence learning styles the teacher can offer students a choice of up to 3 alternative activities using different multiple intelligence learning styles and the same content. They can then allow their students to choose how they work, individually, with a partner or in a group. Creating these options can be a time consuming activity for teachers. I recommend using activity templates. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico¬†offers over 50 of them to help teachers differentiate instruction quickly.
  • Levels/Tiering/Scaffolding: Some students need more guidance than others. Three critical thinking exercises (figuring what and how to design it as well as explaining how they relate to the content) might also be overwhelming for some. In order to guide those students on a lower ability level, plainly state what they need to draw. Then they can use their creativity for how to design it and then their critical thinking skills to explain how it relates to the content. If I were to assign the tattoo artist activity for Andersonville Prison again, I could state that the students should draw some poop and make it look either dead or sickly, remember I teach middle school. This would represent the lack of drainage for raw sewage and that it spread disease.¬†It might also be a good idea to have a graphic organizer to guide them through or a checklist so they don’t forget parts of the assignment.

Teachers need to be careful when they try to differentiate instruction. They need to make sure that what they’re assigning:

  • uses the same content
  • is challenging and not just busy work

Written by,

Kasha Mastrodomenico