Norman Rockwell and a Utopian America
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(Photo of Rockwell's painting taken by p_a_h)

Introduction

Norman Rockwell once said, “I paint life as I would like it to be. * By examining his paintings, we can get an understanding of what he thought an “ideal” America would be like. In this unit, we are going to try to discover Rockwell's American Utopia and compare it to the American Reality of today.

*(See http://www.normanrockwell.com/about/quotes.htm to read the whole quote.)

Task

In this unit we will look closely at some of Rockwell's paintings to see what they tell us about the America he wanted to live in. We will compile a picture of that America and compare it to what we see around us today.

Procedure

Part 1

We will begin this unit by learning something about Norman Rockwell. Who was he? When did he live? Was he a successful painter? All of these questions and more will be answered when you look at these biographies of Rockwell.

After looking at these sites, choose one and write a summary of what it said and post it in the forum Rockwell's Life.

Read what your classmates have posted in their biographies. Ask questions about anything that isn't clear.

After everyone has commented on your biography, revise it and upload it here. Make sure you include the URL of the biography you are summarizing. You will not be able to include all the details included in the original article, of course. Be sure to use your own words.

Part 2

Now we will look at the paintings of Norman Rockwell. There are many places on the Internet where you can find some of them. I would suggest these sites because they have so many pictures on them.

Choose 3 of his paintings and write a brief description (approximately 50 words) of each. Be sure to include the name of the painting and the URL of the site where you saw it. Try to choose paintings your classmates haven't used.

Post your descriptions to the blog. Each painting should be described in a separate post. You are also to comment on one description posted by each of your classmates.

Part 3

Now we are ready to compare Rockwell's American Utopia to the America we see every day. The actual requirements for this assignment are found in Writing Assignment #2.

When you are done with your first draft, email it to me as an attachment. I will look at it and send it back to you. When you have revised and edited it, upload it to WebCT.

Evaluation

Your grade for this module will be based on two things: the writing assignment and your completion of all the earlier tasks in this project. The writing will be graded separately according to the rubric posted to WebCT. The project tasks will be graded according to this rubric:

Biography forum post and comments (4 points possible)

  • Submitted an incomplete biography and did not comment on classmates' work. - 1 point
  • Submitted an incomplete biography and commented on some classmates' work. - 2 points
  • Submitted a complete biography but only commented on some classmates' work. - 3 points
  • Submitted a complete biography and commented on all classmates' work. - 4 points

Biography (4 points possible) :

  • Submitted an incomplete yet too long summary to the wiki. It was lacking at least 2 elements: reference, major points, appropriate length. - 1 point
  • Submitted an incomplete summary that was missing major points in the original article but had the reference and was the appropriate length. - 2 points
  • Submitted an incomplete summary with the reference and all major points but lacking appropriate length. - 3 points
  • Submitted a complete summary with reference and of appropriate length. - 4 points

Description of 1st painting (5 points possible):

  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking at least 2 elements: reference, complete description and/or title. - 1 point
  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking 1 element: reference, complete description and/or title. - 2 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting. It was, however, very weak in its description. - 3 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all requirements well. Post was made late - 4 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all the requirements and was posted on time. - 5 points

Description of 2nd painting(5 points possible):

  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking at least 2 elements: reference, complete description and/or title. - 1 point
  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking 1 element: reference, complete description and/or title. - 2 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting. It was, however, very weak in its description. - 3 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all requirements well. Post was made late - 4 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all the requirements and was posted on time. - 5 points

Description of 3rd painting (5 points possible):

  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking at least 2 elements: reference, complete description and/or title. - 1 point
  • Made an incomplete description of the painting. It was lacking 1 element: reference, complete description and/or title. - 2 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting. It was, however, very weak in its description. - 3 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all requirements well. Post was made late - 4 points
  • Made a complete description of the painting that addressed all the requirements and was posted on time. - 5 points

Comments made on classmates' descriptions of a painting (5 points possible):

  • Commented on posts by only 25% of classmates or less. - 1 point
  • Commented on posts by 26 - 50% of classmates. - 2 points
  • Commented on posts by51 - 79% of classmates - 3 points
  • Commented on posts made by 80 - 99 % of classmates - 4 points
  • Commented on posts by all classmates. - 5 points
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