This Means This...This Means That - Part 1


How do we construct meaning beyond mere words? This lesson is part of a study in how context contributes to overall meaning and communication.

Standards and Objectives


California English Common Core Standards (3)
California's 2008 CTE Standards (7)
California Academic Content Standards (4)

Related Instructional Objectives (SWBAT...)

  • 1. To familiarize the students with the idea of images being contextual in nature.
  • 2. To help students gain an understanding that people may have different perceptions of an image within the same cultural/social context.
  • 3. To have students understand the terms/vocabulary associated with understanding the contextual nature of images. (see attached document)
  • 4. To help students brainstorm conceptually for themselves and in a group.
  • 5. Students will become better at articulating the concepts behind their artworks.
  • 6. Students will become familiar with the use of time-based media to create contemporary artworks.
  • 7. To help students learn how to decode another artist's creative process.
  • 8. Students will become more familiar with presentation tools and their ability to create continuity via templates and transitions.


Semiotics, also called semiotic studies or semiology, is the study of cultural sign processes (semiosis), analogy, metaphor, signification and communication, signs and symbols.

Semiotics is the theory of signs - gestures, facial expressions, slogans, graffiti, music, body language, drawings, food, rituals, clothes, paintings, sculpture, poetry, design, and marketing, to name just a few examples.

This lesson is designed to give the students a better understanding of how images are contextual, and through that context, can derive meaning and influence ideas.

This lesson leads into a project where the students will work in pairs to create their own "Words" video piece. A simple video will be shot with a pocket camera, such as a good mobile phone camera or Flip camera, edited, and uploaded to the Internet for assessment (and our entertainment!). The main objective is to capture, present and ultimately communicate a diverse series of ideas through word types, symbols, signs, and experiences.

Lesson Time: 140-180 minutes

Periods of Instruction
3 Hours

Industries / Subjects / Grades

Industries / Pathways
  • Arts, Media, and Entertainment Arts, Media, and Entertainment
Grade Levels
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • Adult

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