Henry Machtay
Galileo Academy of Science & Technology
415.749.3430 x3601
machtayh at galileoweb dot org

©2013 Henry Machtay

Year One:
• Digital Communication

Years Two & Three:
Video: Curriculum
Video: Overview
• Computer Art 1-2
• Summer Media Arts Workshop
• Grades + Other FAQs
• Workplace Rubric
• Lesson Content

• G-House TV Broadcasts
• CTE Site Redesign
• SF Sites Websites
• Art History Websites
• Older Class Projects


CHALLENGES: Up till now you've done projects for certain classes, assignments like making posters or dioramas or PowerPoint presentations. Instead of giving students assignments, this class will be about CHALLENGES. How would you make an ad campaign to sell each of the school's pathways to Galileo students? How would you create an animation on the subject of Internet Safety that's useful for the school community? Are you ready to be challenged?

Do you have
the self-discipline
and self-motivation
to take on
the challenges
of this class?


  • INTRODUCTION TO PHOTOSHOP: How to use Layers, Toolbar, Options, Brush, Selection Tools, Type Tool, Layer Styles, Color Picker, Edit > Transform; and how to Import Images and apply Filters
  • GALILEO BANNERS: The class will discuss the way different design elements communicate to the viewer. They will then design three banners for Galileo: one appropriate for a football game banner; one appropriate for the principal's business card; and a third one of their choice.
  • HEXADECIMAL COLOR: The class will learn about additive (onscreen) color and the way computers understand colors as combinations of red, green, and blue. Each student will then make a color table that displays 36 colors with one constant.
  • INTRODUCTION TO HTML: Students will learn to use the three components of basic HTML: tag, attribute and value. Once they create their first HTML page they will be able to change colors, typefaces, etc.
  • COLORS IN HTML: Each student will be given a black and white HTML page with a series of table cells. Each cell describes a color combination (e.g., blue type on a pink background). Students will adjust the Hexadecimal for the colors in each of the table cells to make the page consistent.
  • TILING BACKGROUNDS: Each student will be given an HTML page with a series of table cells which each reference a background image. Students will create at least a dozen different tiling backgrounds, some simple and some complex. Text must remain readable in each table cell.
  • TABLES IN HTML: Each students will be given an HTML page with the first row of a table. They will then follow a format to reproduce the table in their own page.
  • CSS FORMATTING: Each student will be given an HTML page with text that utilizes undefined CSS tags. Students will need to define the CSS for formatting.
  • PHOTOSHOPPING 1: Exercise using the Lasso Tool
  • PHOTOSHOPPING 2: Exercise using the Clone Stamp Tool
  • IMAGINARY LANDSCAPE: Use the skills learned in the previous exercises to combine at least three different landscape images and make it look realistic.
  • TWINS PROJECT: Use the skills learned to combine two pictures of yourself into one image – and make it look realistic.
  • CSS POSITIONING PROJECT1: Students will be given a layered Photoshop file with text and images and asked to design this into a webpage design.
  • CSS POSITIONING PROJECT2: Students will use CSS-P to create a web-ready page from their Photoshop design.
  • FALL MINI-PORTFOLIO: Students will create a linked, web-based portfolio that displays samples of their Photoshop, web design, and written work. This portfolio is just the beginning! Students will create a larger, more personalized portfolio at the end of this school year. The following year they will add video samples and expand their portfolio further.

Some introductory assignments in Photoshop (and later in the year with Flash) are also covered in Computer Art 1-2.

Those Digital Communication students who already learned these skills in Computer Art 1 may receive a grade for either assisting other students or doing a more advanced assignment with these applications.


    With PHOTOSHOP: Students will...
  • Use the basic tools and functions of Photoshop, including the layers palette, toolbar, layer styles, options palette and filters.
  • Apply these new skills to communicating attitudes and adjectives through design and color.
  • Understand RGB and hexadecimal color (the ways computers understand color).
  • Gain skills at Photoshopping images (distorting reality) with selection tools and clone stamp tool; then apply these skills to their own creative artwork.
    With WEB PAGES: Students will...
  • Learn the basic syntax of HTML (tag, attribute, value) and how to work with display and edit versions of a web page.
  • Practice using hexadecimal color in HTML and then use tiling backgrounds.
  • Gain experience with tables in HTML and with formatting using CSS.
  • Convert a Photoshop design into an HTML page using CSS-Positioning.
    FALL PORTFOLIO PROJECT: By the end of the second marking period each students will...
  • Hand in a folder that contains a first draft of their portfolio. This will contain:
    • A main page that displays student's Photoshop work
    • Links to color.html, tiling.html, stylesheets.html, table.html, and CSS-P project
    • A web page constructed by student that displays work done for another class (history report, science project)
    • Written work as indicated by instructor, which will also be displayed on these web pages
  • Students will be graded on the quality of all work handed in and on effort and focus during class. Students can lose points due to incorrect file naming, folder organization or formatting of files.


  • DISSECTING ADS: The class will dissect the component parts of print advertisements and then analyze the target market for the ad and what message the ad is trying to convey to that market.
  • AD CAMPAIGN FOR GALILEO: Students will then consider what makes something an ad campaign (instead of three different unrelated ads). First each student will produce three different rough proposals for an ad campaign to encourage 8th graders and their parents to choose Galileo. Instructor will provide feedback on these proposals so each student can then develop one design into an ad campaign with three consistent ads.
  • AD CAMPAIGN FOR PATHWAYS & ACADEMIES: Galileo has six different Pathway and Academy programs. Once again each student will design a variety of proposals and then will develop one of those designs into an ad campaign that includes all six Galileo programs.
  • SF LOCATION1 — PROMOTIONAL FLYER: Each student will select a location around San Francisco. It could be a major landmark or it could be a small neighborhood park or a quiet street. The student must be able to find information about the architecture and history of the location, and is responsible for taking their own photos. They will take the information they've collected and create a promotional flyer encouraging San Francisco residents to visit this location.
  • SF LOCATION2 — WEBSITES: Each student will use the information and photos they've collected and construct two linked webpages about their location. The design of each mini-website should be appropriate for the location displayed.

Students will be asked to produce two different kinds of products for these communication challenges: (1) proposals in which students will develop three completely different ideas to fulfill a client need; and (2) ad campaigns in which students will develop three (or five or six) ads that are polished and consistent in style, layout, typefaces, and message.


    UNDERSTANDING ADVERTISEMENTS: Students will learn to...
  • Dissect the component parts of ads
  • Determine the intended target audience and message of an ad
  • Apply Aristotle's Persuasions – Ethos, Pathos, Logos – to ads marketed to teens
  • Become educated consumers/viewers of media
  • Use everything they've learned about ads to create their own persuasive communication projects
  • Advertising campaigns to promote Galileo and another campaign to promote students joining Galileo's six different academy/pathway programs
  • Promotional flyers encouraging teenage residents to visit and participate with city locations
  • Websites with history, information and original photographs of specific locations in the city


  • BOUNCING BALL: The first lesson in Flash Animation no matter who's teaching it — create a library symbol named "circle," place it on keyframes and create a motion tween animation
  • FALLING LEAVES: Students use vector graphics tools to create two different leaves. Each leaf will be used on three different layers, each with keyframes. Students will experiment with the transform tool in changing scale, rotation, and skew of the leaves.
  • ROLLING WHEEL: Students will create a movie clip symbol of a wheel rotating 360-degrees. Then this symbol will be used on different layers to create a scene showing movement two ways — foreground moves against the background, then background moves against the foreground.
  • HOW STUFF WORKS: Each student will create a Flash animation showing how something works. It could be how an engine starts, how blood flows through the heart, or how to sew on a button. Details count. Students will know their efforts are successful if their animation can be used as an instructional tool.
  • Adobe Flash introduces students to the standard workspace for any kinetic timeline-based graphics application. Any program used for video or 3D animation will include a timeline, a library, a toolbar, a stage, and make use of some form of keyframes and tweening.
  • Flash is a perfect stepping stone. It introduces the principles that hold true for animation and video in general.
  • It's a great tool for step-by-step instructions. The Flash culimating project, "How Stuff Works," will be a challenge for many students. But it can be a very rewarding challenge.

Flash is an important step in preparing for next year's video class.


  • WELLNESS PROJECT: Each team of students will be assigned a subject related to teenage wellness:
    • Alcohol Awareness
    • Drug Education
    • Healthy Relationships
    • Anti-Bullying
    • Nutrition
    • Stress
  • Team members will research and produce written content of:
    • WARNING SIGNS: How to tell if there's a problem
    • SOLUTIONS: What to do if there's a problem
    • BACKGROUND INFO: What could happen/Why the issue is important
    • LOCAL RESOURCES to address the problem
  • Then each individual team member will produce:
    • Posters with Photoshop
    • Brochures with MS Word
    • Flash Animation PSAs
    • Design for Website with Photoshop
  • Then the team will work together to produce a website that will display student posters, animations and the content from brochures


  • WORKING ON TEAMS: To prepare for the world of work, students need to learn how to work well with teammates.
  • Students must take responsibility and take leadership for a variety of tasks, and to be heard when team decisions are required.
  • Students must become problem solvers. Does your team want some special feature on the website you're building? Go online, look up how to do it! Yes, ask Mr. Machtay for help on class skills. But write down notes so you don't have to ask the same question more than once.
  • CROSS-MEDIA COMMUNICATION: How do you get messages across? The messaging is different on a poster compared to a brochure or an animation. Students will become experts on these various wellness topics and then figure out how to best communicate in different formats.
  • PRODUCING AN AUTHENTIC PRODUCT: All of the completed student websites should be proofread, contain no copyrighted content, and look professionally produced. Then the sites will be shared with the school community.
  • RESEARCHING A REAL-WORLD TOPIC: Students should understand the importance of this challenge! If they do a good enough job of communication, it could make a difference to Galileo students who are dealing with these wellness issues in their own lives.


This class's Art History project will focus on practical and applied arts: graphic design (Milton Glaser, Massimo Vignelli), architecture & furniture design (Isamu Noguchi, Charles & Ray Eames), sculpture & landscape (Maya Lin, Alexander Calder), and industrial design (Buckminster Fuller, Jonathan Ive). Students should be more aware of the roles of art and design in their daily lives.

Each team of students will construct a website about one field, school, or type of art or design. Web design must be appropriate for the content. Team members will take on different tasks – lead designer, lead coder, project manager, editor – to complete construction of the website.



By the end of the school year each student will have completed a resume and a letter of introduction appropriate for job or internship opportunities.

Each student will also refine and add to the portfolio they submitted as their fall semester midterm. The design and web construction should all be original and selections should reflect the best Photoshop, Flash and Web work done by the student, as well as reflections on their artistic choices and what they've learned in this class.