After reading (a portion of) a longer text, such as a novel, make a collage that shows your understanding of the text. Collages are compilations of images, possibly including (cut outs from) photographs, illustrations and drawings, with frames, captions and multiple layers. You may want to take your own photographs, make your own drawings or copy and source material from the World Wide Web (Google search for images). In your portfolio, be sure to write about why you chose the images that you included and how you researched, compiled, filtered and arranged the images, using various media.  

Model portfolio entry

WHAT: Here is the collage that I created after reading the first 8 chapters (Part 1) of 1984 by George Orwell. It is a collage in which I use specific colour choice and quotations to illustrate my points. I used colour to show the contrast between what makes life worth living for Winston, such as the yellow pages of his journal and the red coral, and the drab, dreary and dystopian world of the Insoc party, such as ministry buildings and delapidated church of St. Clemens. I believe that this helps show the idea that what Winston and Julia want is not necessarily what the party wants. I also used quotations that were more abstract and open to interpretation, which allows readers like me to visualise the novel in various ways.


WHY: I made this collage for multiple reasons. Besides the fact that it was assigned to us, I think that this is a unique opportunity that we have in school. It allowed me to really look in depth into the book and choose photographs I believe accurately represent this novel and its themes. This assignment encouraged me to make decisions, based on my understanding of the text.

HOW: I made this collage using a website called, which allowed me to easily move the shapes and captions of the collage. It also let me edit and change the colors of the background, which in turn helped accentuate the points I was trying to bring across. I took some of the photographs when I was in Berlin, last week, and I wrote my own journal page that reads, "down with Big Brother." The photograph of the American soldier was taken at the Checkpoint Charlie museum. I know he's not wearing overall, like the ministry workers, but I feel the workers show militaristic discipline. When I was learning about East Germany and the Belin Wall, I felt a connection to Orwell's London in Airstrip One. ooking for photos that I thought suited the theme of the story. I also found some photographs online, like the picture of Big Brother on the telescreen from Ridley Scott's 1984 commercial for Apple Computers. We watched this in class and it left an impression on me and influenced my understanding of the novel. All of the images came after I made a short list of quotes that I wanted to included, which I underlined in my book as I read it.

SO WHAT: I think that this activity was fun. It encouraged me to think and explore books in a new and exciting way. It also helped me to organise my thoughts on the book. I think that this idea of a collage can help me improve deep thinking about novels in the future. I believe I did a good job, especially when I see how my classmates just pulled book cover images off the net to make a poster, without quotations. I'm happy I made the effort to take some of my own photographs.


This activity is good for visualising a play or novel and identifying key quotations. It help generate a discussion on setting and atmosphere.

Last modified: Tuesday, 20 October 2020, 7:26 PM