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Visual literacy

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From: barbara marder (marder3_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Sun Nov 03 2002 - 06:25:32 PST


Visual literacy is a synonym for learning to look at art.
I ask my students:
"What do you see?" as I display a work of art for them. I ask them to look
for a quiet 30 seconds.
Then I ask them to talk about what they see to a classmate enar them.
Then we have open sharing.
Principles of art and design are the words we use: line, shape, color,
pattern, form, texture etc
Then we talk about classifying the work:
landscape, still life, abstarct etc
Then we talk about the feelings the work evokes: sad, happy, confused..
If I have any commentary written by the artist I may share what the artist
said about their life or their work.
Then I may give an assignment to the students relating to the particular
piece of work.
This is my approach to elementary as well as middle school grades.
A great day in my teaching career was when the Monet Exhibit came to the
Boston MFA. A local bank funded my entire 6th grade to attend teh exhibit at
9AM. The MFA opens for the general public at 10AM. I had the exhibit alone
for myself and my students as well as a bank rep who came along. I divided
the stduents into groups with an activity sheet I put together addressing
some of the above topics.
I had a sub covering the rest of my classes that day.
The 6th grade returned to school, had lunch and then met with me again. We
created giant murals-I had corrugated brown (I don't know what it's called
actually-they used it as sub-flooring) roll paper spread out. Wonderful
water lily murals emerged. I hung one 15 foot mural in a branch of the bank
near the school.
The customers loved it. That was a few eyars ago, but is an example of art
education at its height-everyone in the community was involved, and the arts
scored big. The rep from the bank said she learned more about art that day
than any other day of her life.
Barbara Marder

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