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Lesson Plans

Re: A&E.A: Questioning Strategy

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Mark Alexander (mamjam)
Tue, 18 Nov 1997 23:04:38 -0500

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What age are these students? Very important, because the questions I ask
my 8th graders are very different than those I ask my 1st graders! But,
regardless of the age of the students, I suggest you try to simplify the
questions. For example, change a little wording to combine some of the
questions. 1 through 4 are essentially the same, as are questions 9, 10,
and 11. You have a lot of good ideas here. In my opinion you need to keep
the questions really very simple to be effective.

I think inquery is very tricky. I try to limit my questions to those
points I feel I absolutely must cover to meet the lesson objectives...what
do I think the students really need to get from this experience? Depending
on the lesson, I might center the questions on a technique, an aesthetic
issue, the artist's intentions, design principles, art elements, art
history...questions right out of the objectives. As they answer these, you
can guide the students as they naturally bring up tangents you'll be able
to follow, and the students will feel as if they're responsible in part for
the direction the discussion takes.

Personally, I avoid "do you like" questions like number 8 when intoducing
an artwork. I save this type of question for later, after they've been
given an opportunity to think about and discuss the piece. And I model what
I think is the correct way to state these judgements all the time, by
rationalizing my comments about everyones artwork with statements like, "I
really like the use of line there!"

And while on the subject, let me relate something else about "like." I had
a discussion recently , and after an interesting debate, I discovered that
the person was equating what ART was with what they LIKED. This was an
educated adult I was talking to, about what their personal definition of
art was. I happen to think that there is a lot of art that I personally
don't care for...most of Fragonard's work comes to mind. I don't have to
like it for it to be art. If one of my students asked me if I liked their
own Fragonard like painting, I might say soemthing like, "I like the way
you've made such a soft, peaceful feeling in your painting."

Let me know what you come up with. Good luck,


At 6:25 PM 11/18/97, Bryce M Downing wrote:
> For our class, we are asked to develop a questioning strategy based
>on a work of art from our lesson sequence. The artwork we have chosen is
>a Yaqui mask which is used in several dance ceremonies. The questions
> 1. What do you see?
> 2. Which colors do you see?
> 3. What kinds of patterns do you see?
> 4. What kind of shapes do you see?
> 5. What do you think the mask is used for?
> 6. What do you think the mask is made of?
> 7. What captures your interest when looking at this mask? Is there a
>personal focal point?
> 8. Do you like the mask? Why or why not?
> 9. How does the mask make you feel?
> 10. Can you make a personal connection to this artwork with something or
>an experience in your life?
> 11. Does this mask look like something you've seen before?
> If you have any suggestions on how these questions may be improved,
>or an idea about other questions we could ask, please let us know. Your
>contributions would be greatly appreciated.
> Bryce Downing, Lindsay Crelman, Belia Camacho and Anel Castro

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