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Lesson Plans

Re: art criticism advice

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Sun, 03 Jan 1904 04:34:01 +0000

This might sound kind of dumb, but I've been experimenting with apples
and oranges as a way to introduce students to the process of critically
looking at artwork. I have created a compare and contrast form and I
pass it out to pairs of students. Then I tell them they are going to
compare and contrast apples and oranges (we've also tried tacos and
hamburgers). On the left side of the form they list all the
characteristics they can think of about apples. On the right side
oranges. Then in the box in the middle of the bottom half of the form, I
ask them to list the criteria they could use to compare and contrast the
2 fruits. They might list "peel", "color", "uses for", "where grown",
etc. To the left of that list is a place to make statements about apples
and to the right oranges. So if "peel" is the first thing listed, they
might write "apples have a thin, smooth peel and you can eat it - but
sometimes it is pared off" on the apple side, and "oranges have a thick,
bumpy peel that is always removed before you eat it" on the orange side.
And so on... I encourage them to think of as many things as they can.
Since they are all familiar with the topic - it is an easy and
non-threatening activity. We go over it as a group - I ask each group to
contribute something and I make a master list on the board. They are to
keep the worksheet for reference. Then another day I will either put up
2 reproductions, actual student artwork, or pass out books and let them
choose 2 examples of art - and they do a compare and contrast worksheet
about art. Depending upon their age or experience, I often have to
remind them, (as they are trying to identify characteristics), that they
can look at the subject matter or content, the medium, how the visual
elements and principles of design were used, and what mood or message
the works convey, etc. It seems to help prepare them for looking with a
critical eye instead of making quick judgments (I don't like that
painting - it's dumb).
Sandra Hildreth
Home Page:
Art 7-12, Madrid-Waddington Central School, Madrid, NY 13660
School Pages:
Art Methods, St. Lawrence University, Canton, NY 13617