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  • Looking at Art

    Looking at Art
    There are many strategies for teaching your students to look at art, verbalize what they see, make inferences, and find connections to what they are learning in the classroom. Below is a selection of Artful Thinking Routines, developed by Harvard’s Project Zero. The goal of the Artful Thinking program is to help students develop thinking dispositions that support thoughtful learning both in the arts and across school subjects.

    To find out more, visit http://www.pz.harvard.edu/at/. Use these routines when looking at the PowerPoint presentation.

    Look at the artwork for a moment. What do you see? What do you think about what you see? What do you wonder about?

    Choose one of these questions:
    If this artwork is the beginning of a story, what might happen next?
    If this artwork is the middle of a story, what might have happened before? What might be about to happen?
    If this artwork is the end of a story, what might the story be? 

    Looking: Ten Times Two
    1. Look at the image quietly for at least thirty seconds. Let your eyes wonder.
    2. List ten words or phrases about any aspect of the picture.
    3. Repeat steps one and two: look at the image again and try to add ten more words or phrases to your list.

    Colors, Shapes, Lines
    What colors do you see?
    What shapes do you see?
    What lines do you see?

    1. What do you think you know about this artwork?
    2. What questions or puzzles do you have?
    3. What does this artwork make you want to explore?

    Invent a headline for this artwork that captures an important aspect of it.

    1. Pose a question to the students.
    2. Ask them to take a few minutes of thinking time.
    3. Have them turn to a nearby student to share their thoughts.

    How are the ideas and information presented connected to what you already knew?
    What new ideas did you get that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?
    What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings, or puzzles do you now have?

    Perceive/Know/Care About
    Choose a person, object, or element in an image or work of art, and imagine yourself inside that point of view.

    1. What can the person/thing perceive and feel?
    2. What might the person/thing know about or believe?
    3. What might the person/thing care about?

    Take on the character of the thing you’ve chosen and improvise a monologue. Speaking in the first person, talk about who/what you are and what you are experiencing.

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