I recently took a trip to New York and visited the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art. In the gift shop they had a series of fantastic coloring books based on famous artists, including: Dali, Van Gogh, and Monet.
Exposing students to great pieces of art is an easy way to enhance a lesson, provide a visual way to practice a skill, and educate our students beyond the prescribed curriculum. Here’s a list of works that you can easily grab and use in your class.
A few years ago, my young niece picked up interesting coloring book while we vacationed in Mammoth Lakes, CA. This is no “stay within the lines” book, however. Titled Scribbles, this book is filled with nearly 400 creative, divergent, and open-ended thinking tasks.
We’ve seen some awesome logic paradoxes, now let’s examine a few visual paradoxes that would make great mental warm-ups for your class! The penrose triangle, penrose stairs, impossible cube, the blivet, and the Möbius strip! Plus, download a powerpoint to share with your students.
As a gifted kid, M.C. Escher fascinated me. Without a doubt, he continues to fascinate the gifted kids I work with. Here are some links to inspire a study of Escher in your classroom.
Google Art Project is an exciting way to bring rich works of art right into your classroom. It started with collections from 17 partner museums around the world and has grown to 151 museums. They photograph works of art in high resolution so the images yield exceptional detail and then post these images in galleries on the website. Just recently, they began adding the Art Institute of Chicago’s collections, including Sunday Afternoon.
Here’s how I differentiated the Houghton Mifflin comprehension skill of “Compare & Contrast” for my gifted sixth grade students, who have been successfully comparing and contrasting since kindergarten. Students investigated artists, developed a haiku, and learned how to shade with pencils.
Symbolism, a mainstay of literature discussion, seems too abstract and ephemeral to teach to younger students. However, with a well-constructed lesson, students will quickly get the hang of symbolic representation. We’ll finish this unit up with some great pixel-art and computer painting.
The Houghton Mifflin reading program includes “making inferences” as the weekly comprehension skill. Their sample lesson concludes with an underwhelming worksheet. Let’s do something better. We’ll ask students to infer from multiple points of view, incorporate visual art, and present their thinking.
Now comes the challenge: give each student three pieces of wire, each about a foot long. Ask them, “If you were to create something out of these wires, what would you make? Would it be related to the circus like Calder or something totally different?”