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Paintings Q & A

Students carry on deep dialogues with an artist’s works, applying what they learn about the time period and the artist themselves to create both questions and answers for an insight-filled conversation. This project is assembled into a collage style booklet using markers and colored pencils.

  • Grade 3
    Grade 4
    Grade 5
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Read and make available to the students Bob Raczka’s book “The Vermeer Interviews: Conversations with Seven Works of Art”. Looking at one painting at a time, the author asks questions of the people in artwork and gleans a great deal of information from their answers about history and art.
    2. Help the students dissect the clever ways that Raczka includes information about the artist and their time period in the questions and answers. Note how the questions often explore the techniques used by the artist in the painting. Highlight how quotes by the artist are included in some of the answers. Point out how the author even has the figures in the paintings referring to other people in different pieces by the artist.
    3. Assign students individual artists of the time period and place the class is studying. Encourage the students to learn about the artist as well as information about the objects, architecture, clothing and more found in the artist’s works. For example, while studying American History, one student may explore the art of Winslow Homer; choosing works from his Civil War sketches, his coastal Maine paintings even some his Caribbean watercolors.
    4. After gathering information and picking the artwork to feature in the conversations, students write the dialogue between themselves and someone depicted in each painting. Promote writing that is humorous and interesting as well as accurate for the time period.
    5. Make a cover for their conversations using a recycled file folder and Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils and Crayola Washable Markers. Inside the cover, have one side of the page feature a reproduction of the artwork attached using Crayola Glue Sticks and the opposing page the type-written questions and answers. Sprinkled throughout the booklet is additional visual information, illustrating points uncovered in the exchange. With Homer’s painting “The Herring Net”, the student could draw some examples of knots used to make and repair fishing nets.
  • Standards

    LA: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.

    LA: Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters.

    LA: Describe the relationship between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text, using language that pertains to time, sequence, and cause/effect.

    SS: Give examples of how experiences may be interpreted differently by people from diverse cultural perspectives and frames of reference.

    SS: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Demonstrate an understanding that people in different times and places view the world differently.

    VA: Students experience, analyze and interpret art and other aspects of the visual world.

    VA: Students will reflect on, share insights about, and refine works of art and design.

    VA: Art communicates about and helps viewers understand the natural and constructed world.

    VA: Students experience, analyze and interpret art and other aspects of the visual world.

  • Adaptations

    Turn the students’ conversations into skits, movies or tableaux.

    Pair up students and have the people in their painting talking to each other. The student team creates an imaginary scenario where these two people would encounter each other and write the conversation what would ensue.

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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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