Friday, May 11, 2018

Art appreciation: Integrating literacy & critical thinking

See what listening to Billy Joel generated by 4 of our participants.
Doodle Art created to one of Billy Joel's tunes.

Wednesday morning group just switched to Art Appreciation

Why? Learners want to share their artwork and what they know about art. This topic is a subject dear to many of our learners' hearts - ART.

Our goal? Increase reading comprehension strategies and critical thinking skills while simultaneously sharing learners' artwork and learning about artists - past & present.  

We are exploring vocabulary and art techniques. Building critical thinking skills. Improving investigation skills. Growing observational skills. Interpreting visual and written texts. Forcing summarization skills. Developing and delivering presentations. Sharing ideas, supported with evidence.

Seem odd for an adult literacy organization? 
Not this one! We use topics learners care about the most. 

Bottom line: 
We are teaching reading, writing, and math skills, 
just like everyone else, but with a twist.

Here's how today's lesson went:

Warm-up: RJ shared his doodle art technique. For our warm-up, we followed RJ's technique, and we all doodled while listening to "Goodnight, My Angel" lullaby by Billy Joel. Once the music ended, we colored. When we shared our masterpieces, we each told something about the significance and meaning behind our doodles. We clapped for each artist. In the picture above, you get a glimpse of four of our twelve resulting masterpieces. Pretty cool!

Content: We focused on "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso. We wanted to know about the artist, his style, and the painting itself. We split into four groups with one mentor per group. Each group took on one of these questions:

(A) Who was Picasso? How did his life influence his work?

(B) What was the history behind the "Guernica" mural? What influenced its creation?

(C) What do you see in "Guernica?" Share the elements.

(D) What was Picasso's style? How did this style show up in "Guernica?"

Groups had print and electronic materials available. An introduction to "Guernica" and Picasso were listed on our learner website, but groups were not required to visit or limited to the info on our site. One group found info about Picasso on Khan Academy, another found info about Picasso's art periods, and one group started with a paper-version of the encyclopedia. 

The expressions on their faces tell it all!
Engagement is key.
Their facial expressions illustrate engagement.

Presentations: Each group read and interpreted different information in search of the information needed to present the one piece to the entire group. Each group had a different piece of the bigger picture. Was there some overlap? Of course. Was the overlap evident in the final presentations? A little - which reminded us that everything links together. 

Groups put up images or showed websites as part of their presentations. For example, Group D took us to Picasso's art periods website. This site not only talked about each period but also showed representative works to illustrate their points. Group D used this site to their advantage. 

These four presentations allowed all of us to ask questions of the groups and each other. We had an interesting discussion because of the info shared and our personal interpretations of this info. 

Evaluation: Everyone spoke highly about seeing a colleague's artwork, and then using the artwork to produce an art piece before reading about an artist. All agreed that doodle art was restful.

At the end, we took a moment to reflect on what was liked and what we should change for future lessons. The groups reported that they didn't like having to choose only one question area. Yet, they liked having a narrow question that they owned. They liked becoming the experts who then taught the rest of us about their piece. They liked the focus on one piece of art and artist. While they still don't know a lot about this person or his artwork from this short investigation, they certainly got familiar with one of his works of art.  


Note: CCRS provided underlying structure for the resulting lesson. Job options are highlighted as appropriate, especially since several of our learners are aiming for art-related careers through SLCC-SAT.

1 comment:

Selena Enriquez said...

I love the Art you guys did on Wednesday