SOLS: 2013:22 Noticed at the Farnsworth Art Museum

sols_6Side by side students were standing next to each other engaging in quiet but enthusiatic conversation. Pencils were recording thoughts on a think sheet clipped to a clipboard. I leaned in to listen. Each pair were discussing their observations…their noticings  about the beautiful Wyeth (three generations) paintings on the wall at the Farnsworth Art Museum. Art is a powerful way to practice thinking strategies that we teach for reading. Display art work. Have students “annotate” the art on a think sheet. What do they notice about the painting? What do they think the artist thought was important?What would they title the painting? (Determine Importance) Why? What is the tone and mood of the painting? How did the painter show the tone and mood? What did the painter title the painting? Why? What do you think the painter wanted us to appreciate about this art? Do you like it? Why? (Synthesize)

As we moved into the next room there was a group of students  sitting before a painting of sailboats in a harbor. They listening to a “mini-lesson” by a person who worked at the museum. He was asking them what where was the wind coming from? One girl answered incorrectly. The teacher stepped in and asked “Why do you think that?” The girl wasn’t able to give any evidence for her thinking so she realized that she needed to take another look. The next person who answered was able to answer and cite evidence. Exactly what we want to teach our readers to do…think and articulate the invisible thinking that goes on inside our heads. Listening to that inner voice…becoming stronger thinkers, readers, writers, artists, mathematicians, scientists…

Love watching smart teachers in Maine today.

Illustration work created by Wyeth.

Illustration work created by Wyeth.

This entry was posted in Farnsworth Art Museum, Maine, Reading, Reading Focus Lesson, Synthesize, Uncategorized, Wyeth and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to SOLS: 2013:22 Noticed at the Farnsworth Art Museum

  1. elsie says:

    Wow! This is some powerful thinking we can encourage through art. Tanny McGregor suggests using art for developing reading comprehension strategies. This give me a great way of having teachers teach close reading before having students reading texts. Thank you for pushing my thinking as I am trying to process close reading/text dependent questions for K-2 teachers.

  2. Ruth Ayres says:

    I like how you took this small moment and wove it into something extraordinary.

  3. What a great activity. Now I want to go to our art teacher and see how she guides students through looking at art. I bet we could make some powerful connections for our students.

  4. Tara says:

    Ooooh! Sounds great! Love hearing about this.

  5. Tam says:

    Never thought of art and reading together. Something to practice.

  6. Nicole F. says:

    I love when all that we teach as literacy enthusiasts transforms out of the classroom and into the real world. Not only are we creating strong and powerful readers, but more importantly, strong and powerful thinkers – who will become adults that observe, question, take their time, look for evidence, support their thinking, challenge … wow! What a wonderful world we will be in! Thanks for sharing your slice!


  7. MaryHelen says:

    “I leaned in to listen” – so noteworthy. You do this well, a trait of a powerful teacher and learner.

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