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Seeing between the Lines: Teaching Students to Interpret Visual and Verbal Text

Deborah L. Boughton

Contents of Curriculum Unit 09.01.10:

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On the scoring rubric for the Response to Literature section of the Connecticut Academic Performance Test (CAPT) the word perceptive appears three times, always to describe exemplary performance. To demonstrate excellence, our students are expected to develop perceptive interpretations, make perceptive connections and defend perceptive judgments about literature. My tenth-grade students also use vision as a metaphor for a deep level of understanding. They describe what these perceptive readers do as the ability "to read between the lines." I think they are fond of this expression because it acknowledges that making an inference involves recognizing and seeing what is implied by the text beyond what is spelled out in a literal or concrete way. By the time students reach high school, we expect them to be more adept at independently probing and analyzing text. While we want them to ground their thinking in the text, we expect them to see beyond it to its cultural and historical context, the character's motivations and conflicts and the author's probable intent. For some students, especially those that still struggle to decode what the text literally says, grasping the text's deeper meaning can be frustrating and discouraging. When my students and the creators of the CAPT use vision as a metaphor for understanding, they describe a kind of seeing that involves not only the eyes, but the heart and the mind as well.

The aim of this unit is to demystify the process of interpretation by making the act of critical thinking more visible to students. Students will spend as much time reading artistic images as they do print texts. Because most of my students do not have a background in art history, thinking critically about art will level the playing field. A high level of reading comprehension is not a prerequisite. Students who struggle to decode verbal texts can be astute observers and practice analytical thinking when they are dealing with an image. As they gain confidence in their ability to "see between the lines," they will begin to read literature more critically and to make inferences that capture both the concrete and the abstract features of the imaginative texts they encounter.

Many of the strategies I describe in this unit were developed by museum educator Philip Yenawine and cognitive psychologist Abigail Housen. Their student-centered instructional model, Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) has enabled even very young students to engage in critical inquiry about art. Studies have shown that the habits of mind that students develop in VTS sessions -- such as making observations and drawing inferences, recognizing the validity of other perspectives, developing claims and supporting them with evidence -- transfer to other disciplines.1 VTS can be used effectively with both visual and verbal texts. In fact when artistic images are paired with pieces of literature, students begin to recognize the features of composition that are common to both modes of expression. By bringing attention to elements that visual and verbal texts share -- like theme, tone, point of view, symbol and characterization -- the teacher can help students see both the artist's and author's craft more clearly.

I will begin the unit with a discussion of how VTS can be particularly effective in prompting students to make logical, text-based inferences, to acknowledge the validity of multiple viewpoints, to recognize the cultural and historical context of a work and to infer the author's/artist's intentions. In an introductory lesson, we will examine Pieter Brueghel's painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus c. 1558 and two poetic responses and to the painting, one by W.H. Auden and the second by William Carlos Williams. Brueghel, Auden and Williams each commented on humankind's tendency to ignore the suffering of others, a theme that will lead us to explore how artists and writers view the world through a particular historical and cultural lens. Students will examine artwork from a recent exhibit at the Yale Center for British Art, in addition to two pieces from the permanent collection. After viewing two images of New Haven from the 1800's, students will try their hand at creating an image of New Haven that reflects contemporary social issues. Our study of social and historical context will certainly bring up the issue of stereotyping: uncritical generalizations about people that deny their individuality. The final section of the unit will focus on how people can be portrayed with varying degrees of complexity. Using novelist E.M. Forster's classic definitions of round and flat characters as a guide, we will examine traditional and contemporary portraits of people to determine how the artist hides or reveals various aspects of character. The graphic art will help students to see different degrees of complexity in characterization.

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Visual Thinking Strategies in the Language Arts Classroom

Artist and social historian John Berger wrote that "seeing comes before words" and that often dialogue is our attempt to verbalize "the reciprocal nature of seeing…an attempt to explain how either, metaphorically or literally, 'you see things,' and an attempt to discover how 'he sees things.'"2 Seeing is so fundamental and connected to reading, understanding and communicating that we rarely bring our attention to it. We are constantly reading the world, making observations and developing inferences. At times, even my students who are struggling readers demonstrate that they can effortlessly form certain kinds of critical interpretations based on what they see. For example, by the end of the first week of school they have a "read" on most of their teachers. They know who will be likely to accept late homework, who won't notice if they take the bathroom pass for more than five minutes and who will look the other way if they bring a soda to class. When I ask students how they figure so much out so quickly, they say "you just look." This willingness to "just look" and the apparent ease with which students do it are the major selling points for Visual Thinking Strategies. When students bring their attention to the act of looking, and go through the process of verbalizing their observations and inferences together, their comprehension deepens, their discourse about text becomes more sophisticated and their writing improves.

VTS has been successful in demystifying the whole process of interpretation. Meaning making becomes visible and is no longer viewed as an exclusive skill performed by English teachers, art historians, the smart kids or other "experts." Students think aloud together, making inferences and describing the specific features of the visual text that support their claims. As they listen to each other and examine images even more closely, they revise meaning, speculate about the story the artist is telling and evaluate the artist's intentions and craft. The process reinforces the habits of mind I want students to display in their conversation and in their writing.

VTS advocates a developmental and Constructivist approach where students to make their own sense of art. In a recent article for Edutopia.org, Fran Smith explains that the VTS approach marked "huge departures from the way schools and museums have always taught art: Show kids Starry Night and feed them facts about Van Gogh." Citing recent studies, Smith goes on to say that "[o]ver time, students grow from random, idiosyncratic viewers to thorough, probing reflective interpreters. They go from finding only personal connections, which is appropriate when they begin, to searching out the intentions of artists and dealing with elements of styles." 3 Smith's description of students' evolution into more sophisticated interpreters of art is similar to the pattern of growth that I've observed in my own students as they become more perceptive readers. When I read my students' responses to literature it is obvious that almost all of them can answer surface-level questions to prove that they have "comprehended" the piece. However, many of them struggle to answer questions that require them to analyze, synthesize or evaluate what they have read. Like the inexperienced viewers that Smith describes, their first attempts to interpret the text result in personal and egocentric connections. They have strong responses to stories but don't yet ground them in the text, recognize the author's intentions or appreciate evidence of craft or elements of style. Understanding Abigail Housen's work about the way people mature in their ability to interpret and read images, can help teachers to understand students' development as readers of literature.

After observing people of all ages as they viewed images, and listening to them think aloud as they made sense of a painting, Housen discovered five predictable patterns that characterized how people, from beginners to experts, view art objects. Like other developmental models, the stages of aesthetic development are followed sequentially. In Housen's model, however, the stages do not necessarily correspond to a person's age. In fact, a significant finding of Housen's research is that the majority of people, both children and adults, fit within the first two stages. This discovery led Housen and Yenawine to develop the VTS curriculum with beginning viewers in mind.4 A primary goal of VTS is to move them beyond the first two stages. By the time they reach stage three, viewers become more self-motivated. They have internalized the process of critical inquiry about art and have discovered key concepts about aesthetics that inform their understanding. These learners don't require as much direct interaction with the teacher and will continue to grow if they are exposed to art and can access pertinent information about the pieces they study.

According to Housen, the signs of visual literacy include, but are not limited to:

·Grounding inferences in the text, rather than relying solely on personal experience or imagination when developing an interpretation
·Moving away from looking once, to looking many times and linking observations together; then, revising meaning when new discoveries are made
·Recognizing that there are multiple valid interpretations and that at times artists are intentionally ambiguous
·Valuing complexity and recognizing that the text can be read on many levels: contextual, symbolic, metaphoric or philosophical
·Recognizing the concept of intentionality and evaluating the choices that the artist has made to make meaning
·Demonstrating a desire to classify the work as to place, school, style, time but recognizing that there is no single, authoritative interpretation to be supplied by an expert.
·Relying on intuitive, emotional response, as well as her critical skills when evaluating art.

Although Housen is describing qualities that the visually literate person possesses, these same developmental characteristics could easily be used to describe perceptive readers.

Jump-Starting Literacy with VTS

The first stage that Housen recognized is the Accountive Stage. She considers stage one viewers to be storytellers, who use their "senses, memories, and personal associations to make concrete observations about a work of art that are woven into a narrative."5 Sometimes these viewers are quite tangential in their storytelling. For example, they might look at Brueghel's painting, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, and fixate on a single, rather minor detail like the building alongside the river that looks like a castle. They might then immediately launch into a story about a princess that lives there. The accountive viewer would not feel a need to reexamine the painting for further evidence or new information. I see evidence of this kind of idiosyncratic, tangential thinking when my students attempt to connect print texts to their lives. When they respond to a question that asks them to make a substantive connection between a story and their lives or another text, they will focus on a single detail and ignore the rest of the story. For example, when trying to make a connection to Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" the student at this level might focus on the main character's heart attack, and immediately begin telling the story of a great uncle "who had a heart attack too." Like the accountive viewer, this student feels no need to scrutinize the text any further. Certainly, Mrs. Mallard's heart attack is the climactic moment of the story, but this student's connection does not lead her to any meaningful reflection about the story's deeper meaning.

Eventually accountive viewers develop into constructive viewers. A key change that transpires between the first two stages is that the viewer begins to make multiple observations about the painting that are linked together. She makes inferences about the story that is being told that correspond to concrete reference points in the painting. For example, when viewing Brueghel's painting, this viewer might notice that both the man plowing the field and the shepherd tending his sheep are working so hard that they do not notice anything around them. Later they might notice that both figures look like they are moving away from the figure of Icarus. These linked observations lead students toward a deeper understanding of the narrative unfolding before them. A similar dynamic will occur for students who are reading verbal text more closely. The student at this level might notice a pattern of behavior in the characters in Kate Chopin's story; all of the characters treat Mrs. Mallard as if she is sick and fragile. To facilitate these discoveries, VTS instructors poses a series of carefully designed open-ended questions to students:

·What's going on in this piece?
·What do you see that makes you say that?
·What more can you find?

The first question taps into the accountive viewer's natural inclination for storytelling. While the question's phrasing allows comments of any sort, it encourages students to probe for meaning rather just make a list of observations. The follow-up question asks students to look more and to gather evidence to support their opinions. This requirement helps them to become more fact-based and logical. Their initial intuitive response is valued but they are challenged to build on it by thinking critically about what they see.

The third question pushes students to reread the visual text. As details that might have been missed are found, and new insights discovered, students begin to see that looking again has value. The VTS curriculum recommends that students spend a sustained amount of time (at least fifteen to twenty minutes) viewing a single piece of art. At first this may seem like a long time to some students because they genuinely believe that "there is nothing more to see." They view a piece of art, just as they might read a short story. For these students, "getting it" means being able to prove that you "comprehended" the piece by giving a report of what happened. They are satisfied with a cursory reading. "I know you want me to elaborate," they will explain," but there is really nothing more to say." For these students, classroom conversation is crucial. Their peers can teach them much more about "elaborating" and the kind of inquiry that drives it.

The teacher's role is to facilitate the process of inquiry: "To focus the group's attention, teachers point to whatever children talk about, and paraphrase their comments to elevate articulation, introduce new vocabulary, and convey that they understand and value every response. Teachers link children's comments to deepen the discussion and enable students to learn from one another. Throughout, they are carefully nonjudgmental." 6 As the teacher keeps track of the various strands of the students' thinking and acknowledges how they connect and build on each other, they watch how interpretations unfold. They also learn to value complexity as they see that there is more than one valid way of seeing. This is a transformative realization for students who have had a difficult time letting go of the notion that there is only one right answer. Recognition of the way that artists and authors use ambiguity purposefully to demonstrate the richness, contradiction and complexity in the world, is another milestone in students' cognitive and aesthetic development.

A colleague of mine, Mike Wheaton, has always used an art based mini lesson to help student's understand the concept of ambiguity as it relates to literature. One of his favorite poems is "My Papa's Waltz" by Theodore Roethke and he shares it with his AP class each year. For the most part, Mike understands the poem to be about affectionate but rough and tumble play between a working class father and his son. However, his students are usually quick to conclude that the "waltz" is a metaphor for child abuse. Many students simply won't entertain the idea that any love could be present in the little boy's memory of his father because of the drinking or the physical roughness described. My colleague attempts to disrupt this binary thinking by showing students two famous optical illusions: duck-rabbit and old woman/young girl. These particular graphics (which can be found quite easily on the internet) show images that can be interpreted in two different ways. As students allow themselves to switch back and forth between the two different readings, they see two valid interpretations existing simultaneously. Mike then raises the possibility that Roethke might have built ambiguity into the poem. In this exercise Mike helps students move to more sophisticated levels of interpretation.

Housen sees the type of black and white, binary thinking that students do, as typical of those in the second, constructive stage of aesthetic development: "If the work does not look the way it is "supposed to" -- if craft, skill, technique, hard work, utility, and function are not evident, or if the subject seems inappropriate -- then these viewers judge the work to be "weird," lacking, or of no value. Their sense of what is realistic is the standard often applied to determine value."7 In addition to limiting themselves to one "right" interpretation, students often make premature and unilateral decisions about value of particular texts. A reader at this stage might see Roethke's poem as incomplete because "he should of told us what was really going on." Many of my students have preconceived ideas about what a "good" story or "good" art is. Most often these ideals come from the "formula fiction" and commercial images that they have been exposed to in popular culture. If the art or the literature reinforces the values and expectations they are used to, if it follows a familiar pattern, it seems "good." It's always exciting when students begin to challenge these more conventional ways of seeing the world. Viewing a number of unconventional visual texts can be help students through this rite of passage. It's easy to see that a photograph on a postcard might be pretty. However when you compare it to it more complex pictures, say those that comment on some aspect of modern life, you realize that the pretty picture doesn't give you much to talk about.

As students are exposed to more art, and to more of their classmates' thinking about art, they will become more aware of the artist's intentions and craft. In Housen's theory of development, this discovery heralds the student's entry into the higher levels of aesthetic development: the classifying, interpretive and re-creative stages. When students become curious about the conscious and unconscious choices that artists make to achieve certain effects, they naturally begin to speculate about the artist's purpose. Again the visual text can help students see the literary concept. The frame of the picture becomes a useful metaphor for the author's point of view. Whose perspective did the author choose to include? Whose perspective did the author leave out? This type of metaphor can help concrete thinkers make the intellectual leap to more abstract thought.

Entering the Conversation: VTS as Training for Academic Discourse

The Connecticut English Language Arts Curriculum Framework states that teachers need to foster each "student's ability to communicate with others to create interpretations of written oral and visual texts." Furthermore, the framework asserts that students in grades 9-12 should be able to "respond to the ideas of others, recognize the validity of differing views and persuade listeners about understandings and judgments of works read, written and viewed." 8 I was not daunted the first time I read this standard because I imagined that my students would be eager to enter into spirited discussions about literature. I pictured students listening to each other's views with an open mind, citing significant passages in the text and enjoying the kind of student-centered discourse that leads to new discoveries. My naïve assumption was that teenagers loved to talk and that therefore they would love to talk about books. I was wrong.

My real classroom looked quite different than my idealized one. I had a difficult time facilitating classroom discourse that lead to collaborative interpretation of text. Even in honors courses where I knew students were doing the reading and were more confident in their ability to articulate ideas, we struggled much of the time. While some students enjoyed debating about issues that were tangentially related to our study, they did not want to ground their arguments in the text. Even in these freeform discussions students had difficulty really listening to each other. When I asked them to slow down, to listen before speaking and to respond to the ideas of others they looked at me with great disappointment. "Why can't we just debate?" they would say as they shook their heads incredulously, looking at me as if I was too old to really get what they meant. We were at something of an impasse.

I want my students to be engaged in classroom discourse and to bring their passions and convictions to the table; however, I also want them to listen to each other, to think critically and to express themselves in an effective (and sometimes even strategic) manner. Certainly these are the skills needed by professionals in the executive boardroom and students enrolled in elite college seminars. When my students complain that this way of talking is unnatural, I assure them that I am trying to teach them the "discourse of power," a phrase that my mentor teacher Carol Jonaitis coined to describe the kinds of discussions that involve close attention, listening, restraint and critical thinking. I also remind them that there are other types of conversations to be had with friends and family for example where formality is not appropriate but that I am trying to help them to "play the whole range." Even though I assure students that creativity and humor can still be part of the discussion and that serious discourse is far from boring, it is still a hard sell. I believe that the quality of my students' reading, writing and thinking depends on it.

Even though reading seems like a solitary activity, it always involves communication between the reader and the author. Similarly, when writing for an audience, we have to keep the reader in mind as we draft our text. Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstaff begin their popular text on academic writing by asserting that "[g]ood writing instructors have always known that writing well means entering into conversation with others" and that "[a]cademic writing in particular, calls upon writers not simply to express their own ideas, but to do so as a response to what others have said."9 Whether she is having the conversation face to face or on paper, the student is charged with the task of examining the view points of others and responding thoughtfully. Teaching these skills is not easy. I can't remember I've ever participated in a conversation with twenty-seven adults (never mind twenty-seven fifteen year olds) where we were consistently able to "recognize the validity of differing views" and "work [together] to create interpretations." I don't imagine that it is within the scope of this unit to examine every facet of this problem. However, I would like to outline an approach and some teaching strategies that have been effective in helping students become more insightful and willing participants in joint inquiry.

How VTS Helps Students Develop Analytical Writing Skills

Developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky said that "thought is not merely expressed in words; it comes into existence through them." Through writing and through conversation we discover what we think. VTS gives students multiple opportunities to verbalize complex ideas and the social nature of the process challenges students to craft their communications for an audience of their peers. Because the teacher paraphrases the students' words throughout the process, students get to hear their ideas expressed with greater clarity. By listening, they learn more sophisticated vocabulary, more precise diction and improved grammar. They expand their linguistic repertoire; all learn skills that transfer to their writing.

VTS is also uniquely useful in teaching students to write about texts. According to Arthur Applebee, seventy-five percent of writing in English class is literature based, and the most typical assignment is an analytical essay.10 The habits of mind that students develop as they analyze text using VTS will enable them to write these kinds of papers more effectively. When students analyze literature, we expect them to make claims, cite evidence from the text and explain how that evidence supports their assertions, the cognitive processes that are central to VTS. Typically, beginning writers have difficulty developing their arguments by fully explaining how their evidence supports their assertions. Often students lapse into plot summary or make claims that they do not fully support. Master teacher Jane Schaffer noticed this pattern when she was scoring Advanced Placement essays for the Educational Testing Service. She determined that in order for students to get a high score they needed have a minimum of two parts commentary to one part summary or concrete detail.11 Schaffer identifies the concrete detail as the what and the commentary as the so what? In an essay based on a piece of literature, concrete details are the examples from the text, and commentary consists of the reader's/writer's opinion, interpretation, insight, analysis, explication and reflection.

Schaffer has found it helpful to give younger students a structured template to follow when writing. Essentially, she requires them to: 1) make an assertion 2) present concrete detail and 3) write two sentences of commentary for every one sentence of evidence. In her instructional unit, Schaffer gives students the following example of how to develop an observation.

In OF MICE AND MEN, George Milton looks out for Lennie's welfare. For
example. he tells Lennie not to say anything to Curley in the ranch house. (CD)
He understands how easily Lennie gets into trouble without realizing it.(CM) He
wants to keep Lennie out of harm's way by shielding him from contact with

You will notice that this student writes two sentences of commentary (CM) to explain what the concrete detail shows us about George's relationship with Lennie. Often my students assume that the reader understands what they mean if they simply provide the example. Instead of providing commentary, they let the textual reference stand alone. Although I do not believe students should be required to continually write according to a predetermined outline, I do believe that it is helpful for students to internalize the habit of providing evidence for their assertions and then adding thoughtful, analytical commentary.

In the Reading/Writing Connection, Carol Booth Olson describes a strategy to help students become more mindful of how much plot summary, supporting detail and commentary they use in their writing. Olson adapted Schaffer's model slightly, dividing concrete detail into two categories: plot summary and supporting detail. In addition to having students practice writing commentary she has them color-code model student essays and their own papers with highlighters. She often has students use the color yellow for plot summary, "because it's kind of superficial and lightweight: We sometimes need some plot summary to orient our reader to the facts, but we want to keep [it]to a minimum. Commentary is blue because it goes beneath the surface of things to look at the deeper meaning. Supporting detail is the green because it's what glues together plot summary and commentary."13 Booth Olson found that color-coding their work helped students to more concretely see their thinking and gave them a road map for revision. Many students do not realize how much summary they do. As they work to try to get more green and blue in their paper, they begin to move from literal comprehension to interpretation.

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Writers and Students Responding to Art: Pieter Brueghel's Landscape with the Fall of Icarus

At first glance Pieter Brueghel's painting Landscape with the Fall of Icarus seems to be one of the peaceful, tranquil "postcard-like" scenes referred to earlier. For this viewing, I would not give students the title of the painting or reveal that it was crafted in 1558. Instead, as per the VTS, I would question students asking them: What is going on in the picture? Next I would follow up any type of interpretive observation with the question, what do you see that makes you say that? I imagine that students will be able to identify the prominent figures in the painting: the man plowing the field, the shepherd herding the sheep, the boats sailing down the river. The students will also be likely to make the inference that this picture takes place "in the olden times" because of the design of the ships, the architecture, the occupations of the people etc. As I encourage students to continue looking, they are likely to see the two legs that are sticking out of the water, ready to disappear. Students are likely to infer that someone has fallen into the water. What's problematic is that it is unclear where the figure has fallen from. The shore and the ship are far away from the small pair of legs. At this juncture I might give students the title of the painting. Most students will need to be reminded that Icarus is a figure from Greek mythology, the boy who with the help of his father, crafts a pair of wings out of wax and feathers. Of course, he disregards his father's warning and flies too close to the sun. The wax melts and he plunges to his death.

Brueghel's painting does an interesting retelling of the myth, by making the boy's fall appear to be a rather insignificant event. Hopefully students will notice that no other figures in the painting seem to have noticed the fall and that all movement in the painting flows away from Icarus. Hopefully students will begin to wonder: If the painting is about Icarus, why are his little drowning legs hardly noticeable?

The myth of Icarus really tempts students to return to an old habit of needing to find "a lesson" or "a moral to the story." I think that if I were to ask students what impression Brueghel might have wanted to leave with the viewer they might say, "You should listen to your parents." However, when asked to substantiate this claim with evidence from the painting, they would have difficulty. At this point, I might bring W.H. Auden and William Carlos Williams into the conversation by introducing Auden's "Musée de Beaux Arts" (1940) and Williams's "Landscape with Fall of Icarus" (1962). Both poets comment on Brueghel's painting in different styles, tones and forms. However, both arrive at a similar conclusion: Brueghel is commenting on how indifferent human beings can be to the suffering of others. The poems can help students arrive at a deeper reading of the painting, but can also be analyzed as works of art within themselves. Both poets arrive at a similar conclusion in very different ways. For example, critics have pointed out that the Williams poem is arranged in a vertical column, "recalling the body plummeting from the sky." 14 Reading this painting and the poems lays the groundwork for the lesson that follow. Certainly Brueghel, Williams and Auden were each commenting on the indifference they had seen in their own worlds.

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Seeing the Social, Historical and Cultural Context

Students miss much of the richness of visual and verbal texts if they don't recognize the context within which the artist creates. Additionally, considering the cultural assumptions that the artist or author may have relied on will help students read more critically. Many of my students have a limited conscious awareness of how culture shapes one's thinking. They have received powerful messages about themselves and about their place in the world that are rooted in history, culture and myth. While many of the messages are positive and useful, some are not. It is essential that students begin to see the messages about issues like, gender, race and social class that are communicated in subtle (and not so subtle) ways by everything from fairytales to commercials for acne cream. These messages begin to shape the lens through which we see the world; they become our frames of reference. Students need to recognize their own bias and need to begin to identify biases that are embedded in visual and print texts.

In this section of the unit, students will practice making close observations and inferences about pieces of art from the mid 1800's. While students may be unfamiliar with the historical contexts of these pieces, they should be able to deduce something about the society from which the art came. As they make observations using VTS, students will make inferences about why the paintings were created, who the intended audience was and what social and cultural beliefs might be reflected in the composition. After completing this task, students will read a short piece of related fiction and identify the cultural assumptions that shape the way the main character sees the world. Finally, students will take on the role of the artist and attempt to convey their own point of view about the community of New Haven.

All of the paintings featured in this section are available on the Yale Center for British Art's website as a part of the curriculum guide Be A Part of History: Slavery and Abolition in Words and Pictures.15 The first two lithographs featured are landscapes of the same place: the Montpelier Estate in St. James, Jamaica. During the 1800's this estate was one of the largest and most profitable sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean and it depended upon slave labor for its production. Although the lithographs are similar in style and share the same point of view physically, they are very different. The first was created in 1820-21 on commission for the plantation owner. The second was made in 1833 as a chronicle of the Christmas Rebellion which was a particularly violent slave revolt. Hopefully, students will recognize that each artist is presenting a very different view of Montpelier. The bucolic scene depicted in the first image completely leaves out any evidence of slavery. There are no slave quarters included in the commissioned rendition of Montpelier. If it weren't for the two palm trees pictured, the painting looks almost identical to the many lush peaceful landscapes of British country estates that were in fashion during this time period and commissioned by England's most wealthy families. Although the rendering of the Christmas Rebellion is presented at what might have been considered a tasteful distance, it captures the chaos and violence of the times.

The second pair of illustrations on the website, Images at Work: Cries of Kingston, Cries of London, also has common elements. "Milk Woman" and "Milk Below" both feature female laborers, one Jamaican and the other English. Students will notice the obvious differences in setting as well as the differences in the women's clothing style and posture. Undoubtedly, they will question the credibility of the images. They are likely to point out that the dainty well dressed Englishwoman could not possibly carry such large containers of milk, and that the Jamaican woman would probably not effortlessly balance the burden on her head. I will then give students the titles of the sources from which the drawings were excerpted, The Itinerant Traders of London in their Ordinary Costume and Sketches of Character: In Illustration of the Habits, Occupation and Costume of the Negro Population. I will then ask students what they imagine the artist's purpose was in each case. Next, I will ask students to identify the messages that each illustration is communicating about the subject's class, gender and race. As students make inferences I'll continually remind them to refer to the details in the print that have prompted them to make their claims and to articulate their line of reasoning. Next, I will ask students to imagine what the real lives of "milk women" at this time in history might be. The conditions for both itinerant laborers in London and slaves on sugar plantations in the Caribbean were quite harsh. In these cases art did not mirror life.

I will give them some historical background about the artists who produced the prints. Jewish Jamaican artist Isaac Mendes Belisario created a series of lithographs in Sketches of Character that document the music and dance festival of Jonkonnu which was a traditional holiday for the slaves of the Caribbean. Students should also recognize that when I ask them to infer what the artist is communicating, I understand that their response is a theory. Belisario's viewpoint about slavery is bound to be ambiguous as his stance in real life was full of contradictions. Although Belisario's family profited greatly from the slave trade, Belisario documents the colorful folk traditions of the slaves with great care. The woman pictured in "Milk Woman" could have raised Belisario as his nanny.

The Social and Cultural Context of "Girl" by Jamaica Kincaid

The contemporary short story "Girl" is an interesting verbal text for students to read after viewing this series of images from Art & Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and His Worlds. The author, Jamaica Kincaid, spent her childhood on the island of Antigua in the West Indies, which at the time was still a British colony. Kincaid, the descendent of Caribbean slaves, experienced firsthand the discrimination and oppression that were the legacy of slavery. Much of her work deals with her anger toward the British colonizers of Antigua. In her essay A Small Place she addresses the colonizers directly: "Have you ever wondered to yourself why it is that all people like me seem to have learned from you is how to imprison and murder each other, how to govern badly, and how to take the wealth of our country and place it in Swiss bank accounts." 16 Later in this piece, Kincaid confronts the people of Antigua. She suggests that they have become complicit in their own oppression by not freeing themselves from foreign control and culture. "Girl" is a piece of imaginative literature that addresses these issues in a more indirect way that is embedded in the narrative.

The story is essentially a monologue, a mother's list of directives to her daughter written as a single sentence. Kincaid allows Girl's voice to break through the mother's diatribe only twice. The reader learns how much the mother's life has been dictated by the oppression she has experienced as an Afro-Caribbean woman living in the West Indies. Many critics have read the mother's monologue as a sort of indoctrination to the oppressive and sexist power structure in Antigua. For example the story references "benna," a form of calypso music that has been traced back to Caribbean slaves. The mother warns "Girl" that she must "not sing benna in Sunday School." As students examine the mother's admonishment they will notice that Christianity, brought to the Island by the English, is valued over the native traditions.

Later the mother's warning becomes harsher. She implies that the daughter may hang out with "wharf-rat boys" and openly asserts that the girl is "bent on becoming" a slut. The mother seems to be passing on the fear and shame that have been part of her own experience as a woman. She seems to be resigned to the fact that Girl lives in a world where she will be defined not only by her ability to perform domestic duties, but also by her ability to hide her sexuality. Along with her more mundane advice about household chores and cooking, the mother tells her "how to make a good medicine to throw away a child before it becomes a child…how to bully a man and how a man bullies you." Ultimately the mother seems to imply that Girl is responsible for her own oppression. When Girl manages to weakly ask the mother a question, "but what if the baker won't let me feel the bread?" the mother replies, "you mean to say that after all you are really going to be the kind of woman who the baker won't let near the bread." Certainly this piece will be evocative for students.17

Classroom Strategies: Bringing Students into the Conversation about "Girl"

Before reading the story I might ask students to collect images of girls and boys, women and men taken from popular magazines and newspapers. Students can work in groups to construct separate collages of male and female images. Each group will then analyze and compare the collages. Together they can determine what these media images reveal about the assumptions that the culture makes about gender. After each group shares their findings, students can journal briefly about any advice they can remember receiving from parents or other influential adults about what it means to be a man or a woman.

Because this story is so short, it can be read in a single class period and students can respond with the full text in front of them. The VTS prompts can guide the conversation. Students can begin by making initial inferences about the setting of the story and the characters. They should be able to identify the clues in the text that reveal the relationships, values, ages, occupations and social status of these characters. Students could also consider what the "rules" are for relationships between men and women in this world. What kind of power can a woman have?

Finally, students should be prompted to consider questions about the author's craft. After giving them a brief biography of Jamaica Kincaid, I would ask them to generate questions about her intentions, beginning with the phrase: I wonder why the author chose to…? Students might consider why Kincaid ended the story the way she did, or why she chose to have the mother speak in one, long continuous sentence.

A View of New Haven in Context

At the end of this segment, students will apply what they have learned about social and cultural context by creating an image of their own community that communicates their perspective. I will show students two images of New Haven that were produced at about the same time: John Warner Barber's Eastern View of New Haven Green, 1840 and George Henry Durrie, View of West Rock, 1857.18 These are iconic images of New Haven and should be familiar to students as key features of the landscape like the Centre Church on the green and West Rock have not changed significantly in 150 years. As per the VTS protocol I will ask students to describe what is going on within each of these frames and what in the visual text makes them infer what they do. These two images depict very well-known areas in New Haven. Have students see if they can identify the locations without reading the information at the bottom of the print. Next invite students, to compare these views with the community today. How are they similar? Different? Have students determine what features make the places recognizable. If students are not familiar with the New Haven Green or Westville they can look up an image on the Internet. Have students chart the physical elements of the locations depicted that have changed and the elements that have stayed the same.

Next invite students to look for clues as to what life was like in the mid 1800's. Both of these pieces were created during the same time period as the prints from of Montpelier. Ask students to consider who is included in Barber's picture and who might be missing. Give students a brief introduction to George Henry Durrie. He lived most of his life in New Haven and earned a reputation for rural landscape scenes, especially snow scenes, which he introduced as subject matter in American painting. Critics believe that his landscape paintings provide an excellent record of rural life in the mid-nineteenth century because he carefully recorded details of nature and foliage.

After students spend time thinking-aloud about the piece I will ask them to reflect in writing about the images. I will ask them to 1) make a claim about what they imagine the artists' intentions were 2) describe what concrete details in the image caused them to make that claim and then 3) write some commentary explaining their line of reasoning. Writing should help them to internalize the critical thinking process they have been practicing and expand on their thoughts.

After students speculate about the two images, I will ask them to create their own sketch of either West Rock or the New Haven green. I will tell them to keep some concrete elements of the landscape the same, so that the place is recognizable, but encourage them to present their own vision of New Haven. We will discuss the strategies that artists and photographers use to convey a sense of place.

In order to prepare for the assignment I will have them view a selection of paintings and photographs that depict place. Seeing and Writing 3, an anthology of visual and verbal texts, edited by Christine and Donald McQuade, is a rich source of images. Chapter 2 which is entitled "Coming to Terms with Place" contains several paintings and photographs along with contextual background for the work. In many cases, the artist or photographer comments directly about the pieces that are presented.

Particular works that might give students ideas about how to use visual metaphor, color, tone, irony and other elements of composition to communicate their stance about New Haven include:

·Richard Misrach's photographs of the Golden Gate Bridge (2001): students can consider how the photographer shot the photographs from the same viewpoint (his front porch) but creates very different compositions by capturing varying weather conditions and different times of day. Additionally, students can consider how Misrach uses the bridge metaphorically.
·Mark Peterson's photograph, Image of Homelessness from his series from his Across the Street series, captures the divide between rich and poor living along 5th Avenue in New York City. By juxtaposing images of poverty with images of wealth, he draws the audience's attention to the socioeconomic inequality so prevalent in many cities.
·Joel Sternfeld's photos, particularly those presented in On this Site: Landscape in Memoriam capture ordinary sites where extraordinary events have occurred. These photographs are all paired with captions which describe significant events which have happened in that place. Sternfeld's work is highly ironic. For example, one photo shows a bus shelter across from the Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington D.C. This is the site where a homeless woman, who had been turned away from a homeless shelter the night before, froze to death. In other photographs in the series, Sternfeld comments on other larger social issues including the land rights of Native Americans, pollution and racial violence.
·Kerry James Marshall's painting Watts 1963 depicts the housing project in South Central Los Angeles where he grew up. The painting, which is done in a folk-art style, captures the innocence of childhood but also comments on the social issues that led up to the riots in Watts in 1965. The companion web-site for the text Seeing and Writing 3, seeingandwriting.com, contains an interactive exercise which offers background information and suggestions for reading this painting.

Along with their renderings of West Rock or the New Haven Green, students should compose a verbal statement describing the claim that they are attempting to communicate through their piece. This should be a brief outline of the story they are telling about New Haven. For example, a claim about Peterson's piece might be: On Fifth Avenue in New York, great poverty and great wealth exist side by side. It's been this way so long that no one seems to notice anymore. Students should not refer to specific details from the piece but rather describe the story that is implicit in the image.

During a gallery walk, the art work can be hung around the classroom and students can walk about freely viewing the art. Students should be supplied with a list of the claims that each artist is making (with the artist's name removed) and work to match the image with the claim. Each student should also get a supply of post-its to write comments for the artist. It might be helpful to supply students with sentence starters: The mood of the piece is… The issue that this piece points to is…This piece reminds me of…because… Remind students to substantiate their inferences with evidence from the visual text and to include commentary in their responses.

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Seeing Characterization

In Aspects of the Novel, the early 20th century novelist E.M. Forster developed a new way of looking at character that has informed the critical study of literature ever since. The essential idea is that there are two types of characters: flat and round. According to Forster the flat character is organized "around a single idea or quality" and can be "summed up in a single sentence." 19 Often, but not always, the flat character can be reduced to a "type" or "caricature." The flat character will view the world and respond to the world in a consistent way and does not surprise the reader. For example, we know that Pap, Huck Finn's alcoholic father, will always behave in an abusive and racist manner. On the other hand, Huck is not predictable; his understanding of what is right and wrong changes throughout the novel. His frame of reference evolves. Huck is therefore a round character.

Forster explained that the round character "has the incalculability of life about [him or her]." He asserted that because he possesses the ambiguities and complexities of a real person, he will surprise the reader "in a convincing way." The reader cannot sum up the round character in a single sentence. Although Forster recognizes that the round character is more interesting and a "bigger achievement," he recognizes that flat characters have a purpose. In fact he asserts that some critics fail to recognize that complex novels often require both types of characters. 20

Charles Dickens, for example, is a writer who masterfully creates flat characters. For example, Mr. M'Choakumchild in Hard Times, is the stern and narrow-minded school master who stifles children instead of encouraging them to grow. He is a one-dimensional character but he is certainly memorable, quirky and alive. Forster makes it clear that the terms round and flat are not meant to be used as measures of artistic merit. However, recognizing these distinctions can help students understand the language of literary criticism and also provide them with a frame of reference for evaluating the depth of characters. Rather than feeling compelled to label the character in a binary way--moral or immoral, honest or dishonest, smart or stupid--students will recognize that characters can have varied traits. Students need to pay attention to how round characters (particularly the protagonist) change as a result of the events in that unfold in the story. Often, recognizing how and why the main character changes, is crucial to understanding the deeper meaning of a work.

Another benefit of exposure to round, complex characters, is that the reader is able to develop her capacity for empathy; the ability to recognize the perspectives that shape, what people think, believe and value. An encounter with a round, complex character, allows the reader to look at herself and her world differently. While flat characters can entertain us, they rarely inspire this kind of introspection. Because flat or stock characters are more prevalent on television and in the kinds of escapist novels that many teenagers prefer, it is necessary to raise students' level of appreciation for complex characters.

The Influence of Formula Fiction on Teen's Conception of "Good Literature"

Over the past few years Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series has been remarkably successful. The librarian at our school can't keep them on the shelves and many of my students, mostly young women, eagerly awaited the release of the final book in the series. When the fourth book Breaking Dawn, was released, Hachette Book Group, shattered first day sales records for the company selling over 1.3 million copies and the book was on the top of the New York Times Young Adult fiction list for over thirty weeks. 21. My students frequently asked me why we couldn't read "good books like this in school instead of The Scarlet Letter." Although the Twilight series has captured the imagination of a number of teenage readers, its plot is essentially identical to many formulaic, young adult romance novels.

Although the vampire angle is somewhat unique, the reader recognizes that the heroine will be saved from the clutches of evil by the good-hearted and great looking hero. Students report that they know there will be a happy ending, but that they still feel that the plots are "exciting." These stories seem to satisfy many teenage readers because they allow them to escape for awhile in a simple world where their assumptions and desires are affirmed. They know that the girl with the difficult home life will be rescued by the handsome stranger. The villain is recognizable and will be outsmarted by the hero.

In its glossary of literary terms, The Bedford Introduction to Literature, which is considered an authoritative text by many AP teachers, defines formula fiction as follows:

Often characterized as "escape literature," formula literature follows a pattern of
conventional reader expectations. Romance novels, westerns, science fiction,
and detective stories are all examples of formula literature; while the details of
individual stories vary, the basic ingredients of each kind of story are the same.
Formula literature offers happy endings (the hero "gets the girl," the detective
cracks the case), entertains wide audiences, and sells tremendously well.

The cast of characters in these stories is predictable. The books are generally filled with stock characters. They are not psychologically complex and often embody stereotypes. Advertisers have also created stock characters to sell products to teens. In the PBS documentary Merchants of Cool, the filmmakers revealed that market researchers created two stock characters -- the midriff and the mook -- that they believe appeal to today's teens. "The midriff" is the Brittany Spears look-alike with the signature bare midriff and prepubescent hyper sexuality. The "mook" is the male equivalent; the sophomoric adolescent boy obsessed with bodily functions and thrill-seeking, reckless behavior. These are the two types seen in media directed towards teens. MTV's many spring break specials are examples of the type of programming that celebrates these stereotypes. The documentarians suggest that a symbiotic relationship has developed between the media and teens "as each looks to the other to define its identity." 23 Teens imitate the media as the media imitates teens. I hope that studying characterization will not only help students become more appreciative of the complexity inherent in good literature, but help them to recognize how dangerous it can be to mistake one-dimensional representations of people for the real thing.

"Richard Cory" and "We Wear the Mask": The Consequences of Viewing Others as Stock Characters

Both "Richard Cory" by Edward Arlington Robinson and "We Wear the Mask" by Paul Lawrence Dunbar were written at the end of the nineteenth century, but they deal with timeless themes. Students' heightened awareness of how social and historical context shapes the author's work, will help them appreciate how each poet responded to his own unique circumstances. Robinson's poem is the first in a series aimed at depicting the inner lives of characters he had known in his hometown of Gardner, Maine. Richard Cory was a wealthy individual who "glittered when he walked" but who lived in isolation because the townspeople kept him at arm's length. The common folk, "the people of the pavement" admired and envied him from afar, imagining that he "was everything." The last line of the poem reveals that "one summer night [Richard Cory] went home and put a bullet in his head." Corey's isolation, which seemed to be caused by his wealth and celebrity, will certainly remind students of many tragic figures in popular culture.

Dunbar's poem highlights the schism between the outer and inner life. This time the social issue that keeps the speaker from revealing his true self to others is race. Although Dunbar's poem makes sense to teens even when the cultural and historical context is not included, the reading becomes much richer when it is. Dunbar was one of the first nationally renowned, black poets. At the time that he wrote the poem, minstrel shows were very popular forms of entertainment. The white performers in black face acted out comic stereotypes of African Americans that endured even after the shows ended. In this case the speaker of the poem seems to be hiding his feelings "behind the mask that grins and lies" for very complicated reasons.

Both Richard Cory and the speaker from "We Wear the Mask" seem to successfully hide their inner selves and are seen by others as types rather than people. It would be useful to share with students that the word stereotype originally referred to the mold or form used by artisans to create a repeating pattern. To hold a stereotype is to act as if all people from a particular group are stamped from the same mold and don't possess the complexity and uniqueness that real people do.

Much is left unsaid in both poems. We never hear the voice of Richard Cory and the speaker in "We Wear the Mask" does not express any hope for change. In order to imagine both characters, students can describe the mask that represents the character's outward appearance and then infer the character's inner feelings. Many teachers use a graphic organizer, a simple line drawing of an iceberg, to help students chart out both the visible and invisible qualities that a character possesses. The iceberg helps students to think metaphorically. Typically only one-eighth of an iceberg is visible above the surface of the water. Students list the facets of the character that are obvious to others above the water-line and the character's inner feelings below the waterline. For example, the student might list well-dressed above the water-line and lonely below the waterline when filling out the graphic organizer for Richard Cory.

Using Art and Photography to Teach the Concepts of Flat and Round Characters

To help students to recognize the difference between flat and round characters they can examine portraits of people. Artists and photographers have always revealed varied levels of depth in their subjects. Sometimes they present only one dimension of an individual; other times they capture the contradictions and complexities that are sometimes hidden from view. I chose to feature the popular rap artist, Lil Wayne, for the first activity because I recently came across a Rolling Stone magazine cover (April 7, 2009) that captured his complexity, a vulnerability and thoughtfulness that I didn't expect to see. I am not a fan of rap music. Because Lil Wayne's lyrics (those that I had heard) seemed negative and misogynistic to me, I dismissed him completely. In a sense, I saw only the "tip of the iceberg." The Rolling Stone cover made me question my assumptions. Lil Wayne's eyes are downcast and there is a sense of vulnerability about his pose that contradicts his thug image. In this photo, the tattoos on his eye-lids that say Fear and God are clearly legible. While those words seemed to have a religious or spiritual connotation, the tattoos of two tear drops etched by the corner of his eye tell a different story. In urban street culture, each tear you wear displayed as a tattoo symbolizes a person you have killed. This symbol in itself is contradictory; it seems to be both a declaration of remorse and a badge of honor. Perhaps it is even a warning to others. Drawing on their earlier discussions of cultural context, students can also discuss how Lil Wayne and his music are influenced by his circumstances. They can discuss how the photographer challenges some of the cultural assumptions that the audience might have about rap artists.

After looking at the Lil Wayne portraits, students will be more prepared to interpret portraits that are more far removed from their experience. Two paintings at the Yale Center for British Art that can be paired to demonstrate the difference between flat and round characters are the Portrait of Lady Clopton, c.1600 by Robert Peake and the portrait of Charles Stanhope, 3rd Earl of Harrington, 1782 by Joshua Reynolds. Lady Clopton's portrait is a commissioned piece that hangs in the gallery with other portraits from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries that were painted in a similar style. The people featured are all wealthy aristocrats. Lady Clopton's painting is large, finely detailed and obviously posed; however it does not suggest anything about Clopton's personality. The most notable and detailed feature of the composition is Lady Clopton's jewelry. Students can discuss the attention that the artist paid to Lady Copton's jewelery. I a statement of her social standing or a testament to her vanity?

I would ask students to compare Lady Clopton's portrait to Charles Stanhope's. Although Stanhope's portrait was also commissioned by the subject, it is obviously more complex. The artist attempts to capture a moment of historical significance and portrays Stanhope as a victorious leader in battle. Using the VTS strategies, students can make more inferences about the subject and the artist's intentions because the image is rich and complex. There are inherent contradictions and ironies within the text. Although Stanhope's posture suggests that he is confidently leading his troops to victory, the "true" story does not match up. Stanhope failed miserably as a military leader. The suit of armor he wears has no real functional value. My students (or Lil Wayne for that matter) might refer to him as a poser; a rap term that refers to a person who is a phony. The painting of Stanhope, however, is more layered and complex than the portrait of Lady Clopton.

As students view this diverse group of images it would be helpful for them to add to their working definition of round and flat characters. To help students apply what they have learned about character, they can develop their own, more complex versions of stock characters that they find identify in formula fiction. By analyzing a number of synopses of formula fiction, like the Twilight, Gossip Girl or Princess Diaries series students could develop a character that they might identify as a type rather than a person. The student would choose an excerpt from the book that represents how that character is seen. Next, the student would do a rewrite of this section, creating a new character, in the similar situation who responds in the way a more multi-dimensional figure would behave.

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Appendix 1

Alignment with State of Connecticut Standards

for Language Arts Education in Grades 9-12

Standard 1: Fostering Reading Comprehension

The guiding question of this strand is: How do we understand what we read? The Visual Thinking Strategies used throughout the unit make the process of comprehension and interpretation visible for students. As students communicate with others to make sense of written visual texts, they make observations and develop inferences from explicit and or implicit information in the text. They respond to the ideas of others and recognize the validity of differing views. Finally they practice making claims about the reading and substantiating them with evidence from the text.

Standard 2: Teaching Students to Appreciate, Analyze and Interpret Text

The guiding question of this strand is: How does literature enrich our lives? This strand builds on the first, asking students to respond to texts in increasingly sophisticated ways. The activities in this unit are designed to make students more sensitive to the author's/artist's purpose and the author's /artist's craft. By examining pieces from a wide range of social, cultural and historical contexts, students will recognize that human beings across times and cultures have shared and do share, common experiences. At the same time they will recognize that readers and authors are influenced by their individual, social, cultural and historical contexts.

Standard 3: Teaching Students to Communicate Effectively

The guiding question of this strand is: How do we write, speak and present effectively?

Throughout the unit students will practice presenting their ideas convincingly to peers. Whether students are presenting their argument visually, orally or in writing they will focus on showing their audience specifically why their claims make sense. Students will challenge each other to clarify their thinking and substantiate their claims with evidence.

Standard 4: Teaching Students to Apply English Language Conventions

The guiding question of this strand is: How do we use the English language appropriately to speak and write? As they read and produce texts, students will become increasingly aware of audience and purpose. They will recognize that the diction and language structures appropriate for one piece may not work in another.

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End Notes

1 Abigail Housen, "Eye of the Beholder: Research, Theory and Practice," Visual Thinking Strategies - Home, VTS Downloads, http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009)
2 John Berger, Ways of Seeing (Viking Penguin, 1972).
3 Fran Smith, "The Eyes Have It: Potent Visuals Promote Academic Richness," Visual Thinking Strategies - Home, VTS Downloads, http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009).
4 Karin DeSantis and Abigail Housen, "A Brief Guide to Developmental Theory and Aesthetic Development," Visual Thinking Strategies - Home, VTS Downloads, http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009).
5 Ibid.
6 Ibid.
7 Abigail Housen, "Eye of the Beholder: Research, Theory and Practice,"
8 State of Connecticut, Department of Education, 2006 Connecticut English Language Arts Curriculum Framework, 9, http://www.sde.ct.gov (accessed July 31, 2009).
9 Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, They Say/I Say The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing (New York: W. W. Norton, 2005), IX.
10 Carol Booth Olson, Reading/Writing Connection Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the Secondary Classroom (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003), 218.
11 Ibid
12 Jane C. Schaffer, Teaching the Multiparagraph Essay: A Sequential Nine Week Unit, 3rd ed. (San Diego: Jane Schaffer Publications, 1995), 42.
13 Carol Booth Olson, Reading/Writing Connection Strategies for Teaching and Learning in the Secondary Classroom (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003), 218.
14 Thomas C. Foster, How to Read Literature Like a Professor A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines (New York: Harper Collins, 2003), 67.
15 "Be A Part of History: Slavery and Abolition in Words and Pictures," Yale Center for British Art, Curriculum Guides, http://ycba.yale.edu (accessed Summer 2009).
16 Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000), 7.
17 Jamaica Kincaid, "Girl," ViruaLit Fiction, section goes here, http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/Girl/story.asp (accessed Summer 2009).
18 "Be A Part of History: Slavery and Abolition in Words and Pictures," Yale Center for British Art, Curriculum Guides, http://ycba.yale.edu (accessed Summer 2009).
19 Forster, E. M., Aspects of the Novel (San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985), 78
20 Ibid.
21 "Breaking Dawn Sells 13 Million Copies in One Day," MTV Movie Blog Bhttp://moviesblog.mtv.com/2008/08/04/) (accessed Winter 2009).
22 Michael Meyer, ed., The Bedford Introduction to Literature, 8th ed. (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008), 2181.
23 The Merchants of Cool: A Report on the Creators and Marketers of Popular Culture for Teenagers, dir. Barak Goodman, by Rachel Detzin (USA: PBS, 2001), http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/ (accessed Summer 2009).

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"Be A Part of History: Slavery and Abolition in Words and Pictures." Yale Center for British Art. http://ycba.yale.edu (accessed Summer 2009).

"Breaking Dawn Sells 13 Million Copies in One Day." MTV Movie Blog. http://moviesblog.mtv.com (accessed Winter 2009).

Foster, Thomas C. How to Read Literature Like a Professor A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines. New York: Harper Collins, 2003.

____Foster's style is informal and witty. He avoids academic jargon and offers an interesting take on what it means to read literature for its deeper meaning.

Graff, Gerald, and Cathy Birkenstein. They Say/I Say The Moves That Matter in Academic Writing. New York: W. W. Norton, 2005.

Housen, Abigail. "Eye of the Beholder: Research, Theory and Practice." Visual Thinking Strategies - Home. http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009).

Kincaid, Jamaica. A Small Place. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2000.

Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." ViruaLit Fiction. http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/virtualit/fiction/Girl/story.asp (accessed Summer 2009).

M.,Forster, E. Aspects of the novel. San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1985.

McQuade, Donald, and Christine McQuade. Seeing and Writing 3. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2006.

The Merchants of Cool: A Report on the Creators and Marketers of Popular Culture for Teenagers. Directed by Barak Goodman. By Rachel Detzin. USA: PBS, 2001. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/ (accessed Summer 2009).

Meyer, Micheal, ed. The Bedford Introduction to Literature. 8th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2008.

Olson, Carol Booth. Reading/writing connection strategies for teaching and learning in the secondary classroom. Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 2003.

Schaffer, Jane C. Teaching the Multiparagraph Essay: A Sequential Nine Week Unit. 3rd ed. San Diego: Jane Schaffer Publications, 1995.

Smith, Fran. "The Eyes Have It: Potent Visuals Promote Academic Richness." Visual Thinking Strategies - Home. http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009).

State of Connecticut. Department of Education. 2006 Connecticut English Language Arts Curriculum Framework. http://www.sde.ct.gov (accessed July 31, 2009).

Yang, Peter. Lil Wayne Cover Photo. March 15, 2009. In Rolling Stone. 1076th ed.

Yenawine, Philip. "Thoughts on Visual Literacy." Visual Thinking Strategies - Home. http://vtshome.org (accessed July 21, 2009).

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