By the end of this unit, all of my students should be able to make observations, inferences, and connections to pieces of artwork. They will not only be able to perform these tasks in isolation, but they will then be able to create a storyline for the images.
Also, my students should be able to understand theme within a piece of artwork and make text–to–text connections, text–to–self connections, and text–to–world connections. These connections also highlight the necessary skills my students need to have in March when they are taking CAPT. These skills are also necessary to accomplish in order to meet the goals of the Common Core State Standards. Students will be able to create parallels from artwork to short stories and novels. Their overall goal is to master these three skills and then apply them to all text they see, hear, and/or read.
As we become experienced viewers of artwork, I will ask my students to form literature circles and engage in whole class discussions. The purpose for this sequence is because in the past, my students feel more comfortable working independently, whether it is due to fear of rejection or fear of being wrong, they historically do not discuss personal reactions well. I need to make sure my students have had practice with this material and have a chance to receive positive feedback from me before they can feel comfortable sharing as a class. So, in the beginning of the unit, I will ask students to independently fill out worksheets based on a piece of artwork we are viewing. Then, as time goes on, I will ask students to, in groups, discuss the artwork and write down their observations, inferences, and connections together. They can then share out to their peers in whole group discussions once they feel they have mastered the skills.
This unit will not be taught in isolation. These lessons will take up 15–20 minutes of each class period for four days a week, lasting two weeks. The rest of the class period will be devoted to other objectives students must meet for the year. However, this unit will aid other activities, such as reading novels. I will ask my students to apply what they are learning with the artwork to novels, poems, short stories, and films we read/view. While some may believe these skills can simply be embedded into a novel's unit, my students need to learn independent skills directly and concretely before being able to apply them abstractly.