Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Recommended Children's and Pedagogy Literature: 1930s and Arts Integration

I recommend the following books for use when teaching the era of the 1930s to students in intermediate-level grades:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Classroom Scrapbooking

Using scrapbooking as an instructional technique for reinforcing content learning is gaining popularity with teachers. A method presented by Heidi Willard suggested having students dedicate one scrapbook page to each major content topic. On the front of the page, students include pictures of themselves participating in a hands-on activity relating to the topic (they use classroom cameras for this purpose) and they draw on the page or add pictures and text to demonstrate an understanding of the topic. On the back of the page, students write a one-page overview describing what they know about the topic. Students collect all their scrapbook pages into a single notebook that could serve as a classroom portfolio.

Click here for presentation notes by Heidi Willard on the topic of classroom scrapbooking. It was delivered during the National Council for Social Studies Annual Conference

Saturday, October 31, 2009

1930s Resources

PBS offered a five-part series on the 1930s era. Episodes included "The Crash of 1929," "The Civilian Conservation Corps," "Hoover Dam," "Surviving the Dust Bowl," and "Seabisquit." The American Experience programs draw parallels between the 1930s and current political climate and include available online resources.

Another resource on the 1930s with a specific focus on the Dust Bowl is Rain: A Dust Bowl Story. The site includes an epic story of a young American farm family struggling through the hard times of the Depression Dust Bowl. New mini-episodes appear daily.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Cartoons and Comics

Several free (or nearly free) online tools are available for having students create cartoons. See the examples below:
  • ComicLife: By Plasq, this application offers students an opportunity to create comic book style products. The software offers a free 30-day trial download. Click here for examples of educators' uses by grade.
  • Toondoo: Toondoo is an easy-to-use and free cartoon strip generator. The resulting images are embeddable.
  • Xtranormal: This free tool allows students to create animated and HTML-embeddable cartoons. Click here for student-generated examples.
To learn to use these tools, to see additional samples, or for links to similar tools, I recommend Learning Through the Funnies, a presentation by Brad Fountain. You may view the Discovery Educator's recording of his webinar by clicking here.

Monday, September 15, 2008

In-Class Activities: 1930s Mime

During one class session, students chose cards with simple headings related to artistic expression of the 1930s (e.g., mural painters, photojournalists, sculpture artists). After selecting the cards and choosing group members with similar interests, they turned over their cards to learn their assignments.

Below is a video of a group given the following instruction:


Create a mime act that tells the story of Roosevelt’s New Deal. The performance must last at least one minute and you will perform it in front of the class. The performance must involve all group members.

In-Class Activities: New Deal Song

Singers and Songwriters

Write lyrics using the tune for “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.” The song must tell about one of the 1930s New Deal agencies and must contain at least two verses. You will sing the song with your group to the class.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Larger-Than-Life Artistic Expression

Thank you to Pearl Nagoshi for sharing these examples of artistic expression.
  • The first is called "Human Statue of Liberty" and was taken at Camp Dodge in Iowa. The depiction of the Statue of Liberty required 18,000 servicemen. What an incredible tribute to liberty! This would be a wonderful image to use in classrooms to teach about the Statue of Liberty, war, and symbolism. For more information about the art and photography behind this picture, visit the Snopes entry. More examples are available here.
  • The second is a series of Japanese rice fields turned into artists palettes. Note that the rice field art requires large-scale pixellation. Examples of the process for developing these artistic renditions is available here. What crops would be amendable to this type of art and how could the crops, themselves, serve as symbols of the pictures they are depicting? For example, using wheat to depict the Dust Bowl could provide a rich opportunity to discuss the historical relationship between feast and famine in U.S. history.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lecture: DeAnna Beachley, Ph.D. — The 1930s II

Lecture: DeAnna Beachley, Ph.D. — The 1930s II

Lecture: Dr. Michael Green — The 1930s II

Lecture: Michael Green, Ph.D. — " The 1930s II"

Session II Class Slides

Click here to access the PowerPoint slides presented during the first session of this module.

The Nine Themes of Visual Arts by Fredrick B. Lanuza, Ph.D.

The elements listed below were developed by Dr. Fredrick Lanuza and presented at the Computer-Using Educators Annual Conference in 2008.

  1. The Subject: Describe what you see — person, place, thing
  2. Reasons: Determine the purpose of the work in societal, chronological, and environmental terms
  3. Lines: Identify line directions and types (e.g., straight, curvy, rhythmic)
  4. Colors: Describe the hue (name), value (level of lighting, brightness), and intensity (brightness, dullness)
  5. Form: Describe apparent shapes — regular vs. irregular, definite vs. suggestive
  6. Texture: Consider materials used, surface quality, and smooth/rough aspects
  7. Focal Points: To what part of the picture are the eyes drawn?
  8. Imagination: What does the picture conjure for the beholder?
  9. Judgment: What elements of the picture does the audience like and dislike?
Note: The first eight themes may be addressed in any order, but “Judgment” must not occur until after addressing all other eight themes.

Notes and Ideas for Art Integration

Visual Arts
  • History Trading Cards
  • Mock protest/advocacy posters
  • Picture analysis (Cut a picture into four parts and have groups critically examine one part. Then, have all groups work collaboratively to explain the entire picture.)
  • Mock movie posters
  • Hide-and-seek in a picture (Have students pretend to shrink themselves and stand somewhere in the picture. They would then tell their classmates what they see, hear, smell, feel, hear while others try to guess their location.)
  • Cartoons/Comics/Graphic novels
  • Murals
  • Photos
  • Drawing/Paintings
  • Sculptures
  • Story maps
  • Architecture
Dramatic Arts (including dance)
  • Chautauqua performances/Character sketches
  • Living portraits (of famous art)
  • Frozen pictures (living portraits in which the student designs the image)
  • Freeze frames (multiple living portraits combined)
  • Create or re-create a dance from the time
  • Re-enact events/“Day-in-the-Life” Enactments
  • Write and perform skits and plays
  • Dramatic readings of primary source documents
  • Costume design (Have students design and sew period clothing)
  • Design and make props and backdrops for a stage performance
  • Musical Arts
  • Read lyrics of the time and create a word wall of historically relevant words
  • Construct a song using a musical score from the era
Written Composition Arts
  • Poetry
  • Novels/Short stories/Children’s books
  • Scripts (e.g., reader’s theater, movies, commercials, plays, news)
  • Mad libs
  • Book covers
  • Articles (e.g., magazines, newspapers)
  • Foldable reports
General Notes
  • “Rehearsing the imagination” can be accomplished freely in the virtual realm.” Take advantage of “technology’s ability for layering image, sound, [and] text in ways that engage learners, spark learning, and trigger curiosity.” (Donovan and Bellisaro)
  • Learning happens best when it involves “active doing and seeing.” (AccessArts)
  • Be mindful of the relationship between aesthetics, writing, and design. For example, make sure the graphics and text flow well together.
  • When working with art, recognize and discriminate among various colors, shapes, and textures in natural and man-made forms. (Fredrick Lanuza).
  • Many teachers are now including mixed-media, technology-based projects in their classrooms. One such example is a Facebook page replica to look as if it was between parties engaged in World War II. Additional examples recommended by Dr. Daniel Qualls include:

National Standards for Arts Education

Ways to integrate the arts to develop and retain historical content knowledge can be combined with arts education. Instead of simply using artistic products to motivate students in the history classroom, teach artistic concepts alongside requiring arts-based assessment of historical content. To learn art concepts appropriate for given grade levels and artistic forms, see the National Standards for Arts Education.

Overview of the National Standards for Arts Education (Grades K-8)

  • Identifying and demonstrating movement elements and skills in performing dance
  • Understanding choreographic principles, processes, and structures
  • Understanding dance as a way to create and communicate meaning
  • Applying and demonstrating critical and creative thinking skills in dance
  • Demonstrating and understanding dance in various cultures and historical periods
  • Making connections between dance and healthful living
  • Making connections between dance and other disciplines
  • Singing, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
  • Performing on instruments, alone and with others, a varied repertoire of music
  • Improvising melodies, variations, and accompaniments
  • Composing and arranging music within specified guidelines
  • Reading and notating music
  • Listening to, analyzing, and describing music
  • Evaluating music and music performances
  • Understanding relationships between music, the other arts, and disciplines outside the arts
  • Understanding music in relation to history and culture
  • Script writing by the creation of improvisations and scripted scenes based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history
  • Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes
  • Designing by developing environments for improvised and scripted scenes
  • Directing by organizing rehearsals for improvised and scripted scenes
  • Researching by using cultural and historical information to support improvised and scripted scenes
  • Comparing and incorporating art forms by analyzing methods of presentation and audience response for theatre, dramatic media (such as film, television, and electronic media), and other art forms
  • Analyzing, evaluating, and constructing meanings from improvised and scripted scenes and from theatre, film, television, and electronic media productions
  • Understanding context by analyzing the role of theatre, film, television, and electronic media in the community and in other cultures
Visual Arts
  • Understanding and applying media, techniques, and processes
  • Using knowledge of structures and functions
  • Choosing and evaluating a range of subject matter, symbols, and ideas
  • Understanding the visual arts in relation to history and cultures
  • Reflecting upon and assessing the characteristics and merits of their work and the work of others
  • Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines

Understanding Copyright, the Public Domain, and Fair Use

I highly recommend the following resources for better understanding copyright and the public domain. The Davidson table is particularly helpful for understanding what is acceptable within educational contexts.

Appreciating Artistic Forms

Two websites helpful in learning to appreciate a variety of artistic forms appear below. Each includes information about several artistic styles.
  • The Lively Arts: This is a companion website for a course offered at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. It includes a wealth of study guides teaching how to appreciate a variety of art forms and topic guides for better understanding those forms.
  • Access Art: This site is designed to help teachers integrate a variety of visual art forms into classrooms. It includes instructions for engaging with certain media formats (e.g., mod roc) and includes excellent online applets allowing students to learn about various art forms and how to replicate those forms.
In addition to the above sites, the attached document (source unknown) outlines guiding questions to use with groups of students when reviewing works of art. The intention of the sheet is to separate a classroom of students into groups of five students each, having each group evaluate a work of art using a different set of questions.

Finally, an excellent source for familiarizing oneself with artistically-designed primary source artifacts is the collection of primary source analysis sheets from the Library of Congress.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Videos of Bank Runs

The below video is from YouTube and provides a popular media version of bank runs.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Session I Class Slides

Click here to access the PowerPoint slides presented during the first session of this module in downloadable format.

Click here to access the slides in web format.

Dust Bowl Lessons for Intermediate Students

Thank you to Shauna Harris who shared the following website: EDSITEment — Dust Bowl Days. The site includes seven consecutive lessons for a unit on the Dust Bowl era as well as support materials (such as links to Dust Bowl information, primary source artifacts like song lyrics and photographs) for the lessons.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Smithsonian Opportunities

The Smithsonian is a wonderful resource for teachers wishing to integrate primary source documents and other artifacts into history instruction. Their online sites include rich collections of visual resources for student analysis. In addition, they offer training for teachers interested in using their resources. One such training is "Teaching with Documents and Works of Art: An Integrated Approach" taught by LeeAnn Potter and Elizabeth K. Eder.

In particular, students of arts in U.S. history may enjoy browsing the National Archives and Records Administration, Smithsonian American Art Museum (particularly see "Teachers and Students" which links to interactive features such as "Campfire Stories with George Catlin," a timeline of Native American history described through art and primary sources), and National Portrait Gallery sites.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Examples of Dance as a Reporting Technique

The following videos are wonderful examples of the use of dance for teaching social studies content.

Resources on Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt

The Roosevelt Library is an excellent resource for gaining information about Roosevelt, his life, and his policies. The site also includes teacher's resources with rich collections of primary sources including "Growing Up At Springwood" (preparation for visiting the museum).

Books and Activities on the Great Depression

Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site includes a section on the 1930s. This website includes recommended books on the topic as well as activities appropriate for use with the books.

Of course, Bud, Not Buddy is a classic children's book focusing on the era. Teacher Anya Fontes had her fourth grade students create a quilt about the story. One child was responsible for each quilt square and each square represents one chapter summary. Behind each square is a chapter summary written by the artist's own hand on an index card.

In addition to the quilt, Ms. Fontes' students created a glossary of terms to use with the book.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Art Portfolio: Self-Evaluation

The self-evaluation form for the art portfolio is available here. To use the form fields, download the document and click within each gray box.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Module Assessment

Click here for the assessment for the 1930s/Arts Integration module. The assessment requires participants develop an art portfolio including three artistic creations, two reflections, and one self-assessment.

Below are links to some sample products:

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Course Syllabus

Click here to access the syllabus for the 1930s/Arts Integration module.