Every Painting Tells A Story

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1 George Chambers (British, ). The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837), 1838 Every Painting Tells A Story Beaverbrook Story Starter Teacher Kits SENIOR YEARS: GR wag.ca/schools Winnipeg Art Gallery 300 Memorial Blvd Winnipeg, MB wag.ca

2 Art is the perfect Story Starter! Inspire your students with a fascinating masterwork one of many featured in the anticipated exhibition at the WAG, Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. Choose from one of three educational lesson plans that encourage inquiry and stimulate creative thinking through conversation, writing and art making. Each Kit serves as a flexible teaching tool that can be used in a variety of ways to fit your classroom schedule and teaching style. Enjoy this Senior Years Beaverbrook Story Starter Kit in the classroom; it s easy to use, grade appropriate, clearly linked to the curriculum, and geared for fun! Deliver the lesson in class and then bring your students to the exhibition to discover and explore many more narrative masterpieces in person! BOOK A TOUR TODAY Bring the world to your classroom with a visit to the WAG and experience Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery (Sept 27 Jan 25, 2015) CHOOSE FROM: 1) 90 minute interactive tour $45 per 10 students or multiples thereof. 2) Full-day experience including art-making workshop $100 per 10 students or multiples thereof. Fill out a booking request at wag.ca/schools and it to or call Every Painting Tells A Story: Lesson Overview: George Chambers ( ), The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837) Senior Years: Gr Subjects: English Language Arts, Visual Arts Time Required: 3 part lesson/3 class periods George Chambers (British, ). The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837), Oil on canvas x 83.8 cm. Purchased with a Minister of Communications Cultural Property Grant and funds from Friends of The Beaverbrook Art Gallery Students will make observations based on George Chambers painting, The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837), and use the painting as a prompt for creative writing. Students will be divided into groups and asked to research the historical account depicted in Chambers painting. After making inquiries and exploring the painting as a historical narrative, students may choose to work independently or in group as they respond to the painting in a variety of creative ways. Designed to sharpen essential writing skills, this lesson plan will encourage students to think imaginatively and to gain an appreciation for the work of artist George Chambers within the history of western art. 2

3 Lesson Steps - 1ST CLASS PERIOD: INTRODUCTION TO LESSON PLAN: 1) Present this image on a white board or large screen for students to look at. 2) Ask students the following questions and make some initial observations as a group: What is this image? Is it a photograph... a painting? Why do you think so? (Confirm that it is a painting created by the British artist, George Chambers) Do you think this painting tells a story? Why or why not? 3) Tell students that they will be using this painting as a story starter or creative writing prompt. Encourage them to look closely at all the details in the painting and begin a group discussion by asking them the following questions: What s going on in this work of art? What specific details or visual evidence do you see that leads you to think that? NOTE: Accept all guesses or ideas with a positive response i.e. That s an interesting observation or It could be followed by Does any one else have another idea? Explain that there are no right or wrong answers when making observations about a work of art; everyone s ideas are valid. Describe the figures. What do you think they are doing? Where does this scene take place? What do you see that makes you say that? 4) Inform students that the painting, entitled, The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837), was based on an expedition in 1837, when the three ton mortar HMS vessel (nicknamed Terror ) was nearly crushed by rocky cliff outcrops and colliding icebergs as it passed through the unchartered northern region of the Hudson Bay. Interestingly enough, though the ship nearly sunk during the stormy Atlantic crossing home, it managed to beach in Ireland only to be lost decades later in the Canadian Arctic as part of the ill-fated Franklin expedition during its epic search for the Northwest Passage. 5) Explain to students that they will use George Chambers painting as a springboard for learning about this historical event through research. Once they have researched the event during this class, students will be asked to share what they have learned and be given the opportunity to engage or respond to the painting in a variety of fun and creative ways. Inform students that they will have a number of creative responses to choose from, depending on whether they want to work independently or in a group. 6) Divide class into groups of 3 4 students each to research the historical account of the HMS Terror on March 15, Challenge them to find and analyze primary sources and other sources of information regarding this event or the history of the ship, the HMS Terror. Encourage students to look for photos or other examples of artwork or literature of the event from this time period. Once they have collected information from at least 3 different sources, each group should write a summary of the historical account as they understand it, citing the sources that they found. Do you think this scene is based on a historical event or an imaginary idea? Why do you think so? 3

4 Lesson Steps - 2ND CLASS PERIOD: BACKGROUND INFORMATION ABOUT GEORGE CHAMBERS THE CREW OF HMS TERROR SAVING THE BOATS AND PROVISIONS ON THE NIGHT OF 15TH MARCH (1837), ) Present Chambers painting The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837) on a white board or large screen once again for students to look at. 8) Ask each group of students to read their summary or have a discussion allowing students to share about what they learned about this event from their research. 9) Explain to students that when they are looking at a work of art like this painting by Chambers, it is important and interesting to learn about the context of the painting; to understand when it was created, by whom, and for what purpose. Explain to students that this kind of painting by Chambers, which depicts a story from the past, is called a historical narrative. Ask them: Do you think it is important to understand background information when looking at a historical narrative? Why or why not? Where do you think the artist may have found his inspiration? 10) Explain to them that Chambers painting was based on a description from the logbook of the HMS vessel published in 1838 by Captain George Back the same year the painting was completed. Interestingly enough, Chambers painting, The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837) was commissioned by the Captain himself, who besides being a British naval officer and explorer of the Canadian Arctic, was also an artist. Why do you think Captain George Back commissioned this painting? What purpose might it have served? Where do you think the painting may have originally hung? 11) Explain that while we don t know exactly why Captain George Back commissioned the painting, it was not uncommon during the 19th century for captains to commission artists to paint portraits of themselves, their ships, and pictures depicting important battles or expeditions. It also makes sense that the Captain would have asked George Chambers, a well-known and celebrated English Marine painter (specializing in images of ships) to create the painting. Ask students what words they would use to describe George Chambers painting? How does the painting make you feel? How has the artist created mood and drama in this picture? (Discuss the dramatic elements in the painting including the stormy sky filled with dark clouds, the full moon, monumental shards of ice, and the artist s use of color.) Judging by your research and observations, do you think Chambers painting is an accurate depiction of the event as it happened? Why or why not? Is it important that a historical narrative painting is accurate? Why or why not? 12) Inform students that during the 19th century, there was a certain amount of debate concerning the extent to which an artist should balance aesthetic or artistic qualities with accuracy in their pictures. Some thought a painting should be like a photograph based on real facts, while others thought the artist should be free to use their imagination when depicting a historical event. Do you think Chambers successful managed to achieve a balance between realism and imagination in his painting? 13) Ask students: How many of you like the painting? Why or why not? NOTE: If you are not able to visit the WAG as a class, please inform students that if they want to explore Chambers painting, The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837) in person, they can see it at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in the exciting exhibition, Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Collection running from September 2014 to January In this exhibition they will be able to see over 100 fascinating paintings created by many different artists from around the world, and enjoy exploring the stories that each one tells! 4

5 Lesson Steps - 2ND & 3RD CLASS PERIOD: 14) Finally, inform students that they will have a number of choices concerning a creative response to the Chamber s painting, depending on whether they want to work independently or in a group. Allow students at least one hour to complete their creative response. When they are finished, present George Chambers painting on a white board or large screen once again for students to reference while they share and present their creative responses. Celebrate each response! Students may choose from the following: INDEPENDENT CREATIVE WRITING RESPONSE: OPTION #1 a) Ask students to compose a creative piece of writing (250 words minimum) inspired by Chambers painting, The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837). It can be any form of writing poetry, prose, a haiku, a song etc. as long as it is original and is based on their observations and historical understanding of the painting. OPTION #2 a) Ask students to imagine they are Captain George Back and are writing a log or diary entry describing his eyewitness account of what really happened on March 15, Students should consider and expand upon what happened before and after the scene pictured in Chambers painting. They should also be encouraged to use their imagination to add extra details and dramatic effects into their writing to make the story engaging for its readers or listeners. COLLABORATIVE CREATIVE WRITING RESPONSE: OPTION #1 a) Students can pair up and write an imaginative or compelling short play or tableaux (one or two pages) that brings the story in the painting to life. They may choose to include two or more characters from the painting in their script, but they should keep in mind that there will be only two of them to read the script and act out their play. b) Allow them at least 20 minutes to brainstorm and develop their script. Remind them that they should think about what happened before the scene shown in the painting and what will happen after it. Encourage them to use the Beaverbrook Story Map handout as they consider the basic elements of story telling including the characters, the setting, the plot, and a potential problem/solution concerning the relationship between characters. c) Encourage them to creatively embellish their story using sound effects if they wish. d) When they are finished writing their scripts allow them 5-10 minutes to practice acting out their short play. Feature the painting once again on the white board or large screen, and have each pair of students to present their play for the rest of the class. OPTION #2 a) Ask students to create a trailer for a Hollywood movie or a documentary based on Chambers painting of The Crew of HMS Terror Saving the Boats and Provisions on the Night of 15th March (1837). Remind them to consider how they would Hollywood-ize the historical account of what actually happened, adapting it to appeal to audiences in the 21st century. They should feel free to creatively embellish their story using special effects or sound effects if they wish. b) Remind students that trailers consist of a series of selected shots from the film being advertised. Since the purpose of the trailer is to attract an audience to the film, these excerpts are usually drawn from the most exciting, funny, or otherwise noteworthy parts of the film but in abbreviated form and without producing spoilers. For this purpose the scenes are not necessarily in the order in which they appear in the film. A trailer has to achieve that in less than two and a half minutes, the maximum length allowed by theaters. c) They may want to also consider creating a what if statement to begin their trailer. For instance, for the movie, Mary Poppins, the what if statement could be What if a nanny with magical powers came to take care of three children and changed their lives forever? Allow students at least 20 minutes to brainstorm and develop their trailer in the form of a written script. If they would like, encourage them to bring their trailer to life in a dramatic presentation, or create a digital version to present for the class. 5

6 EXTENDED/OPTIONAL ART MAKING ACTIVITIES: 1) Ask students to draw or paint their own unique depiction of this historic episode carefully considering the setting, the actions of the figures, and what details to include in order to effectively tell the story. 2) Ask students to create a series of 3-5 drawings or cartoons (comic strip style) as a continuous narrative; expanding upon what might have happened before and after the scene captured in Chambers painting. Manitoba Learning Outcomes: Grades 9-12 ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS: Consider diverse opinions, explore ambiguities, and assess whether new information clarifies understanding Analyze how language and stylistic choices in oral, print including books), and other media texts communicate intended meaning and create effect Create original texts to communicate and demonstrate understanding of forms and techniques Expand and use a variety of skills (including visual and auditory) to access information and ideas from a variety of sources (including books, on-line catalogues, periodical indices, broadcast guides, film libraries, and electronic databases) Identify a variety of factors that affect meaning; scan to locate specific information quickly; summarize, report, and record main ideas of extended oral, visual, and written texts Evaluate information for completeness, accuracy, currency, historical context, relevance, balance of perspectives, and bias Use effective language, visuals and sound, and arrange and juxtapose ideas for balance, effect and originality Plan and conduct peer-involved class activities to share individual inquiry or research and understanding on a topic Plan, organize, and participate in presentations of group findings. VISUAL ARTS: 5-8A-V3.1 Share and justify interpretations of own and others artworks (e.g., share responses, discuss personal connections, consider contexts in which work were created, explain what and how the art is communicating) V1.2 Generate relevant questions and contribute thoughtfully to discussions in art learning experiences. 5-8A-U3.6 Demonstrate awareness of the impact of context on artists and their art (e.g., consider personal, social, cultural, geographical/environmental, historical context). 5-8 A-C2.6 Collaborate with others to develop and extend art making ideas. 5-8 A-C1.5 Collect and explore a wide range of visual and other resources for use in stimulating and developing own ideas for art making. TEACHER S CORNER Sign up for our Teachers e-newsletter to get the scoop on WAG activities for students and teachers. to receive quarterly updates on programs, exhibitions, and school tours. To download our bilingual 2014 School Programs Booklet or for more information on all our school programs, visit wag.ca/teachers. FREE! Teacher Sneak Peek of Masterworks from the Beaverbrook Art Gallery/Dalí Up Close Preview these stunning exhibitions and get inspired to plan your classroom visit. Show your MTS card at the front desk: Fri, Oct 3, 2014, 11am-9pm Sat, Oct 4, 2014, 11am-5pm 6

7 Beaverbrook Story Map Name: CHARACTERS Characteristics (description of appearance, age, and behaviour) SETTINGS THE PLOT (what will happen in your story?) How will your story begin? Potential problems/solutions concerning the relationships between the characters How will your story end?

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