BEFORE YOUR VISIT. Self-Guided Visits. Preparing for Your Visit: Pre-Tour Activities in the Classroom

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1 Self-Guided Visits Preparing for Your Visit: Pre-Tour Activities in the Classroom Review Museum Guidelines Review and discuss the Museum Guidelines (in the At the Museum section found under the Logistics link) with your students. Anticipation Guide: Me, Museums, and Art Students often have varied expectations and assumptions about their visit to the museum. The attached Anticipation Guide will encourage students to think about what a museum is and what art is. The Anticipation Guide may be completed by students individually or in small groups. Before the visit, lead a class discussion about the student responses to the statements. What was the reasoning behind their responses? Encourage students to keep their answers in mind during the museum visit. Have students be on the lookout for works of art that support or challenge their previous assumptions. Practice Looking at Art in Your Classroom Use the enclosed poster and activities in the classroom to prepare students for their visit. The activities include discussion questions similar to those that students may encounter on a tour, and ideas for bringing art into your classroom curriculum. Become an Art Expert Become an Art Expert is an interactive online activity developed to help elementary students prepare for a guided tour at the museum. In addition to learning about the museum, students are encouraged to look closely at four works of art from the museum s collection. Find the activity online at BEFORE YOUR VISIT

2 Anticipation Guide: Before Your Visit Take time to think about how much you agree or disagree with the statements below. Mark an x somewhere between strongly agree and strongly disagree on the line that reflects your thoughts. Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree 1. Art museums are places for learning and enjoyment. 2. The art museum collects art that is original or real. 3. Art comes from around the world and from different time periods. 4. Art should tell a story or have an important meaning. 5. Art is beautiful. 6. Art is realistic. 7. Art is for hanging on a wall. 8. Art is made out of many different materials. 9. Art can come in all different shapes and sizes. 10. Anyone can make art.

3 Looking at Art: A Classroom Activity At the museum, students will look closely at works of art and use their observations to construct meaning. Looking at art, thinking about art, and sharing ideas about art are essential to developing visual literacy skills that are transferrable to all subject areas. Understanding background information about this work of art is not a prerequisite for these activities, but information about the painting and the artist, provided at the end of this document, can easily be woven into classroom discussions to further the conversation and support the curriculum. Before visiting the museum, practice the process of looking before visiting the museum by hanging this poster in your classroom. Frederic Remington, American, , A New Year on the Cimarron, 1903, Oil on canvas, 27 x 40, The Hogg Brothers Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg, Take the Time to Look Without sharing any information about the painting, give students time to look closely at this work of art. Encourage them to let their eyes explore over every area of the image. After studying the image, discuss the following questions to guide student speculation about what the image might mean. 1. What do you notice? Using all five of your senses, describe what you see. 2. What adjectives would you use to describe this image? How would you describe the mood? 3. What do you think is going on? Where do you think it is taking place? Which details in the painting support your answer? 4. What does this painting make you wonder about? What questions do you have about the work of art? Students may write down responses to record their own thinking and learning. Working through these questions can be done individually or in a small group or class discussion, and answers can be compiled into a class list. As the discussion unfolds, feel free to share information about this painting with students to help guide the conversation. This process may be used with other works of art. Have students use their responses to the above questions as material for the following writing activities: Activity One: Art as Inspiration for Creative Writing This painting, A New Year on the Cimarron, was published in a popular magazine on New Year s Eve in Accompanying the two-page color reproduction of the painting was a poem that used the image as its inspiration. Challenge students to create their own descriptive poem inspired by this painting. Have students: Start by listing colors the artist used in the painting. How would you describe these colors? Write descriptive names for the colors. If one of your colors is yellow, is it golden yellow, sunshine yellow, or the yellow of daffodils? List at least five descriptive words inspired by the painting. These words might describe the setting, the colors, the landscape, the characters, or the action. Finally, write a line to your poem that answers at least one of the following questions: What do you hear, feel, smell, and see? Where might this place be? Who are these people and what are they doing? How might it feel to be there? As you write your poem, include words from your list of descriptive words and colors. Remind students that there are many ways to write a poem. Sentences can be broken up into two lines to change the rhythm of the poem and words can be repeated throughout the poem.

4 Activity Two: Art of Conversation: Developing Dialogue Writers use dialogue, or conversations between characters, to tell readers more about the characters and to advance the plot of a story. When looking at art, viewers can imagine dialogue that might be taking place between two figures based on other clues in the picture such as facial expressions, gestures, and setting. Have students write a dialogue for these two men. Use the details of the painting setting, time of day, colors, mood, props, their posture as inspiration for the conversation. Where are these two men? How are they feeling? What are they doing? Students should focus on revealing the plot of a story through the dialogue. Are they discussing what they did that day? Are they talking about what they are looking at? What happened before this scene? What will happen next? Encourage students to stretch their imaginations and develop a dialogue between the two horses in the painting, as well. Activity Three: Beyond the Frame Generating Further Inquiry Looking at and thinking about art often elicits questions. Use this painting as a source for generating questions for further research and exploration. Starting with ideas students have already recorded from the looking activity prompt ( What does the painting make you wonder about? What questions do you have about the work of art? ) and encourage students to develop more relevant questions for inquiry. Examples might range from Did the artist ever visit the places he painted? to Where is the Cimarron River? Have students identify and locate sources of information that addresses their questions and draw conclusions from information they gather. About A New Year on the Cimarron Perhaps no other artist is as closely identified with the depiction of the American West as Frederic Remington. Born in upstate New York, he took his first trip to the West in The following year, Remington moved to Kansas, where he bought and ran a sheep ranch. In 1884, Remington returned to New York, where he began selling his sketches to publishers of illustrated magazines. He soon became a leading illustrator of Western subjects and one of the most sought-after magazine illustrators in America, chosen by Theodore Roosevelt to illustrate his series of articles on ranching and hunting in the West. During the 1880s, Remington turned his attention from illustration to painting and sculpture, but his work, including A New Year on the Cimarron, continued to appeal to a wide audience. Readers of popular magazines in which Remington s work was reproduced enjoyed the subtle narrative two men, horses standing by, seek refuge in a dry riverbed and prepare a meal on a makeshift spit - as representative of life on the frontier. In contrast, the formal elements of the painting, such as color, composition, and mood, captured the attention of the art establishment while it was on view at a New York gallery. The eerie light of a yellow and green sky contrasting with the lavender grays of the river bed, the spiky grass suggested by short swipes of a dry brush, and the shimmering effect of the greenish puddles of water elevated Remington s work from the illustrator s realm to that of the fine artist concerned with more complex stylistic issues.

5 Post-Tour Activities in the Classroom Anticipation Guide: Me, Museums, and Art After the museum visit, have students complete another Anticipation Guide. Compare the results with their original worksheet. Did students opinions change? Have students cite examples of what they saw or experienced at the museum that either changed or confirmed their original thoughts. Record the Experience In a journal or on a piece of paper, have students record their experience at the museum. Did students see anything surprising or unexpected? What is one new thing they learned during the tour? Which work of art would students most like to see again and why? Encourage students to write down as many things as they can remember. AFTER YOUR VISIT

6 Anticipation Guide: After Your Visit Take time to think about how much you agree or disagree with the statements below. Mark an x somewhere between strongly agree and strongly disagree on the line that reflects your thoughts. What did you see at the museum that informed your response? Strongly Agree Strongly Disagree 1. Art museums are places for learning and enjoyment. 2. The art museum collects art that is original or real. 3. Art comes from around the world and from different time periods. 4. Art should tell a story or have an important meaning. 5. Art is beautiful. 6. Art is realistic. 7. Art is for hanging on a wall. 8. Art is made out of many different materials. 9. Art can come in all different shapes and sizes. 10. Anyone can make art.

7 TEACHER RESOURCES The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston offers a variety of educational opportunities and resources for educators of all grade levels. Kinder Foundation Education Center Integrate art into your classroom throughout the year with the Kinder Foundation Education Center. Choose from a wide selection of educational DVDs, curriculum guides, children s books, poster sets, and study guides to supplement your lesson plans. Resources can be checked out free of charge at Teaching with Art Website Get lesson plan ideas or explore a work of art in detail with your class on the MFAH Teaching with Art website, Lesson plans are available for a variety of academic subject areas and grade levels. Professional Development Take advantage of professional development opportunities at the museum. Earn professional development hours and learn more about the MFAH collections, traveling exhibitions, and teaching techniques at an Evening for Educators program or teacher workshop. Visit to learn more. E-Newsletter Learn about the latest museum offerings for educators and students with the monthly Education News e-newsletter. Sign up at

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