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Bridging the Curriculum through Art and Texas History
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Bridging the Curriculum through Art and Texas History

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  • 1. Bridging the Curriculum through Art and Texas HistoryLook in any social studies textbook and you will find reproductions of works of art – paintings, sculptures, and otherworks that tell stories of the past in visual form. Artists and photographers have captured both momentous and lessimportant events of their time and made them accessible through the visual language of art. Through investigationsof historical artworks, we can share in emotional dramas of the past, investigate different perspectives on historicalevents, explore the context of historical artworks, and compare the past with the present. Pam Stephens and Nancy Walkup, Bridging the Curriculum through Art, Crystal Productions.§113.615. Social Studies, Grade 4(1) In Grade 4, students examine the history of Texas from the early beginnings to the present within the context ofinfluences of North America. Historical content focuses on Texas history, including the Texas Revolution,establishment of the Republic of Texas, and subsequent annexation to the United States. Students discuss importantissues, events, and individuals of the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries. Students conduct a thorough study of regions inTexas and North America resulting from human activity and from physical features. The location, distribution, andpatterns of economic activities and settlement in Texas further enhance the concept of regions. Students describehow early American Indians in Texas and North America met their basic economic needs. Students identifymotivations for European exploration and colonization and reasons for the establishment of Spanish settlements andmissions. Students explain how American Indians governed themselves and identify characteristics of Spanishcolonial and Mexican governments in Texas…Students identify the contributions of people of various racial, ethnic,and religious groups to Texas and describe the impact of science and technology on life in the state…(2) To support the teaching of the essential knowledge and skills, the use of a variety of rich primary and secondarysource material such as documents, biographies, novels, speeches, letters, poetry, songs, and artworks is encouraged.Where appropriate, local topics should be included. Motivating resources are available from museums, historicalsites, presidential libraries, and local and state preservation societies.(b) (19) Culture. The student understands the contributions of people of various racial, ethnic, and religious groupsto Texas. The student is expected to:(A) identify the similarities and differences among various racial, ethnic, and religious groups in Texas;(B) identify customs, celebrations, and traditions of various cultural, regional, and local groups in Texas such asCinco de Mayo, Oktoberfest, the Strawberry Festival and Fiesta san Antonio;§113.2319. Social Studies, Grade 7In Grade 7, students study the history of Texas from early times to the present. Content is presented with more depthand breadth than in Grade 4.Resources for Teaching Texas History, http://academics.utep.edu/Default.aspx?tabid=55138Picturing America, http://picturingamerica.neh.gov/Amon Carter Museum of Art, http://www.cartermuseum.org/learn/distance-learningInspiring Visions: Artists’ Views of the American West, http://www.cartermuseum.org/Inspiring_Visions/Texas Art: A Sense of History, http://www.wittemuseum.org/index.php/exhibits/131-txartSid Richardson Museum,http://www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org/nu_site/sid_richardson_museum.php/museum/highlights
  • 2. Art-based ActivitiesSticky Note InquiryDistribute large art reproductions, one each for every group of three to five students. Give each group a stack ofsticky notes and ask that one person in each group be in charge of writing on the notes. Ask students tocollaboratively list as many words as they can that are suggested by the image. It is easiest to start with descriptivewords and then think about words that are more interpretive or concerned with meaning. Students should write oneword or phrase on each sticky note and attach them to the edges of the reproduction (they should not cover up theimage). Then ask students to collaborate on writing a paragraph that uses some of the vocabulary generated.Venn Diagram Compare and Contrast InquiryGive each small group of three to five students a paper printout of a large Venn diagram and two art reproductionsthat are appropriate to compare and contrast. Where the Venn diagram overlaps, students should write words for thecharacteristics the two artworks share. On each outside section, students write differences between each artwork.For example, compare Charles Russell’s The Scout, with Frederick Remington’s The Puncher.Illustrated LettersHave students read some of Charles Russell’s illustrated letters (such ashttp://www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org/nu_site/collection.php/art/54) and then ask each student to assume a personain Texas history and write and illustrate a letter from his/her point of view. Cowboy Charlie: The Story of Westernartist Charles M. Russell by Jeanette Winter, 1995, is recommended for elementary students and Charles M. Russell,Word Painter; Letters, 1887-1926, 1993, is appropriate for all ages. The Sid Richardson Museum’s website hasmany images at http://www.sidrichardsonmuseum.org/nu_site/sid_richardson_museum.php/museum/highlights.The Art of Texas History Prezi, http://prezi.com/is07i7r_niq0/present/?auth_key=iyda8j9&follow=ny26fc7oh3sf