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Art & Activity: Engaging Visual Literacy Skills & Prior Knowledge to Explore Post WWI German Society

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This activity, created for MoMA's Art & Activity MOOC, involves students in closely looking at artwork from Post World War I Germany, which they have studied in their world history class. The activity has students looking at artwork in three different group sizes to determine a central idea and to draw conclusions based on prior knowledge, discussion, and personal reflection. Students are engaged as investigating, recording, reporting, and reflecting throughout this activity.

The activity relies the following "big question" to frame investigation: Do you think the central idea of this work reflects what you have learned about Post World War I German society?

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Art & Activity: Engaging Visual Literacy Skills & Prior Knowledge to Explore Post WWI German Society

  1. 1. ART & ACTIVITY:ENGAGING VISUAL LITERACY SKILLS & PRIOR KNOWLEDGE TO EXPLORE POST WWI GERMAN SOCIETY A lesson inspired by MoMA’s ART & Activity MOOC. by Kate Gukeisen kategukeisen.com
  2. 2. ART, SOCIETY & POLITICS TARGET LEARNING GROUP: 10TH GRADE WORLD HISTORY STUDENTS TARGET LEARNING THEME: SOCIETY & POLITICS POST WORLD WAR I GERMANY
  3. 3. The big question that provides focus to this lesson is: Do you think the central idea of the work you are investigating reflects what you have learned about Post World War I German society?
  4. 4. ACTIVITY DESCRIPTION This activity will involve students closely looking at artwork from a period they have studied in their world history class in three different phases to determine a central idea and to draw conclusions based on prior knowledge, discussion, and personal reflection. The groups will use the following big question to frame their investigation: Do you think the central idea of this work reflects what you have learned about Post World War I German society? Phase 1: Students will break out into three large groups where each group will investigate one of three works from German artists created during the Post World War I era they have studied in their World History course. Students will each record their own observations and group take- aways through traditional note taking, mind mapping, sketching symbols representative or ideas, or in any other way that student is able to represent their ideas for recall and reflection later. Phase 2: After investigating one artwork with their large group, students will break out into groups of three, composed of one member from each large group, to discuss, compare, and contrast the artwork and observations they investigated in their large groups. Phase 3: The entire class will come together and students will be asked to take a few minutes to think about one Top Take Away--an observation, reflection, or revelation that they would like to share with everyone about the central idea, the artwork they investigated, or the process of discussion and idea sharing. Then, each student will be given time to share that Top Take Away with the class. Reflection: While students will not share a physical product with the class for this activity, there are multiple opportunities for reflection within the activity itself. Whether students choose to express themselves primarily orally, through extensive note-taking, or through mapping and sketching ideas, each student will reflect through discussion with classmates during each phase of the activity. The "main event" for reflection will be when they orally share their chosen Top Take Away with the class.
  5. 5. CONNECTIONS TO LEARNING STANDARDS & CURRICULUM Engaging visual literacy skills is an important element of gathering evidence to provide context to history and social studies curriculum. In this activity, 10th grade world history students who are studying Post World War I World History will use their visual literacy skills to explore one work of art from from Germany during the time period spanning the inter-war period from 1918-1939, and will determine the central idea of that work of art based on their observation of details in the work and their prior knowledge of society Post World War I. When students come to this lesson, they will have explored the way in which the effect of WWI on the rise of totalitarian leaders in the Soviet Union, Germany, and Italy, and investigated the social, political, and economic impact of those ideologies in a global context. Focusing on works of art produced in one country (Germany) during this time period will provide students with a focused and nuanced comparative discussion. This lesson was inspired by the Spring Semester curriculum map from the SAUSD Common Core Aligned Curriculum Map for Social Studies World History Grade 10, which can be found at the following address: http://www.sausd.us/cms/lib5/CA01000471/Centricity/Domain/5397/2013-2014%20Curriculum%20Map%20Grade%2010%20World%20History.pdf
  6. 6. CC9-10.RH/SS.2 GRADES 9-10, READING, HISTORY, SOCIAL STUDIES DETERMINE THE CENTRAL IDEAS OR INFORMATION OF A PRIMARY OR SECONDARY SOURCE; PROVIDE AN ACCURATE SUMMARY OF HOW KEY EVENTS OR IDEAS DEVELOP OVER THE COURSE OF THE TEXT. COMMON CORE STANDARDS This lesson will focus on visual literacy, rather than written text.
  7. 7. 1.1.7 MAKE SENSE OF INFORMATION GATHERED FROM DIVERSE SOURCES BY IDENTIFYING MISCONCEPTIONS, MAIN AND SUPPORTING IDEAS, CONFLICTING INFORMATION, AND POINT OF VIEW BIAS. 2.1.3 USE STRATEGIES TO DRAW CONCLUSIONS FROM INFORMATION AND APPLY KNOWLEDGE TO CURRICULAR AREAS, REAL WORLD SITUATIONS, AND FURTHER INVESTIGATION. AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL LIBRARIANS STANDARDS Students will make sense of information individually and in small groups, then will compare potentially conflicting information in a larger group to explore point of view. Students will draw conclusions and reflect after individual investigation, small group exploration, and large group discussion.
  8. 8. ACTIVITY GOAL 1 Determine a central idea using close looking and prior knowledge. Students will be randomly divided into three groups for Part I of this activity. Each group of students will gather information through close looking at a work from Post World War I Germany to determine the central idea of the artwork, considering the context of what they have learned in general about society during the industrial revolution.
  9. 9. ACTIVITY GOAL 2 Draw conclusions from visual information. Students will draw conclusions, individually and in large groups, from visual information. They will then apply that knowledge to discuss, compare, and contrast their observations and conclusions with a small group composed of one person from each of the three initial groups.
  10. 10. ACTIVITY INSTRUCTIONS INTRODUCE & ENGAGE To begin the lesson: Ask students to divide into three groups or have students count off "one, two three" and have all "ones" go to station one, etc.. Explain to students that you are going to engage your visual literacy skills to closely look at three paintings from a period about which they have been studying in their world history class. Tell them you are interested in learning whether they think that the artwork created in Germany during the time they are studying reflects what they have learned about the period or whether they think it does not. Reassure students that there is no "right" answer, but that you are looking for their opinion and their unique observations that support their opinion. Tell students you will have them work in their large group and that each group will discuss and share ideas about one work of art, then they will divide into small groups where each member will have investigated a different artwork. In their large group, they will focus on finding a central idea, and it is ok to disagree on what the central idea is. In their smaller groups, they will compare and contrast their findings from large group discussion. Inform students that during the reflection session, the class will come together as a large group and each student will be asked to share one Top Take Away from their investigation. This Top Take Away can be an observation, reflection, or revelation about the central idea, artwork, subject, or the process of discussion.
  11. 11. ACTIVITY INSTRUCTIONS INVESTIGATE AND RECORD Ask students to study the artwork together, discuss their ideas and observations about the work and its central idea, and to record notes in whatever way they prefer. Remind the students they may use any materials in the library to look up further information about the artist and the time period. Let students know they have about twenty minutes, and that you will circulate to ask and answer questions about the process.
  12. 12. ACTIVITY INSTRUCTIONS REPORT, INVESTIGATE, & ANALYZE After giving students a five-minute "wrap this phase up" warning and corresponding time to wrap up their discussions, ask (or assign) students to team up in groups of three--one student from each large discussion group. Ask students to share the artwork they studied (either via handout or on their iPad), and to report the central theme of that work based on their large group discussion and personal observations. Let students know they are free to search and investigate, compare and contrast, share and reflect for the next thirty minutes with their team of three. Remind them to take notes so that at the end of the discussion they can identify their Top Take Away to share with the class later. Circulate to spur discussion with open-ended questions that encourage students to investigate the artist or artwork further.
  13. 13. ACTIVITY INSTRUCTIONS REFLECTION & SHARING After giving students a verbal cue that they should wrap up their discussion, walk around the room to see if there are any concerns or questions that should be addressed before large group reflection. Ask students to come back to the large group and to take a few moments to reflect and record their Top Take Away from the activity. You can offer students the opportunity to read their Top Take Away or to have you read them anonymously, in which case you will want to collect any anonymous observations now. Have each student share a Top Take Away (or you share the anonymous ones), and encourage students to investigate their Top Take Away further--as well as to continue the discussion later about all of the other interesting Top Take Aways.
  14. 14. INVESTIGATE & RECORD THE NEXT SLIDES FEATURE THE ARTWORK THIS LESSON EMPLOYS TO ENGAGE STUDENTS. PLEASE TAKE A FEW MOMENTS TO INVESTIGATE THE NEXT SLIDES. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU SEE. HOW YOU FEEL. WHAT YOU NOTICE.
  15. 15. George Grosz (American, born Germany. 1893-1959) Republican Automatons (Republikanische Automaten) Watercolor and pencil on paper Print, from MoMA’s Prints and Illustrated Books Dehttp://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php? object_id=34169partment MoMA Number: 120.1946 Date: 1920 REPUBLICAN AUTOMATONS
  16. 16. Otto Dix (German, 1891-1969) Shock Troops Advance under Gas (strumtruppe geht unter Gas vor) from The War (Der Krieg) Etching, aquatint, and drypoint from a portfolio of fifty etching, aquatint and drypoints http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id=63260 MoMA Number: 159.1934.12 Date: 1924 SHOCK TROOPS ADVANCE UNDER GAS
  17. 17. Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (German, 1880-1938) Winter Moonlit Night (Wintermondnacht) Woodcut http://www.moma.org/collection/browse_results.php?object_id =70114 MoMA Number: 495.1949 Date: 1919 WINTER MOONLIT NIGHT
  18. 18. REPORT, INVESTIGATE, & ANALYZE CONTINUE TO ASK OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS AND GIVE STUDENTS THE OPPORTUNITY TO INVESTIGATE THEIR OWN QUESTIONS IN RELATION TO TH E WORK AND TO WHAT THEY HAVE LEARNED ABOUT POST WWI GERMAN SOCIETY. ASK STUDENTS TO THINK ABOUT WHAT THEY SEE. HOW THEY FEEL. WHAT THEY NOTICE.
  19. 19. A FEW SUGGESTED OPEN ENDED QUESTIONS Preparing at least three open ended questions to ask your students will help you guide inquiry toward your learning goals, and will provide students the opportunity to express their different observations and opinions. Three open ended questions for this lesson are: 1. What do you notice about this work that leads you to identify your central idea? 2. Do you find that this piece reflects what you have learned about life and society in Post World War I Germany? 3. Please tell me about whether you think the artist was conveying a message with this work.
  20. 20. REFLECTION & SHARING SHARING WORK AND REFLECTING ON THE ACHIEVEMENT OF A LESSON’S GOALS IS INCREDIBLY MOTIVATING FOR STUDENTS A WONDERFUL WAY TO REINFORCE LESSON CONCEPTS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT IN ENCOURAGING FURTHER INQUIRY
  21. 21. DIRECTIONS FOR REFLECTION While students will not share a physical product with the class for this activity, there are multiple opportunities for reflection within the activity itself. Whether students choose to express themselves primarily orally, through extensive note-taking, or through mapping and sketching ideas, each student will reflect through discussion with classmates during each phase of the activity. The "main event" for reflection will be when they verbally share their chosen Top Take Away with the class.
  22. 22. KEYS TO SUCCESS PROVIDE CLEAR DIRECTIONS CONTEXT ENCOURAGEMENT OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPRESSION
  23. 23. PROVIDE CLEAR DIRECTIONS Provide an overview of the lesson prior to starting, and clearly feature the BIG QUESTION on which you are asking students to focus.
  24. 24. PROVIDE CONTEXT In this lesson, students will use the resources available in the library and on their iPads to: view and closely explore the work of art investigate the artists and artwork further using the MoMA website and library encyclopedia and databases
  25. 25. PROVIDE ENCOURAGEMENT Throughout this activity, students are encouraged to share their: observations connections questions
  26. 26. PROVIDE OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPRESSION In this activity, students will engage in a variety of discussions with different sized groups of classmates to: share their observations determine central ideas gain new understanding incorporate prior knowledge reflect on what they have learned
  27. 27. This lesson could be further enriched by presenting students with art and culture beyond the visual artwork represented here. For example, having students listen to a variety of music from this period, and then engaging in similar discussion to that presented here would be an engaging activity. Another idea for extending this lesson is to encourage students to place themselves “in the shoes of” an average citizen or particular person of historical significance of this era and having them create a work of art that represents their feelings, concerns, or lifestyle. ADDITIONAL SUGGESTIONS
  28. 28. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES GEORGE GROSZ: MOMA | THE COLLECTION: GEORGE GROSZ HTTP://W WW.MOMA.ORG/COLLECTION/ARTIST.PHP?ARTIST_ID= 2374 OTTO DIX: THE GUARDIAN | THE FIRST WORLD WAR IN GERMAN ART HTTP://W WW.THEGUARDIAN.COM/ARTANDDESIGN/2014/MAY/14/FIRST -W ORLD-W AR-GERMAN-ART-OTTO-DIX ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER: THE ART STORY | YOUR GUIDE TO MODERN ART: ERNST LUDWIG KIRCHNER HTTP://W WW.THEARTSTORY.ORG/ARTIST -KIRCHNER-ERNST-LUDW IG.HTM
  29. 29. ADDITIONAL RESOURCES DIGGING DEEPER INTO THE CONTENT AREA NEWS WEEKLY | WEIMAR GERMANY: WHY ART FLOURISHED AND DEMOCRACY PERISHED HTTP://NEWSWEEKLY.COM.AU/ARTICLE.PHP?ID= 5130 WEIMAR STUDIES NETWORK | RESEARCH ON THE HISTORY, CULTURE AND SOCIETY OF THE WEIMAR REPUBLIC HTTP://WEIMARSTUDIES.WORDPRESS.COM MOMA | GERMAN EXPRESSIONISM : WORKS FROM THE COLLECTION HTTP://WWW.MOMA.ORG/EXPLORE/COLLECTION/GE /

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