SSCA Presentation 2013-Visual Arts and Visual Literacy: Gateways to the Common Core
Social Studies Council of Alabama
October 14, 2013
Susan Pitts Santoli, Ph.D.
University of South Alabama
Visual literacy is a set of abilities that enables an individual to
effectively find, interpret, evaluate, use, and create images and
visual media. Images and visual media may include
photographs, illustrations, drawings, maps, diagrams,
advertisements, and other visual messages and
representations, both still and moving.Visual literacy skills
equip a learner to understand and analyze the contextual,
cultural, ethical, aesthetic, and technical components involved
in the construction and use of images and visual media. A
visually literate individual is both a critical consumer of visual
media and a competent contributor to a body of shared
knowledge and culture.
~ from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL)
Seeing and interpreting images is a vital part
of what it means to learn and know…in order
to support teaching multiple literacies,
students must be overtly taught to engage in
and critically reflect.
Crawford, S. Hicks D. and Doherty N., (2009).Worth theWAIT: Engaging
Social Studies students with art in a digital age. Social Education, 73(3),
Studies done by Lynn O’Brien of Specific
Diagnostic Studies – students whose strongest
learning channel is auditory comprise less than
15% of the population. On the other hand,
students who comprise a visual learning style are
about 40% of the population…kinesthetic students
form around 45% of the population.”
Dickinson, D. (2002). Learning through the arts. Seattle,WA: New
Horizons for Learning. Retrieved from Http://www.newhorizons.org
Key words from standards:
Make use of visual media
Elements of Art
Shape & Form
The ABCs of Art
The Artist's Toolkit
As a group, observe and describe
several different sections of an artwork.
One person identifies a specific
section of the artwork and describes
what he or she sees.
Another person elaborates on the
first person’s observations by adding
more detail about the section. A
third person elaborates further by
adding yet more detail, and a fourth
person adds yet more.
Observers: Only describe what you
see. Hold off giving your ideas about
the art until the last step of the
What details are present in the painting?What do
you feel is missing?
What would you like to ask the artist about the
What social class do the figures represent?What
supports your answer?
Explain whether or not you feel this was a formally
Extension: Daumier was in prison several times for
his political and social caricatures. He produced
nearly 4,000 for Parisian journals. Explain the
political events that were occurring in France from
the 1830s through the end of the century that
might have been subjects of Daumier’s political
Give an approximate date for the time period you think is
being depicted in this picture. On what details did you base
What is the economic status of the family shown in the
picture? On what details did you base your opinion?
What are some things you might smell or hear in this picture?
What mood was the artist trying to convey when he painted
this picture, which was based on his childhood memories?
The title of this painting is Christmas Morning Breakfast. What
is occurring here that might have been a tradition in this
family?What are some traditions that you have in your family
that center around holidays? 16
Students will provide “many, varied, and unusual” single words to describe
selected or assigned works of art. No repetition of words!
The words may be dictated and recorded by the teacher on Post-it Notes or
written by the students on Post-it Notes.
Students will stick Post-it Notes to the laminated artwork to for all to view,
respond to, and reflect upon.
More than one piece of artwork may be described at a time.
Students may be divided into teams for cooperative work and may compete
for the quantity and/or quality of responses.
Can also use the rapid fire feature of Inspiration.
Describe what is observed in selected works of art.
Describe subject matter in works of art.
Describe elements of art and principles of design.
Observe, describe and identify features, similarities, and differences in
Express feelings generated by a work of art.
Identify and describe the historical period/event being represented in the
Compare art associated with various cultures.
Discriminate between actual and dramatic or romanticized portrayals of
persons or events.
Analyze various works of art for clues depicting time periods and places.
Use technology to investigate visual images.
Give a title to an artwork.Write why you would call it this.
If the artist were in the room, what questions would you ask him/her?
Write a letter to an artist, asking questions about the artwork.
Describe an abstract work of art in writing.
Look at a photograph or painting and write about the “sounds” you
might hear in the background.
Describe how a work of art reflects and differs from real life.
Tell what you think it would be like to live in this painting/drawing.
Write a conversation between characters seen in a work of art (or two
works of art).
Imagine an artist’s show has just opened; Write a press release or
review for a newspaper describing his/her artwork.
Look at a painting or poster, and then invent a history.Write something about how the
artist was feeling when it was painted, why the curator purchased this painting, or
something about the subject.
Write about three works of art you would purchase if price were no object.This is the
beginning of a personal art collection. Write about the choices.
Collect a variety of reproductions from various historical periods (post cards, art memo
cards, calendar prints, etc…). Students are provided with a random group of
reproductions and assigned a specific historical period. Students trade with one
another to obtain works representative of their assigned period. When the collections
are complete, students arrange works and as the “curators,” and describe the show for
a potential audience.
Groups find several works of art that are based on a myth, historical event, or person,
and then write about the events or people that inspired the works of art.
Integrating Social Studies and theVisual Arts
Observation vs. Interpretation
Dividing up the artwork
5W’s and an H:
Who,What,When, Where, Why, How
MatchingText and an Image
First, the name. We owe the name "Photography" to Sir John Herschel , who first
used the term in 1839, the year the photographic process became public. The word is
derived from the Greek words for light and writing.
There are two distinct scientific processes that combine to make photography
possible. It is somewhat surprising that photography was not invented earlier than the
1830s, because these processes had been known for quite some time. It was not until
the two distinct scientific processes had been put together that photography came into
The first of these processes was optical. The Camera Obscura (dark room) had been
in existence for at least four hundred years. There is a drawing, dated 1519, of a
Camera Obscura by Leonardo da Vinci; about this same period its use as an aid to
drawing was being advocated.
The second process was chemical. For hundreds of years before photography was
invented, people had been aware, for example, that some colors are bleached in the
sun, but they had made little distinction between heat, air and light.
History of PhotographyTimeline
The American Museum of Photography
History of Photography and the Camera
History of Photography
Photograph Analysis Sheet
~If this artwork is
the beginning of a story,
what might happen
~If it this artwork is
the middle of a story,
what might have
What might be about to
~If this artwork is
the end of a story, what
might the story be?
~Use your imagination
This project is an opportunity for you to express your creativity while researching some
aspect of the culture, politics or economy of World War and Its Aftermath. It covers
the years 1914-1929. You may make some references to the war, but do not
make that the primary focus of your book. Instead focus on the home front and
the period of the 1920s. We viewed a primary document titled, ABCs for Baby
Patriots, a story book for British children that glorified the British Empire. Your
assignment is to produce a similar ABC book focusing on this era. Have fun
with this. Let your imagination run wild!
Your book may be a hard copy or in digital format
You must select an aspect of European life or a particular country as a focus
for the book
You must have one page per letter of the alphabet.
There must be at least one visual on the page for each letter.
Your book must have a cover with the title and your name as author.
Your book must be attractive and free of spelling and grammar errors.
Additional points may be earned for rhyming, original art work, special
effects, or especially creative additions to be the basis book format.
Your book is due to theT drive if digital, or in hard copy, at the beginning of
class onThursday, April 1, 2010. 31
Use 10 x 2 process
Look at image quietly for 30 seconds
List 10 words or phrases that come to mind
Headlines for any work of art or visual image
If you were to write a headline that captures the
most important aspect that should be remembered,
what would the headline be?
"The Old Grass Road, Kinsale" 1925 Oil, 18 x 24 ins
Geography and Art
from Project Zero
Looking Down Yosemite Valley, California - Albert Bierstadt
Geography and Art
from Project Zero
Geography and Art
from Project Zero
What landforms can you
What would it be like to
walk through this picture?
What would you see and
What would the weather be
like in this picture?
Find an image from each of the panels and
write what you see.
Discuss as a class or in student groups.
Tell students that the painting imaginatively
depicts a real event and ask if they know what
it may be. If they say “Black Death,” ask them
some things they know or believe they know
about the plague.
After studying the Black Death, use the
painting again and ask students how the
painting relates to what they’ve learned
and what questions they still have about the
Black Death or the painting.
Cartoon Analysis Worksheets can guide student
National Archives and Records Administration
It’s No Laughing Matter (LOC)
Interpreting Political Cartoons in a History Class
Zoom In Inquiry
The Political Dr. Seuss
American Political History Online
British Cartoon Archive
Daryl Cagle’s Professional Cartoonists Index
Activities and Options
Students are in pairs or threes
Each group receives a primary source which is numbered
Each group answers these basic questions regarding the source:
• What are you viewing?
• What message does it contain about western expansion in the
At end of 4-5 minutes, each group passes its primary source to
another group, receives another source and answers the same
questions for the new source
John McCarthy, photographer. John Bakken Sod House, Milton, ND, c
1895. NDSU Institute for Regional Studies. Reproduction Number
120mm-0144 copy neg. 2029.061
After all items are viewed, students are asked to complete the following
Did you find any conflicting messages?
Why do you think these occurred?
If you were summarizing, in one sentence, what westward expansion
was like, what would you say?
Extend assignment by having students read the Homestead Act,
examine homestead applications, design their own ad encouraging or
discouraging settlers from moving west.
Tagxedo turns words -- famous speeches, news articles, slogans and even themes, -- into a visually
stunning word cloud, words individually sized appropriately to highlight the frequencies of occurrence
within the body of text.
Word Clouds for Kids
ABCya! word clouds for kids! A word cloud is graphical representation of words allowing for creativity,
expression and imagination beyond that of lists or graphic organizers. This application was designed
specifically for primary grade children. The navigation and controls are simple and easy to learn. Saving
and printing a word cloud is only one click away!
Discovering and illustrating patterns in data
The Official Blog ofTagxedo - 101Ways to Use
Word Cloud Makers forTeachers
Student Created Newspapers:
Civil War Newspaper Lesson Plan
Lesson Plan for a French Revolution Newspaper
Colonial Newspaper http://www.pghs.org/library/colonial_newspaper.htm
Another Face: Masks around theWorld
The Art of the African Mask
Mask Examples at ArtTalk
”It is unclear exactly when humans first starting using masks,
but there is evidence of them even in prehistoric cave art.
There are numerous styles of masks around the world, and
they are used for a variety of purposes. Most began with a
religious, ritualistic, and/or social purpose. Some masks are
considered to be alive and possess great power, whereas
others may mark a rite of passage, such as that from childhood
to adulthood. Some funerary masks are used to help the spirit
find the correct body, and others are meant to keep the spirit
from possessing the body. In contemporary western society,
masks are commonly used in role playing for theatrical or
holiday festivities. The purposes of masks are numerous, but
the human need for them is perhaps universal.”
From:University of Missouri-Columbia Museum of Anthropology
Visual Arts, Social Studies, and
An Artist’s Ireland
An Artist’s Alabama
Art at the HeART of
Vitulli & Santoli:
Eyes on Ireland
National Archives and Records
Library of Congress
More Image Resources
Google Image: http://images.google.com/
Images, Clip Art, Pictures, Image Search, News
Life Magazine: http://www.life.com/
Online Image Resources:
25,000 Images of Art that you can re-use for free:
Vitulli, P., Santoli, S. P., Fresne, J. (2013). Arts in Education: Professional development
integrating the arts and collaborating with schools and community. International Journal
of Pedagogies and Learning, 8(1), 45-52.
Santoli, S. P.,Vitulli, P. (2013). Picture this:The integration of social studies and visual
arts. InT. Lintner (Ed.), Integrative strategies for the k-12 social studies classroom.
Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing. www.infoagepub.com/products/Integrative-
Vitulli, P., Santoli, S. P. (2013).Visual arts and social studies: Powerful partners in
promoting critical thinking skills. Social Studies Research and Practice, 8(1), 18 pages.
Santoli, S. P.,Vitulli, P. (2012). Examining the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and
Freedom through primary sources. Black History Bulletin/Association for the Study of
African American Life and History, 75(2), 7-15. www.asalh.org/bhb.html