Instructional Strategies: Visual Art

Reading Portraits as Biographies: Observe-Infer-Inquire
For Teachers of Grades 2-8
This can be offered as a workshop or a course.
The number of sessions can be modified.
Each workshop session is typically 3 hours in length.

Are you looking for ways to motivate and engage your students in the study of biographies and/or historical figures? Portraits are often considered merely a reflection of what a person looks like, when in actuality, they can be read as biographies that communicate significant information about a person’s life while teaching students how to deeply observe, infer, and inquire. Participate in this workshop to learn how to help students unlock the symbolism in portraits, connect biographies with portraiture, use portraits as a point of inquiry for biographical research, and create portraits and writings to deepen and assess student understandings.

Session 1: Observing and Reading Portraits

Session 2: Writing to Synthesize Portraits

Session 3: Facilitating Deeper Discussions about Portraits

Session 4: Creating Portraits

Lines and Shapes:
Integrating Visual Art and Geometry


Lines and shapes, concepts central to pre K-2nd grade mathematical understanding, are also building blocks of visual art. In this workshop, explore how students can construct and demonstrate their understanding of geometry through visual art. Teachers learn the basic vocabulary for identifying and describing various types of lines and 2-D shapes in works of art and create abstract drawings and cut-paper compositions that allow all types of learners to be creative and successful.

Reading and Talking about Visual Art in the EarlyChildhood Classroom

For Teachers of Grades K-2
Length: 3 Hours

Students in grades K-2 are often emerging readers who are depending on images to provide visual cues to aide in comprehension. This workshop focuses on looking and talking about illustrations in fiction picture books before, during, and after reading to help students develop the skills of prediction, inference/drawing conclusions, sequence, and retelling a story.

Reading Art Across the Curriculum:
Observe. Infer. Inquire.

For Teachers of Grades 3-8
Length: 3 Hours

Visual art is a text that students of all reading abilities can access. This workshop introduces the language of visual art so that teachers feel confident looking, thinking, and talking about art with their students. Join us to learn about resources for building a library of images that can be used to efficiently build background knowledge, teach content, generate points of inquiry for research, and assess understandings in social studies, science, and reading.

Think Like a Scientist: Developing Science PracticesThrough Visual Art

For Grades 2-8 Science Teachers
Length: 3 hours

In this workshop, explore ways to help students read visual art to develop their use of several science practices, such as careful observation, analyzing and interpreting data, and developing an explanation based on evidence. Learn a process that takes you from STEM to STEAM!

Looking the Write Way:
Visual Art and Poetry Throughout the Curriculum

For Teachers of Grades 2-8

This can be offered as a six hour workshop, a four session course, or a three day institute.
Each workshop session is typically 3 hours in length.

Teachers working in today’s schools face a tremendous challenge: successfully engaging and motivating a classroom full of students with diverse backgrounds and abilities, with the pressures of standardized tests always looming on the horizon. This three-day institute has been developed to help teachers succeed in meeting that challenge through the creative power of visual arts and poetry.

In this workshop, participants are guided through a process to analyze art that teaches students the critical skills of observing, inferring, inquiring, and writing. This analysis becomes a springboard for writing as students discover there is so much to write about when they slow down and discover the power of observation. The work of art is ultimately synthesized as students use descriptive, carefully chosen words and various poetry tools to create vivid images that express thoughts and feelings through poetry.

Armed with this process of how to read art and respond through poetry, this strategy can be integrated throughout the curriculum to build background knowledge, teach content, generate points of inquiry for research, and assess understandings in social studies, science, and literature.The number of sessions can be modified.

A Pathway to Creative Writing

For Teachers of Grades 2-12
Length: 3 Hours

This workshop is led by Jamin Carter

The process of writing stories can be challenging for young authors. In this workshop, explore how students can use scissors, glue, and construction paper to create artwork that becomes the bridge between an unformed idea and a unique, descriptive story. Learn to use selected elements of art, such as shape, color, and space, to connect to story components (e.g., character, setting, events, main idea, and details). Participants will leave with workable, accessible tools for students to create ideas, think divergently and write creatively.

Focus 5, Inc 2016