Monday, November 3, 2014

Visual Thinking Strategies in the Early Elementary Art Room

This week's lesson allows all students kindergarten through second grade to examine Pieter Bruegel the Elder's "Hunter's in the Snow" painted in 1565 using Visual Thinking Strategies. One of my goals as an art educator is to get students talking about art and drawing their own conclusions from art finding visual evidence within the work. Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) allows each child to share what they see or find in a piece of art and connect their findings to visual evidence within the painting. Through VTS' rigorous group 'problem-solving' process, students cultivate a willingness and ability to present their own ideas, while respecting and learning from the perspectives of their peers.  Common questions asked during a VTS discussion include: 

What's going on in this picture?
What do you see that makes you say that?
What more can we find?

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, "Hunters in the Snow", 1565
We have come to believe that discussions of art may be one of the most fertile grounds for teaching critical thinking skills precisely because there is no one right answer.
—Abigail Housen

For more information about Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS), visit

SD Visual Arts Standards
Anchor Standard 8: Interpret intent and meaning in artistic work.
K.VA.Re.8.1.a. Describe what an image represents.
1.VA.Re.8.1.a. Compare images that represent the same subject.
2.VA.Re.8.1.a. Categorize images based on expressive properties.

1st and 2nd Grade Venn Diagram Activity

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