Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Artifacts and Fiction - Workshop in American Literature
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Home > Session Guides > 1: Visual Arts

1. Visual Arts Session Guide Related Materials
Item #1491
serial: #1491
John Copley, PAUL REVERE (1768) courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts Boston. Copyright 2002 Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. John Singleton Copley: American, 1738-1815. Paul Revere, 1768; Oil on canvas; 89.22 x 72.39 cm (35 1/8 x 28 1/2 in.). Gift of Joseph W. Revere, William B. Revere and Edward H. R. Revere, 1930; 30.781.

This workshop session introduces the analysis of visual art objects as a tool in the literature classroom. David Bjelajac, professor and art historian at George Washington University, uses the example of a John Singleton Copley* painting to help teachers enhance their reading of American literature texts.

By looking at two intellectual products from the same culture—the painting and excerpts from Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography—you will better understand the beliefs and values of late eighteenth-century America.

During the course of the session, you will learn how to search for visual art artifacts to help teach American literature. In the onscreen classroom, David discusses the discipline of art history and how he uses visual art artifacts in his own classroom. He provides high school teachers with ideas of how to read the Copley painting and suggests specific lesson plan ideas.

We then follow the onscreen teachers into the computer lab where they work with David and each other to find artifacts that supplement the themes and context of the literature they are currently teaching. Next, we follow Charley Barniskis—a teacher at Sandy High School in Sandy, Oregon—into his own high school classroom. We watch as he models a similar lesson with his students. Finally, we hear Charley's reflections on his own teaching practices.

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