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The Gilded Age/ Transition into Modernism

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Language Arts And English +1 Age Level High School (16 to 18 years old)

Lesson Activity/Directions: 

This collection is used, through a See/Think/Wonder format, to launch a discussion about the "Gilded Age" and how the lifestyles, values, belief systems, and socioeconomic circumstances surrounding this era helped prompt the Modernism movement. Discussions revolve around the economic disparities, and some polarizing movements such as Prohibition. Therefore, in a sense, this collection helps launch the Modernism/Great Gatsby Unit.

Students are divided into small groups - usually  no more than 3 per group. Each are provided with one painting. During some lessons, I've printed out the pictures for them, but other times I've also provided them with a link and one student pulls up the painting on their computer - for the group; in this manner, they zoom in and really investigate the details. This works well for a small class. By this point in the school year, we've completed the "See - Think - Wonder" activity enough so that it is familiar. Groups go through this process on their own, and then their art work is on the smart board, and they walk the class through their discoveries, interpretations, and questions. Jointly as a class, we speculate about what this image might reveal to us about the time period, it's people, values, etc. How might we see this play out in literature?  Eventually I weave in a number of the facts provided below in "Notes to other users." 

I conclude with this statement by John D. Rockefeller on the smart board - - it seems to preview some of "The Great Gatsby" themes quite well. 

"I believe it is my duty to make money and still more money and to use the money I make for the good of my fellow man according to the dictates of my conscience." - - John D. Rockefeller, 1905

#SAAMteach

(For background/historical context notes, see below within "Notes to Other Users."


Improvisation

Smithsonian American Art Museum

The White Ballet

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Portrait of Dorothy Wagstaff

Smithsonian American Art Museum

My Children (Mary, Gerald, and Gladys Thayer)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Nelson Wilmarth Aldrich

National Portrait Gallery

Frances Willard

National Portrait Gallery

Washington Street no. 37 Manhattan

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Eviction (Lower East Side)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Man with the Cat (Henry Sturgis Drinker)

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Russian Tea

Smithsonian American Art Museum

Charity

Smithsonian American Art Museum