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Art to Zoo: Playing Historical Detective: Great Grandmother?s Dress and Other Clues to the Life and Times of Annie Steel (1981)

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online issue in which students become detectives piecing together the life of a nineteenth century woman by examining primary source documents and artifacts.

The Teodoro Vidal Collection: Bibliography

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Bibliography related to the Teodoro Vidal Collection of cultural objects from Puerto Rico. Includes books for adults and children.

Design Your Perfect Career

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson in which students choose possible careers by using the design process.

Living Fossils of the Deep, an Expedition to the Bahamian Seafloor

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Website for an undersea expedition that advances our understanding of the ocean and its animals. Includes photo gallery of sea creatures, biographies of the biologists, descriptions of the technology and tools, and information pages on the Bahamas and silt snails.

Designing Scavengers

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson in which students explore People's Design Award submissions and work in groups to create a scavenger hunt based on them.

The Art of African Exploration

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibition includes compelling images from the European imperialist period. In primary-source documents, photographs, maps, and drawings, see Africa's animals, peoples, and landscapes through the eyes of the explorers.

Explore Smithsonian: How Are Optical Instruments Tested Before Space Flight?

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Telescopes have mirrors that help them gather light, but the challenge of modern telescopes is getting the mirrors to bend and move to collect the most light. Discover how Smithsonian researchers are making their own mirrors, and testing them, to go into space.

Picture Writing

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
An activity to observe, describe, and write a story about an artwork. Emphasizing the process of writing rather than simply the end product, this activity invites students to look, explore, and think.

PICTURE WRITING

An activity to observe, describe, and write a story about an artwork.

1. List every detail you see (or do not see) in the work.

Do not include emotions that the work evokes or reactions to the content of the work.

Suggestions: List countable things, such as all the red, blue, or black items in the work. In writing things that are not in the picture, do you see all the fingers on the subjects’ right hand? Did the painter portray both the left and right side of the subject’s face?

2. Write a short description of the work so that another person could instantly recognize it.

Provide information but withhold all judgements.

3. Share descriptions with peers. What details do you remember from their descriptions?

Did the writer include any comments that were not just descriptions? If so, what were they?

4. Write a story about the work. Think of the work as a frame of a movie. “Unfreeze” the frame and set the painting into motion.

Write the story of what has just happened or what is about to happen. Mentally push the painting’s frame back and tell the enlarged story.

LAUNCH: Ideas for use

This activity can be used with any kind of visual art. Have students pick an artwork that most interests them. This may be from a Learning Lab collection of artwork you have pre-prepared for the students to explore or it may be an artwork that the student found by searching the Learning Lab database.

As students list details they see in the artwork and write their short descriptions, encourage them to describe details such as "orange flowers in background by stone fence" or "silver earring shaped like a teardrop." Encourage them to avoid listing any emotions that the painting evokes or any judgments or assumptions they might have about the work. For example, they could write something like "hands folded, eyes closed" but should avoid such language as "lost in prayer" or "sad and downhearted." Making judgments about the relationships between people in the pictures, e.g., "mother and son," should also be avoided.

When it is time for students to write their stories, tell the students that, unlike their descriptions, the stories need not be limited to physical facts. Any emotions or judgments the students wish to incorporate into their stories, as well as any way they wish to interpret what's happening in the paintings, is fine.

One way students might want to approach their stories is to concentrate on what's currently happening in the painting. Explain that if they take this approach, it might be helpful to treat the painting as if it were a frozen frame in a movie. To set the painting into motion, they can mentally "unfreeze" the frame. Other approaches to telling the painting's story include writing about what has just happened or about what is going to happen. Explain to the students that whatever they write, they must not contradict any factual information about the painting.

Have students share their stories with the group. If possible, have students read their stories to the group in front of the artwork they chose as their subject.

Career Possibilities

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Sampling of jobs that involve animals or their conservation

North American Mammals

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Searchable database of all living mammals of North America. Search by geographic location, species name, mammal family tree, or conservation status. Each animal has a fact sheet with information and pictures.

Tales of Lienzos

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Virtual exhibition describes the Charreria tradition in Mexico and the United States, through personal narratives of Charras and Charros (cowboys). Includes contemporary and historical photographs and museum collections. Some parts bilingual English/Spanish.

What Makes You Say That?: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
A "Visible Thinking" routine for interpretation with justification from Project Zero. This routine helps students describe what they see or know and asks them to build explanations. It promotes evidential reasoning (evidence-based reasoning) and because it invites students to share their interpretations, it encourages students to understand alternatives and multiple perspectives. Asks the questions, "What's going on?" and "What do you see that makes you say that?" WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?

Interpretation with justification routine

1. What's going on?

2. What do you see that makes you say that?

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

This routine helps students describe what they see or know and asks them to build explanations. It promotes evidential reasoning (evidence-based reasoning) and

because it invites students to share their interpretations, it encourages students to understand alternatives and multiple perspectives.

Application: When and where can it be used?

This is a thinking routine that asks students to describe something, such as an object or concept, and then support their interpretation with evidence. Because the basic questions in this routine are flexible, it is useful when looking at objects such as works of art or historical artifacts, but it can also be used to explore a poem, make scientific observations and hypothesis, or investigate more conceptual ideas (i.e., democracy). The routine can be adapted for use with almost any subject and may also be useful for gathering information on students' general concepts when introducing a new topic.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

In most cases, the routine takes the shape of a whole class or group conversation around an object or topic, but can also be used in small groups or by individuals. When first introducing the routine, the teacher may scaffold students by continually asking the follow-up questions after a student gives an interpretation. Over time students may begin to automatically support their interpretations with evidence with out even being asked, and eventually students will begin to internalize the routine.

The two core questions for this routine can be varied in a number of ways depending on the context:

What do you know? What do you see or know that makes you say that? Sometimes you may want to preceded students' interpretation by using a question of description: What do you see? or What do you know?

When using this routine in a group conversation it may be necessary to think of alternative forms of documentation that do not interfere with the flow of the discussion. One option is to record class discussions using video or audio. Listening and noting students' use of language of thinking can help you see their development. Students words and language can serve as a form of documentation that helps create a rubric for what makes a good interpretation or for what constitutes good reasoning.

Another option is to make a chart or keep an ongoing list of explanations posted in the classroom. As interpretations develop, note changes and have further discussion about these new explanations. These lists can also invite further inquiry and searches for evidence. Other options for both group and individual work include students documenting their own interpretations through sketches, drawings, models and writing, all of which can be displayed and revisited in the classroom."

"Don't You Leave Me Here (I'm Alabama Bound)" by Dave Van Ronk

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Dave Van Ronk performs "Don't You Leave Me Here (I'm Alabama Bound)" at a 1997 concert honoring Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music.

Treasures from the Smithsonian American Art Museum: American Impressionism

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Book commemorates exhibition presenting canvases full of light and color by such artists as Childe Hassam, James McNeill Whistler, Mary Cassatt, John Twatchman, and Thomas Wilmer Dewing.

Sink or Float: Water and Design Solutions

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
People around the world are confronted with rising water, drought conditions, and increased weather extremes. Presenters from the Smithsonian's National Design Museum discuss the ways that designers are responding with innovative solutions�_�from floating houses to energy produced by ocean waves.

Israeli Song and Dance for Middle or High School Ensembles

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Students will be introduced to Jewish folk music through singing, playing, and dancing a traditional arrangement of “Al Tiruni” and participating in guided discussions of Jewish history and cultural heritage.

Ronald Clyne Tribute: Cover Artist for Folkways

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
After Ronald Clyne’s death in 2006, Smithsonian videographer Charles Weber created this tribute to the artist from Margaret Asch and D. A. Sonneborn’s 2005 interview with the artist at his home in Brooklyn, New York. The entirety of the documentation is available in the Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections of the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage.

Looking with 'Fresh Eyes': What Makes a Successful School Design?

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson that challenges students to examine a familiar surrounding: their school. By using 'objectivity of all senses," they determine if the school's design complies with the concept of 'form follows function.'

Tigers

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
All about tigers and why they are in danger of extinction. Includes video map showing population change and how people are making efforts to coexist with tigers in Asia.

Document Deep Dive: Rosa Parks's Arrest Record

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online primary source: the Montgomery, Alabama, Police Department report of Parks's 1955 arrest, annotated with comments by a Smithsonian curator.

Segregated America Lesson

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson plan examining the condition and aspirations of free African Americans in the years following the Civil War. Students will analyze primary source documents in order to identify social factors that led to the rise of Jim Crow segregation and evaluate the effects of segregation. This lesson is part of the online exhibition entitled Separate is Not Equal: Brown v. Board of Education.

Civil War Battle Project

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Teacher-created lesson in which students focus on one battle of the war and design their own version of the events.

Glimpse of the Past: A Neighborhood Evolves

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Online exhibition describing the rise, fall, and rebirth of the heart of Penn Quarter, Washington DC, from the perspective of one of the neighborhood's enduring monuments: the old Patent Office building, which today houses the National Portrait Gallery and Smithsonian American Art Museum. Includes historic and contemporary photos.

When the Rain Sings

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access
Lesson plan suggesting ways to incorporate the book When the Rain Sings: Poems by Young Native Americans in language arts studies. The poems (in the form of dialogues between objects, photographs, and the written word) demonstrate the importance of imagery in storytelling. Students may examine thematic connections or respond with creative writing exercises.
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