Image as Text: A Bridge to Critical Literary Analysis

byBrandon Barr

In this unit, students will be taught to closely examine images and art to consider how meaning is created. Students will closely look at four canonical paintings: Guernica, Washington Crossing the Delaware, The Problem We All Have, and Detroit Industrial, to construct meaning through guided inquiry. For each art piece, contextual information, discussion questions, and supplemental web resources are provided to help frame the analysis. Suggestions for classroom activities are provided as well as an authentic assessment in which students contribute to a larger classroom mural.

This unit is designed for sixth grade students to build interpretative skills through art. The activities and conversations that revolve around each art piece scaffold the same academic language that is needed to successfully interpret literature. The unit could be used in middle school or high school art, humanities, or English classes. It assumes little-to-no background knowledge in analyzing art or in the history associated with the works of art.

(Developed for Reading and Writing, grade 6; recommended for Reading, Humanities, and Art, grades 6-12)

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